By Kali Williams – Special to the Pahrump Valley Times
Every now and then, a Pahrump student is nominated by teachers and other authoritative figures to attend a special forum sponsored by a learning institution.
This year, Pahrump Valley High School freshman Leann Soriano has been nominated to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine at UCLA this summer.
Though there have been quite a few nominees selected from PVHS in the last decade, Soriano is one of the few who have been accepted as a first year high school student.
There are many national leadership programs like People to People and The National Youth Leadership Forum that seek out highly qualified high school students from all over the nation to attend their leadership events and summer programs.
Some trips take students to Europe, Australia and South America, while others find suitable programs closer to home.
Students who attend these programs must be directly nominated by teachers or recognized by the National Research Center for College and University Admissions (NRCCUA) as a student with high regard for education.
Qualifications are very strict and it is a great accomplishment to be nominated. NRCCUA became aware of Soriano through a survey conducted at the high school and were immediately impressed with her academic record and achievements.
She is currently taking honors courses and holds a 3.8 Grade Point Average. In addition to her impressive academic background, Soriano also participates in basketball, track, and volunteers as an assistant coach for her stepsister’s basketball team.
The NRCCUA are not the only ones impressed by her many accomplishments. “I’ve only had her in class for a few days because the new semester just started, but she’s been great in class. She gets really excited about Bio,” said Soriano’s current Biology teacher, Tom Whitenight.
“You can tell she really wants to learn,” he added.
Through the National Youth Leadership Forum, Soriano will learn by hands-on activities and gain insight into many different aspects of the medical field.
She will spend 10 days in Los Angeles at the UCLA campus, where she and other attendees will have the opportunity to shadow doctors, watch live surgeries, interact with surgeons and patients, examine medical tools and more.
Upon completion of the program, she will also be eligible to receive college credit through George Mason University. “I don’t know where I want to go to college yet, but I know I’ll probably want to stay close to home,” Soriano said.
She has a passion for dermatology and would like to pursue the major. “My main goal is to graduate from college and get a really good job,” she said.
The National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine will be an excellent way for her to jump-start her college career. As helpful as the program may be, the organization does not offer scholarships for the medical forum, and the tuition has proven to be quite the financial burden. The cost for Soriano to attend is $2,695.
Soriano’s mother has set up an account with Wells Fargo for donations. The account number is 3507308421. For more information call Amber Ames at 775-910-1762.