What do you do when you can’t decide if medicine or law is the right career path, because you have the talent for both? If you’re the November Student of the Month, junior Shira Cohen, you jump in with both feet, with eyes open and dive into each. Debate Club and Model Congress versus Medical Minds and Medical Explorers. It’s a juggling act for sure, but Shira is up for the challenge of trying it all and doing it well.
“Doing” is the key word. Shira is a “doer” who is self-motivated, hardworking, loves learning just about anything and isn’t afraid of a little competition with herself to see how far she can go. She will surprise you with her forcefulness that is belied in her soft-spoken voice. A perfect example is her performance in Mr. Miles’ Town Hall video. Shira had the assignment of taking one side of the current election and not only defending her position but being so convincing that her powers of persuasion could sway anyone to her side. This is the goal of a great attorney – zealous representation. This was Shira’s goal.
On the “legal” side of things, Shira is a four-year veteran of the Debate Club and was the only freshman when she started. In addition, she’s participated in both Penn and Yale Model Congress and Mock Trial. On the “medical” side, she was a member of Medical Minds and Medical Explorers and won Honorable Mention in the Long Island Science Competition (LISC) for her research project on how light frequencies affect Planaria. She has also been a peer tutor in biology and chemistry.
Shira enjoys branching out in other NSHAHS co-curriculars that inspire her including being Treasurer of Investment Club (an interview-only position enabling her to converse more with her dad about business), head of the Creative Writing Club and a head writer of North Shore Notes. She loves writing, because she says it’s easier to express herself with more thought than when engaging in public speaking. Writing comes naturally with reflections of things and experiences that change and affect her. Her particular favorite writing genre is Flash Fiction – short stories with a plot twist that happen over a short period of time. She appreciates that Mrs. Zabinsky’s writing class got her to realize she is a good writer with natural talent. This realization brought her two honorable mentions in the Scholastic Writing Competition and being published in the American Library of Poetry.
Drive being one of the top words in Shira’s internal vocabulary, she decided to find an internship this past summer regardless of the external situation. She researched and discovered “Beta Bowl,” a six-week Zoom business opportunity program. Shira was assigned a mentor to help plan, launch and finance a business idea. Her concept was one of only three percent of business ideas to make it to the final stage and is currently working on the next step of creating a video presentation for showing to real-life investors.
Shira also makes sure to have a healthy school-fun balance in her life. She plays tennis regularly and loves taking walks in nature while taking photographs. She’s been an avid photographer since enrolling in an FIT photography program after ninth grade. It was old school with actual film and a darkroom! The class got her out of her Long Island comfort zone by having to take the train every day by herself and walking to class. She came to know NYC and is happy at how independent she became as a result of the experience. Another activity added to her repertoire of fun things is cooking. Over the summer she spent time with her cousin learning to make her specialty: “spicy chicken poppers dipped in pesto.” Sounds delicious! Then there’s her guilty pleasure of reading romance novels and watching romcoms (romantic comedies) on Netflix.
There’s also travel and volunteering on Shira’s agenda. Thailand was fascinating for the eye opening observation of poverty but with the people always smiling and making the most of their lives. Israel is her favorite for the sense of safety and connection she feels especially on Shabbat when there is a different level of quiet. In addition to volunteering for Friendship Circle, she went that extra mile to train for eight weeks to be a volunteer for Purple Fellowship to help victims of domestic violence in Jewish communities.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg as Shira is only two months into her junior year. She has focus and determination beyond her age with energy to spare. She may end up a doctor, a lawyer or even a best selling author, but one thing’s for certain – she will land at the top.
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