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SHS student earns $20,000 scholarship
Welle for Web
Paul Welle - photo by SPECIAL PHOTO
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Statesboro High's Paul Welle was awarded a $20,000 college scholarship Monday in the Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition, one of the nation’s most prestigious and influential high school science competitions.
    Welle was among 60 high school students selected out of more than 700 entrants nationwide to compete in the finals held in the nation’s capital. The YES Competition, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and administered by the College Board, is designed to spur students’ interest in the field of public health, specifically epidemiology. Epidemiology explores patterns of disease, illness and injury within populations, with the goal of developing methods for prevention, control and treatment to improve health.
    YES competitors each developed a research project in which they identified a health problem, gathered data about that problem, and addressed the problem based on the data they gathered.
    Welle’s project was entitled “A Study of the Effectiveness of Lifestyle Habits and Coping Strategies on Stress Tolerance in College Students by Race and Gender.”
    Recognizing that college students, particularly college freshmen, face increased stress from new social situations and heavier academic workloads, Welle examined the differences in how male and female, caucasian and African-American students suffer from and cope with stress. Finding that gender and race does indeed affect how one deals with stress, Welle said he believes his research can help students better handle the day-to-day stresses they face.
    The winners in the national competition were chosen by a panel of judges that included some of the nation’s top epidemiologists, as well as high school teachers and curriculum developers. The competitors gave oral presentations about their projects and fielded questions from the judges.
    “The YES Competition encourages students to use the same skills employed by epidemiologists to tackle important health challenges,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “The impressive young men and women in this competition displayed immense talent and initiative in their projects. We hope these young leaders will pursue careers in public health, helping people lead healthier lives and making a world of difference.”

For more information, to interview winner or to speak with a YES spokesperson, please contact Brian Wesolowski at 202-457-8100 or  For more information about the YES Competition, visit
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