ABC7 Top Scholar: Yasamin Vafai

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Thursday, July 3, 2014
Top Scholars: Yasamin Vafai
Top Scholar Yasamin Vafai plans to study molecular cell biology with an emphasis in neurobiology at UC Berkeley.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Yasamin Vafai is a self-described "brainiac."

"I will in my spare time read about the brain and its workings and new research that's coming out," Yasamin said.

So it's no surprise the recent Northgate High School graduate plans to study molecular cell biology with an emphasis in neurobiology at UC Berkeley in the fall.

"Yeah, go Bears, right? I'm so excited," Yasamin said.

Her interest in medicine is at least in part due to her father's own health crisis. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2001.

"Personally, I'm not the kind of girl who doesn't like hospitals," Yasamin said. "I like hospitals. That's where people are born; that's where people get better."

And her dad did get better and is now living cancer-free.

Yasamin says her dad's battle with the disease taught her the power of medicine and the power of positivity.

"He was at a very negative point in his life; they told him he had four months to live, but he was able to come through and be very positive about it and become better," she said.

"Now I realize she listens to us; because it's all up to her how she moves forward from now on," Yasamin's father said. "How to make her life so beautiful."

But Yasamin isn't just using the scientific left side of her brain to pursue a career in medicine. Her creative right side gets use as well.

"I started theater my freshman year; it was one of those immediate things where I was like I know I'm doing this the rest of high school and probably continue into college too," she said.

Though she loves being on stage, Yasamin's main goal is to perfect her performance caring for sick children.

"I see myself being a pediatrician, working with kids and making a difference in their lives," she said.

This is the ninth year for ABC7's Top Scholars program, where ABC7 gives recognition to seven outstanding students, each of whom receives a $1,000 scholarship toward his or her college education. Watch Sunday, July 6 at 10 a.m. to learn more about all of our Top Scholars!