YDO changed my life. I have learned so much through opportunities given to me - things that I definitely would not have learned in school and interests that I would not have explored. I don't believe I would have ever considered attending Phillips Academy for high school if I had not gone to YDO programs there every week starting in 6th grade. The founder of YDO, Howard, became a very close friend and mentor to me throughout high school, and he's still someone whom I look to for advice.
I felt so positively impacted by my YDO experience that I wanted to contribute something to the organization. In high school, I had taken some classes in ceramics, which then became a passion of mine. In 2013, I had the idea of starting a YDO ceramics class so Lawrence kids could have a chance to work with 3D art. At first, the class consisted of one table in the corner of the main YDO room, less than 20 pieces of tools, and a small storage space in an adjacent room. Now we have our own ceramics classroom, multiple tables, and a shelf dedicated to all the variety of tools accumulated over the past few years. When I walk into the class now, I am thrilled to see that my idea has led to a solid ceramics program and that I was able to give something back to YDO.
At Cornell, I am majoring in Biological Sciences, and I intend on concentrating in Ecology. Ideally, I want to work with macrobiology and design to improve people's lives. I love the idea of incorporating nature into our daily lives!