Name: Paola Berrios
High School: Georgia Cyber Academy
College (Current or Future): Georgia Institute of Technology / Georgia State
Major/Intended Major: Neuroscience
Financial Aid Program: Dual Enrollment
Paola Berrios has her sights on a medical career and has used the Dual Enrollment program to further that passion.
“I intend to attend medical school following my undergraduate graduation. By the time I'm thirty, I hope to be a neuro-oncologist,” said Berrios. “My own personal experiences in the field, as well as my (Dual Enrollment) classes, have fostered a love of neuro-oncology for me, and I hope to use both these factors to reach my utmost potential.”
Berrios’ personal experiences led to her being honored at the 2017 Georgia Student Government Association and Georgia National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) State Conference. She received the Georgia NTHS Outstanding Citizenship Award for starting a website, The Shoulder to Lean On Project. The site provides information for teenagers dealing with loved ones starting their fight against cancer. Berrios’ mother, Maria Maldonado, was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2015.
“By doing this project, I hope to keep others from having to go through this journey alone,” Berrios says on the web site. “No one’s alone in this world and it’s important that we remember that in our times of need.”
Berrios describes it as “nothing short of a blessing.” She initially heard about the program from her guidance counselor during ninth grade at Georgia Cyber Academy. She attended a Dual Enrollment informational event at Chattahoochee Technical College as a sophomore and began her first semester of dual enrollment as a junior.
“First and foremost, it has provided me with the opportunity to adjust to college life while getting ahead of the curve,” Berrios said. “I will be graduating high school with 35 college credits: a feat that I hope many other high schoolers will pursue in the near future. This has set me up to come into school this fall with plenty of college credits—something which will certainly beneﬁt me in the future.”
The benefit of starting college with completed class credits isn’t the only reason Berrios advises others to enroll in Dual Enrollment.
“My dual enrollment experience has allowed me to get a ﬁrst-hand college experience before many of my peers. The program is a fun and exciting way to prepare yourself for the world of professors, stricter deadlines, and college life.
“I wouldn't change my experience for the world and I hope you follow in my footsteps!”