Megalya Marquez decided to become a scientist when she was still in kindergarten. Although her plans have become more refined now, and she has added a few more items to the list, Megalya has remained true to her first passionate interest, investigating the world.
In 2008, while in middle school, Megalya was accepted into the Bernard Harris/Exxon Mobil Science Program. She spent two weeks at Bowie State University under the tutorship of Dr. Elaine Davis and Anisha Campbell, exploring forensic dissection. The first task was to investigate a fetal pig, externally and internally. She was also exposed to subjects in technology, biology, math and physics. There she learned to maintain a daily journal. “They let us do a lot of fun stuff too,” she writes. “We went to the zoo for animal observation. We went to Six Flags to develop ideas in physics.”
Following the camp experience, Megalya was invited to participate in a Science Expo at Bowie State; with the project that she displayed, she was offered an internship at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, an intensive research course in laboratory and technical skills, which leads to advanced courses in subsequent years build upon prior experience. “During my first year I was introduced to DNA testing, dissecting a cow’s eye; making glow in the dark putty; making ice cream and learning the stock market. Each year the program gets a little more challenging. Last year I did advance biomedical.”
She was nominated for the National Youth Leadership Forum, and entered a ten-day program that introduced her to hands-on medical and health care activities, true-to-life medical simulations and unique and stimulating role-playing exercises with peers and medical experts. Recently, in December of 2013, she attended the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Workshop, where she listened to lectures on Science, Medicine in the Genomic Era for two days and participated in hands-on activities in discovering how diseases are first diagnosed, treated and managed.
Megalya’s other passion is theater, and as a junior at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, she can pursue both interests. “During the day I maintained a focus on science and math, by taking science and math honors and advance placement courses. My afternoon focus has been on developing my vocal talents and on the weekends I dance.”
Megalya is currently finishing her junior year at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. She writes, “I would like to add volunteering to one of my focus areas during my senior year. I would like to assist in feeding underprivileged children. I also have it in my heart to give back to the community when I become a pediatrician."