Abington junior receives National Women’s History Month Student Spotlight, Upper Moreland senior receives Student Spotlight, UPenn’s Perry Initiative spot

Eastern Center for Arts and Technology in Willow Grove recently highlighted two local high school students.

Lucy Magola, Abington Senior High School

Lucy Magola, a junior enrolled in Eastern’s Welding Technology program, has been highlighted on behalf of National Women’s History Month.

From Eastern’s announcement:

In tenth grade, Lucy visited EASTERN at the suggestion of her mother who wanted her to start thinking about future career paths. To her surprise, Welding Technology captured Lucy’s attention like nothing else. Despite initial concerns from her mother about the safety of welding, Lucy’s passion only grew. “Mrs. Cicchino, our instructor, has a knack for breaking down complex concepts,” Lucy shared. “She encourages us to practice until we’re confident. My mom sees that now and is happy I have found something I can build a future on.”

When Lucy reflects on National Women’s History Month, she sees it as a time to celebrate women’s achievements and acknowledge their invaluable contributions to society and the workforce. “For instance, many women possess a great eye for detail and intricacies, qualities that can lead them to excel in welding,” Lucy remarked. “I envision a future where everyone, regardless of background or experience, works together in all skilled trades, normalizing diversity and inclusivity.”

At EASTERN, Lucy serves as a student ambassador for the Welding Technology program, dedicating her time to offering demonstrations and sharing her student perspective during recruitment events like Career Expo and Open House. These events welcome potential students and their families, as well as members of the community, to explore EASTERN’s programs. As a first-year student in the program, Lucy is still exploring the myriad of opportunities within the welding field, with a particular interest in union membership. She is eyeing unions like the Iron Workers or Boilermakers, recognizing the diverse career paths they offer.

“Each union has its specialties,” Lucy explained. “Some focus on welding pipes in nuclear power plants, while others offer chances to work on ships. Job security is a big draw too.”

Lucy is inspired by the boundless possibilities her future holds. She actively seeks opportunities to engage with professionals currently working in the welding field, eager to learn from their experiences. The prospect of substantial earnings as a welder also motivates her. Lucy believes that maintaining a positive attitude and a steadfast commitment to her craft are the keys to her success.

Claire Zabalou, Upper Moreland High School

Claire Zabalou, a senior enrolled in Eastern’s Allied Health program, received a Student Spotlight for recently securing a spot in the prestigious Perry Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.

The program is intended to inspire young women to be leaders in Orthopedic Surgery and Engineering by partnering with medical centers, universities, and high schools nationwide.

From Eastern’s announcement:

On Saturday, March 16, 2024, Claire and a fellow student from EASTERN’s Allied Health program delved into an exciting journey at the Perry Outreach Program. This exclusive, one-day event immerses participants in hands-on surgery modules and provides invaluable mentorship from trailblazing women surgeons and engineers. With only 40 students chosen to participate, Claire seized the extraordinary opportunity to expand her horizons. The highlight of her day was suturing pig skin—an experience that not only taught her various surgical stitches but also ignited her passion for the medical field.

Claire’s path to a medical career was deeply influenced by a personal tragedy in fifth grade when a school friend succumbed to pediatric cancer. This event profoundly impacted Claire, steering her thoughts toward a future in healthcare. As she matured, her aptitude for math and science became evident, further solidifying her career aspirations. “Allied Health is equipping me with the foundational skills essential for any healthcare profession,” Claire remarked gratefully. When Mrs. Allison Latzo, her instructor, introduced her to the Perry Initiative, Claire seized the opportunity, recognizing it as a chance to explore new horizons.

At EASTERN, Claire serves as the School-Wide Secretary for SkillsUSA, the school’s student leadership organization. She recently clinched first place in the district Nursing Assistant competition, earning her a spot in the state-level competition in April. At Upper Moreland High School, Claire contributes to Mini-thon, a group dedicated to fundraising for pediatric cancer. Additionally, she displays her athleticism on the varsity track and soccer teams, demonstrating her commitment to both academic and extracurricular excellence.

Claire is currently in the process of finalizing her college choices, with a focus on majoring in Biology. Through EASTERN’s dual credit partnership with Montgomery County Community College, she will graduate from Allied Health having earned six transferable college credits. Through Allied Health, she has also earned import certifications such as First Aid and Stop the Bleed. Her ambitious career goal is to become a Neurosurgeon.

Reflecting on her experience at the Perry Initiative, Claire shared, “We discovered that you could pursue both an MD and a PhD. I don’t want to compromise between surgery and research.” Her plan involves three years of medical school followed by a fourth year dedicated to completing her doctorate, a path that integrates her passions seamlessly.

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Photos: Eastern