Sonja Michaluk, 15, a junior at Hopewell Valley Central High school in Pennington, NJ, was recently selected for a national Presidential award. She has been invited to participate in the 2018 Presidential Environmental Education Awards Ceremony in Washington, DC, where she will be awarded the United States Environmental Protection Agency President’s Environmental Youth Award in September.
By extracting DNA in her basement laboratory, Sonja was able to develop a new DNA preservation model and device for sampling bio-indicators of environmental health. This cutting edge research also sent her to Pittsburgh, PA as an Intel ISEF Finalist this past Spring.
The President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement. Each year, the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Thousands of young people from all 50 states and the U.S. territories have submitted projects to EPA for consideration.
Sonja is also known in the community for her customized curriculums for educational programs for both adults and children, as well as her voice in town meetings and hearings with her advocacy for water monitoring and for pipeline environmental sensitivity.
Last Fall, Sonja was a featured speaker for the Alliance for Watershed Education River Days kick-off event in Philadelphia, PA where she was nominated as a Watershed Local Hero.
This past Spring, Sonja was featured in a video at a new exhibit at The Watershed Institute showcasing a traveling national program called “Kwel’ Hoy: We Draw the Line!” that relates to pipeline concerns.
Sonja Michaluk is truly an example of a young individual making a difference right now.