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Homeless L.I. Teen Not Science Contest Finalist, But Still A Winner

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Samantha Garvey (L) meeting Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (R) with Long Island Rep. Steve Israel (Center) in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. (credit: Steve Israel/Facebook)

Samantha Garvey (L) meeting Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (R) with Long Island Rep. Steve Israel (Center) in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. (credit: Steve Israel/Facebook)

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BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A homeless Brentwood High School senior who was a semi-finalist in a prestigious national science contest won’t be advancing to the next round.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

Samantha Garvey found out she didn’t make the cut to become a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search that has a top prize of a $100,000 college scholarship, but the 17-year-old says she’s still a winner.

Garvey’s story made headlines after she became a semi-finalist in the contest earlier this month and it was revealed that she was living in a homeless shelter when her family ran into financial trouble.

Since then, Garvey has received local and national accolades.

She and her family have been given a rent subsidized home in Bay Shore by Suffolk County officials and the teen was presented with a $50,000 scholarship from AT&T to the college of her choice when she appeared on the “Ellen” talk show.

Then Tuesday night, Garvey was Long Island Rep. Steve Israel’s guest at President Obama’s third State of the Union address.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

The congressman posted pictures of Garvey and her family in Washington D.C. for the event to his Twitter and Facebook pages.

samantha garvey2 Homeless L.I. Teen Not Science Contest Finalist, But Still A Winner

Samantha Garvey poses for a picture with Long Island Rep. Steve Israel in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. (credit: Steve Israel/Facebook)

Israel says he showed Garvey, her family and her teacher Rebecca Grella the Capitol Rotunda and even introduced the teen to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Last week, Israel said he invited Garvey to the State of the Union because he was inspired by her story.

“I think she can teach those powerful people a lesson in perseverance, a lesson in not allowing setbacks to defeat you,” he said.

Garvey said she feels exhilarated after her trip to Washington.

“Seeing what was going on, from behind the scenes and having that insider look, ” Garvey told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “Everything, all the prominent figures I met yesterday, it was just amazing.”

She said she’s OK with not being named a finalist in the Intel contest and said she now wants to combine her love of science with policy making.

“I was always really into science and I always wanted to pursue it as a career but now I see the political aspect of it and I do definitely want to tie in science and the policies of it,” she said.

Even though Garvey isn’t advancing to the next round, ten other New Yorkers did make the cut and are now contenders for the $100,000 prize.

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