Boca Raton valedictorian wants to design affordable medical devices


MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR: Michelle Silver, 18

Head-shaving isn’t the typical legacy left behind by a valedictorian.

But in the case of Boca Raton High’s Michelle Silver, that’s exactly what she’s most proud of in her four years.

The 18-year-old co-founded an annual St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event at Boca High to raise money for and awareness of childhood cancer research.

“With the help of classmates and administration, we have raised over $8,000 and shaved 40 heads for the St. Baldrick’s foundation, and have created an annual event for students to continue for years to come,” said Silver, of Boca Raton.

Silver’s 4.0 grade point average and cumulative HPA of 5.7193 vaulted her to valedictorian out of 850 students at Boca High. She also accrued more than 750 service hours and 453 academic honors and recognitions.

She’s still waiting to hear from four schools (University of Pennsylvania, Duke, Vanderbilt, and Yale), but as of now, she plans to attend the United States Naval Academy and major in biomedical engineering.

While in college, she plans to challenge herself by taking a rigorous course-load while engaging in independent research in the field of neuroprosthetics.

Her passion for biomedical engineering stems from the 5,000-word research paper she wrote junior year through the AP Capstone Research course.

“Throughout the year, I read and analyzed scientific journals and studies on neuroprosthetics,” Silver said. “From this research, it became evident to me that amputees will soon be able to efficiently and effectively use a prosthetic controlled by their brain.”

Following her undergraduate degree, she intends to pursue an MD-PhD. Ultimately, her goal is to design affordable and accessible medical devices for people across the world.

She’s also proud to have led the varsity soccer team to the regional and state championships as a co-captain this past season.

The summer before her sophomore year, she tore her ACL in a college showcase. To recover, she underwent reconstructive ACL surgery.

“That school season for the varsity soccer team I trained on the side during practice and rooted from the bench during games, but I had no doubt I would soon return to the soccer field,” she said.

During her sophomore year, she volunteered as a coach for TOPSoccer, a community organization for children and young adults with special needs.

“This volunteer work unexpectedly changed the way I perceived the game,” Silver said. “The three seasons I have been a TOPSoccer coach have reinforced to me that I should never take my mental and physical abilities for granted and have strengthened my desire to help others.”

Silver credits “the unconditional love and support” from her parents, Natalie and Noah, with shaping who she is.

Q&A

Who is your hero?

Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale taught me a new definition of dedication and leadership that I strive to emulate in my life. I admire Stockdale’s ability to lead and inspire others in a time of crisis. As a prisoner of war, Stockdale created a system of communication and rules that gave the other POWs a sense of hope and strength to endure the torture. The ability to overcome and adapt to such extreme oppression to the extent that you can encourage others is honorable.

What is your favorite movie?

“The Sandlot.”

What are your hobbies, and what do you do to get away?

Play sports with friends, go to the beach, water ski, play soccer, stand up paddle board, read a book, cook or bake something interesting

What is your favorite book?

The “Harry Potter” series because it exemplified that good can overcome evil and allowed my imagination to stretch beyond my reality.



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