Ava Gehlen-Williams will be a senior at Edmonds-Woodway High School in the 2018-2019 school year.
Ava is an insatiable reader and particularly enjoys devouring psychology, self-help, and astronomy books. To spread some of this curiosity about the world, she instills the love of science in kids she babysits through exploring scientific phenomena; she enjoys watching kids balance limiting reagents with baking soda and vinegar, and watching kids marvel over non-Newtonian liquids with cornstarch, and water.
Her favorite activity over the summer was discussing questions with fellow interns that challenge widely accepted and often overlooked beliefs; topics included defining time, characterizing death as good or bad, and discussing the role of religion in society.
When not reading or writing lab reports for her IB Biology, IB Chemistry, and IB Physics classes, Ava spends 20 hours each week playing the violin. She is an active participant in several orchestras and enjoys frequent opportunities to perform and teach. Some of her favorite experiences include touring eastern Europe with the Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestra and offering free lessons at local elementary schools to disadvantaged students.
Ava also volunteers at Seattle Children’s Hospital; she is interested in both the medical and research aspects of science. Volunteering, in combination with her internship at ISB, has given her a strong sense of what careers in each field look like.
Ava intends to study biology, molecular biophysics, and/or brain and cognitive sciences in college but is open to exploring alternate pathways in science upon getting more exposure to different career options.
This summer, she has been part of the TB team at ISB under the mentorship of Eliza Peterson. Most of her research was done in conjunction with her partner Valeria Martinez, whom you can read about here. You can read about her project characterizing the regulon of transcription factor MtrA in Mycobacterium smegmatis here.