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Providing low-income, disadvantaged high school students with the tools they need to prepare for college.

Inspired by her grandmother, who never had the opportunity to attend high school, Nakaya is a determined first-generation college student. Often feeling misunderstood by her extroverted family, she describes herself as the “funniest shy person you’ll ever meet.” With her aptitude for math, Nakaya has stepped up as a leader in the classroom, regularly tutoring her peers inside and outside of school. As a competitive Mathlete, Illinois State Scholar, and one of the top 75 high school students in the Thornton Township School District, she is poised and ready to dive head first into new challenges at Northwestern.

A passionate advocate for mental health, Nakaya hopes to implement education programs and access to services at all high schools in her district. Through her own battle with depression after the loss of a loved one to lung cancer, she has a first-hand understanding of the dangerous implications of students withdrawing from society and feeling isolated. Nakaya believes on campus assistance should be the highest priority; students desperately need established resources to rely on when struggling emotionally, psychologically, or socially.


  • National Honors Society, Secretary