Gabriela Key
Gabriela Key
St. Mary’s Academy sophomore Gabriela Key reaches for the stars figuratively but studies them literally.

Key co-authored a peer-reviewed astronomy article published in the January issue of the Journal of Double Star Observations. She was one of seven students and faculty members from the West Coast who contributed to the piece, which shows findings from a summer astronomy research workshop at the Pine Mountain Observatory near Bend.

Getting hands-on telescope experience over the summer was exciting, as was seeing her group’s findings in print.

“It was really fun to see how our work played out and how it became something,” says Key, a 15-year-old from Milwaukie.

The astronomy article wasn’t Key’s first time seeing her writing in print. She previously self-published a cookbook of family recipes titled “Mis Raices Cubana: Discovering My Cuban Heritage Through Food.”

Key hopes to become an astrophysicist. She has been interested in astronomy since middle school, when she first read the work of the late Carl Sagan.

“I just love the theoretical physics you get out of it, and getting to be out doing actual science,” she said. “I think it’s incredible getting to look at these objects so far away and having some knowledge of them. It makes me feel connected and gives me a cosmic perspective on what it means to be human.”

Key is a member of the academy's Science Olympiad team, which last year won its fifth state championship title. 

 “Gabriela is really conscientious and a hard worker," said Julia Stadler, a St. Mary’s Academy chemistry teacher and the school’s Science Olympiad advisor. "She puts forth her best effort on everything she tries and always has a cheerful attitude as she does what is in the best interest of the team.”