Presenting Cara Ta & Ryan Sanchez
Ryan grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the middle of three boys, ages 16, 18 and 20. He loved math growing up and competed in the Math Olympiad Team which enabled him to skip to a high school level Honors Algebra I at the 7th grade. Ryan started rock climbing at the age of 8. After realizing his love for it, he started climbing competitively and has ranked top 50 in the nation several times.
Ryan is passionate about school leadership and mentoring others. Over the past few years, he has been a member of Best Buddies, a high school chapter of an international organization that fosters inclusiveness and a culture of acceptance. He has not only been paired with a “buddy” with special needs but he has served as Treasurer and Vice-President of the organization. Ryan has been an active member of Speech and Debate and has mentored younger team members for the past three years. He is currently the Captain of Public Forum and Big Questions. Ryan also mentors younger team members on his climbing team and tutors students in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Precalculus, Calculus, and the SAT. In his spare time, he volunteers for his community reading to children at the local elementary school in the Athlete Reading Program, raising money for Juvenile Diabetes and University of New Mexico Cancer Fund, packaging food for Roadrunner Food Bank and moving furniture for SARANAM, a local shelter for homeless families.
Ryan said, “I am so grateful for this scholarship and cannot express how much of a difference this will make in my life as I continue my education. I plan on furthering my education and pursue a PhD in nuclear engineering. I have been blessed and was one of the lucky few with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension who was able to reach remission, which I view as an opportunity for me to give back to my community. My parents had to fight incessantly to get me the medical help I needed through the years and perhaps that is where I got my fighting spirit from.
I appreciate the work that the Law Offices of Scott Glovsky does to advocate for health insurance/medical necessity denials and hope to see others follow.
“Thank you so much for this award! I am so honored that you selected me for the scholarship! I am pursuing a nuclear engineering degree and am currently deciding which college to go to further my education. I want to broaden my horizons and attend school out of state and this will be applied to endeavor! I have been through a lot but am blessed that I have the opportunity to have some amazing physicians and parents who have advocated for me along the way. Again, thank you for the opportunity.”
Ryan’s Winning Essay
There are moments in our life that can either define us or shape us into who we are. Mine was when I was 7 years old and started having daily severe headaches. They kept me up at night and in the nurse’s office at school. It took the physicians a couple of weeks to diagnose me with Intracranial Hypertension, or IH. This is a rare brain disease that mimics a brain tumor. It causes excruciating headaches and ringing in the ears. My spinal fluid was not draining properly, and I was at risk for losing my eye site. I was immediately hospitalized and spinal taps became the new normal for me. I have had over twenty of them since the age of 7.
I started the course over the next four years of repeated hospitalizations, spinal taps and trips to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. I was on strong diuretics and ended up in and out of hospitals and made my siblings miss many family vacations. We were packed one night to go to the Great Wolf Lodge in Dallas, Texas for Spring Break with my cousins. I remember waking up in the hospital the next day asking my mom if we were at the hotel? She had to break it to me that I was sick again and in the hospital. I did not even remember passing out the night before and being rushed to the hospital. I had optic nerve sheathe fenestration surgery to save my eyesight and brain surgery to place a ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt. I lived in the Ronald McDonald House in Ohio that summer.
Most children with this disease are very sick and miss a lot of school or are homeschooled or do not do well. However, I made a conscious choice, Intracranial Hypertension was not going to define me. When kids at school asked what happened to my head, seeing my stitches, I said “I was bitten by a shark on vacation.” My Mom even got several calls about that one. I poured myself into math, and joined the Math Olympiad team and eventually moved ahead two grades in math. I joined a competitive rock-climbing team, Team Mojo, and started climbing and forgetting about any headaches or pain. Those years of my life were full of ups and downs. I only missed school if I was traveling for rock climbing or medical reasons. I have been in remission now for the last seven years. The physicians think I have outgrown the condition. I still have the shunt but am also a nationally ranked rock climber (often top 50 in the nation) who also enjoys weight lifting, skateboarding, fishing and rugby.
I am starting my senior year with a 4.7 GPA and am 4th out of 444 in my class. I plan on obtaining a PhD in Nuclear Engineering. I hope to use my math skills to do something positive for our nation and world. I was given a gift, a second chance almost. I fought through excruciating headaches and was able to get As in AP Calculous AB and BC by my Junior year. I need to use my skills positively, and possibly be a professor. I feel like I have grown so much from that sick little boy to a confident man who is ready to reach his academic and career goals. I would like to continue to volunteer for my community and mentor younger children in their academic/athletic pursuits like I have in rock climbing, tutoring, and my high school’s speech and debate team. I feel I have learned to be empathetic to others in a way that others might not experience. I have been the sick child with the IV who had his room redecorated because he has been through so much. However, I have also been the one volunteer spending hours to help move furniture for homeless families up three flights of stairs. I have spent 6 hours running a silent auction to help raise money for Juvenile Diabetes. I have also been the one raising money and running a 5K to help find a cure for cancer. I have such a passion for life because I have fought so hard to live mine to the fullest. I hope others can learn from me to not give up. Even when life throws something at you so awful, keep that fighting spirt. Be resilient, put your energy into something else. You may be surprised how blessed you can be and how much you can pay it forward to others. I would say my illness did not define who I am. Instead, it is a small part of me. The tubing that I still have is just a small reminder of how far I have come and how far I have to go!
Meet Winner Cara Ta
A native of Orange County, California, Cara is a graduate of Stanford and Yale University where she received degrees in International Relations and Global Affairs respectively. She is currently a law student at the University of California, Berkeley.
Cara is passionate about issues of international security, and has dedicated her academic and professional career to issues relating to counterterrorism. In the past, she has worked at the United Nations, the Department of State, and the University of Oxford. She also considers public service to be a cornerstone of her life, and has worked extensively in her community at the Los Angeles Superior Court teaching pro se litigants how to navigate the legal process on topics related to family law. In her legal career, Cara hopes to continue to work across the nonprofit and government ecosystem in order to better provide accessible legal services to the public.
Cara said, “I am incredibly grateful for this scholarship and I cannot begin to convey how much of a difference this scholarship will make in my educational career as I work towards a legal career grounded in public policy and public service. I so appreciate the work that Law Offices of Scott Glovsky does to serve our community and I am thankful for the part they will play in my academic and professional journey.”