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Dolores senior chosen for prestigious Future Leaders STEM program

Siena Parr with her gray water science project. Parr has been chosen for The Future Leaders of STEM program. (Kim Parr/Courtesy photo)
The award is given to six students interested in a future in STEM each year

An incoming Dolores High School senior has been selected for The Future Leaders program, a prestigious STEM-based program in Colorado that awards scholarships to six students who have conducted STEM research or who might become a leader in the Colorado STEM workforce.

Siena Parr, 17, was one of the six students chosen for this year’s program, which is run by the CBS Colorado News Station and the Colorado School of Mines, and her selection provided her with a $1,000 scholarship and a profile and TV interview with CBS Colorado News.

To apply for the program, Parr told The Journal that she had to answer questions about her science career so far as a student, what she hopes to do with STEM and if she had upcoming events or plans that are STEM related.

This summer, Pass will be interning through The Pinhead Project, which is headquartered in Telluride. Pinhead helps provide “high-achieving” students with internship opportunities in STEM and promotes growing their knowledge and abilities in the STEM field.

Through Pinhead, Parr was accepted into an internship in California.

“I am going to be interning at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, in neuroscience for six weeks along with another intern from Telluride,” Parr said. “My main interests are in biology, forensics and medicine, so this internship perfectly fits with what I hope to do in the future.”

Earlier this year, Parr met with the Dolores Board of Education and presented her science fair project on gray water and growing crops in drought-prone Southwest Colorado. By Parr’s definition, gray water is the water that comes from a home’s shower, sink and more, which usually goes to waste when an excess is utilized.

While Parr’s final results did point to irrigation water as the best overall water for crops, her results also showed that gray water would work as an alternative should drought occur.

She has also helped advocate for the development of home radon tests and the distribution of test kits after a family member was diagnosed with lung cancer, according to Parr’s profile on CBS News.

Parr created homemade fire retardant in the event of wildfire and has placed at the regional science fair every year and qualified for the Colorado Science and Engineering Fair for the past three years.

She was also awarded the Best of Fair DaVince award.

As her internship start date nears, Parr expressed excitement for receiving the opportunity to explore the career field she is interested in while being part of The Future Leaders program.

“The Future Leaders program was truly an honor to be part of and I think really helped me to build my confidence and also reflect on everything I have done in the past,” Parr said. “It definitely helped me prepare for whatever is likely going to come in the next few years. The Pinhead internship is a great way for me to have a taste of what life will be like in college and what I should prepare for. I want to study biology and do premed in college, so this will be a nice introduction to living on my own, doing lab work and exploring an area I'm interested in.”

She also credited Dolores High School’s science program for her ability to begin her career in STEM at an already advanced level.

“I think that the science programs that are there helped jump start my journey. I have taken a plethora of different science electives and course classes there that have really helped stabilize my interests and figure out what area I want to go into,” Parr said.

“I’m just really happy that I have been able to support my community with some of the research I have done in the past,” Parr continued. “I'm really excited about my internship this summer and also whatever is going to come in the future.”