Layla Quinones’ life was turned upside down when she became pregnant at 16 and had to make the difficult decision to drop out of high school despite having good grades. “I knew I had to get a career,” Layla says. “No matter what happened that was what I had to do.” She enrolled in LaGuardia Community College’s CUNY Catch GED program in 2008 and in two months passed the exam with the highest score in New York State that year. She entered LaGuardia that September accompanied by her son London who spent his days at LaGuardia’s Early Childhood Learning Center.Fast-forward two years, Layla graduated from LaGuardia with a perfect 4.0 GPA, a Liberal Arts/Math and Science degree, and a full scholarship to the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.As a student at LaGuardia, she was active in LaGuardia’s College Discovery program, two honor societies, and volunteered as a bio-medical researcher at the Hospital for Special Surgery. She will complete her BS in physics education this year and immediately begin a graduate fellowship sponsored by the National Science Foundation in the summer of 2013. “When I came to LaGuardia I was exposed to a different world. And this is part of the reason I want to be a high school teacher. I want to influence these young kids, and grab their attention, not just about physics, but I want to help them identify the bigger picture,” she says. Her entire graduate education will be financed with scholarships from the Leopold Schepp Foundation, The Higher Education Opportunity Program, the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program and NYU Steinhardt.Currently, Layla is a student teacher of physics at The Beacon School and a physics teaching assistant at the NYU College of Arts and Science. Every summer she returns to LaGuardia to tutor math and science as well. “I’m a firm believe in giving back to your roots,” she explains. “My goal for now is to spread scientific literacy, build my own experience in the field, and evolve into someone who can one day contribute greatly to the scientific and academic community,” Layla concludes.Her son will turn four-years-old and enter kindergarten next year.