By Mary O’KEEFE
A Crescenta Valley High School student has brought home a big honor – and a generous scholarship – for her prowess in math and engineering.
Isabel Martos-Repath was awarded a silver award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation in engineering and mathematics. The award was sponsored by Exxon Mobil and included a $2,000 scholarship.
“The school’s [website] has a scholarship section,” Martos-Repath said of how she learned of the opportunity.
She found the Hispanic Heritage information and thought it perfect for her. Martos-Repath’s father was born in Spain and is still a citizen of that country and a permanent resident of the United States. Both Martos-Repath and her brother carry dual citizenships.
It was also perfect because since she was in grade school, Martos-Repath has been journeying toward a career in science, math and engineering.
“I applied for the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics] related [scholarships]. I had to write a couple of essays of how I have contributed to my community through science,” she said.
Martos-Repath has been paying it forward since she was inspired as a young Girl Scout in elementary school.
“In sixth and seventh grade, [friend] Heather Abrams and I were on a Girl Scout FIRST [For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology] Lego League,” she said.
This experience so inspired her that when she was in high school she, along with Abrams, joined the CVHS Falkon Robotics 589 team and began reaching out to the community. Martos-Repath led the way for the 589 team to bring FLL experience to Girl Scout troops, Monte Vista and Valley View elementary schools, community teams and Rosemont Middle School students. The involvement of the Girl Scout troops has become so popular that girls come from as far as Santa Clarita to be part of the team.
Martos-Repath wanted to make engineering and science fun and to show that girls, as well as boys, can look toward the STEM field for their future.
In her fight against stereotypes, she is an honor not only to her heritage but also her gender.
“All three winners [in the STEM category] were girls,” she said. “I think it is really important for minorities and all genders to be represented in the STEM field. Otherwise society is short-changed.”