Meet Kalea Velasco-Cosare,
Kalea Velasco-Cosare is a rising senior at River Ridge High School located in Lacey, Washington. While being a full time Running Start student at South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC), Kalea aims to stay involved and connected to her high school community through her engagement in school clubs such as Girls Who Code Club, Sports Medicine Club, and National Honors Society, and additional volunteer work as a Writing Tutorial Tutor in her schools Writing Tutorial program.
Kalea is a fond advocate of racial and equity awareness for historically marginalized groups and BIPOC students. As a Writing Tutor for SPSCC’s Learning Support Services Writing Center, she advocates for the amplification and inclusion of student voices to change the collegiate community towards a more equitable future for all. Upon entering college, Kalea noticed a lack of sufficient preparatory methods for students throughout the K-12 system to succeed in higher education. Her passion for science, advocacy and her will for change lead her to search for an interdisciplinary program to participate in over the summer such as Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) Systems Education Experiences (SEE) High School Internship where she is able to work with educators, scientists, and other students on developing Systems Medicine curriculum for K-12 students.
At ISB, along with her partner, Yannell Howard, Kalea worked in the Hadlock Lab with mentors Ryan Roper and Jennifer Hadlock to develop a Multi Comorbidity Respiratory Health SARS-CoV-2 Index. The index assesses a person’s risk for a severe COVID-19 outcome resulting in death, if they were to get a positive test result for COVID-19 and have certain underlying comorbidities. Kalea is hopeful for the mass implications that their project can provide for our communities in these unprecedented times.
In her free time, Kalea has many hobbies. She likes playing slack key guitar, spending quality time with friends and family, working out, spending time at the water, and listening to music. She hopes to pursue an exercise science and kinesiology bachelors degree after high school, and further participate in a Doctorate of Physical Therapy graduate program. Upon achieving her doctorate, Kalea hopes to open up a clinic aimed at serving underserved and marginalized communities that incorporates culturally appropriate practices in her ancestral homeland of Hawai’i.