Brainerd High School senior Mary Moore earned a $5,000 Mining for Excellence scholarship from PolyMet Mining Corporation.

The company awards an annual scholarship to a high school senior who demonstrates strong potential in science, technology, engineering and math.

Brainerd High School senior Mary Moore earned a $5,000 Mining for Excellence scholarship from PolyMet Mining Corp. The company awards an annual scholarship to a high school senior who demonstrates strong potential in science, technology, engineering and math.

Moore plans to pursue a degree in computer science and is specifically interested in machine learning and robotics. She is the lead programmer on her school’s robotics team, and her focus on teamwork as a path to excellence in science helped her stand out in a crowded field of candidates.

“The STEM field is at the forefront of every influential change in our lives, and what is created today has the power to completely alter how we will live tomorrow,” Moore said in a news release. “One of the major deterrents for young girls interested in STEM – they don’t see themselves represented. They have few role models. I want to be that role model.”

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PolyMet received submissions from more than 50 students statewide.

“We are continually impressed with the caliber of scholarship applicants. It’s always a very difficult decision,” LaTisha Gietzen, PolyMet’s director of public and community relations, said in a news release.

With the Minnesota State High School Boy’s Hockey Tournament having limited capacity due to COVID-19, PolyMet broke from the tradition of awarding the scholarship at the tournament and instead had representatives deliver the award to Moore in Nisswa.

“We are encouraged by and proud to support bright and talented young people like Mary who plan to pursue STEM careers, especially those promising young students that may choose mining,” Gietzen said.