DENVER (CBS4) – The Future Leaders award is a peek into the amazing worlds of some of the state’s brightest STEM students. Each month during the school year, CBS4 along with its partners at The Colorado School of Mines and PDC Energy, award a high school student who is excelling in science, technology, engineering or math. The winners get $1,000 and a profile on CBS4.

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Michelle Perez-Guevara is the winner for June. She graduated valedictorian of her class at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School. She aspires to one-day work in a hospital setting.

“I’ve always been interested in a medical career, and I wanted exposure to the hospital,” Perez-Guevara told CBS4.

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She took part in Denver Health’s Medical Career Collaborative, or MC2 program. She spent last summer working in the surgical center at the hospital. She actually was allowed to sit in on some surgeries.

“I not only saw what a doctor got to do but what nurses, what surgical technicians got to do, and I saw so many aspects of the medical field that I never thought I would get exposure to,” Perez-Guevara explained.

(credit Michelle Perez-Guevara)

With her proud parents looking on, Perez-Guevara graduated from the program, but still will get four-years of college counseling. She got her first experience of college life during a summer medical program at Washington University in St. Louis.

“The course in the afternoon was a biomedical ethics class, so we got to learn about the ethics of being a physician,” she said.

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Perez-Guevara also did a full research project at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School.

“At the beginning of this class, he asked us what we were interested in and I knew, right away, the brain and paranormal,” she recalled.

She did a survey and analysis project around sleep paralysis and stress.

“I found out that stress levels do effect sleep paralysis,” she said.

“Michelle, tell me a little bit more about what you learned from your AP Research class,” said CBS4 Meteorologist Ashton Altieri.

“Research is a hard thing to do and you really have to be focused on identifying your sources, and standing your credibility,” Perez-Guevara replied.

Perez-Guevara plans to pursue her curiosity about the brain in the pre-med program at Washington University in St. Louis.

“I hope to work in a research facility eventually, and get into the medical field, and specifically as a neurosurgeon.”

RELATED: Watch Profiles Of Other Future Leaders Winners

The Future Leaders program runs from October to June. CBS4 will be accepting new applications starting in September.

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