Despite the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting her senior year, Shady Side Academy alumna Aaliya Aga '20 says she headed to Northeastern University prepared to succeed.
"SSA helped build my time management skills. I never felt overwhelmed with the increased coursework during my freshman year in college. Additionally, I noticed I was very comfortable with the level of writing and creativity expected in my writing classes. I had an increased drive to get to know my professors even with online learning," she says.
While at Shady Side, Aga was involved in the Service Learning Club, the softball team, student-alumni connect group and tutoring groups. During that time, she developed a passion for volunteering. During the summer of 2021, Aga worked as a volunteer in the SSA Alumni & Development office, creating an electronic filing system for historical foundation records that will aid in the overall impact Shady Side has in working with foundations for funding. Her work will be beneficial to the school for many years to come.
Aga also interned with Dr. Erika Forbes in the University of Pittsburgh's Affective Neuroscience and Developmental Psychopathology Lab in the summer of 2021. The lab focuses on the development of psychopathology during adolescence.
Aga said, "The experience has been interesting, especially learning about all the different tasks and processes each lab has. I have also done other projects ranging from shadowing MRI scans to piloting questionnaires for future studies."
A few of the lab projects Aga worked on this summer needed logos, so she enlisted the help of fellow Shady Side friends Xinrin (Nancy) Wang '21 and rising senior Jiayue (Angela) Xue to help design them.
"I have seen their ideas and they are great! I was happy that they got to work on this design [for the lab]," Aga says.
After college, Aga plans to enroll in medical school and ultimately have a career in the health care industry.
"I want to pursue a career in a health care practice that involves mental health and counseling. Specifically, I am interested in the idea of combined family medicine and psychiatry practices, and I hope to go into that field myself."
The Shady Side Academy Alumni & Development Office would like to thank Aaliya for her work and collaboration this summer. Good luck at Northeastern University this fall!