2023-24 Beatrice M. Haggerty, HA '31, Scholarship Awardees

This scholarship was founded in 1994 by Beatrice Menne Haggerty, HA ’31, and her husband Patrick, who was one of the original founders of Texas Instruments. They held a deep passion for science and math education. This scholarship is given to one junior and one senior each year who have been nominated by the DSHA mathematics and science department faculty. The awarded students will have demonstrated outstanding achievement in math and science, displayed leadership skills, and been involved in co-curricular and community service activities.
2023-24 Recipient: Kate Sohn, DSHA ’24
Kate Sohn, DSHA ’24, has had a passion for math and science since grade school, crediting a love for problem-solving and an analytical brain that have allowed her to dig into her STEM-based coursework with a genuine openness and curiosity. Her passion for the subject matter has grown over her four years at DSHA as she has been able to explore more challenging courses, including AP Computer Science, AP Physics, AP Chemistry, AP BC Calculus, and more.

During her freshman year, she applied for the new DSHA STEM Scholars Program, an honors program that provides a learning community for motivated students who are curious and willing to engage in learning and applying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students in this program are also required to participate in rigorous coursework, a STEM-related co-curricular, and in STEM-related opportunities such as research within the greater Milwaukee community.

“Having the STEM Scholars program offered me so much,” Sohn shares. “It has been a community where I’ve been able to grow my voice and learn to advocate for myself in these types of [STEM] settings. Being surrounded by all girls, and having all-female math teachers, has been so huge. My classmates and teachers have all been role models for me. This environment has taught me that I can put myself out there and try difficult things. And even when I don’t know the answer, we work together to solve problems. This has been everything to me—I have grown so much confidence because of these classes, people, and opportunities.”

Sohn shares that when she began high school, while she loved math and science, she never imagined she would have so many opportunities and applications for STEM in high school.

“It is about being challenged, but it is more about the community and who you are being challenged with,” she shares. “We struggle at times, but that is the point. And we think and analyze together. We have so many resources at DSHA, and so many teachers who are willing to go above and beyond to help. One of my favorite things has been learning from my classmates. We all have different strengths and when we are willing to listen to and learn from each other, our classes are so engaging. I never would have thought (AP) BC Calc or AP Physics would be fun, but they are. I look forward to those classes and the teachers every single day.”

Specialized Studies Department Chair and Mathematics Faculty Connie Farrow has taught Sohn through both the STEM Scholars program and in class. Farrow shares, “Kate is an outstanding representative of this scholarship. She is truly a model student. She is inquisitive, open, and caring. She works hard on her own and to help her peers feel included. She is the opposite of self-focused and draws people into what she has learned and discovered. She is constantly willing to try new, more challenging things.”

Sohn plans to major in biochemistry in college with the intention of holding a career in the medical field someday, specifically in pediatrics. She has already earned a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) designation through Waukesha County Technical College and plans to work in a hospital setting this summer to further solidify her focus for the future.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunities this scholarship has given me. To be chosen by faculty here is such an awesome honor. The work I put in to everything is truly a reflection of how great our teachers are here,” Sohn shares. “This scholarship shows what an incredible legacy DSHA can leave on girls. Going to this school is about so much more than our four years here. It is about what we can continue to do after—whether supporting students through scholarships, or mentoring girls in STEM, or serving our communities well. It is taking the confidence we have built here and doing something lasting with it.”

2023-24 Recipient: Anna O'Brien, DSHA '25
Science Department Chair Stacey Strandberg describes Anna O’Brien, DSHA ’25, as a “leader who loves a challenge, and has really high expectations when it comes to meeting that challenge.”

O’Brien actually prefers when learning is a challenge; something she has experienced in her science and math courses, along with her STEM-based co-curricular involvement at DSHA. Like Sohn, she has been involved in STEM Scholars and hopes to one day pursue a career in the medical field.

“Ever since I was young, I have had an interest in STEM classes—and especially any time I’ve been able to learn about how the human body works,” O’Brien shares. “In my freshman year biology class, I fell in love with the DNA unit. Everything was so interesting, and I just wanted to learn more. We did a project about biotechnology and gene editing. After I presented, my teacher said it was one of the best she had seen. It encouraged me to work that much harder, and I started to see progress—my confidence just took off from there.”

This year, O’Brien joined the DSHA SMART (Students Modeling a Research Topic) Team. Led by Strandberg, students work alongside a local research scientist on a specific topic. They spend the year engaged in real-world research, creating a scientific abstract and poster to present at the annual ASBMB (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) conference alongside graduate students from across the country.

“This year the team is researching head and neck cancers—we’ll present our findings and research in San Antonio this March,” O’Brien shares excitedly. “I love the work we are doing, but it was really difficult at first.”

O’Brien shares that during the first SMART Team meeting of the year, Strandberg gave the girls a folder of research findings from various medical journals and asked them to read it. “It was like a foreign language. It was all new material I had not yet seen,” O’Brien shares. “Over the last three years, I’ve developed the confidence to ask questions and dig into things when I don’t understand. Being with all girls, there is a feeling of safety and knowing you are not judged.”

O’Brien went on to dig into the research. “I Googled everything. I asked questions, and used the knowledge that I was learning in class at the time, too,” she says. “We were doing a unit on cell signaling in AP Biology. I went back and forth [between the two sets of content] and things started to click.”

“Anna has risen to every challenge she has been presented with,” Strandberg shares. “She has a great curiosity and approaches her work as though it is a joy and privilege to get to learn and pursue a challenge. She is a deep and creative thinker.”

“I’m so proud and honored to have been chosen by my teachers for this scholarship—they are my role models,” says O’Brien. “I’m grateful for the donors, too. This scholarship has really validated all of the hard work I’ve put in and my hope to continue pursuing STEM in my future.”
    • President Katie Konieczny, DSHA '92, with scholarship recipient Kate Sohn, DSHA '25.

    • Anna O'Brien, DSHA '24, recipient of the Beatrice M. Haggerty, HA '31, Scholarship


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