Carson High senior named U.S. Presidential Scholar
Crystal Vargas has been in the middle of Advanced Placement testing this week at Carson High School, but to specialize in obstetrics or gynecology as a doctor, she’ll have more rigorous studying to come.
Vargas, a senior, is one of three students in Nevada to be named a Presidential Scholar and among 161 high school seniors nationally to earn the recognition. She’s preparing to graduate as a Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) member in good standing since she was a freshman.
“I really fell in love with it because it’s an organization that prepares students to work in the medical field, which is something I want to do,” Vargas said. “I love the idea of helping other women.”
This year’s honorees in the national program consist of one male and one female from each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Fifteen are chosen at large and 20 are named Scholars in the Arts and 20 are Scholars in Career and Technical Education.
Vargas joins Arthur Acuna of Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas and Ananya Sahiba Dewan of North Las Vegas Northwest Career and Tech Academy.
The Nevada honorees will attend a ceremony with the others on June 23 to receive their medallion.
Kelly Gustafson, CHS’ Career and Technical Education health sciences teacher, said Vargas stands out in the program, according to a district release.
“Crystal is a shining star in our HOSA program,” Gustafson said. “She has served as our chapter secretary (in) ’17-18, as well as our vice president currently (in) ’18-19. I am excited about her future opportunities and what she will do after high school.”
Vargas is preparing for medical school and said she’s applying to the University of Nevada, Reno but will consider any medical school that will accept her. She has been studying for her Emergency Medical Technicians National Registry Skills test and will take the written test this summer and has volunteered and job shadowed with Carson-Tahoe Health for three years learning particular job skills to help her in her chosen field.
At Carson High, Vargas became the Medical Reserves Corps Partnership student leader as a junior under Gustafson’s direction. Vargas and her team took first place in the state at the HOSA State Leadership Conference last year and qualified to attend the 2018 International Leadership Conference. The Carson team placed 10th in the nation.
This year, the school’s team took second in Nevada and will attend the international competition in Orlando next month.
Vargas, who grew up in Carson, said the honor was “overwhelming.”
“I think it was pretty cool being Hispanic, a minority, and being given the opportunity to represent Hispanics as hardworking people because oftentimes, people think we’re just some lazy people that don’t try hard, and I want to present not only women but Hispanics in the field of medicine and getting this is only helping me to do that.”