Roselkis (Computer Science, SUNY Oneonta)

ROSELKIS has earned a number of distinctions since coming here in 2014 from a rough neighborhood in the Dominican Republic. Among them: being on the winning team of the Science Genius Hip-Hop Competition at Columbia University two years ago. She wrote and performed a rap song about DNA.

Hip-Hop, of course, involves verbal gymnastics, making it more remarkable that Roselkis was able to achieve this in her first year of living in the United States. The same determination has put her first in her class of 75 at the Ellis Preparatory Academy in the Bronx. ELLIS'S mission is reflected in the acronym of its name: English Language Learners and International Support. Roselkis' counselor describes her as "one of the most extraordinary young minds I have seen in my eight-plus years of teaching and counseling" since the school was founded.

Outside of her school, Roselkis has continued exploring. She learned programming at a local community center, and at a high school engineering program sponsored by Columbia she used advanced 3D modeling software to construct simulations of the uterus during potentially dangerous preterm births. Meanwhile, at a South Bronx performing arts program,  she explored her passion for acting and singing. Ideally, she would like to become an actress, but she plans to study computer science—"to be employable." This fall, she will enroll in SUNY Oneonta.