2018 Finalist Bios

Emma Kim of Albemarle High School.  Emma is the daughter of Richard and Sung Ae Kim.  Emma is brilliant and humble and devoted to looking out for others.  She’s the oldest of 5 girls, accomplished on the piano, violin and viola, president of the National Honor Society, and a member of the Math, Science and English honor societies.  She won first place in the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering division of the regional science fair and advanced all the way to Global Competition in the Destination Imagination team.  She’s a pianist at church, a runner on the cross-country team, and she was homecoming queen!  Emma loves volunteering to help people with special needs and hopes one day, because of her love of animals, to open her own veterinary clinic. 

Elizabeth Bambury of Charlottesville High School.  Elizabeth is the daughter of Timothy and Michelle Bambury.  Elizabeth is an outstanding student, first chair violist in the CHS orchestra and captain of the cross country and swim teams. She works hard and well at everything she undertakes and has an insatiable curiosity.  On her church mission trip to help build a school in Nicaragua she was inspired by the drive and determination of the local people she met.  Elizabeth spent a summer working at the University of Virginia Centers for Diabetes Technology where her assignment was to learn everything she could about the diabetes management apps on the market.  She spent hours a day studying the strengths and weaknesses of these apps so the UVA researchers could perfect their own.  She says the professor who mentored her was a great leader, and she hopes to emulate his leadership in her own career.  

Caitlin McClain of The Covenant School.  Caitlin is the daughter of Jason and Jessica McClain.  Caitlin is creative, smart and responsible. She’s an accomplished student and a talented ballerina and dramatist.  She was named Chaplain of her school and has worked to inspire her fellow students to be more engaged with chapel services and discussions. She devised new ways of making the chapels and conversations have more relevance.  Caitlin has been accepted to attend William and Mary in the fall.  She’s also interested in business and law and would like to use her own passions to inspire and uplift other women to pursue their dreams and to empower them to become leaders themselves. 


 Liliana Kelley-Wagner of Miller School of Albemarle.  Liliana is the daughter of Sue Kelley.  Liliana is creative, self-confident and leads by example.  Fellow students confide in her and trust her.  She is a skilled engineer who helped build a solar-powered gazebo at Miller School, designed a portable shelter for the homeless from recycled materials, and made a 3D printed hand for a teenage girl.  Her mother is Facebook friends with a woman whose daughter was born without a hand.  The daughter saw a cool-looking 3D printed hand online and wanted one. Liliana decided to make it on the 3D printer at Miller School.  But it was a lot harder than she expected.  She stayed with it, and, after many printings and adjustments, it was very cool–very cyborg looking–and the 15-year-old recipient loved it. Liliana looks forward to a career of problem solving and design engineering. 

Amaya Wallace of Monticello High School.  Amaya is the daughter of Pamala Sutton-Wallace and Maurice Wallace.  Amaya is a voracious reader, and her academic skills are evident in her induction into the honor societies in Latin, English, math and science.  But her real passion is drama.  While she has written plays and choreographed musicals, her proudest achievement was directing the fall production of an original student play called “A King’s Story” written by and starring her friend Josh St. Hill. The play is a fictional account of police brutality set against the backdrop of the events of August 12 in Charlottesville.  It won critical acclaim and many awards, but it was also controversial.  Through the harsh backlash, Amaya endured with grace and showed herself to be courageous, smart, and principled. 

Michell Hincapie of Murray High School.  Michelle is the daughter of Diana Hincapie.  Michell was born in Columbia and came to America when she was very young.  Her life was hard growing up, and she often felt like giving up. In the third grade, she was relieved to discover she had dyslexia, which explained her frustrating reading difficulties.  Michell says her special education teacher was amazing, and she was soon reading everything she could get her hands on.  She is a hard worker at school and on the job, and she was named manager of the ice cream store where she works even though she’s the youngest.  She saved enough of her earnings to give thousands of dollars to her mother when she needed it.  Michell hopes to be either a nurse practitioner to help people who have little access to healthcare, or an immigration lawyer who gives free or affordable legal services to hardworking families like her own.

Olivia Babineau of Renaissance School.  Olivia is the daughter of Guy and Susan Babineau.  Olivia is a model student who is passionate about public service.  She created two clubs at her school—one is the Environmental Club and other the Political Discussion club.  Fellow students really appreciated the Political Discussion club–a space where their political points of view are heard, valued and not judged.  She’s also passionate about comprehensive sex education for middle and high schoolers.  She took a training program over the summer then worked with school administrators to win approval for the class to be taught at Renaissance School.  Olivia loves politics and environmental activism and hopes one day to become a U.S. Senator. 


Victoria Carter-Johnston of Tandem Friends School is one of two winners of the Merit Award.  She’ll receive a total of $10,000 in scholarship money.  Tori is the daughter of Roxanne Carter-Johnston and Cory Johnston.  Tori is a quiet leader who listens and considers what she’ll say and do, and then does it.  This year she saw a need in her community and addressed it, even though it sparked difficult and uncomfortable conversations about Black Lives Matter within her own racially-mixed family.  Tori says it hurts to think of her own sisters growing up in a world that might not appreciate them just because of how they look, and she worries it might affect their self-image the way it has affected her.  The same day her school had a discussion of racial injustice and Colin Kaepernick’s NFL player protest, Tori’s volleyball team went to Quantico for a game.  When the national anthem played, she hesitated, but didn’t turn to face the flag with everyone else.  It was her way to stand in solidarity with those fighting for racial justice.  She was heckled for this, one parent from the other side yelled at her coach.  It was hard, but she kept up her protest for the rest of the season.  Her teammates supported her, and her school organized a Summit on Race for private schools in this area and later awarded Tori the first ever Community Consciousness Award.  Tori is contemplating a career in politics. 

Lucia Grace Hoerr of St. Anne’s Belfield School is the other winner of the Couric Merit Award.  She’ll also receive a total of $10,000 in scholarship money.  Lucia is the daughter of Carter and Gail Hoerr.  Lucia is the founder of Backpack Buddies, designed to ensure that local children have backpacks full of school supplies.  When she was 9, she realized it cost over $100 to buy supplies and worried about the children who can’t afford it.  She recruited others, and they’ve distributed over 2,000 backpacks to date.  Lucia’s even been training middle-schoolers to take her place when she goes to college.  She’s also created many small business startups just to fund Backpack Buddies. Her socially conscious efforts have brought her national recognition as a top teen volunteer.  Lucia also has a long-standing interest in science and technology and a passion for equity for women in those fields.  She says she got hooked on technology with a remote control car she received when she was five that had a live-streaming spy video camera.   Eventually, Lucia wants to help create a network of powerful and determined young philanthropists.

Meg Richey of Western Albemarle High Schoolis the winner of the $30,000 2018 Emily Couric Scholarship.  Meg is the daughter of Debbie and Brett Richey.  Meg is mature, driven and funny.  She’s heading to Stanford in the fall, where she hopes to work with renowned professor Manu Prakash, the MacArthur Genius grant winner known for designing innovative cost-effective devices like water computers and origami microscopes.  Meg already has a patent pending for an invention of her own called the Morris Orthotic.  She designed it after her beloved school bus driver, Mr. Morris, died after his foot was amputated due to a diabetic ulcer.  Her device could become the standard of care to help prevent amputations and deaths from diabetic foot ulcers. 

Meg studied computer science in Oxford, England, and she is the youngest person ever to work at UVA’s Biomedical Engineering Design Lab, where she’s working on a device to help surgeons when a patient has a collapsed lung. She was one of just 50 students nationwide invited to talk with Bill and Melinda Gates about innovative solutions to world problems. She loves computer science, having taught herself to code in the 9thgrade.  Meg is dismayed that only 18% of the computer science degrees go to women. She plans to focus her career on technological innovations while also advocating for women’s rights.