Wilbur Cross High School senior Maya Geradi started her science career under her kitchen table with materials she ordered online.
“It was the only area that wasn’t carpeted,” exclaimed when asked about the area that served as her unconventional, do-it-herself lab from her seventh grade to sophomore year of high school.
Little did she know it would lead her on the path to conducting groundbreaking work—at least for someone her age—and researching in Yale University’s science labs, where she’ll be enrolled in the fall. On a rainy Monday morning at Wilbur Cross High School, Geradi received an official citation from New Haven’s state delegation for her scientific accomplishments.
The event drew State Sen. Gary Winfield and State Rep. Robyn Porter as well as several Wilbur Cross High School administrators and many of Geradi’s high school science teachers.
Winfield said that he wants to “make sure students get recognized” for their accomplishments in the community and heralded Geradi’s decision to stay in New Haven for the next four years.
Geradi is undeniably a star student. As valedictorian with a sky-high 4.92-grade point average, she balanced a rigorous workload of six Advanced Placement (AP) courses last year alone, several college courses at Yale, and three independent studies courses, all while conducting research and pursuing ambitious science projects.
“She really comes alive [in science class],” AP Chemistry teacher Bernard Hulin said. According to Hulin, she is one of two seniors in the school to take all four AP science classes offered and performed “graduate level work” in chemistry. Impressed by Geradi’s work and ability to learn new concepts almost instantaneously, he invited her to be the teaching assistant for his class.
Geradi received all A’s in every science course throughout her time at Wilbur Cross High School and has been a recipient of numerous first place prizes since 2012 in the New Haven Science Fair and Connecticut State Science Fair, as well as prizes in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She also has received the H. Joseph Gerber Medal of Excellence.
“I’m really humbled and honored,” Geradi said upon receiving her award. She said her teachers were a “huge source of encouragement” and her “first source of inspiration for all [her] projects.”
These critically-acclaimed projects flow along her interest in chemistry and environmental engineering, with Geradi developing wastewater purification models and using Circadian genetics to increase crop yield.
Geradi isn’t just a science junkie. When she’s not developing a radiotracer that can help PET scans detect early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, she plays the flute in the school’s wind ensemble and marching band, where she also serves as the director’s assistant.
“I’m very happy and thankful,” Nary Sudarsan, Geradi’s father, said. He gave credit to Geradi’s middle school program for giving her a strong foundation in research pursuit by requiring all students to participate in “mandatory projects”, with “no exceptions.”
In the community, Geradi volunteers at Science Outreach Programs, which sparked her initial interest in science as a child. She said the Yale outreach program inspired her to pursue her dreams as a scientist and researcher and she looks forward being involved in the community initiative during her time at Yale.
Geradi has an exciting future ahead of her in the upcoming year, full of graduation gowns and freshman firsts. Whether it’s for novel research discoveries or distinguished honor awards, Geradi will be a name to remember in New Haven and beyond.
Click the Facebook Live video below to see Geradi’s in TEDxYale Student Speaker Competition earlier this year.