Karolina Leja, Emory University, Class of 2014
Northside College Prep High School, 2010
As a first generation American, Karolina is achieving her own American dream but also that of her parents who emigrated to the United States from Poland to build a better life for their children.
Today, Karolina is on the world stage through her involvement with the Global Initiative and Partnership Walk, involved in raising money and awareness for people in the third world. An aspiring physician, Karolina plans to attend medical school to lend a hand where medical facilities are limited and less developed – such as her homeland. She and her twin sister, Klaudia, and their older sister, Patrycia, recently visited Poland. “I was amazed at how small the cities are,” she admits. “It was relaxing, but I like the city life.”)
Though her high school career has been particularly distinguished for her math skills—she is a mainstay of North Side Prep’s math team, which usually makes it at least to the state level—Karolina plans to move to a pre-med track. In 2009, thanks to a Summer Quest internship, she took classes at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in neuroscience, public health, and biomedical informatics. With her sights set on Emory University, as a first generation college student, Karolina feels better prepared than most to tackle the next steps, thanks to Chicago Scholars. “It has helped me so much already with the college application process, and I know it will be very advantageous for me in the future,” she says.
Karolina’s current career ambition is to be a pediatrician. If her immediate model is the saccharine hero of House (“He always has to try a couple times,” she says, “but he eventually gets it in the end”), her attraction to the profession seems to come from the reserve of problem solving skill that has drawn her forward in her career so far: in science, like in math, she says, “you can figure out how everything works.”