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Ella Clancy

1085

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Finalist

Bio

I am the youngest of three children in my family. Both of my brothers are attending college at the same time as I am. I am the child of a first-generation Cuban-Mexican-American; my Abuela escaped the Castro regime in Cuba and my Abuelo grew up in an orphanage, but they became an architect and a lawyer respectively. Thus, my family values achieving success despite hardships— a phoenix moment, if you will. I volunteer and intern as a raptor (birds of prey) caretaker and handler three days a week and am heading a project to study their behavior. I have been a nationally (and internationally) ranked synchronized swimmer for ten years and now having my lifeguard certification and coaching certification, I work as a synchronized swimming coach for ages 6-17.

Education

Sage Creek High School

High School
2021 - 2024

Arizona Virtual Academy

High School
2020 - 2021

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Psychology, General
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Research

    • Dream career goals:

    • Coach for Novices, Intermediates, 12-and-unders, and 13-15s.

      San Diegito Sea Dragons
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Intern Raptor Caretaker and Handler

      Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundatiom
      2022 – Present2 years

    Sports

    Taekwondo

    Club
    2011 – Present13 years

    Awards

    • 1st abd 2nd Degree Black Belt

    Synchronized Swimming

    Club
    2014 – Present10 years

    Awards

    • Third place in duet at the Pan-American Games in 2021
    • Fifth place in team at the Junior Olympics in 2019
    • Finalist in Solo at the Junior Olympics in 2019
    • Finalist in duet at the Junior Olympics in 2019
    • Finalist in team at the Junior Olympics in 2018
    • Finalist in duet at the Junior Olympics in 2018

    Research

    • Behavioral Sciences

      Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation — Head of study, organizer, executioner, and data collector
      2023 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation — Caretaker
      2022 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Student Life Photography Scholarship
    Linda Kay Monroe Whelan Memorial Education Scholarship
    In my internship as a Raptor Caretaker at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation (AHLF)— an organization that works to educate people about the importance of conservation and protect the local lagoon environment and native wildlife in this unique watershed— I feed, handle, and clean up after two owls and two falcons who, due to injuries, are unable to survive in the wild. AHLF's Raptor Ridge houses birds of prey who, unable to survive in the wild, are unreleasable: Blue, an American kestrel, who imprinted on humans and thus doesn’t have the necessary survival instincts; Celerity, a peregrine falcon, whose previously broken wing can’t withstand the pressure from the high-speed dives her species famously uses to hunt; Tecolote, a blind western screech owl; and Who, an imprinted, half-blind great horned owl. I am leading a raptor enrichment project designed to mentally stimulate our raptors. This includes constructing, implementing, supervising, and recording enrichment activities. First, I assemble various enrichments— newspaper constructions for shredding, cardboard puzzles, or interesting new food such as hard-boiled eggs and cow hooves, for example. Next, I introduce these items into the enclosure and record the raptors’ responses. These engaging activities improve the raptors’ quality of life while providing AHLF with information about each raptor’s behaviors and preferences. This study focuses on enrichment in the form of food and toys due to AHLF’s limited resources, however, the categories of food and toy enrichment are diverse within themselves for each study subject. Through this work, I am not only enriching the lives of these four raptors, but I am also furthering our knowledge at AHLF and improving our raptor program. AHLF sees nearly 20,000 visitors every year, both locals and tourists who visit Carlsbad from all over the United States and even abroad. We offer raptor presentations every Wednesday evening and a "Falcon Feeding Friday" presentation to the public every week. Nearly every day I work, while in the enclosures, I talk to visitors watching what I am doing. I tell them what I’m doing and why. They are fascinated and ask questions and every volunteer shift I do is a teaching opportunity. Thousands of people are educated about raptors through our outreach every year and I am not only helping sustain our “raptor ambassadors'' at AHLF, but I am also helping this organization improve its programs that impact my community in north San Diego and beyond. Moreover, the majority of our visitors are children visiting with their parents or caretakers. By educating the young people, I am helping to train the next generation of our Earth’s caretakers. I’m helping AHLF in its mission to protect, preserve, and maintain this precious watershed for generations to come. Accordingly, my chosen major is biology. I am fascinated and intrigued by the prospect of making advancements in the understanding of our natural world and its processes. It is a varied and highly detailed field of study, and it is partially the prospect of always having something more to learn that attracts me to it. I hope to continue studying biology and protecting the lives of the Earth's incredible wildlife.