The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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Luna Tewolde: The student becomes the teacher


Having a passion for STEM since middle school, senior Luna Tewolde will be taking her passion with her to the University of California, Berkeley, planning to study biochemistry and minoring in bioengineering. Passionate, driven, and inspirational, she was not only the vice president of Technology Student Association (TSA) this year, but she is also a model for a company called Baz Model Management based in New York and Boston. She also does internships, one being at Fred Hutch, located in Seattle. 

Tewolde’s classes at Brier Terrace Middle School helped rocket her STEM career and eventually her involvement in TSA. 

She joined TSA and continued all the way to the vice president position, her current position senior year. In TSA, she participated in Fashion Design and Technology, Dragster Design, and many other events like Biotechnology. At the 2019 TSA State Conference in middle school, she won 1st place in Dragster Design and went to TSA nationals her 8th grade year in Washington D.C. This year, she won 1st place in Fashion Design and Technology along with her teammates, seniors Alessandra Serena-Takahashi and Emily Ulvin, winning her a place in TSA Nationals, which is in Louisville, Kentucky this year.   

 Tewolde has always had an interest in modeling and fashion. 

“I have always liked looking at Instagram pictures,” said Tewolde. “I got into it sophomore year; it was that year when I realized ‘Oh, should I do this?’ It was kind of hard because sophomore year there was COVID and stuff and then junior year, I was more focused on like, you know, I had a lot of clubs and APs classes and stuff, and I was like: ‘I don’t think I can do this.’” But through all of these hardships, Tewolde was still able to sign with an agency. 

“I did model for jewelry companies and stuff and then later in senior year, I signed a with an agency based in the East Coast, but we kind of wanted to postpone until we figure out what college I am going to because I was planning on going to the East Coast, maybe like NYU or something, but I am going to California for college so I am going to continue doing that (modeling) when I go to California and just finish my senior year off.” 

Tewolde´s favorite part of modeling is doing photoshoots. 

“I like the joy of doing photoshoots and stuff,” she said. “It is really fun for me and I am not into runways or anything like that. I wanted to do photoshoots and be in that area of modeling and not walking down runways.” 

Modeling has played a big role in Tewolde´s life. 

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“I think that it gave me a lot more confidence for sure. Like when I went to high school, I came into it as a very nerdy shy girl. I was always into fashion, but when I was younger I was into fashion with dolls. I learned how to sew clothes because I didn’t like that my dolls only had one pair of clothes, so I learned how to sew for my dolls.” 

“But in freshman year, I was shy. But then in sophomore year, I started exploring more into fashion and modeling, and photoshoots with my Instagram. It gave me a lot more space to explore fashion and as well as giving me more confidence. It is easy to give a lot more confidence when you are taking a lot of photos.”

Tewolde also made a lot of accomplishments in TSA. 

“I have done TSA since 8th grade. At the end of 7th grade, I was picking classes for 8th grade. I didn’t know what STEM actually was, so I just chose a STEM class that we (Brier Terrace Middle School) had and TSA was connected to that class. My friend forced me to go to one of the meetings with her, and then I just kept going to the meetings… I designed my first CO2 dragster car, and I won state that year and got to go to Washington DC and so I continued to do it… I really liked the officers in TSA and so I really wanted to be a part of it (leadership) and do something bigger in the club than just being a member.”

So Tewolde decided to be more than just a member. She became a leader in the club. 

“I actually wanted to learn how to lead and everything. I remember texting one of my favorite leaders who graduated about in my sophomore year two years ago, and I was like, ‘Hey, how do I join leadership?’ and she was like, ‘Hey, you just have to fill out this form.’ And then I joined leadership, and I´ve been a leader since sophomore year.”  

Tewolde’s favorite memory in TSA is going to Washington D.C. in 8th grade.

“It was really memorable. We got to see the statue of Abraham Lincoln and we went next to the White House. It was really nice. And it was the biggest conference that I have ever been to. It was a big step for me because I am from a country that wasn’t so focused heavily on STEM and I had never been to a conference where it was heavily focused on STEM.”

The National TSA Conference in Washington D.C. helped Tewolde explore more of her passion for STEM. She had never been so heavily involved in STEM, and TSA helped her jumpstart into that and sparked her passion for STEM. 

Tewolde got into UC Berkeley this year in March. 

“I applied to UC Berkeley because it was a good school. I wasn’t planning on going to Berkeley. My dream schools were NYU and Stanford. I dreamed about those schools for so long. First NYU came and I didn’t get in, and I was really sad. On the day that Columbia came out, Berkeley also came out, and I kind of forgot and my friend texted me and she didn’t know how to access the portal, and I said ‘What portal?’ and she said ‘Berkeley.’ and I was like ‘Oh! That school is coming out and I clicked on my portal and ‘view decision’ and I was about to close the tab because I was expecting a rejection and right before I was about to close it, I saw ‘Congratulations!’ or something like that in the first sentence and I stared at it for like 5 seconds. I was kind of like in disbelief and then I just went and told my family everything.” 

She will be studying chemical biology and minoring in bioengineering. 

At Terrace, Tewolde has made a great impact. Inspiring many students in the STEM program to achieve her level of passion and drive for her field of study. Her favorite memories at Terrace were mostly centered in STEM and TSA. 

“I was more involved in that area. My favorite memories were going to TSA Nationals.”

Tewolde enjoyed the experience of going to Nationals. In her junior year, she and her friends went to Dallas, Texas to compete, making some of her favorite memories of high school. Even though COVID shortened her high school experience, she still made many memories in her senior year, particularly through TSA. 

“It was kind of hard to form memories because of COVID. Before freshman year ended in March, we went into total lockdown and sophomore year was a blank, and junior year was like when you are trying to climb up to the normal lifestyle. Then senior was when I started making more memories,” she said.

To get to where she is today, she did many different things. 

“I tried to challenge myself and set high expectations for myself cause I feel like you kind of do get what you expect…when you push yourself you get what you expect. Some of the factors were taking AP classes,” she said. “I think those helped me challenge myself and everything. But also STEM for sure. The majority of things that helped me in the academic area were the internships and research that I did outside of school.”

Tewolde did a lot of research outside from her STEM 12 Research Project.

“I did two research projects outside of school. I did an internship at Fred Hutch, working in [a] lab which focuses on lung cancers that come from genetics, not smoking,” she said. “[The other] one that I did, I was mostly a research assistant… the project was basically studying women with disabilities and STD rates in Nigeria. I assisted in that research and I also learned about that too… The one from Fred Hutch has not been published yet, but the one from UW just got published maybe two weeks ago. I think that those things really helped me a lot.”

Tewolde said she feels that her internships and research have helped her with her acceptance to Berkeley.

 “Grades and classes do matter for me but for the field of STEM especially, experience matters and also research and hands-on work. At the end of the day, if you work hard, you will get the grades, but I don’t think that it would prepare you for the career that you want.”

Being in the STEM program at Terrace, Tewolde credits the program as helping her further her interest in medicine and research. 

“A lot of the basic skills that I learned helped me for the basis when I was interning at Fred Hutch,” she said. 

Tewolde said she is really excited to start her next chapter at Berkeley and call California her home for the next four years. She also has more plans for the future. 

About the Contributors
Ciara Constantino, Hawkeye Staff
Ciara Constantino joined HSM this year to learn how to be a journalist and to expand her writing passion. Aside from journalism, she is in Key Club and Chamber Choir. During her free time she plays her instruments, mainly piano and guitar. She also reads, and her favorite book is “Patron Saints of Nothing” by Randy Ribay. Her favorite things to do are to drink boba, rewatch Disney/Nickelodeon shows from her childhood, nap, and sketch cartoons and album covers while listening to her playlists.
Mylin Nguyen, Hawkeye Staff
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