NOGAYE remembers her fears, and those of her family, when she was five years old and unable to speak with those not in her immediate family. "I was able to verbalize my thoughts to my parents and siblings, easily," she recalled. "The problem was that when an unfamiliar voice walked in my vicinity, my voice was taken away. It was as if I was mute." A specialized education program worked, though, and a year later, "I was chattering like any other 6 year old."
Years later, on a visit to her family in Senegal, she fell silent again, though the conversations around her were in Wolof or French, languages she had heard at home all of her life. Finally, though, she overcame her fear "I calculated what I was going to say and went for it," she said. "Through this experience, I gained self-confidence, and found my voice."
Nogaye has clearly found her voice at Forest Hills High School, where she is in the demanding Carl Sagan Math and Science Honors program, and has earned a 99.16 average. She is an officer in two clubs, as well as a participant in a Pulmonary-Cardio program at Mount Sinai Hospital aimed at students with an interest in medicine. She has worked at the Department of Mental Health and as a volunteer at the Dry Harbor Nursing Home. Thus began a resolve to seek a biomedical or biomedical engineering major in college. She will attend Boston University's College of Arts and Sciences.