BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Throughout the school year, CBS4 along with the Colorado School of Mines and PDC Energy honor Future Leaders, high school students who are excelling in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math, STEM. Future Leaders winners get $1,000 and a feature on CBS4.

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The February winner is Isaira Urias Martinez, a senior at DSST: Green Valley Ranch. In addition to her work at DSST, Urias Martinez also works closely with the non-profit, Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK), and did two internships with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

“It helps them recognize how important the environment is,” Urias Martinez said of ELK.

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She’s a Peer Leader with the group, helping middle and elementary school kids learn how to interact with nature.

“When I was little I never had the chance to go camping, or backpacking, or even taking a hike out in the mountains, and it’s really important,” Urias Martinez told CBS4. “I taught them how to fish, how to tie a knot on a fish hook, and things like that.”

LINK: Nominate a Future Leaders Candidate

Urias Martinez stressed how soothing she finds the time she spends outdoors.

“Just being out here in nature and in the environment, it helps me clear my mind. It helps me not to worry about my school work, or what I need to do,” she explained.

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She continued her environmental learning with two internships at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, in the Teen Science Scholars Program. Teen Science Scholars do hands-on summer internships working directly with research and collection staff.

“My mentor, he’s a geologist, so he studies a whole bunch of rocks from around the earth. And he really showed me what it was like to go out in the field, what it was like to study rocks,” Urias Martinez said.

“What did you get out of your experience at the Museum of Nature & Science?” asked CBS4’s Lauren Whitney.

“It opened my mind about the careers I could have,” Urias Martinez responded.

“So what inspires you here at DSST?” Whitney asked.

“My favorite classes would have to be AP Physics and Engineering, just because I love how my teacher teaches those classes,” Urais Martinez replied.

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Urais Martinez is inspired to continue her environmental studies in college. She’ll be a first generation college student in her family, and she has big plans for the future.

“I want to make the world better for us as humans, because we want to live a sustainable life, for us, for our kids, for our grandchildren.”


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