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Freshman Spotlight

Fresh Encounters: Kia McCormick

"In high school, I created a club called Trash to Treasure where we took bed frames and created a recycled sculpture to commemorate our city of San Ramon’s 150th year anniversary." From rhythmic gymnastics to steel welding and Krav Maga, freshman Kia McCormick is a versatile doer pursuing an assortment of creative projects...and she wouldn't have it any other way. Read on...

What does being at the Academy mean to you?

Being in the Academy allows me to pursue my passion for design thinking and problem solving while also allowing me to integrate those ideas into my own projects. The Iovine and Young Academy has also provided a safe space for me to learn and be inspired by others.

What is something about the world works that bothers you?

I must say I'm not a big fan of the US K-12 education system. Growing up in a school system that was focused on identifying its students by test scores and grades was frustrating because it felt like people only cared about the material to the extent that it would provide them with a good grade on a test. As a result, those that could pull ahead through this traditional bell curve left many others behind. With that in mind, I would disrupt the traditional K-12 system by incorporating an interactive and collaborative environment in the classroom that focuses more on critical thinking through collaborative creative problem-solving. This system would then allow for all students to be in an environment with an equal opportunity to learn more freely.

What are three goals you have for this year?

1. Explore all the Los Angeles thrift stores.
2. Build a motorized couch to get to class with.
3. Learn how to code!

Who is the most impressive famous person alive today? Why?

The musical artist Tom Rosenthal. While arguably he isn't as famous as other artists, he is one of the most impressive people alive today because of his musical creativity. I find it fascinating that Rosenthal is not afraid to experiment with different instruments and musical styles. While he might not be "impressive" in the traditional sense of the word by winning prestigious prizes, he is impressive to me because of his ability to have a prolonged connection with his audience. By continuously having the courage to stay true to himself and having the confidence to constantly experiment, he has been the only artist to foster a connection with me that keeps me coming back for more.

Kia performing a dance she co-choreographed at her last dance competition. The freshman as a competitive rhythmic gymnast for nine years.

Let's say you were given $1,000,000 in seed funding tomorrow, what would you create?

I would use a million dollars in seed funding to start a company of women's pants that included deep pockets in all styles. This would address the issue of women's pant pockets being too small to fit items such as wallets and phones. In addition to deep pockets, the sizing would include a waist, hip, and total length measurement in order to accommodate a pair of pants to fit every woman.

If you could ask advice from any historical figure, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would ask Noah Purifoy advice on how to start an art center. Specifically, I would ask how to start one that provided and sustained a place for a community to come together through artistic ventures.

Describe one thing most people don't know about you?

I spent the summer learning Krav Maga!

What is one thing your parents taught you that you'd like to share?

One quote that really resonates that my parents taught me was, "When all else fails, read the instructions." It's funny because it's true!

In high school, Kia created a club called Trash to Treasure where she and her classmates built a recycled sculpture from steel bed frames to commemorate the city of San Ramon’s 150th year anniversary.

What will your future self accomplish?

I don't know exactly what my future self will accomplish. I like the ambiguity of not knowing for now because it allows me to have the freedom to constantly tailor my passions to my current work. However, one of my goals is to start a company that will infuse art and creativity into our daily lives.


What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?

A notebook, pen, and Chapstick

Favorite app or website?


Kia has been rock climbing since she was very young.

If you could be best friends with one fictional character who would it be?

The Energizer Bunny

What is your favorite place to hang out on campus?

Iovine and Young Hall's 2nd-floor terrace!

Thanks, Kia!