Student Spotlight: Sara Habibipour

by | Jan 2, 2022

“I’ve always had a dream to build hospitals and deliver medical care to developing countries while learning about different cultures and that’s something I strive to pursue in the future.”

Student Spotlight: Sara Habibipour

We are so proud of Sara and her motivation to change the world and make it a better place. Graduating in May of 2022, we look forward to supporting Sara in all of her future endeavors. 


Learn more about Sara: 

Graduating Year: 2022



Laureate Certification in Advanced Scientific Writing (JUNE-AUGUST 2020)

  • Completed a 10-week course on how to properly write a scientific research paper

AP Scholar with Distinction (JULY 2021)

  • Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams.

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Student of the Year Candidate (MARCH-MAY 2020)

  • A 7-week campaign to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s cancer research. Led a multigenerational team of 10 to raise $11,333 by reaching out to local companies, family/friends from 11 states, and holding virtual events through my dance studio. Won the Community Engagement Award. 

Curry Love Math Scholarship Award (2020 and 2021 Recipient)

  • A $1,000, school-awarded scholarship for conducting mathematical studies with passion and  expertise.

United States Presidential Service Gold Award (2019 and 2020 Recipient) 

  • For 100+ hours of community service 

Academic World Quest: World Affairs Council of the Desert (FEBRUARY 2020, 2021)

  • 2020: 3rd place, 2021: 1st place

Poetry Out Loud Competition (DECEMBER-APRIL 2021)

  • Won first place in a poetry recitation competition at my school, moving on to the regional competition. In this competition, I recited two poems, and placed second (runner-up to the state competition) overall in Riverside County. 

National Youth Leadership Forum (Medicine) Certificate of Achievement (JULY 20, 2019 – JULY 28, 2019)

Congress of Future Medical Leaders Excellence Award with Distinction (JULY 2020)



Yearbook Editor-in-Chief

Associated Student Body Co-President 

California Scholarship Federation President 

Academic World Quest Co-Captain 


Community Service: 

Impromptu Dancers (2016-PRESENT)

  • Through this community outreach group at my dance studio, we attend different community events and visit different parts of the community to teach dance classes/put on brief performances–for example, at the local farmer’s markets, nursing homes, and mental health institutions. As of junior year, I was chosen to be Volunteer Coordinator; with this position, I organized community food/clothing drives, fundraisers for dance therapy organizations, and led in teaching dance classes to local Girl Scout troops and Boys’+Girls’ Clubs. 

Student Assistant (2016-PRESENT)

  • Since middle school, I’ve been a student assistant at my dance studio, where I assist in teaching dance classes to younger students ages 2 to 10 every week. In the summer, I also assist in running “dance camps” for the younger students where we introduce them to basic dance technique, as well as lead activities in arts and crafts.

Boys’+Girls’ Club Junior Staff (2018-2020)

  • After completing the training to become a Jr. Staff, I volunteered in the kids’ center each Thursday for 2 hours after school. I often helped the students with their math and reading homework. If I wasn’t helping with homework, I would supervise the games room, hand out meals to students, or clean the cafeteria. 


Outside of School: 

MedSoc Talk (JULY-AUGUST 2021)

  • An online platform I founded where I discuss topics relating to the intersection of medicine and social factors with other students, physicians, Nobel laureates, and scientists. We currently have around 4,000 site sessions and over 2,200 social media followers with people reading our articles from every continent–countries that we have followers from include the US, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, the UK, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. 

Clinical Shadowing (JUNE-JULY 2019, 2021)

  • Shadowed Cardiothoracic Surgery, Pathology, Infectious Disease, and Cardiology specialists at Desert Regional Medical Center. 

Palm Springs Dance Project (OCTOBER 2022)

  • I was selected to perform at the Palm Springs VillageFest in pieces choreographed by Stephen Agisolau from New York. I was also selected as a cast member for “The Dance Film” which will be showcased at various film festivals from 2022-2025.


Career/College Plans: 

Depending on where I attend college, I plan to major in either Human Biology, Molecular/Cell Biology, or Microbiology/Immunology/Molecular Genetics. I plan to follow the pre-med track throughout undergrad and then attend medical school. 

I’m not exactly sure what medical specialty I want to pursue yet, however I’m fascinated by virology and epidemiology, particularly emerging infections like Ebola, Nipah, and HIV. Perhaps I’ll do some Dr. Fauci work. 


Favorite SubjectBiology 



Dance (2007-PRESENT)

  • I’ve been training in dance (specifically ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, and lyrical styles) for 13 years at Dance with Miss Lindsay. I train for about 2-3 hours a day,  6 days a week. 

Shotokan Karate (2010-PRESENT)

  • Earned a black belt at the age of 7; earned a second degree black belt at the age of 9. Won several first place awards in kata and kumite (Fiestas International Karate Championships, Nikkei Games, etc.)

Music (2010-PRESENT)

  • I’ve been playing classical piano since 2010.  


Favorite High School Memory at PVS:

It’s truly so hard to pick a favorite memory because everyday, even in the most mundane moments, my friends and I are laughing so hard that we’re crying. I know that I can look back on my high school years and know that everyday spent at this school was a memory made filled with close friends and laughter. 


Favorite Book

“The End of Epidemics” by Dr. Jonathan Quick (it really got me interested in virology and epidemiology, which eventually encouraged me to start my website). 



Boston University Research in Science and Engineering Program: Internship   (JULY-AUGUST 2021)

  • A 6-week program where I was an intern in the Sagar lab in the BU Medical School, Microbiology Department. I created my own research project (along with an abstract and poster presentation) relating to HIV and antibody binding. I also heavily studied literature relating to retroviruses and presented such papers to other students and scientists. 

(I’ll attach pictures of my work on the next page if you want to take a look). It’ll be posted on the Boston University website sometime this winter)


Respire Research (JUNE 2020-PRESENT)

  • I’ve worked as a research admin assistant in the clinical research setting where I create source documents, flyers for patient recruitment, call patients,  search patient medical records, and shadow  screening visits for various clinical trials (mostly relating to pulmonology, cardiology, or COVID-19). 


Personal Goals:

Growing up in a multicultural household, I’ve always had a fascination with learning how other people’s ways of living differ from my own. I’d love to travel the world and experience new cultures. I’ve always had a dream to build hospitals and deliver medical care to developing countries while learning about different cultures and that’s something I strive to pursue in the future. 


Words of Wisdom for Student Considering PVS:

The teachers and administrators at PVS have always supported me in my academic and personal pursuits. They’ve continuously provided me with different opportunities to learn in and out of the classroom (for example, by nominating me for academic programs outside of school, writing me recommendations for internships, etc.). In the classroom, intellectual discussion is encouraged and everyone’s ideas are always heard–especially since we sit around the grand Harkness Table. Having the same teachers multiple times throughout my high school career has allowed me to form deep bonds with them. This not only has helped me significantly with letters of recommendation for college, but it has helped just on a human level; if I’m stressed or having a bad day, my teachers always notice and offer advice and assistance – which I strongly cherish. Lastly, the student culture and overall environment at PVS is unlike any other; even though I’m a senior, I constantly interact with other grade levels, especially middle school. At PVS, you’re encouraged to expand your horizons and meet new people; we’re all here to learn and be friends, and I find that beautiful and unique to this school. 


About Abby Sturgeon