Mayfield teen Natalie Eastes is fascinated by "little things" of the human body that help make us who we are.
The 17-year-old McCracken County High School senior wants to go into something science-related within the medical field after high school. Genetics or psychology may just be the answer for her.
"I'm just interested in how complex our body actually is - more than just what our organs are doing," she said. "Like, what the brain is doing for psychology and how our genes affect like every part of us. I think it's so interesting that we have such little things in our body that contribute to such big factors."
Eastes is set on attending the University of Kentucky for college. She's looking to study psychology or agricultural and medical biotechnology, which features genetics. The latter is what her older sister, Andrea Eastes, studied at UK, too.
She's an inspiration for Eastes, who explained her sister lives in San Francisco and does research.
"I don't want to go into research or anything, but I do want to be the person she's become," Eastes said. "She's overcome so many struggles and hardships and broken so many boundaries. I want to do the same."
Eastes, daughter of Jeff and Chrissy Eastes of Mayfield, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week.
Each Monday and Tuesday, The Sun publishes profile stories on area high school seniors chosen from a pool of nominees for Teen of the Week consideration. Around the end of the school year, a selection committee picks one student as Teen of the Year, which carries a $5,000 scholarship. Another student will receive the Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.
Eastes ranks among the top 10 of her class at McCracken County High School with a weighted cumulative GPA above 4.3. She's an AP Scholar with Distinction and earned a 34 composite ACT score. She studied dance in the Governor's School for the Arts program - something she called an "amazing" experience.
At McCracken County, Eastes serves as co-president in Beta Club and secretary for National Honor Society. She participates in Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and student government. Eastes was also a member of the school's varsity dance team.
Dance is a huge part of her life, as she spends much of her time training in dance, as well as assisting and teaching through Paducah's Academy of Movement and Performing Arts. She's traveled to several states, including Florida and Virginia, for dance competitions and wants to keep dancing in college.
"I was looking at UK dance team, but now I'm more interested in - it's called Dance Ensemble," Eastes said. "It's like a student-run club at UK that I'm going to audition for in August. It's more similar to the company-type dance that I do now. It's less about competitions. There's no competitions. It's just dancing for fun like twice a week and, being able to have that through college, I think will be really nice."
She's looking forward to college and feels "pretty good" about senior year, which has been a tough year for her.
"I'm excited, but I'm also kind of nervous because I really love it here," she added. "I love what I'm doing this year with the (dance) studio and school and it's definitely home. I'm also excited to take on a new chapter of my life and start new things and meet new people and all that jazz."
By Kelly Farrell