Georgia Student Wins $50,000 Scholarship


According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, William Slack, 18 years old of Decatur, GA, today was declared the winner of one of the nation’s most prestigious national high school science competitions.

William received the top award of a $50,000 college scholarship for winning the Young Epidemiology Scholars (YES) Competition, held over the weekend in Washington, D.C. William was honored for developing an outstanding original science research project that applied the methods and tools of epidemiology to investigate, analyze, prevent or control a health problem in a population.

Williams’ project involved: “Teen Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Use: A Social Network Examination.” Developing a highly innovative social networking analysis method, Will found that high school students’ level of alcohol use tends to be similar within the same group of friends and tends to take place in larger groups. Marijuana and tobacco use, however, tends to be more individualistic and appears to occur in smaller group.

Epidemiology explores patterns of disease, illness and injury within populations, with the goal of developing methods for prevention, control and treatment to improve health. The competition drew nearly 700 entries from students across the country, all competing for college scholarships ranging from $15,000 to $50,000.

The YES Competition is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the College Board. For more information, including additional information on the finalists, visit