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Aviation, cybersecurity ahead for Academic All-State 2024 Central students | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Aria Volz

Martensdale-St. Marys

ACT score: 30

Class rank: 1/49

GPA: 4.095

College: Iowa Lakes Community College

Major: Aviation

Aria Volz

Aria Volz

What challenges have shaped you, and how? I have been programming and building robots ever since I was 7 years old. Because of my passion for it, I went from participating in camps to teaching them. I am also a part of a robotics team, and our goal was to spread STEM to underserved and underrepresented kids. I created an initiative called STEM For All where my team and I teach STEM camps to kids. We provide the computers, robots, and curriculum; all the students need to do is show up. We have taught over 100 camps and have reached over 1,000 students. Teaching these camps has taught me how to teach and integrate new ideas into my projects.

My favorite place in Iowa: About 2,500 feet up in the air at sunset flying over Des Moines.

ACADEMIC ALL-STATE 2024: Top 10 statewide | Full list | Northwest | Northeast | Central | Southwest | Southeast

Raghav Sureshbabu

West Des Moines Valley

ACT score: 33

GPA: 4.350

College: Duke University

College major: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Raghav SureshbabuRaghav Sureshbabu

Raghav Sureshbabu

What are your life goals? After I get my electrical and computer degree from Duke University, my plan is to join the United States Air Force and serve our country by becoming a cyber warrior in the cyberspace field. After my service, my three potential career pathways include becoming a professor at a university, working in tech related to environmental sustainability, or going into the FBI and continuing my cybersecurity career.

What challenges have shaped you, and how? I have always had trouble performing in front of an audience because of anxiety and fear of judgment. I got a job as a basketball referee during my junior year. Turns out, second-grade parents were much scarier than I imagined. Over the course of multiple remarks, backlash, and criticism, I slowly learned to work and thrive under pressure and to become authoritative when needed.

My favorite place in Iowa: The Chick-Fil-A on University.

Jacques Attinger


SAT score: 1560

Class rank: 1/345

GPA: 4.000

College: University of Chicago

College major: Physics

Jacques AttingerJacques Attinger

Jacques Attinger

What are your life goals? Currently, I plan to study physics and eventually pursue a Ph.D. in a STEM field. I hope to conduct physics research someday or develop advanced technologies to address significant issues, such as the energy crisis.

What challenges have shaped you, and how? In 10th grade, I spent a year attending school in Hong Kong due to family circumstances. As someone who’d lived in the same town since kindergarten, I was unprepared for the struggles of starting at a new school. I quickly discovered that participating in activities and getting to know people outside of school was immensely helpful. Most importantly, I learned the value of being proactive and seeking out opportunities. I returned to Ames highly motivated and looked for ways to create opportunities for others in addition to myself. That fall, I started the Ames High School Math Club and volunteered as a reading tutor with Raising Readers in Story County.

Caroline Throener


ACT score: 34

GPA: 4.370

College: University of Pittsburgh

College major: Bioengineering

Caroline ThroenerCaroline Throener

Caroline Throener

What are your life goals? I hope to become a prosthetist and participate in research that further integrates the human nervous system with the electronic wiring of prosthetic limbs.

What challenges have shaped you, and how? Throughout high school, I’ve run into many challenges related to my being a woman with a deep interest in STEM. I struggled to fit in on my robotics team and was often one of the only girls in my engineering classes. I sometimes found myself alone and feeling as if I was on the outside. My passion for STEM held me up through the process and I have learned to embrace the fact that I am a new and unique perspective in my field. I have accepted that although I might not always fit in with my STEM peers, I am still welcome in the field.

My favorite place in Iowa: Snookies Malt Shop.

My day is not complete until I … hang out with my dog.

Daisy Covarrubias Andrade


Class rank: 2/315

GPA: 3.983

College: Marshalltown Community College then University of Iowa

College major: Nursing

Daisy Covarrubias AndradeDaisy Covarrubias Andrade

Daisy Covarrubias Andrade

What challenges have shaped you, and how? A challenge that remains prevalent throughout my educational journey is being a first-generation student. While my parents have never failed to support and encourage me every step of the way, much of the path towards obtaining a higher education was one I’ve had to discover myself. My parents connected me with people who could assist me in reaching my goals. It still didn’t take away from the fact that I would have to take each step of the process with an unsteady foot into the unknown. This journey has led me to understand the importance of determination, resilience, being an advocate for myself, having the courage to step out of my comfort zone, but the most important skill of all — to never give up. I will always be entirely grateful for my parents for their constant support, and for believing in me even when I couldn’t believe in myself.

ACADEMIC ALL-STATE 2024: Top 10 statewide | Full list | Northwest | Northeast | Central | Southwest | Southeast

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Register’s Academic All-State 2024: Central region honorees


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