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The Best and The Brightest of 2023



Age 17 | Junior
Xavier College Preparatory
Harper Hipps has always loved science. Her freshman biology class opened her eyes to new possibilities. She knew that children had opportunities to enjoy science at school and through the Arizona Science Center, but while volunteering at Goldensun Peace Ministries, a group home for adults with developmental disabilities, she realized she could bring science to the residents, and they could take part in interactive experiments and learn about science too!

Harper raised her goal of $600 to create the Immerse Science Pop-Up Club. She used the money to buy supplies and experimental materials. Each month, she brings the Club to the residents at Goldensun and teaches a science lesson and gets the residents involved in the experiments.

“I started volunteering at Goldensun in middle school and by freshman year realized I could share my love for science with others,” said Hipps. “We hold monthly meetings and do science experiments. The residents love it and look forward to learning about science.”

Due to the success at the first location, Harper has expanded the organization’s reach to include Southwest Autism Research Center (SARRC) at their affordable housing complex called First Place-Phoenix. All of the residents have autism or other neuro-diversities, and the complex teaches them skills to live on their own.

“It’s so rewarding to see the residents’ faces light up as they explore scientific realities through hands-on experiments,” said Hipps.

Harper has learned leadership skills, how to mobilize volunteers, fundraise and the importance of creating meaningful relationships with organizations in the community. She hopes the Immerse Science Pop-Up Club will continue for years to come, with her sister or one of the younger classmates hoping to take it over when she graduates from high school.

In addition to being the founder and president of the Immerse Science Pop-Up Club, Harper is a leader in the community as a board member of the Arizona Science Center Teen Advisory Board. She’s on her school’s archery team, a school ambassador, and enjoys traveling with her church on mission trips to build homes for homeless families.

Harper plans to study Biology in college and hopes to pursue a career in cancer research.
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