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Immaculata student receives national award for young women in STEM


DURHAM, NC—Emmaline Ekstrand, an 8th grade student at Immaculata Catholic School, is one of 12 national winners of the PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox “Search for Hidden Figures” contest. From a pool of over 7,000 female applicants ranging from ages 13-20, Emmaline is the youngest to win. The contest, which aims to encourage girls and young women to go into STEM-related careers, is inspired by the new movie, “Hidden Figures,” about the true story of female NASA employees who helped launch Apollo 11.

As part of the application process, Emmaline submitted a three-minute video about her experience being a “hidden figure” as a female hockey player and how she wants to use her knowledge of STEM to improve her hockey gear--specifically her helmet, in order to reduce “pink concussions.” The video was judged by movie producers Pharrell Williams and Donna Gigliotti, Fox 2000 president Elizabeth Gabler and New York Academy of Sciences president Ellis Rubinstein. She and nine other finalists won $10,000 educational scholarships; $50,000 scholarships were awarded to two grand prize winners, along with access to New York Academy of Sciences training programs and trips to the Kennedy Space Center.

About the “Search for Hidden Figures” Contest

Inspired by the movie “Hidden Figures,” PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox partnered to find the next generation of women who will lead the way in STEM. The search invited real-life women and girls who had yet to be recognized for their great work or potential in STEM to share their stories and compete for scholarships. Learn more at

About Immaculata Catholic School

Immaculata Catholic School, a National Blue Ribbon School located in Durham, NC, has been helping children grow in their faith and knowledge for more than 100 years. The school serves students in Pre-K through Grade 8, offering a rigorous curriculum that is grounded in values. Opportunities like differentiated classroom instruction, special and gifted educational resources, current technology, and a growing S.T.E.M. program, ensure that each child is equipped with the learning tools needed to succeed. Every member of the community lives The Immaculata Way of Life: respect for God, self and others; be a person of integrity; live a life of service; produce quality work. Learn more at