By Daniela Moreno
Junior Maria Servellon (Class of 2018) was accepted to the Perry Initiative, a one-day program for young women interested in orthopedic surgery and biomechanical engineering.
Servellon is excited to be the first Pueblo applicant to be accepted to this program. Out of more than 200 applicants in Arizona, Servellon was among just 35 young women to be selected.
“I feel like being accepted has been a stepping stone for young women who are interested in this field,” she said.
On Saturday, September 17, 2016, Servellon attended the one-day program at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. Pueblo science teachers Dr. Andrew Lettes and Ms. Elaine Straub accompanied her to this event.
“I really learned a lot performing six mock surgeries,” Servellon said. “I learned how to repair fracture using plates as well as spinal repairs due to scoliosis. I even had a chance to learn how to perform knee ligament reconstruction and to perform surgeon stitching.”
The application process consisted of a paragraph on why she was interested in attending this event as well as stating her short- and long-term goals in life.
“When I learned that I was accepted, it was totally unreal,” Servellon said. “I didn’t feel that I was that worthy of acceptance.”
Her former teacher, Dr. Andrew Lettes, is extremely proud of Servellon’s accomplishment and hopes many more females will follow in her footsteps in the future.
“Dr. Lettes truly encouraged and inspired me when I had him for the first time last year in Biotech 1-2, and even though I don’t have him for a teacher this year, he still inspires me because he is my ‘Science Dad’.”
Lettes said that Servellon’s acceptance into this program is a validation that anything is possible if you believe in yourself and are motivated enough.
Straub echoed Lettes’ words and added, “I’m beyond proud of what Maria Servellon has accomplished this year. I hope that she inspires more female students to follow in her footsteps.”
Servellon is open to all sciences and hopes this experience will help guide her towards her future career. She said that she would like to help in the efforts to develop more effective plastic hearts to those who are in desperate need of heart transplant.
Servellon said that she is starting to investigate colleges and universities to pursue her medical education, and she is curious about the University of California at Berkeley, which is her original home.
“This [event] exposed me to even more science, and I’ve always been very passionate about science,” she added. “There are not many women devoting their careers to sciences these days, still, but more women are needed in sciences because I believe that women are more precise and meticulous than men.”
On Oct. 18, Servellon will be recognized and honored by T.U.S.D. Superintendent H. T. Sanchez during the Governing Board meeting. Servellon has been asked to invite her family to this special occasion.