Suzy Megyery, 17, Lakewood High School

Summer to remember: Spent several weeks at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, N.M., with academically gifted high school students from across the country as part of a summer science program. By day, she took college-level astronomy, calculus and physics. Was on a three-member team at night that tracked an asteroid for four weeks. Work involved making observations through a high-powered telescope, calculating precise measurements and writing computer software to convert measurements into a mathematical description of the asteroid’s orbit.

Part of a dream: Has wanted to be part of the national space program since second grade. Remembers thinking: “The greatest thing I could (learn about) is the universe. Look at the night sky. There is nothing better.”

Grueling and rewarding: Spent more than 80 straight hours during summer science program writing the computer program to calculate orbital elements of their asteroid. Now applying at some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities, including schools renowned for technology research, such as MIT and Caltech. Of 56 alumni of her summer science program in 2002 and 2003, 16 attend Ivy League colleges, five each are at Stanford and MIT. Others attend Caltech, University of California at Berkley, University of Chicago, Duke and Vassar.

Ambition: Hopes to earn a doctorate while studying mechanical and aeronautical engineering as well as astronautics. “I love NASA.”

Friends helped: Thankful to friends, especially fellow LHS senior Karissa Lee, who helped raise money for her to attend the summer science program. Fund-raisers included car washes and a giant garage sale. Friends support her passion, even though they don’t always follow all the details. “(Karissa) thinks I’m nuts.”

Quick learners: Parents came to America as refugees from Hungary in 1987 with “two bags, one suitcase, $500 and no English.” Her father, Alex, found work within three days. Suzy didn’t start learning English until elementary school.

Fringe benefit: Dad runs Northwest Eurosport Services Inc. from the family home and has good connections. Was able to get daughter a Mercedes with 30,000 miles for “real cheap.”

Making music Plays flute and piccolo and took up bass trombone this year. Has been in several school bands, Everett Youth Symphony and Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Orchestra in Seattle. Has competed at national level and hopes to be part of a national honor band touring Europe next summer. Gives lessons on flute and piccolo to earn money.

Hard worker: Took year of Russian at Everett Community College last year. Taking a rigorous course load at Lakewood High during the day and computer programming at EvCC at night.

Just for fun: Enjoys tennis, engines, fencing, hackey sack, ultimate Frisbee and lifting weights.

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