By Ayala Ben-Yehuda
Two high school students, one a nature lover and the other an aspiring psychology researcher, are being honored for their hard work with a prestigious summer internship and scholarship.
Anais Rivera, a Bayside resident and a junior at Manhattan’s High School for Environmental Studies, was recently selected by the Nature Conservancy to work on preservation projects on Suffolk County’s Shelter Island.
And Little Neck resident Stefanie Wolf, a senior at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, received a $4,000 Leaders of Tomorrow college scholarship from the New York Lottery.
Rivera, a graduate of PS 169 and IS 25, was one of 15 students at her school chosen to spend a month in the Nature Conservancy’s Internship Program for City Youth.
The non-profit environmental group will send Rivera to Shelter Island’s Mashomack Preserve, where she will help maintain trails, study bird migration and participate in conservation projects. One of the goals of the internship program is to get students under-represented in environmental fields to pursue careers in nature preservation.
“They haven’t really told us exactly what we’re going to be doing,” said Rivera, who believes that “if a specific place in the environment is kind of messed up, we’re going to fix it up and save some species that are possibly dying there.”
Rivera recently went camping for the first time with her school’s hiking club, and loved it.
“Whenever I’m in the environment, I feel so free,” she said. “It’s so different from the city and that is what I love about it.”
The budding conservationist has never been away from home for a month, but said she was looking forward to the trip.
“I’m not really going to have my mind on my family because I’m having so much fun,” said Rivera.
Although she had a great time working on environmental issues, Rivera said her career goal was to become a psychotherapist.
Another high schooler interested in a psychology career was Wolf, 18, who plans to use her $4,000 scholarship from the New York Lottery toward tuition at Binghamton University in the fall.
The lottery awarded 1,181 graduating seniors in New York state with tuition money for any accredited public or private college in the state.
In applying for the scholarship from a list of available awards printed up by her school, Wolf wrote an essay explaining her interest in psychological research.
Her fascination with the field stemmed from a paper she wrote on feelings of responsibility among siblings of the chronically disabled.
“I did enjoy how you can take any aspect of psychology and make it apply to the general population,” said Wolf. “There are so many directions you can take to help everyone.”
Wolf plans to major in psychobiology, a field that explores workplace dynamics. At Cardozo, she kept busy on the Science Olympiad team, in the drama club and in the Jewish Student Union.
“I’m definitely appreciative of it,” said Wolf of the $4,000 award. “I didn’t even know this scholarship existed. It’s wonderful and I’m very happy about it.”
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.