SAN ANTONIO – Meet Instant Replay’s newest Scholar Athlete of the Week: Sophia Ramirez from the Young Women’s Leadership Academy.
Sophia is the captain and four-year member of the varsity volleyball team. She was named Academic All-District the last three years of high school. She’s the President of the Science National Honor Society, the Treasurer of Ballet Folklorico, a member of the National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the Spanish National Honor Society, the National Hispanic Institute and the Cardinal Senate. Sophia is an AP Scholar with Distinction, a Commended National Merit Scholar and won the Yale Book Award as a junior. Sophia maintains a 4.3 grade point average and is ranked in the top six percent of her class. Sophia will attend college and major in Computational Neuroscience.
WHAT MEMORIES DO YOU TAKE AWAY WITH YOU AS YOU LEAVE HIGH SCHOOL?
“One of my favorite memories is having a community of women who want to pursue higher education, want to pursue traditionally non-female studies. Being able to be in an environment where there’s so many people to support you, there to fuel your passions, there to encourage you and also prove to you that it is capable, is probably one of the main reasons why I was able to go through my middle and high school years here. Every time I walk into a classroom here, having that environment where I can comfortably talk to every single person in that classroom, I can engage with them and know that they’re going to do amazing things. It’s really great to see every single day.”
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS?
“Prioritize your time. Understand that there’s 24 hours in a day and the way you choose to emphasize the way you prioritize your time is going to be ultimately what makes you keep going. People who struggle with burnout, I think a lot of times that comes from not being able to say no to things, not being able to understand that you have to prioritize yourself and what you want to do. I recommend getting a planner, getting kind of an outside tool that helps you understand that you have to do what you want to do.”
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER YOU GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL?
“I hope to major in Computational Neuroscience at UT-Austin, MIT or the California Institute of Technology. Computational Neuroscience is kind of really niche. I think one of the main reasons I wanted to major in this was wanting to have a blend of higher level mathematics with neurobiology and that comes in the computational form. With the advancements of AI and everything, just to be able to be at the foot of that scientific research, that neuroscience research. I also wish to pursue a Ph.D. in this field which comes with scientific and medical knowledge.”
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR PARENTS OR TEACHERS OR COACHES?
“To my parents - thank you for allowing me to blossom in anything I wanted to. I’m really thankful that my parents said ‘whatever sparks interest in you, we will be there to support you.’ It really made me feel that I didn’t have to be confined to one specific area. I don’t think everyone tells their kid, ‘hey, you have to do computational neuroscience’ and I think them being able to be there and say, ‘that’s really intriguing, we’re going to be there for you, we’re going to give you the outlet to understand, we’re going to explain to other people maybe why you’re not going to be able to do some other things because we’re fully there to support you.’”
“To my teachers - thank you for also supporting me. Thank you for understanding or seeing something in me that you wish to see in the world. I think often times people struggle a lot from Imposter Syndrome, feeling maybe they’re not enough, feeling they can’t see themselves in what they want to do. I think having a community of people around you who encourage you to do everything you want is something that is really important and I feel like some of the fundamental people on that journey are my teachers.”
Daniel P. Villanueva has worked with KSAT 12 for over 20 years and is an award-winning producer. To submit story ideas, email email@example.com