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Semifinalist Samantha Garvey to meet Obama science team

Intel Semifinalist Samantha Natalie Garvey, 17, of Bay

Intel Semifinalist Samantha Natalie Garvey, 17, of Bay Shore, is shown at Brentwood High School. (Jan. 11, 2012) Credit: Chris Ware

Samantha Garvey, the Brentwood High School senior who is a semifinalist in the Intel science competition, will meet Tuesday with some of President Barack Obama's top science advisers while in Washington to attend his State of the Union address.

Garvey, 18, whose family is moving from a homeless shelter to a three-bedroom, county-owned house in Bay Shore this month, will arrive at the Capitol Tuesday afternoon with her family and high school science adviser, Rebecca Grella.

Garvey has declined to comment on her trip to Washington.

She'll visit with John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, and Steve Fetter, the White House's associate director of energy and environment, among others.

Garvey, who became homeless Jan. 1 after her parents fell behind on their rent, was invited to Washington by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills).

The congressman said he didn't invite Garvey just "to pat ourselves on the back and celebrate Samantha's perseverance, but to ask ourselves some tough questions about how a middle-class family with a genius as a daughter finds itself economically squeezed and in a homeless shelter through no fault of its own."

Garvey's parents both work but were injured in a car accident, and lost months of wages.

The congressman, along with Jane Lubchenco, undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since 2009, will have dinner with the group at the Members Dining Room.

Garvey will later attend a reception hosted by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. The high schooler won Intel's attention with her research on marine life, particularly on the striped mussel. She is among more than 60 students Islandwide who were named semifinalists in the prestigious national contest. There were 300 semifinalists nationwide and 105 in New York.

"I hope this is as educational for her as it is for my colleagues," said Israel.

Israel Monday arranged a viewing party at Brentwood High for Garvey's friends and fellow students to watch the State of the Union address with Garvey in attendance. The event is at 8 p.m.

Garvey does not wish to speak to the media during her trip to Washington, according to one of Intel's public relations firms. The company does not represent Garvey but has been speaking to reporters on her behalf because the high schooler is overwhelmed with interview requests.

"She's very grateful, but is ready to return to normalcy, to go back to school and return to studying," said Dana Watson, a representative of North of Nine Communications, which, along with Burson-Marsteller, represents Intel. "She is trying to figure out how to balance all of that."

Garvey returned to school Friday. She, her father and her high school science adviser did not return calls Monday.

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