The Reproductive and Oncofertility Science Academy at UC San Diego is an exclusive program open to just 12-14 female students selected from hundreds of applicants throughout the San Diego County. For three months, the selected few go through rigorous coursework and have hands on experiences like learning research techniques from top UCSD faculty. Bonita Vista High School junior Sofia Reyes became one of the selected few.
The ROSA program is open to female high school juniors and seniors who want to pursue a career in the medical field. One of the many qualifications is that students applying must turn in two letter of recommendation by the time they apply for the camp.
“ROSA is a hands-on educational program that inspires 11th and 12th grade girls to become the next generation of scientists and physicians. The curriculum is focused on oncofertility—a new field in medicine that addresses the fertility needs and quality of life issues for young cancer patients. Graduates emerge from the summer program with a greater understanding of science and research related to oncofertility and many have gone on to successful careers in science, math, engineering and technology,” IB Environmental Systems and Societies teacher Jennifer Ekstein said.
Sofia Reyes’ mother, Silvia Reyes, informed her of the ROSA academy and recommended her to apply, seeing it as a great opportunity for her daughter. Last year Sofia Reyes applied, but she was not accepted. This year, she decided to apply again and was accepted.
“I chose to do the program because I think it can expose me to the real world of medicine, it is about cancer and Oncofertility you get learn about reproduction, how to take care of women when they are going through chemo and considering how to get back to normal life after chemo and their interest in wanting to have children,” Sofia Reyes said.
Silvia Reyes is very pleased that her daughter has been chosen for this program and believes the that the experience will expand her knowledge in the medicine field.
“I am very proud of Sofia because she is more self motivated in comparison to [first time]. I recommended for her to do it because this academy is researching women before they start chemo and they freeze their eggs for them to have kids in the future and because she has interest in the medical field,” Silvia Reyes said.
Sofia Reyes has thought about her future and she is geared toward the field of medicine and hopes the academy will help her find what area of medicine she is interested in the most.
“As of now I’m 100 percent seeing myself as a doctor and see myself doing it in the future. The camp can help me decide what field of science I want to focus on when I go to college it could be a biology major or biochemistry or like a reproductive or biology research” Sofia Reyes sad.
With her future panning out, Sofia Reyes hopes to continue her passion in medicine. She cites it as the beginning of a long career and hopes that other women apply for the program.
“I think the message of this program is a powerful one on so many levels. It targets our young ladies to become the next generation of scientists and physicians, it gives them a direction, a catapult per se, to help them achieve their goals. It also teaches them the latest in technology and research while also challenging their minds” Ekstein said.