I would like to be remembered as someone who cared about others and wanted to help those in need.
For senior Michael Gonzalez, science, service, and sincerity have defined his eight years as an NSU University School student. Having taken more than 15 Advanced Placement classes in high school and being named a National Merit Finalist, Gonzalez sees a challenge and tackles it head-on without hesitation. He ultimately desires to learn as much as he can and takes full advantage of the personalized education we offer at USchool.
When Gonzalez was in Middle School, his schedule was adjusted to put him on a fast-track in math, a subject he demonstrated exceptional aptitude in. He credits the school's individualized approach and focus on growing his strengths for equipping him to be a Math Fellow his freshman and sophomore years, take AP-level calculus and statistics as a junior, and be exposed to two high-level math courses simultaneously senior year. Gonzalez has been an active member of the Math Team, Mu Alpha Theta, and an officer for the National Science Honor Society for the past several years. He was a National Qualifier for the Chemistry OIympiad and was the first place individual winner at the University of Florida's Chemathon competition his sophomore year, one of his fondest memories as a student.
Last year, Gonzalez was one of 12 Upper School students selected to become inaugural members of the Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine/NSU University School Fellowship (KPCOM), a 10-month medical immersion experience. He gained hands-on clinical experience and worked closely with medical professionals to explore health fields such as dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, optometry, and sports medicine. "I have always had an interest in medicine," Gonzalez said. "As a fellow, I gained great insight into and appreciation for the medical profession."
The KPCOM Fellowship also involved a community outreach component so students could learn how to approach the field of medicine with compassion and empathy. However, Gonzalez was no stranger to witnessing STEM fuse with service. One of his math teachers, Mr. Kevin Dibert, has served as a role model of what a leader looks like throughout his Upper School years. "Mr. Dibert is involved in a variety of different areas, and that has inspired me to explore different ways of getting involved." Gonzalez said. "I try to find a balance between community outreach, taking on academic challenges, and having free time for friends and family."
This year, Gonzalez is acting president of the World in Distress (WIND) Club that Mr. Dibert sponsors. The club collects items and raises money for people in need both locally and internationally. As president, Gonzalez strives to lead by example, be approachable, and be a good listener so club members can feel comfortable sharing their concerns and opinions. His heart for others is also evident in Shark Peer Tutoring, the club he founded his freshman year and currently serves as the president of as well. This volunteer mentoring program connects Upper School tutors with Middle School students who need extra help in various subject areas. Gonzalez has been a tutor himself for years both inside of school through Shark Peer Tutoring, Writing Fellows, and Writer's Block, as well as outside of school. He has even donated some of the money he has earned privately to support causes he believes in such as Philippines Basic Needs Charity Outreach Program – a non-profit organization he serves as the co-president.
Gonzalez's intrinsic focus and drive is rooted in the martial art of Taekwondo, which he participated in for roughly 10 years. The achievement he is most proud of also happens to be a fact many people don't know about him – he holds a second-degree black belt. "Taekwondo represents my dedication," Gonzalez said. "When I get involved in something, I dedicate myself to achieving my goals." Such is the case with his independent study of the Spanish language. As a Hispanic student who was recognized by the National Hispanic Recognition Program and inducted into the National Spanish Honor Society, Gonzalez has committed himself to bettering himself in Spanish by downloading an app that pairs him with Spanish speakers from different countries who are looking to improve their English.
Gonzalez received USchool's Citizen Scholar Award his freshman and sophomore year, received the MIT Book Award his junior year, and was recently selected for USchool's Program for Academic Excellence. With a nearly perfect SAT score, Gonzalez has his sights set on colleges in the northeast and the University of Florida and envisions himself pursuing a STEM-related major to prepare him for a career as a physician or educator – careers that are inherently centered on serving others and providing access to those who need it. He is also exploring the idea of one day working for Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization. After he graduates from USchool, he hopes that the students who remain are inspired by the compassion he displayed during his time here. "I would like to be remembered as someone who cared about others and wanted to help those in need."
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