The future’s so bright; Some Nevada County graduates choose prestigious schools |

The future’s so bright; Some Nevada County graduates choose prestigious schools

Jennifer Nobles
Staff Writer
After earning entry to Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, Nevada Union graduate Andrea Beltran is headed to Harvard.
Submitted photo

Nevada County is well-known among locals to be a special place.

Looking at some of the achievements by former and current residents, it’s sometimes hard to believe so much talent could be generated by such a small community.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the future plans of some of the recent graduates of Nevada Union and Ghidotti high schools. These talented young academics are setting the course for destinations far and wide, their sights set on lofty goals and continued success.

Nevada Union’s Andrea Beltran will be heading east this fall, where she will be a student at the prestigious Harvard University.

Beltran had been accepted to Harvard, Princeton and Stanford and ultimately went with the Boston-area university where she plans on concentrating on Biomedical Engineering. She’ll participate in a number of campus groups including Latinas Unidas, Harvard Christian Faith and Action, and Society of Women Engineers.

She will also fuel her love for athletics by joining Harvard’s basketball and volleyball teams.

“It ultimately came down to what school I felt I would have the most fulfilling experience at,” Beltran said of her decision to attend Harvard. “(and) the immense feeling of accomplishment I remember getting as I looked up at the John Harvard statue.”

While Beltran heads east, Ghidotti Early College High School graduate Kaia Smith will attend Scripps College, a private women’s college in Southern California. Her plan is to major in physics, and she will be joining the Awesome Ladies of Physics and Astronomy club on campus. She said she would like to audition for an a capella group, and has already applied to a Summer Science Immersion program at Keck Science.

Smith said she was impressed by all that Scripps has to offer.

“I was impressed by the supportiveness, the research opportunities, and the number of women interested in physics and engineering,” Smith said. “At Scripps, I will also have the ability to take classes at and use the facilities of Pomona and Harvey Mudd Colleges.”

Also remaining in California is Nevada Union’s Grace Suenram, who will begin her college career at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. She said she will likely major in Mechanical Engineering and minor in Aerospace Engineering and History.

Suenram also plans on being a part of Caltech Ballet Club and Caltech’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers. She said that the school’s size especially appealed to her.

“I chose Caltech because of their amazing academics, school culture and small size,” Suenram said. “I loved growing up in a small town and Caltech’s 1,000 undergrads really give that feeling within a metropolis such as Los Angeles.”

Morgan Marguiles spent his senior year as the student representative to the Nevada Joint Union High School District board of supervisors. Come fall, he will be packing his bags for New York City, specifically Columbia University.

Marguiles will major in economics and political science and minor in mathematics. He’s hoping to join the group Columbia Democrats and will be helping the school’s debate team. For fun, he will also join Columbia’s Ultimate Frisbee team.

The decision to attend Columbia stemmed from the academic success in his major, the class sizes and the location.

“Columbia ranks within the top three schools in America for political science, he said, “and has notable alums like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Alexander Hamilton and Barack Obama.”

“Don’t get me wrong, New York is scary and smells bad (but the) opportunity to expand past what’s comfortable is what I chose.”

To pursue her major in political science, Nevada Union’s Xochitl Husted will attend Pitzer College in Southern California. Husted follows in the footsteps of her father who is an alum of the school which is located in Claremont.

“I chose this school because of the liberal arts aspect,” said Husted, “because I know the students are like-minded and motivated, and because Claremont is like another home town to me. (I’ve) been visiting Claremont since I was out of the womb.”

These young men and women represent the potential that can be found in local schools.

Beltran may have said it best: “We have worked very hard, and this class was definitely an impressive one.”

Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at or 530-477-4231.

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