MVHS Junior Leslie Lorenzo has been selected as one of the few high school students by the Ocean Exploration Trust to join the 2016 Honors Research Program and sail aboard Exploration Vessel Nautilus.
OET is an organization founded by Dr. Robert Ballard, a professor at the University of Rhode Island who is known for his discovery of the Titanic ship. The organization strives to teach students about geology, biology, physics, and technological innovation through ocean exploration Serving alongside the other 7 members picked from twenty states in the United States and Australia.
Lorenzo will travel to the University of Rhode Island for 4 weeks in July to meet with scientists and research before traveling back to Southern California, where she will board a ship to explore the Southern California Margin, a largely unexplored area of Southern California.
“I am nervous, I’ve never been away from home for that long, there’s a lot of things to prepare for,” Lorenzo said.
Lorenzo initially found out about the program through her robotics team at Mountain View High School.
Despite not having a lot of experience in STEM, Lorenzo has always been particularly passionate about travelling and environmental studies. She hopes this experience will serve as an opportunity to help expose her to new areas of work and help decide what she wants to do in the future.
“I still am surprised that I got accepted, it’s intimidating but it’s gonna be fun to work with them,” Lorenzo said.
Lorenzo comes from a low income Latino background. Both her parents did not graduate from high school and immigrated to the US when they were teenagers. Her parents have stressed the importance of education throughout her life and continue to do so.
“I’ve seen the struggles they’ve dealt with so I feel like I’m doing this for them as well, making their dreams come true and mine,” Lorenzo said.
In addition to being on the robotics team, she also has devoted majority of her time tutoring for the English Language Development program at MVHS, serving as a parent liaison for bilingual families for MVHS.
“I want to set that example for our communities that we can do it, it’s rare to see a Latina involved in STEM and this type of program,” Lorenzo said.