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An Ellensburg High School student has worked strenuously to provide her peers and the community with a new educational resource to help them understand more about the disease behind the pandemic. 

Suvathi Nataraja, a junior at EHS, worked with a doctor at Johns Hopkins University to create the event, a six-part online lesson regarding the science behind COVID-19 starting on Wednesday.

Nataraja met Dr. Penagis Galiatsatos at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in March, where she represented students from Kittitas County. She said he offered a leadership opportunity to students at the congress, which she accepted. Since then, Nataraja has been working with Dr. Galiatsatos and his staff to bring the project home.

The project itself is a series of Zoom meetings that are free to anyone who wants to join. Each meeting will go into a different detail of the coronavirus and the pandemic, such as the biology of the virus, the details of the vaccines and common myths about the pandemic. According to Nataraja, the questions from the community will be answered by Dr. Galiatsatos and his staff.

“I’m just really honored to be organizing this event and making something like this possible for the people of Ellensburg,” Nataraja said.

Nataraja said she has always known she wanted to be a pediatrician, and attending the congress was a great way for her to meet experts in her field. She said bringing this project to Ellensburg was a direct result of being inspired by the people she met and listened to at the event.

She also wanted to help the community during a time of crisis. Although the vaccine is starting to be distributed and more people are protecting themselves against the virus each day, the pandemic is not over and the virus is still dangerous to many people. Nataraja hopes these meetings will help people understand the severity of the pandemic.

“I have lived here for six years, and the people of Ellensburg have just been so kind, so nice and I just felt that this would be something to pay back to them,” she said.

Each meeting in the series is approximately one hour long, and is free to anyone interested in attending. Nataraja has created a poster for the event with local company REAS Visual Arts. The first meeting is April. 21 at 3 p.m.

The link to the Zoom meeting is https://JH:ZOOM.US/J/91579847822

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