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Homeless Science Whiz Kid Is Not Named Science Prize Finalist

Samantha Garvey, 17.
John Dunn
Samantha Garvey, 17.

Samantha Garvey, the homeless teen who came into the national spotlight after she became a semifinalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search competition, has had a bittersweet 24 hours.

First the bitter part: When the science prize competition finalists were announced today, she was not on the list.

Now the sweet: Last night, Garvey attended President Obama's State of the Union address. As Mark reported, Garvey was invited by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).

Newsday reports that Garvey told NBC that flying to Washington for the event was a "once in lifetime" experience.

"It was the craziest feeling," Garvey said. Newsday adds:

"Garvey said was she was impressed by 'people who are so prominent, just standing there, right in front of you.'

She added: 'It was the longest I ever clapped.'

"Before the president's speech in the chamber of the House of Representatives, Garvey rubbed elbows with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — Israel's colleague across the political aisle. And she also attended a reception hosted by Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.