My name is Erica Rivera and I am 17 years old. I will be a senior at Savanna High School this upcoming school year. Math and science have always fascinated me. First of all, I love how science allows me to understand the world around me. To me it’s important to understand how the body and the atmosphere surrounding me work. I find it fascinating how science helps me understand the world that I live in. Furthermore, I love being able to step in the world of numbers. I love being able to solve these logistic puzzles and equations. I like how it makes my brain think and sweat. To me, it’s fascinating seeing the patterns that the numbers convey. I love working hard to solve a problem and come up with the final solution. It teaches me that in life there is more than one way to solve a problem.

In the summer of my freshman year, I participated in an all-girl math program at Cal State Fullerton. I took a rigorous course in mathematics and I learned more about the S.T.E.M field. Throughout this program, I was able to learn to explore S.T.E.M. related fields and various career options. In the summer of my sophomore year, I participated in a Stanford University and UCI S.T.E.M. residential summer camp. At Stanford University, I was able to learn more about the symmetry of mathematics and at UCI I was able to develop my own mobile app. I loved using my mathematical skills and putting them into practice. In addition, this summer I am working on conducting biological research with Dr. Nikolas Nikolaidis. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute summer research program will help me enhance the skills I need to prepare for my future field of study. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and I hope to make the best of it!

In the future, I hope to major in Mathematical and Computational Science or any other related major in the S.T.E.M field. I do plan to pursue the highest degree for my major, whether it is a Ph.D. or an M.D. After college I definitely see myself traveling around the world. I want to be able to use the cherished skills that I will obtain in college and put them into practice. For instance, I hope to travel to Hatti, Africa, India, France and many other places to help with poverty issues. I hope to motivate other individuals to pursue their passions and somehow find a way to make the world a better place!