Summer vacation for some of NELA’s brightest high schoolers includes travel to enrich their intellectual lives.
Mia Bella Pardo, 17, of Eagle Rock, just returned from the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Massachusetts, a three-day program of medical lectures, academic advice and networking with physicians, scientists, deans and fellow high school students who aspire to be doctors and medical researchers.
Mia, who will be a senior next year at Ribet Academy in Glassell Park, began winning science fair competitions in middle school and by 10th grade had established a niche studying ways to shield against harmful radiation from nuclear accidents. Last summer, she was the first high school student to do an internship with Dr. Tracy Zaslow at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where she assisted in a long-term study on the effects of concussions in children. By the time Mia graduates from Ribet next year, she will have completed two years of college course work through Glendale Community College’s jumpstart program for high-achieving high schoolers.
Athziri Flores, 16, of East L.A., has just returned from a two-week scientific expedition with Earthwatch Institute, an environmental nonprofit, tracking forest owls in the Western United States. And Andrei Cosinas, 17, of Highland Park, will join an Earthwatch expedition to Colorado later in July to study the mysteries of Pueblo communities.
Both Athziri and Andrei will be seniors at Franklin High School in Highland Park next year, where they have distinguished themselves for their academic achievement and drive. Athziri is already taking college courses at Cal State Northridge through the university’s Upward Bound Program. Andrei, the incoming senior class vice president, interned on a weekly basis at CalTech last year, gaining up-close experience with lab experiments. Their selection this year as Earthwatch’s L.A. Student Science Award winners also carries on a Franklin tradition: Past recipients of the award include Raymond Hernandez, the co-valedictorian of the Franklin Class of 2018, and Julie Rivas, a Gates Millennium Scholar from Franklin.