What do you do?
As a high school student, I seek out many opportunities to advance my knowledge of STEM and learn more day by day. Currently, I compete in several STEM-related competitions, conduct various research projects, and run my organization, Kid Teach Kid.
Why did you choose this field?
Throughout my entire life, I have loved the idea of innovation. My fascination with problem solving began in elementary school, when I would copy down contest math problems from a textbook and solve them on my whiteboard. Soon thereafter, this became my nightly ritual. I would be lying if I said that I thoroughly enjoyed every night, but as time went on, I began to grasp the key ideas behind math problems, making me a stronger problem solver who became entranced by the beauty of solving math problems. I saw math as a key to the world, allowing me to crack any problem, untangle any intricate train of thought, and compose lines of elegant beauty out of an initial paragraph of outward jargon.
My passion for mathematics has led me down routes of various sciences, such as biology. Again, I would be lying if I said that biology just “clicked” for me, as it does for some people. But similarly, over time, I became allured by the problem-solving aspect of science, the same thing that drove me to love math. I came to the realization that no matter the subject, my passion lies in solving problems to advance the world.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Recently, I finished writing my first book, Epidemiology Unmasked, a 116-page introductory textbook that outlines the fundamentals of epidemiology in public health with an overarching goal of increasing citizen public health responsibility during the pandemic and preventing misinformation from spreading.
The journey from finishing my manuscript to selling it on the market is probably one of the greatest academic challenges that I have ever experienced. Publishing a book taught me that anything worth doing is difficult, and nothing worth doing comes without failure. Even with the challenges that stood in the way between my book and its publication, not once did my dedication to the publication of this book falter. It was my duty to spread awareness about public health and COVID-19 to citizens in a fun way, and any obstacles that I face during this process would soon be overridden by the positive impact that this book has potential to provide.
Instead of reaping the benefits of my book for myself, I decided to reexamine my overarching goal. I wanted to create a positive feedback loop; not only would my book help with education in the community, it would also have a direct impact in the lives of our healthcare heroes. Thus, it only seemed fair to donate the proceeds to help front-line COVID-19 health workers. Congressman Pete Olson recognized my efforts and rewarded me with the Certificate of Congressional Recognition for outstanding service to the community.
Why do you love working in STEM?
My love for the STEM field is two-fold: One, I strive to innovate for others. Two, I strive to learn for myself.
As a high school student, I often find myself deterred by others with more experience; however, throughout the years, I have come to embrace them as potential mentors! I love learning and giving back, as I believe this facilitates a positive feedback cycle.
Best advice for next generation?
Just go for it! Don't worry about what other people think. Dream big and go for your goals! You are good enough, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."