Kayla: Working Towards a Career in Astrophysics

Kayla attended Sea Crest School from Kindergarten through 8th grade. She graduated in 2016 and was accepted to the Bay School in San Francisco. She is currently a Senior and working towards a career in Astrophysics.

Kayla's passion for the sciences started at Sea Crest and was fueled by Rob Kashima, Dr. Lynn Adler and Corrine Lieu, her middle school science and math teachers. As Kayla moved through her freshman and sophomore years at Bay, she was very interested in doing scientific research but had a lot of difficulties finding opportunities for a high schooler to do so. Through a museum membership, Kayla found out about the Science Internship Program (SIP) at UC Santa Cruz. Out of 1500 applicants, 300 interns were chosen.

The intent of the program is to match young people with mentors, either professors or graduate students, to do cutting edge science research. Kayla was matched with Martin Gaskell, who studies black holes. While working together, their team proved that reverberation mapping is not as simple as was once thought and does not provide accurate information about the size of black holes. This information is so cutting edge that they have been invited to the American Astronomical Scientific Conference in Hawai'i in January to present their findings.

As a result of this work, Kayla has chosen to design a website for her Senior Signature Project, SSP. At the Bay School, the SSP is a year-long class that serves as a culmination of everything a student has done at Bay. The intent is to put all of their learned skills to use, give back to the community, and enhance the world. Her website aims to match registered mentors and interns which will make scientific research more accessible to high schoolers.

Fun Sea Crest Facts:

  • What is your most memorable experience? Washington DC and International Travel (Greece and Italy)
  • What does Sea Crest excel at? Focus on mindfulness. A good segue to the Bay School. Variety of classes. The innovation lab was really cool.
  • What were your favorite classes? Science and History.
  • What were your favorite athletics or extra curricular activities? Basketball.
  • What advice would you give a Sea Crest student now? Be authentic to who you are and what you need and want. 

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