Student of the Week, Oct. 14 2013

Kaia Williams, Palisade High School senior

GPA: 4.165

After-school activities: FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST LEGO League, National Honor Society.

Favorite book: “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut.

Favorite TV shows: “Breaking Bad” and “Sherlock.”

Favorite band or musician: Bon Iver.

Parents: Chris and Carrie Williams.

Personal hero and why: My mom. Three years ago, she graduated magna cum laude from Colorado Mesa University and obtained her CPA license while simultaneously caring for my family. She took it upon herself to transition from being a stay-at-home mom in order to provide for our family, and I couldn’t be more in awe of her hard work and dedication not only to her education, but to her family and our well-being.

Preferred college: Cornell University.

Preferred career: I’d like to get my Ph.D. in applied physics or nuclear physics.

Greatest achievement so far: Being named a dean’s list finalist at the Colorado FIRST Robotics Regional Competition.

What you’d like to be your next greatest achievement: I’d like to lead my robotics team to the world competition in their rookie year. I’d also like to receive my International Baccalaureate diploma.


Q: What was the most memorable lesson you ever learned in a class?

A: In Mr. Ruzin’s physics class, we were learning about how surface area is related to the reactivity of materials. He mentioned that coffee creamer, while normally inert, becomes extremely flammable when dispersed over a large area. Our class begged him to demonstrate, so he trickled a stream of powdered coffee creamer onto a lit match. Our classroom demonstration ended up tripping the fire alarm and evacuating the school. Sadly, Mr. Ruzin retired at the end of that year.


Q: What subject or extracurricular activity are you most passionate about and why?

A: I’m most passionate about my FIRST Robotics team. It’s the hardest fun I’ve ever had —­ few things can compare to watching a robot you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into succeed at the competitions.


Q: Describe a time when you knew you made a difference in the community or someone else’s life.

A: Last year, I coached a FIRST LEGO League team based at New Emerson Elementary. Our team spent about two months completing the challenge, and our hard work paid off at the competition. We made it to state in our rookie year, and by the end of the season, I could tell that each and every one of those 10 kids had had the time of their lives and that I had helped instill in them a love of the team and the program.


Q: What are your goals for after high school?

A: I’d like to graduate college with as little debt as I can so that I can begin to pursue a Ph.D. Above all, however, I’d like to spread the word about FIRST Robotics by mentoring new robotics teams when I’m in college.


Q: What is your dream job?

A: Somewhere where I can use the knowledge I’ve gained to do something I love.


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