We’ve been in Michigan’s coronavirus pandemic for almost a year and it’s life-changing for everyone. Students also had to make a lot of adjustments. But for a high school girl in Traverse City, the virus fuels passion for her career path.
Elizabeth “Liza” Courtright is a senior at the Grand Traverse Academy. “This is my 13th year at GTA. I’ve been here since preschool. So I’ve been here a long time. “Liza is enrolled twice: she’s already taking college credits. “The opportunity to enroll twice really helps me and takes me further than other people. I’m taking two college classes. Calculus and chemistry. “
Stephanie Patrzik is the Grand Traverse Academy consultant. “Liza is a great student. She really embodies the GTA spirit. She got 25 college credits so she did a fantastic job maximizing readiness for college. And she’s taken some AP courses and passed those exams and has the credits to go with them. “
By the time Liza graduates from high school, she’ll have a year of college behind her. And she already has a plan. “I’m going to visit Michigan in the fall. And I’ll be in Lyman Briggs, a science-based dorm. And I’m going to study chemistry hoping to go to medical school. “
The love of science is nothing new to Liza. “I always felt that I had to go into the medical field. I felt built for it. I just wanted to help people. In my freshman year, I took Biomed. That really started it because we’ve done so many different experiments and different sides of medicine. “
Patrzik says: “She has always excelled in science. She excels in everything she does. But science was really of particular interest to them. “But COVID-19 gave Liza a higher purpose – something to focus on.
“It shed some light on what people can actually do with these jobs. I think infectious diseases are a specialty that people don’t really think about. But it does and it matters. “Patrzik also knows that Liza’s passion for COVID has received an additional boost. “It really only fueled that interest. And established that this is the way for her that she is for herself. And it never wavered. “
Liza buries her head in school books. And when the vaccine came out, she had something new to learn in her spare time. “When the vaccine was distributed, I read about it the whole time. I thought, “When can I get it?” That was my first question. “Your mother works in the medical field and received the vaccine. “They give you this package with all the information about the Pfizer vaccine. I read the whole thing. I thought that was so cool.
She strives to do more for science – and for patients. “You get a patient who doesn’t know what he’s got. It’s almost like a puzzle that you have to solve. Just a great problem solving career I think. Which I really liked. “
She knows it will take a lot of work – but that doesn’t scare her a bit. “It’s not easy. I spend hours a day doing homework. I’m preparing for it. I love to learn and I want to do it all my life.”
Patrzik calls Liza “the full package” and says that “she has everything. She has a very good future.”
“Liza is a great example of how the Grand Traverse Academy tries to ensure that all of our students have equal opportunities for post-secondary enrollment. We want to make sure all doors are open when they graduate. Whether you choose a college, career, military or business school, we want you to be prepared for whatever you choose for your future. “
GTA is a tuition free public charter school in Traverse City.