Pasadena student heads to Stanford

May 9, 2008 8:06:57 AM PDT
For Abigail Corrington, the end of the school year can't arrive soon enough -- but not because she's ready to put away the books. In fact, the Pasadena Memorial High School junior is keeping the books open this summer -- at Stanford University.Corrington was recently accepted into the Stanford University High School Summer College program, which is an eight week program for junior and senior high school students to take undergraduate courses for Stanford University credit.

Corrington's high school counselor Mahla Christopherson said she is excited for Corrington to have this opportunity.

"I am highly honored and so excited for Abby to see where this might lead in her life," she said. "Abby is a highly self-motivated young person with a passion for learning. Her drive and determination are qualities that help her set high goals then work to attain them. These characteristics will serve her well in this program."

Corrington said she received an invitation to attend the program in the mail and that she couldn't resist after seeing pictures of the school, reading personal statements of past program participants and reviewing course descriptions during her research of Stanford and the program.

"I simply could not pass up such a wonderful opportunity to do something great this summer," said Corrington. "It feels great to have been accepted into this program because it shows me that I have succeeded in making the most of my education so far. I am thrilled about the opportunity to study under some of the nation's greatest professors at one of the nation's most respected universities."

Christopherson said programs such as this one are great opportunities for high school students.

"Programs like this one allow students a greater learning opportunity being taught by professors at the college level," she said. "In addition, students have the chance to connect with other young people from around the country with similar interests."

In hopes of pursuing the medical, engineering or biomedical engineering fields once in college, Corrington said she chose to take Introduction to Human Physiology and Greek and Latin Roots of English as two of her courses.

"The functions of the human body have always intrigued me, and if I do become a physician one day, the information I will learn in the course is invaluable," she said. "Also, the majority of medical terms are derived from Latin words, so as I learn these roots, I will have a deeper understanding of the human body, diseases and conditions."

Corrington will also be using her time at Stanford to reconnect with her musical side as she registered for Introductory Piano as well.

"I love the piano, and I feel that mastery of an instrument is essential to a person," she said. "The joy and fulfillment of mastering a piece and successfully playing it in a recital is unmatched. Due to a stringent schedule, my piano-playing skills have dwindled, and I hope to regain those skills in this piano class."

An Abs and Glutes class is also in Corrington's schedule for this summer, and she said she believes her diverse choice of classes will maximize her talents and help her become a better-rounded person.

"I want to make the most out of my time at Stanford, so by balancing my time with a mixture of difficult academic courses and more fun courses will allow me to do that," she said.

Along with other program participants, Corrington will stay on campus in the university's historic Lagunita Court residence with a trained staff of residence mentors. She will also be walking the campus with current undergraduate and graduate Stanford students.

"I cannot wait to be among other students with the same vivacious commitment to their education as I have," said Corrington. "I think it's great that I will get the chance to exist in the same academic sphere as the exceptional students that attend Stanford. It will also be good for me to work, learn and live with other young people from around the globe because such an assorted group of students will open my eyes to the great diversity that exists in the real world."

Students also have the chance to take optional courses and seminars on college planning during their time at Stanford including college admission, SAT preparation and other college-level strategies and skills in time management, reading, speaking, writing and test preparation.

On evenings and weekends, program participants will have opportunities to attend field trips, play intramural sports, eat dinner with a Nobel laureate, hold informal discussions with Stanford faculty, participate in outreach projects, take coastal excursions and enjoy the city of San Francisco.

"I am most excited about the sun and surf," said Corrington. "I cannot wait to be in sunny California studying out on a rolling lawn on the gorgeous campus. I am also very excited about forming new relationships and learning in a college setting. I know it will be much different than the classes I'm taking now, so it will prepare me for the college life."

Corrington said she has narrowed her top college choices to Rice University, Stanford University, Harvard College, Yale University, Princeton University and Baylor University. The credits she will receive this summer will transfer to her college of choice.

Corrington is a member of the Varsity Track and Field team and the Varsity Cross Country team. She was the first cross country athlete, male or female, to qualify for Regionals in Memorial's six-year history. Corrington is also an active member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, Student Council, STARS (Students Taking Action Reaching Solutions) and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is the junior class Parliamentarian and has received the Academic Excellence Award for three consecutive years.

In 2007, Corrington served on the Superintendent's Student Advisory Committee and was Memorial's high school delegate to the District Education Committee Student Code of Conduct Review Meeting this year.

Corrington is also a member of the Southern US Society of Women's Engineering and interned under a University of Houston professor in the summer of 2005. She also was a member of the winning team at the NASA Space Settlement Design Competition this year. Corrington is currently enrolled in all AP or pre-AP courses.

Corrington came to Pasadena ISD her eighth grade year as a student at Bondy Intermediate. She said without the education and opportunities she has received from her supportive teachers and administrators, her many accomplishments would not have been possible.

"The amount of education and opportunity I have received in the past five years in Pasadena ISD is incredible and has prepared me immensely for this experience at Stanford," she said. "The teachers at Memorial are phenomenal, and I am in awe of many of them. Their confidence and belief in me has instilled in me a sense that I can really accomplish anything I set my mind to. They are always available to help, guide, teach, encourage and inspire any student, and I will forever be grateful."

** What's making the news in local schools? Find plenty of education news and student achievements in our 'In the Classroom' section


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