Richland Collegiate High School

Student Testimonials

Mariam Abushanab
RCHS, Class of 2008
George Mason University, Class of 2010
Psychology Major

Mariam AbushanabRCHS was established the year that I finished tenth grade. When I found out that they would be accepting students that were entering the eleventh grade, I knew right away that it was an opportunity I would not want to miss. I have always been a goal-oriented individual and being given the opportunity to rise above other high school students by taking college classes during high school was something that appealed to me. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to attend RCHS.

The necessary skills I acquired from the faculty and staff at RCHS was the main reason I felt prepared to transfer to a university after graduating. Each professor I encountered strived to help their students flourish and succeed.†The classes I took during my time at RCHS were designed in such a way that I was able to interact with both high school and college students. This was one of my favorite parts of the program. I never felt deprived of a "high school" experience. In addition, I was exposed to a college environment which I am very fortunate for because it taught me to interact with students from a multitude of backgrounds.

Fatima Abushanab
RCHS, Class of 2008
George Mason University, Class of 2010
Government and International Politics Major

Fatima Abushanab After graduating from RCHS, I moved to Washington D.C. where I attended George Mason University. Two days a week I took classes for my bachelor’s degree in government and international politics. The other three days of the week I had the opportunity for internships. I completed internships at the Becketfund Organization for International Religious Liberty, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the office of Congressman Gregory Meeks. In those seven months of my internship, I've learned so much more than I could have just focusing on textbooks and classroom lectures alone. I had an opportunity to be a part of a political community where I could help make changes for the better. And, I'm grateful for that.

Christopher Robert Trujillo
RCHS, Class of 2008
University of North Texas, Class of 2011
BFA in Visual Art Studies and a minor in Professional Development

Christopher Trujillo

Christopher Robert Trujillo is part of the Richland Collegiate High Schoolís first graduate class of 2008. He went on to study and graduate with honors from the University of North Texas in the Fall of 2011, where he received his BFA in Visual Art Studies and a minor in Professional Development. He is currently the Operations Coordinator for The Smithsonian Associates (TSA) in Washington, DC. Mr. Trujillo works with a team in creating, conceiving, and implementing over 750 programs that utilize diverse formats inspired (in part) by the collections, exhibitions, and research housed in the Smithsonians 19 museums and 5 research units. The Smithsonian Associates shares the intellectual riches of the Smithsonian Institution with the public through a combination of educational and cultural programs ranging from individual lectures to multi-week courses, from performances to study tours and studio arts classes.

Caitlin Taylor
RCHS, Class of 2008
University of Texas at Austin, Class of 2012
Double major in Biology and Biochemistry (with honors)

Caitlin Taylor

Caitlin Taylor was the valedictorian of the first graduating class of RCHS in 2008. She attended The University of Texas at Austin and was named a 2012 Deanís Honored Graduate after completing two honors degrees in Biology and Biochemistry. While at UT Austin, Caitlin worked in a neurobiology lab under the direction of Dr. Jon Pierce-Shimomura. Caitlin used the microscopic nematode worm to study Parkinsonís disease, and her research culminated in an honors thesis entitled ďPrevention of Neurodegeneration in a C. elegans model of Parkinsonís disease.Ē

Though very committed to her research, Caitlin has also taken advantage of many opportunities afforded by attending UT Austin. She enjoys biking, hiking, kayaking, and yoga, activities that are readily available in both Austin and the California Bay Area, where Caitlin is moving for graduate school. She also enjoys live music, knitting, old horror movies, and cooking. During her time as an undergraduate, Caitlin studied abroad at the University of Cambridge, and after graduation she spent a month exploring rural France.

Caitlin is currently finishing her research in the Pierce-Shimomura lab to prepare for publication. This summer Caitlin is driving west with her cat and her bicycle, and in September 2012 she will begin work on her PhD in neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine. Her work at Stanford will focus on invertebrate neurodevelopment.

Caitlinís development as a scientist and student were all greatly advanced by her decision to attend RCHS as a high school junior. Rigorous science and math courses at Richland College were great preparation for a large university such as UT Austin, and the professors and staff at Richland made a career in science seem both accessible and fun.

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