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Obama: L.I. Science Whiz Samantha Garvey ‘Gives Me Hope’

President Barack Obama (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)/Samantha Garvey (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

President Barack Obama (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)/Samantha Garvey (credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A college freshman from Long Island merited a mention in President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

The president said 18-year-old Samantha Garvey “gives me hope.”

They met when she attended a White House science fair earlier this year. Long Island congressman Steve Israel also invited her to attend the president’s State of the Union speech.

“As I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America,” Obama said Thursday. “The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless shelter – she gives me hope.”

Garvey was living in a homeless shelter when she was named a semifinalist in the national Intel Science contest. Her family has since found a home.

On his Twitter account, Israel said he was “very proud” of Garvey.

israel tweet Obama: L.I. Science Whiz Samantha Garvey Gives Me Hope

(credit: Steve Israel/Twitter)

Brentwood High School science teacher Rebecca Grella said she too is proud of her former student.

“It goes to show you that if you believe in someone, they could reach great heights,” she told WCBS 880. “Truthfully, I would have never imagined we would have made such a big impact.”

Garvey is now a freshman at Bowdoin College in Maine.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)