Melody Dias

Melody Dias

Voorhees Township, NJ, USA


Last updated December 31, 2020

One Sentence About Me  

“Ambition is enthusiasm with a purpose.” —Frank Tyger

Photos  1

Who I Am  

A Little About Me

I am a prospective neuroscience scholar with experience in the advocacy and advancement of cultural diversity within government municipalities. Within the upcoming year, I will become the first-ever high school student to be an intern at a Virtua surgical department with experienced surgeon Dr. Strauss. Currently, I am involved with thirteen extracurricular activities and have high leadership positions in over five of them. After attending college, I will be furthering my education in medical school, followed by an orthopedic surgical residency. I accepted the offer to join the Gifted and Talented program at my high school for one reason: it was a prerequisite to participate in Model United Nations. I was determined to be the secretary-general my senior year; and, the only pathway was to enroll in that class. Mrs. Palmer, the GT teacher, hand-selected thirty students from her class to join this elite group. As a freshman, I was chosen for the team, and at my first conference, I won an Honorable Mention. My infatuation with the club grew exponentially from there. I went to every conference possible my freshman year and won a different award each time. I also made friends who challenged me to create better resolutions and encouraged me to find inventive solutions to global problems. Despite being a club built on a foundation of diversity and problem solving, the majority of Eastern students would never have the opportunity to participate in MUN because they were not in the Gifted and Talented class. The selection process for the class and the team was subjective, and that reduced the diversity of the students in the club. That seemed unfair to me. Throughout my sophomore year, I pleaded with Mrs. Palmer to eliminate the GT program as a prerequisite. She declined each time, stating that it was part of the GT curriculum and that only GT students were qualified. Therefore, I made the decision to unenroll in her class and argue that I, nevertheless, was capable and qualified. At the start of my junior year, I didn’t fully understand the nature of the challenge that I had embraced. First, I met with the vice-principal. After laying out my case, he was sympathetic but unauthorized to make the change. Then I met with the principal, who agreed with my position, but was also unable to enact a change. Finally, I went to the superintendent. In November of 2019, I found myself sitting across from Mr. Cloutier, the superintendent of my school, armed with a two-inch binder crammed full of information, in the formal conference room. He told me that he agreed with me in principle, but that the issue was also a budgetary one, and that he didn’t see how we could carve MUN out of the GT curriculum and not lose the funding for the MUN program. This was a new and unanticipated roadblock, but I was determined to find a solution. After an hour of brainstorming, like a MUN conference, I convinced him that anyone taking any Social Studies course should fulfill the prerequisite. Further, this would allow the funding to be transferred from the GT program to the Social Studies department with a net-zero effect on the total budget. He agreed. In February of 2020, the plan went in front of and was approved by the Board of Education. At each step along the way from the vice principal to the principal to the superintendent, I was offered the option to immediately re-enroll in GT and rejoin the MUN team. However, I declined, knowing that I had to demonstrate that qualifications should not be based on the arbitrary GT class, but on ability, maturity, and talent. Model UN changed my life and I wanted to give that opportunity to as many people as possible. Ironically, the skills that I learned and honed in MUN were the same skills that helped me navigate the process and successfully present my case even though I had to give up the GT class that I liked. Although I can never finish the course, nor can I attend another MUN conference for the remainder of my high school career due to Covid, I am sure that opening the MUN club and team to the entire diverse student body was worth the sacrifice.

Interesting Factoid

I challenged my school board to expand the prerequisites for the Model United Nations club at my school to include greater. diversity and won.


Languages

enlgish
some spanish
some german
some hebrew
some latin

Countries Visited

Map View

mexico
china
indonesia
israel
jamaica

What I Stand For  

Social Causes

Climate Change
Mental Health
Feminism
Equal healthcare


Volunteer Experience

Voorhees Pediatric Facility

Voorhees Township, NJ, USA

Nov 2019 - Present
For three hours every week, I visit with six terminally ill patients in the Voorhees Pediatric Facility. I sign in, grab a nametag, and then check the children’s log to see if any of my patients are sick or occupied with a special activity for the day, like a field trip. Then, I visit each patient for half an hour and complete an engaging activity of their choice with them. My patients are from the ages of two to twenty-two years old and the activities they prefer vary as much as their age. Several patients enjoy reading a book, the most popular request is Disney’s Storybook Collection, others enjoy playing video games, and some of the older patients just want to talk. Last Christmas, instead of joining my family for our usual cocoa and trip to the movie theater, I spent hours unwrapping presents and celebrating with all of the children of the Voorhees Pediatric Facility. Although it is not required, I join my patients for every holiday that I can, from Valentine's Day to Thanksgiving. Due to the coronavirus, no volunteers are allowed to be in the building physically and because staff is limited, I can only Skype two of my patients per week, but I always make sure to see them on birthdays and holidays

Camden County Library

Camden, NJ, USA

Nov 2020 - Present
I complete any activity that the library needs to either expand its current collection of knowledge or serve the local children through education.

Favorites  

Hobbies

tennis
playing piano
baking
singing
hiking

Food & Drinks

sushi
sprite
Japanese strawberry soda
green tea lattes
frozen hot chocolate
matzo ball soup

Games

minecraft
stack the states

Music Genres, Groups & Artists

pop
country
frank ocean
AJR
Taylor Swift
Dan & Shay

Sports, Teams, Athletes

Tennis

Colts

Maria sharapova

Movies, TV Shows, Actors & Actresses

Marvel
Klaus

Criminal Minds
Phineas and Ferb
A:TLA

Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Tom Holland
Jennifer Garner
Lily Collins

Brands

Disney
Amazon

Bucket List  

Doctor

Become a surgeon

Travel

I want to go to Iceland and see the Northern Lights.
+2 more items on bucket list

Education  

School

University of Chicago

B.S. – Bachelor of Science, Neuroscience