This year, Gulliver Prep senior Leah Boyd started the Peer Tutoring Program. She came up with the idea last April and the program kicked off this fall.
“I’m the main coordinator. I work behind the scenes.,” she says. “Anyone who wants to tutor can tutor anyone from Gulliver Prep.”
They had more than 60 applicants who wanted to be tutors. The tutors receive community service hours for their work.
“The program it runs 24/7. At any point someone needs tutoring, I can find them the tutor,” she says. “It’s very flexible. It’s a long run program. There aren’t specific sessions.”
She communicates with the tutors via a group chat. When a tutor is needed, she sends a message asking who feels comfortable in whatever area the student needs help.
She spent a lot of time this fall getting the word out. Teachers also talked to her about potential students.
The program is now up and running.
Aside from the tutoring program, Boyd spends much of her time on engineering projects. Her area specifically is program management.
“It’s fun for me. Not only do you get to work on a project, you get to work behind the scenes and in intricate areas that people don’t see,” she says.
She’s working on a project to create software that can help paraplegics run their wheelchairs through facial recognition.
If the paraplegic is capable of head movements, they can run the wheelchair through head movements.
“It’s in the prototyping process. I think it’s coming along really well,” she says. “I’m doing project management, business management.”
She says her friend developed the software on his own. Now they are working on testing the software and getting qualitative data on its efficiency.
“We entered the Conrad Challenge, an international innovation competition,” she says. “We made it into the first round. Now, we’re working on the second round.”
Her job is to get the paperwork done, including data analysis, a business analysis and developing the technical concept report.
The information is due in January.
Last year, she and her friend also worked on an invention. They researched creating an anti-microbe towel. Along the way they discovered their concept could have health repercussions. Although they made it to the second round of the Conrad Challenge, they never tested the towel. She doesn’t regret the time spent on the project.
“It taught me to look at the design process,” she says. “It taught me teamwork, how to overcome different obstacles. I think it was what I needed and helped me understand what I need to do.”
She credits her engineering teacher with helping them to accept failure.
Boyd applied early decision to Duke. She expects to hear soon whether she’s been accepted. She’s considering majoring in biomedical engineering and neuroscience.
“I’d like to get my MD. I don’t know if I want to be a MD, but I want to get my foot forward into the biomedical field,” she says.
She recently attended the Summer Scholars program at the University of Miami where she took two freshman level courses in biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering.
Boyd is an athlete. She plays varsity and club volleyball. She also volunteered at a Gulliver volleyball camp for middle and lower school students.
For three years she played trombone in the music jazz band and wind ensemble. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, Cum Laude Society, the National English Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, the Social Studies Honor Society and the French Honor Society and is one of the chief editors for the National English Honors Society at her school.
Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld