2013 National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation Len Assante Scholarship Fund Award winner Alexandra Iezzi now recognizes the pivotal moment when she decided to pursue science, even if she didn’t realize it at the time.
“In the sixth grade, we were learning about plate tectonics. I was interested in it. Then one day in the winter my brother started moving sheets of ice around,” she said. Presto! With that visual, it clicked in her mind “that sort of thing really happens.” She was bitten by the science bug. By high school, Iezzi was in the Future Problem Solving Program International—a competition that requires students to think critically to solve complex problems. Individual competitors had to address a future issue and solve 16 associated problems.
In 2010, she finished first in Connecticut on the topic of food production…and she was just getting warmed up. When the dust cleared at the international competition, she placed third from among competitors in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Portugal, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, Great Britain, Turkey, India, and the United States. Her issue was green living.
Asked what she gained from the experience, she let down her academic hair a bit and laughed, “Bragging rights and a big trophy.”It wasn’t until college that water became a central focus, thanks to Iezzi’s academic adviser. “He’s kind of pushing me in that direction. This summer I’m going to be working with him, and I’m really looking forward to it,” said the Connecticut College geophysics major. She’s not yet sure about her long-term career aspirations, but she won’t likely be aiming low. “I’m going to be doing a lot of research and get at least one Ph.D. When you get into fields like hydrogeology you have to be pretty well versed to get anywhere,” she stated.There’s more than academics to Iezzi. She also is part of a 12-woman a cappella group at Connecticut College called Miss Conduct. There’s also a rough-and-tumble side to her, too. Her high school love of soccer has morphed into a love of rugby in college. “It’s a little rough,” she concedes, “but it’s a big, team-bonding experience. Your safety is in the hands of the whole team. I really enjoy that.”
For all the memorable experiences she’s had already, it says a lot about Iezzi that one of the most memorable wasn’t even about her. Her 22-year-old brother, who has overcome many challenges in his life, graduated from SUNY Maritime College on May 10. “To see him graduate from maritime college with a bunch of certifications is the proudest moment of my life,” she said.Read more about the NGWREF Len Assante Scholarship Fund and how you can make a donation to help kids like Iezzi achieve their dreams.
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