Last year, Westminster Christian School senior and Class of 2019 Salutatorian Arielle Fedee researched a natural cure for Alzheimer’s for her Science Fair project. Her project was so impressive that she placed first locally and qualified for the state Science Fair. There she placed fourth and moved on to the International Science Fair.
For her project she modified fruit flies to the closest human strand possible.
“It took me several months,” she says. “I started in August of my junior year. I finished in January of my junior year. I had to test new flies in February and March.”
She dosed the fruit flies with turmeric. The results indicated that turmeric might be able to help with Alzheimer’s.
This year, Fedee chose to mentor others on their science fair projects instead of doing another one of her own. She critiqued projects and showed them how to write the accompanying paper.
Outside of school, Fedee spends much of her free time at St. Anne’s Nursing Home. She started volunteering at the nursing home when she was in middle school because her mom works there.
“I go for summer, I go on break, and when there are natural disasters such as hurricanes,” she says. “I go and I stay the night.”
She focuses on the activities for the seniors.
“I’d take them on walks around the building. Sometimes I’d take them to mass,” she says. “I did arts and crafts with them and we would do adult coloring pages. Depending on what the patients actually wanted to do that day.”
She often worked with seniors who were in wheelchairs who needed a constant companion. Some of the seniors were able sit outside in front of the building. Others, who couldn’t go outside, would go to sit in front of the ground floor aviary while other went to the dining room to socialize.
“I mainly stayed on the second floor. That was the floor where most of the patients needed primary care,” she says. “I enjoyed it a lot. I made friends with the other volunteers and some of the patients.”
On Valentine’s Day she dropped off handmade Valentine’s Day cards that were made by her youth group at Metro Life Church. There were enough cards for everyone.
When she was a sophomore, she began a tutoring program at a pregnancy center. Because of the location of the center — near Miami-Dade College — most of the girls who went there were in college. However, she was able to work with three or four girls who were in high school.
“I was able to help with math, biology and a little bit of chemistry,” she says.
She worked for a year on that program but couldn’t continue because of transportation difficulties.
“It’s something they kept up with after I left,” she says.
At her church, she’s a Sunday teacher for pre-school and toddlers.
“During the week I help with the media at youth group,” she says.
She’s not sure where she’s going to go to college yet. A medical science major at Florida International University is an option but she’s also been offered a research opportunity at the University of Central Florida, a scholarship from the University of Miami for research and has been accepted to Clemson.
She’s considering becoming a doctor or working at the research level in a lab in pharmaceuticals.
At school, Fedee is in the French Club. She’s in Tri-M, the music society, although she had to drop orchestra because of scheduling conflicts. She’s in Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society, the English Honor Society and the National Honor Society.
Linda Bernfeld Rodriguez