Lely Sophomore Tia Nielsen has been awarded a full scholarship this summer at the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at Cooper Union in New York City.
Tia will attend the summer (STEM) program, studying digital logic design for six weeks during her summer break. Her parents, Pat and Tresa are ecstatic, stating, “We’re not quite ready for her to head off to college for good yet, but the path she is paving for herself is very impressive.”
Cooper Union’s summer program prepares high school students to pursue undergraduate careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. It is an intensive, six-week experience in hands-on engineering design, problem-solving and helping students gain the experience needed for careers in technological entrepreneurship. Projects range broadly, and include robotics, digital fabrication, computer programming, app development, biomedical and genetic engineering, and improved urban infrastructure.
Tia’s abiding interest is computer science and digital design. She has developed a series of designs with her adobe certification skills. This year Tia was presented a certificate in recognition for her brochure that was designed for the Diversity Festival Digital Design Logo for Hodges University.
Tia’ academic achievements were recognized this month by the Lely High School chapter of the National Honor Society, when she was honored as one of the school’s top 25 students.
Tia’s community involvement is equally impressive. Tia has turned her love of math into an opportunity to teach her math skills to a local group of migrant children.
In previous years Tia was awarded recognition from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office with a “Do the Right Thing Award” for the many of years she helped take care of 34 families with 102 migrant children with all their basic needs at the 6L’s Farms. Tia was also awarded a $1,000 Kohl’s Cares Scholarship for her contributions in the community. She provides emotional and physical support to the elderly and disabled, stays CPR certified and volunteers at the YMCA as an assistant volleyball coach. Tia also shares her talents with Coastal Breeze News as an intern. With all her activities, Tia still manages to maintain an impressive 4.2 GPA.
Tia showed appreciation for two of the people who helped encourage her along the way. She credits Kathy Albanese, her Marco Island Charter Middle School algebra teacher, for bringing the love of math to a daily understanding. Tia also thanked Karen Jernigan, a friend of the family and a retired history teacher-chair and academic dean from Friends Seminary in NYC. Jernigan introduced Tia to Cooper Union and even offered to take her into her home for the summer, a three-block walk to school.
Tia says, “Getting accepted is still so surreal, especially getting accepted on a full scholarship, and I am looking forward to coming back next school year to use my experience to help others in the classroom.” Tia reminds us of a quote by Steve Jobs: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”