Alumna wins science award

Dani Laufer ’06 won the General Electric Star Award, an academic accolade which awards $2500 to the winner $500 dollars to the winner’s high school.

Director of studies Deborah Dowling wrote Laufer’s recommendation and chose how the money donated to the school would be spent.

“I wanted the donation to support the kind of thing Dani won the award for: being a talented future scientist,” Dowling said.

Dowling chose to give the money to the Jeffrey Turner foundation that supports scientific research at Harvard-Westlake. The foundation supports programs like Directed Studies Scientific Research program to buy specialized equipment needed for the various experiments.

Laufer took Dowling’s AP Physics B class as a junior, which inspired her to continue on in the field.

“I’ve always loved science,” Laufer said. “But it was this class that really did it for me.”

Dowling has faith in Laufer’s scientific career.

Laufer is starting her first year at University California of Santa Barbara, and plans to specialize in physics. Laufer is using the money to pay for tuition and books.

The award is specifically for employees of General Electric. Laufer’s mother works at NBC Universal, which General Electric owns.

When Laufer’s mother heard of the award, she encouraged her daughter to enter. Laufer had to send in an application, an essay, grades, test scores and recommendations.

“She’ll be a fantastic engineer or scientist one day,” Dowling said. “If that’s the path she chooses to take.”

“When her physics class used to do group work people often wanted to be in Dani’s group – not just because she figured things out so fast, but also because she was so good at explaining things, and always took the time to help others,” Dowling said.