BRENTWOOD, NY (CBSNewYork) — A homeless Brentwood High School senior who is a semifinalist in a prestigious national science contest has been invited to watch President Barack Obama deliver the State of the Union address.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

Samantha Garvey was invited by Long Island Rep. Steve Israel to the Jan. 24 speech.

Israel said he was inspired by the teen’s story.

“I think she can teach those powerful people a lesson in perseverance, a lesson in not allowing setbacks to defeat you,” Israel told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall on Tuesday.

Last week, Garvey was named one of 300 semifinalists who have a chance at winning the Intel Science Talent Search top prize of $100,000. Her two-and-a-half year project focused on predators’ effects on ribbed mussels.

The 17-year-old and her family have been living in a homeless shelter since New Year’s Day after her parents were injured in a car accident which left them unable to work.

Garvey’s story of determination has touched a lot of hearts.

A day after it became headline news, an anonymous donor came forward to kennel and vaccinate Garvey’s pitbull. The teen feared her dog would be euthanized.

Soon after, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced she and her family will be getting a three-bedroom, rent subsidized home in Bay Shore. The Marriott will be donating all the furniture for the home.

Israel offered Garvey a gallery ticket to the State of the Union. Her parents will be able to watch from his office.

Garvey has said she dreams of becoming a marine biologist after attending Brown or Yale.

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