SARATOGA, Calif. - ABC7 has celebrated student achievement with our Star Scholars program for 12 years. Each year, ABC7 recognizes seven Bay Area high school seniors for their extraordinary achievements and awards each with a $1,000 scholarship toward his or her college education. Here's a look at a Star Scholar winner from the South Bay who has a love of wildlife and is committed to conserving it.
Daviana Berkowitz-Sklar has certainly made her mark on the Saratoga High School campus.
"It's been almost four years so it's kinda sad, really sad actually," she said.
The recent graduate was a member of student government, a varsity tennis player, and homecoming queen.
But she's best known as a loyal conservationist with plans to study environmental science at Yale University.
"I'm interested in research, veterinary medicine and policy," she said. "You know, especially in the political climate we're in right now; to be able to really make an impact outside of the sciences and do a lot of advocacy and policy."
Sze: "Tell me what you started here."
Berkowitz-Sklar: "I wanted to organize a trip with students here to take them to some of the sea turtle conservation projects I had been doing in Costa Rica. I thought it was a great way for students to be able to work hands on, but also appreciate all the data. I think that's the biggest part of conservation is figuring out what the issue is then having the backing and then doing something about it."
Berkowitz-Sklar and her twin sister Danielle are ambassadors for an organization in Costa Rica that's dedicated to saving sea turtles. Both are taking a gap year to continue their conservation efforts and create a program to help students interested in ecology.
"We want to develop scientific paths for students in high school as well at some of the universities here for students to be able to be able to get internships in lab experience and field experience as well," she said.
You can watch our ABC7 Star Scholar special on Sunday on July 23, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. Click here to learn about our other Star Scholars.
Do you know a change-maker in your community? They can apply for a $500 Summer of Service grant for their community project. Just go to ysa.org/beinspired.
Written and produced by Jennifer K. Rumple.