From Queens to Wisconsin: A Posse Scholar Takes Flight

Sophia Perez

Sophia Perez Lema, a senior at The High School for Health Professions and Human Services (HPHS), has been awarded a prestigious Posse Scholarship and will be attending Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, with a full four-year scholarship.

“The CYD college office is so helpful,” says Sophia. “You can pop in for questions, go to information sessions, get help with financial aid forms. They’re the ones who told me about Posse and helped me prepare for all the interviews during the process. They introduced me to Posse scholars who had also attended HPHS.”

From her home in Glendale, Queens, Sophia studied remotely during the school shutdown. In spite of the challenges of remote learning, she never let her grades slip. She has really enjoyed being back in person at HPHS, and volunteered with other seniors to guide underclassmen, many of whom had never been in the building before, around the school.

This year, in addition to AP classes in Government and Literature, Sophia has been taking HPHS’s Medical Assistant certification course. She is also participating, along with other students around the country, in a virtual research internship with Dr. Renee Sunday, a prominent anesthesiologist in Atlanta who is working on a study of medical mistrust.

Sophia works at a bagel shop near her home on weekends. In what little free time she has, she indulges a lifelong love of reading, which she shares with her mother; favorite books include To Kill a Mockingbird and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

“I have always loved being of aid to people, putting a smile on their faces,” Sophia says. At Lawrence, she will major in Biochemistry and take a pre-Nursing track. From there she plans to get a Master’s in Nursing and ultimately work in a hospital NICU.

Sophia has always wanted to attend college out of state, and was excited when she visited the Lawrence campus: “It’s quaint! Different from New York. I’m looking forward to the small class sizes.” Working during college is part of her plan, perhaps as a Medical Assistant after passing her state certification exam. Sophia has always worked hard both in and out of school, and made the most of her opportunities. “My motto is: be open-minded. Don’t be scared to try things.”

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