|In this section of the Graded Gazette, we showcase the accomplishments of an extraordinary student who embodies Graded's mission: Inspire. Challenge. Succeed. Every student, every heart, every mind.|
Estele B. is a high school senior and soon-to-be college freshman. A budding scientist, she is heading to Johns Hopkins University in August to study biomedical engineering. She is particularly interested in learning about new drug delivery systems like microchip implantation, which have fewer side effects than traditional methods of delivery, such as pills.
Though she comes from a family of physicians, Estele has long known that she does not want to pursue a career in medicine. Her familial ties to the profession are not what drew her to science. Rather, Estele’s interest in the discipline is rooted in a family hobby: She developed a love for the natural world when her father first took her diving. Since that first oxygenated plunge into the ocean, Estele has gone on multiple diving trips. She does most of her diving in Angra dos Reis but sometimes ventures a little farther; her last trip was to the Caribbean island of Curaçao.
Diving led Estele to marine science. With a group of divers, she began collecting, weighing, and classifying beach trash. Then, over a summer, Estele spent a few weeks translating medical articles from English to Portuguese for her dermatologist grandmother. Many of the articles she translated discussed the use of stem cells in the treatment of burn injuries, which piqued her interest in biotechnology.
Estele collecting ocean trash
Estele's growing fascination with biology motivated her to write her International Baccalaureate (IB) extended essay on an experiment she designed. She cultured E. coli in petri dishes and examined the bacteria's reaction to varying concentrations of lactose, as shown by the amount of the enzyme lactase they produced.
Her enchantment with the study of life is evident in her biology classes, and it has increased her enjoyment of other science classes. Kateri Couture-Latour, her biology teacher, claims that “when Estele learns a new fact or begins to understand a process, she is so genuinely excited, it is contagious. She is talented at building connections between what she learns in biology and what she learns in other subjects.” Nicholas Fox, her chemistry teacher, says that Estele “always brings great energy to all lessons. Her inquisitiveness, perseverance, and innate curiosity have been wonderful to have in the classroom.”
Outside of the classroom, Estele is involved in several extracurricular school activities. In addition to serving as a Peer Group Connection (PGC) leader, she volunteers for STEM Cares and is a member of the Student Council, Sustainability Club, and the Girls’ Volleyball Team. Her engagement in so many aspects of Graded life makes her an integral part of our community. Estele's leadership, kindness, and academic success have earned her the title of this month’s Exemplary Eagle.
Estele at her Volleyball Senior Celebration Night
Estele and her PGC group