MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – A South Florida high school student secured a coveted scholarship and has already begun carving out her path to success in science and engineering, but it’s what she wants to do for women in the field that’s all the more inspiring.
Vanessa Perez-Robles knows that hard work pays off.
She is in the top one percent of the 2019 graduating class of Monsignor Edward Pace High School with a 5.56 grade point average. She is a shining example for future women in science and technology.
“I see math and science as a way to apply into real world problems how you can create solutions, different alternatives and I took every advanced placement course at this school that I could,” said Perez-Robles.
As president of the Women in STEM Outreach Club, member of the Future Business Leaders of America, volleyball captain, and more, Vanessa stands out.
She shared how science and engineering became her passion, both in class and during a summer at the prestigious Yale University’s Young Global Scholars program.
“My research was on sustainable energy and infrastructure so I got to look into and research solar innovations and solar technology, stuff that like; it was really cool,” she said.
It was no surprise she was accepted to Dartmouth, her top choice.
But she also has been named one of the first one hundred “Amazon Future Engineer Scholars.”
The news arrived ‘Amazon style,’ with a special delivery, inside a box.
The scholarship includes $10,000 a year for four years, while pursuing a computer science degree in college and a paid internship at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, plus the housing cost.
“I signed up for it just to put it out there and see if anything happened, and it worked out and I am super happy about it,” said Perez-Robles.
Her teachers are very proud.
“Her biggest thing is that she just wants to see girls involved and that science is cool that it’s okay to be a nerd,” said science teacher Bianca Acosta. “Vanessa is a queen, we just call her Queen.”
Vanessa inspires others with her confidence and dedication.
“Even if it’s a hard subject or something that I’ve never experienced before or had any experience in, if I give it my 100 percent if it’s something that I am passionate about I know that it will come out the way I hope,” Perez-Robles said.
That hope is to make a difference with a career in engineering.
“Through engineering I’ll be able to create more sustainable methods of production, consumption, energy use, energy efficiency and things like that,” said Perez-Robles.
For now, her biggest challenge is taking on climate change, as in moving to New Hampshire.
“The weather! Because like vitamin D deficiency is a thing, seasonal depression is a thing. I don’t know if I’m fully prepared for that,” she said.