Nikki Jimenez, a seventeen-year-old AVID student at Westminster High School, has spent the last seven years dreaming of becoming a pediatric oncologist. Now entering her senior year, Nikki has continued to enroll herself in challenging courses offered at Westminster High School. Apart from academics, Nikki loves participating in her school’s freshmen mentoring program - Link Crew - and tutoring other students. In 2014, Nikki attended UC Irvine’s CampMed where she became inspired to pursue a chemistry major. Her passion for the medical field strengthened after having done hands on phlebotomy, suture, and sonography procedures.

This Spring Nikki’s chemistry teacher, Mr. Huy Pham, encouraged her to apply to the HHMI Summer Research Experience at Cal State Fullerton. Having been accepted, Nikki was placed under the mentorship of biochemistry professor, Dr. Christopher Meyer, and works alongside Fountain Valley High School’s chemistry and environmental science teacher, Ms. Lisa Battig, and TaPP scholar, Veronica De Aquino. Nikki is currently researching how ADP Glucose Pyrophosphorylase mutants K310R, P288D/K310R, K310Q, and P288D/K310Q compare to its wild type; and how this comparison can help increase the speed in starch production found in plants.

Accomplishments:
-Link Crew commissioner and member (11th and 12th grade)
-Peer tutor (11th grade)
-Peer mediator (11th)
-National Honor Society member (9th, 10th, and 11th grade)
-Honor guard (11th grade)