Davidson Academy student earns prestigious honor

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 4:33 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - She beat out millions of applicants across the country, hundreds in Nevada, to be selected as a 2022 Presidential Scholar. And just last week she was recognized by Governor Steve Sisolak.

Julia Schneider, a Davidson Academy, class of 2022 graduate is just one of 161 high school seniors in the country to have that title. It’s an honor that did not come without sacrifice.

“It was quite a pivotal moment in my education because I was living overseas and we returned to Nevada so I could finish high school in a place that would give me enough opportunities that I could pursue in STEM,” said Schneider.

It was a decision that forced her family to split, leaving her father overseas while she and her mom and brother moved to Reno.

“That intense personal experience really for me triggered the desire to do exceptionally well to make my parents sacrifice worth something,” adds Schneider.

That was two years ago. She’s since made good on her promise, diving right in to continuing working towards her passion of computer science and robotics.

“When i came here I was able to take 400 level classes at UNR,” Schneider said.

She is working in a UNR robotics research laboratory conducting her own original research which led to her developing an interest in coding.

“I pursued that by self studying online resources, teaching myself how to code in three different languages and build apps and program robots. But all of that was a self exploration,” she said.

From coding to community - being a third culture kid, Julia developed a global awareness early on in life finding a way to marry her skills and passions by creating an award-winning app that connects volunteers, non-profits and educational institutions to streamline the volunteering process.

As for what’s next? Julia will continue pursuing her passion at MIT in the fall majoring in artificial intelligence and decision making. And of course, she’s taking the time to bask in her much-deserved recognition.

“I shouted when I saw the U.S. Presidential Scholars because it means so much to me, because the award is really I think an example of how I approach my education and why I like computer science. It’s not just for academic excellence but actually applying that to problems in your community and using all that academic excellence to actually amount to something that benefits the people around you and allows you to identify a problem and then become a positive force to change.”

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