Gulliver Prep senior Everest Maya-Tudor has two major interests. She’s at Gulliver for both interests, after spending two years at MAST Academy.
“I’m really interested in medicine,” she says. “I really wanted to do bio med and Gulliver has a perfect track for that. Gulliver was the only school that had a Japanese program.”
She became interested in learning Japanese when she was 13. She picked up whatever textbooks she could find, as well as articles and online videos.
“I really love learning languages,” she says. “I was reading a book series set in Japan. It had a lot of aspects of the culture. The writing system and the culture are so interesting. I dove in and just continued with it.”
She participated in the Miami-Kagoshima Sister City Exchange Program for two weeks the summer before junior year.
“I stayed with a host family in Kagoshima,” she says. “I got to improve my Japanese a lot by being there. It was cool to see what it was like to go to school in Japan.”
That same summer, she did a research internship that extended into the school year.
“I wanted to know what it was like to work in a professional lab environment,” she says. “It gave me an insight into the work of disease research and reaffirmed I wanted to pursue that area.”
It was hands on research, culturing cells, collecting the data and interpreting it.
At Gulliver she’s participating in a project that involves the biomedical sciences track, engineering track and computer science track.
“We’re working on algae blooms in water around Florida,” she says.
Those algae blooms produce dangerous toxins that can harm both humans and animals.
“We’re trying to make a device that can be attached to a mobile phone so people can see whether or not a body of water they’re going to let their pet swim in or even that they’re planning to swim in contains dangerous blue-green algae toxins,” she says.
Maya-Tudor is a star athlete, who played volleyball while she attended MAST and participated on a club team. She hasn’t been able to play this year because she injured her back.
“I played for a while and it was sad not being able to go out again,” she says. “I loved that environment.”
While in college, she wants to explore many different fields.
“I love biology. I love languages. I love places that are going to let me explore and do research,” she says. “I would hopefully do a double major in biology and Japanese language and culture.”
Her community service includes volunteering at Chapman House Foundation, where she established a STEM hour for kids. It started in person and went virtual with COVID-19. This year, Maya-Tudor applied for and earned the Riley’s Way Foundation’s Call for Kindness National Grant to expand and diversify STEM Hour.
She volunteers with Breakthrough Miami where she specializes in teaching the sciences.
Maya-Tudor also volunteers with the Humane Society fostering kittens – more than 30 so far.
“You take care of them for a month at a time. Socialize them so they are friendly to be adopted, administer medicines, and wake up every hour to feed them” she says, adding that the first time she did that, it was hard to let the kittens go.
“They are so fun to study with,” she says. “They crawl all over the books.”
She also set up the Next Chapter Prep Book Program to donate used Advanced Placement, ACT and SAT prep books to students in need. So far, more than 30 books have been donated.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld