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Kenton County student wins PBS science award second time

Posted: 4:30 AM, Mar 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-13 06:25:42-04

EDGEWOOD, Ky. -- Will Broomhead didn't always want to go into medicine. But then he was diagnosed with a rare form of tissue cancer at the age of 11.

"When all that hit, I really just changed my entire career goals, from being a pilot to being an oncologist, just so I could be there with the people who were there for me," Broomhead said. 

Broomhead underwent three surgeries to treat the cancer. Now he's a cancer survivor and a junior at the Kenton County Academies of Innovation and Technology. And he has been named a PBS Emperor Science Award winner for the second year in a row. 

"He really wants to change the world, and he's the type of scholar that will eventually do that," Academy Director Francis O'Hara said. 

Broomhead used his first $1,500 award to give younger students a microscopic view of science through paper microscopes called Foldscopes. 

"I purchased 700 microscopes and distributed them to five different schools, just to see if I could get some of the kids in middle school interested in science," he said. 

Besides the scholarship money, the award comes with an internship, giving Broomhead the chance to shadow a researcher. Last year, he had a chance to work with a University of Kentucky researcher testing different types of chemotherapy on different cancers. This year, he'll be paired up with a researcher at another local hospital. He said he's hoping for Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center or St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

"They're both such amazing hospitals," he said.