While spending six weeks in California this summer, Rex Ledesma will take time to soak up the sun and run on the beach, but the rising junior will spend most of his time in a research laboratory. Backed by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation's Young Scholars Program, Ledesma will be paired with a research mentor to collect and analyze data. He'll then write a publication-style research paper and present the findings in a research symposium at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He departed for California on Sunday, and the program runs through early August. "My passion is science," said Ledesma, who has a weighted 5.57 GPA. "With this research program, you have the resources and lab to be interacting with mentors fresh in their fields. So, I feel with this experience, I'll be more credible, and then maybe I can get another opportunity at Johns Hopkins to intern with another mentor there during the school year." As a child, Ledesma took an interest in medicine and science when an uncle suffered a stroke that left him bedridden for six years. "That experience motivated me to want to help people, and those are fields where you can use your talent to assist others," Ledesma said. In addition to running at Dulaney, Ledesma is the president of the chess club, a member of the National Honor Society and in the school¿s math and key clubs. Ledesma, who would like to go to an Ivy League school, said he uses his time running as a form of relaxation.