By Pat ShermanDaisy Flores, a recent graduate of The Preuss School at the University of California, San Diego was awarded for her hard work and commitment to community service with a trip to the nation’s capital, and a paid summer internship.
The 17-year-old was one of 225 high school seniors from across the country who traveled to Washington, D.C. July 8-12 as part of the Bank of America Student Leaders Program.
There, Daisy and her peers attended workshops organized by Close Up, an organization that works to engage youth in the Democratic process. They debated several current legislative topics, including student loan debt reduction and increasing the minimum wage.
“Overall I really do think that the minimum wage should be a living wage,” Daisy said, though noting that a lot of the students felt it would hurt small business in the short term.
On July 10, Daisy sat in on the U.S. Senate hearings, the day the body voted down a proposal backed by Democrats that would have returned federal student loan interest rates to 3.4 percent for one year.
“That was probably the best thing ever,” said Daisy, who maintained a grade-point-average of 3.91 and took Advanced Placement government during her final year at Preuss. “It was really educational just seeing it in person, and not reading it in a book.”
Each student leader was given their own business cards for the week. An initial workshop included such topics as how to craft an effective “elevator pitch,” how to make eye contact and how to deliver an effective handshake.
Daisy said one legislative aide greeted her and her peers with the “limp fish” handshake.
“We all knew that that’s not what we were supposed to do,” Daisy said, with a laugh.
Daisy and four other San Diego student leader program participants each received a paid summer internship with Community HousingWorks, a local nonprofit organization that helps disadvantaged communities advance through opportunities to own, rent and achieve housing goals. Her previous internships have included stints with local biomedical research labs and with the EyeMobile at UCSD’s Shiley Eye Center, which offers free eye exams to children younger than age 5.
In her application for the student leader program, Daisy wrote about two conferences she planned at Preuss that focused on anti-bullying efforts and respect for peers.
This fall, Daisy will attend New York University, where she plans to pursue a major in global public health, with a concentration in chemistry.