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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

Students in the Spotlight

By Rachel Kelly


Eliana Dietrich

Gig Harbor High School

Eliana Dietrich wrapped up her senior year at Gig Harbor High School, as she graduated in June. She has a lot of interests and pursuits but feels a little awkward giving a “brag list.” However, she was asked anyway, and she was kind enough to answer the question. Eliana’s top accomplishments are as follows: National Merit Scholar, president of the PHS HOSA Club, National Speech and Debate member “with excellence,” and her job at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. For the past year she’s been working at the center as a research assistant under a faculty biostatistician, researching clinical trial analysis. She is a co-author on a clinical trial paper on melanoma in the New England Journal of Medicine. Two more articles are in the process of publication.

Eliana is doing valuable work. What’s more, she enjoys it. It makes sense then that when she looks to the future her hope is to keep going along in the same work as she moves through her graduate degree and hopefully her PhD. Eventually she would like to become a biostatistician. Staying close by, she will go to the University of Washington for a degree in computer science, and maybe a double major in applied mathematics or statistics.

When asked about her favorite subjects, Eliana just simply responded that she loves to learn. She has an interest in history and math but has been surprised at how much she enjoys new subjects. “Both AP chemistry and AP economics were classes I was nervous about, but they were both so cool to learn throughout the year. I walked out having learned all of these things that I didn’t even know existed the previous year,” says Eliana.

When it comes to her teachers, she’s been truly fortunate. Her second-grade teacher was the first to encourage her learning in whatever areas interested her. Mr. Stitt, her AP chemistry teacher, has been similarly impactful. However, most impactful has been Eliana’s mother, who homeschooled Eliana throughout middle school. Learning with her mother has been an all-the-time activity.

When Eliana isn’t doing all of the above, she is experimenting in the kitchen. She also has a saltwater fish tank, which houses a clownfish with an attitude. She is a junior black belt in taekwondo and is up for testing to receive her black belt in November.

All in all, there is no doubt that Eliana thrives in an environment where she is able to expand her mind and her interests. Congratulations on your graduation Eliana. We wish you the best!

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