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Red Mountain High senior nominated for U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education Program

Headshot of Bella Moya, senior at Red Mountain High School

Red Mountain High senior Bella Moya has been named a nominee for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education Program. Moya received the nomination for her research in the biotechnology program at Red Mountain High School. She is one of five Arizona nominees.

Each nominee is selected based on academic rigor, technical competence, employability skills, and ingenuity and creativity within the field of career and technical education. Moya acts as an intern at Red Mountain High’s biotechnology laboratory, where she helps the lab run smoothly, including maintaining healthy bacterial stocks and preparing labs for students. She is also working on her own project to develop a rapid coliform identification test that could help determine whether certain types of water are safe for human recreation or consumption.

Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. In April, the Commission on Presidential Scholars will make the final selection of up to 20 Presidential Scholars in Career and Technical Education from across the country.

“It means a lot to me to have been selected as one of only five nominees to represent our state,” Moya says. “It’s a testament to the hard work I have put into biotechnology over the past four years, and it reminds me that my hard work doesn't just represent myself, but my community and my state as well.”

Katy Gazda, biotechnology teacher at Red Mountain High, has been an important part of Moya’s journey, acting as a mentor and role model. This is the second year in a row Gazda’s students have been recognized by the program. 

“Mrs. Gazda is an awesome example of a female leader in science,” Moya says. “I not only look up to her for her biotech expertise, but also for her life lessons. Mrs. Gazda treats her students like her own children and bends over backward to prepare us for success in the lab and the real world. She advocates fiercely for her students and, in doing so, teaches us how to advocate for ourselves.”

Next fall, Moya plans to attend Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University, majoring in biomedical sciences and Spanish.

“In the future, I hope to continue my scientific research while studying abroad, graduate from medical school and one day establish my own practice as an OB-GYN,” she says. 

(Photo by Amanda Adams/Red Mountain High School)

 

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