The Start of Senior Year

Summer break is officially over and the mentees of Minds Matter SF are starting off the school year right! Returning from summer programs, the mentees are ready to apply their newfound wisdom to the school year.

Senior Michelle Deng completed her eye-opening science internship at UC Santa Cruz. There, she had the opportunity to run experiments in a molecular biology lab and conduct research under a graduate student’s guidance.

Having gained exposure to dorm life and the freedom of being away from home, Deng is looking forward to college.

 “Although graduation will be quite emotional because everyone will be going their separate ways, I’m excited to receive my diploma and bid farewell to teen life,” said Deng. “I’ll finally get to see my four years of hard work pay off. I really can’t wait to start my college adventures!”

Deng’s mentors, Bharath Kumandan and Jaireh Tecarro, also have big plans for their final year together.

“Senior year represents the culmination of all the time and effort that our trio, and especially Michelle, have put in over the last couple years,” said Kumandan. “This is the year where students get to see all of the lessons, sessions and activities come together. I remember it being such a formative time for myself, I’m excited to see what it means to Michelle.”

But getting to the finish line won’t be a walk in the park. The Minds Matter triad have a daunting application process ahead of them, but they’re optimistic about the outcome.

“As excited as I am about college, I’m equally nervous about both the application and the acceptance process,” said Deng. “Will I make it into my dream school? Where will I get accepted? What if I’m disappointed by the outcome? I have so many doubts and uncertainties, but hopefully everything will turn out okay for me.”

Michelle started out as a shy and reserved individual and has blossomed into an articulate young lady. Her mentors have watched her transformation over the years and are astounded with the vast improvement in her communication skills. For Deng, this process would not have been possible without her mentors.

“They have helped me tremendously, to the point where they’re almost like my parents” said Deng. “Without them, I would never have become the person I am today. I am very, very grateful to have them both in my life.”

Sending Michelle off to college will be equal parts rewarding and heartbreaking. 

“On a personal level, we’ve gotten very close over the years,” said Kumandan. “It’ll be hard to see Michelle go.”

With a big year ahead of them, the trio will undoubtedly make the most of their remaining time together.