Vaeda Pontosky, junior, has been recognized as an outstanding student by Western Wayne High School Administration. Vaeda, currently ranked first in her class, recently won a 2018 Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Research Fellowship.
The fellowship is open to Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science Region 2 students in grades 10 through 12. Vaeda along with about 15 other students presented their research at the 2018 PJAS Regional meeting on March 3 at Wilkes University.
Along with presenting her research in the area of immunotherapy, Vaeda also wrote a 500-word essay about her research and beliefs that natural treatments for diseases such as cancer are the future to successfully treating these illnesses.
Vaeda also had an interview with the faculty and staff from The Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine to win one of the fellowships for this summer.
“I felt especially proud to tell them that by the end of my senior year at Western Wayne I will have completed every science class offered at our school,” Vaeda said. “I think they were surprised that I doubled-up on so many science classes each year.”
Vaeda’s hard work in her science classes at Western Wayne High School surely will help her succeed at her fellowship this summer. She will get to attend the Medical College for two full days working with faculty and staff on cutting-edge medical research and learning about life in medical school.
“I am really excited to experience what a medical student goes through at my fellowship,” Vaeda explained. “I think this will help me decided if I want to pursue medical school after graduation.”
Currently Vaeda knows she would like to have a STEM career. She’s weighing all of her options and is interested in pharmacy, genetic counseling, and embryology.
Winning the Geisinger Fellowship isn’t the only prestigious award Vaeda has won this year. Her and her Western Wayne Technology Student Association teammates recently won first place in the state for their entry about CAR-T Therapy in the scientific visualization category of the competition.
The group created a 3-D video that showed the process of how this new therapy to treat blood cancers works. The group will move on to the national level of competition. Vaeda’s teammates for this project included fellow juniors: Dahlton Frisbie, Journey Sosa, Maya Black, Rachel Butler, and Robert Carey.
Vadea also did other research this year for her PJAS project where she analyzed data of how students in the state of Pennsylvania did on written PSSA tests versus scores on computer-based Keystone tests. She also added a component to her research where she gave a sampling of students a written test and online test to see who would score better. She says her results were very inconclusive and she would like to pursue this project more next year.
Finally, Vadea is a well-rounded athlete who plays both soccer and softball for Western Wayne.
Vadea looks forward to her senior year and achieving more in her science classes along with doing more detailed research projects for TSA and PJAS.
Western Wayne High School principal Paul Gregorski is very proud of Vaeda’s efforts and sees her as a role model for other students.
“Vaeda is creating a strong legacy for other Western Wayne students to follow especially in her pursuit of excellence in the STEM field.”