Our Goal and Dreams Stories

“How I am Achieving my STEM Dreams…”

Are you in need of a little inspiration from one of your fellow teens this school year? Well, read the interview below and discover how Emily Serrano is achieving her STEM dreams today!⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣


Can you explain the purpose of the Stem scholar program and your time at the program was like?

“Each summer break, the University of Miami hosts an academic program on their campus for three weeks called the Summer Scholars Program. While there, high school students take courses under the instruction of college professors to complete research papers and presentations and assessments. The purpose of the program is to demonstrate what college life will entail: the workload, friends, dorm lifestyle, dining hall and a fresh environment. My time at the program did not include a lot of sleep, but it did include lots of studying, sunshine, and sushi (thanks UberEats!).”

How did you find the opportunity?

“St. Johns Country Day School invites college representatives to speak to students at my school. I went to a number of these because I wanted to take advantage of being able to personally speak with the people who would read my college application. One of the colleges that visited during my junior year was the University of Miami. In this meeting, I learned that they offered a summer program to high school students. That’s when I began researching into the program myself and applied for it.”

What was your reaction when you were given the opportunity?

“I had received two emails from the University of Miami within the same time frame. The first email had some other boy’s name on it with his acceptance into the program. My heart sank when I read his name because I knew it was a mistake. I was afraid I had not been considered “good enough” for the program. Dishearteningly my fingers tapped open the second email, where it was addressed to me! I had been accepted. So, I screenshotted the email and I messaged both of my parents with a bombardment of ecstatic emojis.”

 What was your biggest takeaway from the program?

“My biggest takeaway from the program is that even when other people seem more capable than me, I should never not believe in myself. I am smart and capable because of the foundational education St. Johns has structured for me.”

Why is the STEM field interesting to you?

“The STEM field is so interesting to me because it does not solely incorporate cold, hard facts. But, it is a form of art in that scientific pursuits are perpetually changing. Just as art styles fade in and out of style, technology and science continue to progress. As for me? I believe it is in my best interest to become knowledgeable in anything that has to do with progress.”

What is your dream job and what steps are you taking to achieve it?

“My dream job would be to specialize in eye care and eye surgery as an ophthalmologist. I already know that I want to have a family when I am older, and this job will predominantly observe office hours. Also, eye surgery is typically cleaner than any other kind of surgery. Even though this career path will require me to spend extra time in school, it would not be a problem for me because I genuinely love learning. 

My goal for high school was to complete all of the AP health science courses that St. Johns offers. I will have that done once I complete my senior year. My next goal is to choose an in-state public university so that I can graduate with my bachelors without debt.”

What is your overall advice to the teens out there who dream about going into the stem field but feel like they aren’t good enough or smart enough?

“I would tell them that at one point I was in the same boat as them. As a shy booknerd and Percy Jackson fan, my middle school self believed the lie that science was not for me. I limited myself by not taking the more challenging class levels. But then I realized in tenth grade that it is in your weaknesses that you can develop your strengths. You are not disqualified from running the race just because you are not the best in a particular area.”

Lastly, what/who inspires you to continue to work hard towards and achieve your dreams?

“My dad. Ever since middle school he has encouraged me to set short term and long term goals. Through this, I have maintained an attitude of perseverance and grit. Sometimes looking at life as a big picture can be daunting for me. But, honing in on certain goals and steps, like focusing in on certain frames and pixels, allows for the big picture to make sense.”

If you are interested in STEM click this link to check out the program she referenced! The University of Miami’s Summer Scholar Program also features other programs if STEM is not quite your thing. https://ssp.dcie.miami.edu

I hope this interview was beneficial! It is always nice hearing what amazing goals today’s youth have. We each have the potential to do great things, and I hope this interview and others like it are further showing this.

What dreams do you have? Comment below.

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