ABC7 Star Scholar: Vallejo's Jeremy Murphy-Ortega

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Here's a look at a Star Scholar winner from Vallejo who wants to use his love of chemistry to reduce our carbon footprint. (KGO-TV)

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 from Vallejo who wants to use his love of chemistry to reduce our carbon footprint.

Jeremy Murphy-Ortega is passionate musician, an eagle scout, and an aspiring chemist who loves everything green, particularly the environment.

"I plan on going into the energy industry," he said. "Especially help with alternative energy. Our environment, this earth, is our home. We don't have another one, so we need to protect it for as long as we're here."

This recent St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School graduate is headed to UC Berkeley in the fall to study chemical engineering.

"I've always loved math and chemistry," he said. "Chemical engineering is kind of a combination of both of them. Atoms and molecules make up the world around us, so chemistry is just studying everything around us, how it works, why it happens."

"He's very interested in the environment, in the world, and trying to make it a better place," said one educator.

"I just like to help people," he said. "I've been a boy scout for 12 years. They've instilled that into me. I really like the program, how we get outside, go camping, go hiking. When I'm out in nature I have a chance to commune with the natural world around me."

When asked what it is about music that means so much to him, he said, "It's all about counting the beats, yes, exactly. Music is just really creative. When I'm feeling stressed, I really like to play my guitar. It helps calm me down."

An educator added, "He's involved in sports, he's involved in music, and he shares that with all of us. He's not just a bookworm. He does everything."

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.

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