AH: My freshman year, my father was in jail, so I used to go around with my cousins a lot and get involved with fighting, and things that weren’t really me, but I felt like it was the only way to live. I was living, not dreaming. Just existing. My grades were dropping.
In October 2010, my father passed away, and I felt like there was no purpose in life, but I had a realization. I had to sit down and talk to myself, and I talked to my pastor. He nurtured me and raised me like I was his own son. That was my transition. Ever since then, my grades started improving. I started saying, I can do better and I can be better, because in the end anything that happens is because of the choices I made.
TR: What was the highlight of participating in the White House Science Fair?
AH: When they first told me, I didn’t believe it, because I never pictured myself actually being at the White House. It was just amazing because I realized there are more people like me out there, people my age and even younger.
TR: Did President Obama say anything that stood out to you today?
AH: He just said hello, and we shook hands, but the eloquence of his speech that he spoke today — I’m pretty sure it reached everybody in that room. He was saying we’re basically the chosen generation that will help shape the future with our ideas … and maybe we can use science to help create the change we want to see.