Sophomore Kayla De Leon toured Washington University at St. Louis this summer. She was invited by Harvard alumnus Queen Martin and Carter principal Claudia Gomez-Perez.
Kayla was one out of two students that were afforded the opportunity to travel outside of Texas and tour universities. Kayla was chosen by freshman Algebra I teacher, Queen Martin, a recent graduate from Harvard University and by Carter’s principal because of her involvement in UIL Math and her academic accomplishments.
Washington University at St. Louis is a diverse private research university most noted for their colleges of Medicine, Business, Engineering, Biological, and Biomedical Sciences. WashU is a campus with distinct opportunities to some available in Texas.
”It was pretty cool, I had never traveled outside of Texas before and on a plane, so I saw many new places, and it was very interesting,” said Kayla, “I felt like I was privileged. Not many people get to have this opportunity, and the fact that I got it, well I felt very privileged.”
Kayla did not travel alone. She went with other La Joya students from Thelma Salinas STEM ECHS, The Academy of Health Science Professions and other schools from Pharr and Weslaco. Kayla met other participants at a pre-session event where procedures for the trip were discussed. During this session, Kayla was able to mingle and get to know her soon to be friends.
Kayla’s expenses were covered by the Texas Graduate Center, located in Edinburg and by La Joya ISD. The Texas Graduate Center is an organization that supports programs in higher education and helps individuals from all over the Rio Grande Valley to pursue higher education all over the U.S.
While visiting WashU, Kayla got to interact with alumni and learned about their struggles, accomplishments, and the overall college experience.
Kayla reflects on what she learned from this trip through her interactions, sightseeing, and learning about the university. Plans for Kayla include applying to Washington University and attend their medical school.
“I hope that I can apply and go to Washington University because it is a good campus and it has helped me a lot,” said Kayla.