Deborah Sheriff – 2022 West Sound Region Rising Star

Celebrating Washington's Next Generation of STEM Leaders
Deborah, a student at Quileute Tribal School from Forks, WA, was selected for her involvement in environmental programming and her thoughtfulness.


Deborah SheriffGrade 12, Quileute Tribal School

La Push, WA
West Sound Region
2022 Washington STEM Rising Star

Meet Deborah

What are your plans after high school?

My plan after high school is to keep working with the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) program, where I’ll continue to get hands-on experience with citizen science programs and data about our coastal environment.

What do you like best about STEM?

I like biology and earth science, I like to be outside in nature, walking the beaches.

What advice would you give your 5-year-old self?

Be good.

Who is your biggest STEM influence?

My sister Ruby because she works at the Hoh Natural Resources and she does water quality.

What’s your STEM superpower?

Teleporting, so I don’t have to use fuel.


To learn a little more about this year’s Rising Stars, we asked our awardees some fun questions. Check out these videos to hear Deborah’s responses.

Nominated by her principal

“What makes [Deborah] a rising star is she is a great listener…She is a critical thinker and carefully crafts her thoughts before speaking up, which a vital skill in advocacy and leadership.”


“Debbie has a history of participating in youth programs within her tribal area that directly related fishers and forestry. She regularly participates in events that support indigenous values regarding the environment. She had a booth at our annual STEAM event and looks forward to events like Earth Day. She is planning on attending college in Alaska to study forestry, so that she can work for the national park systems when she graduates.
What makes her a rising star is she is a great listener. Often we promote outspoken individuals but culturally, we are oratory people who also value listening not just to each other but the environment around us. She is a critical thinker and carefully crafts her thoughts before speaking up, which a vital skill in advocacy and leadership.
She is of the Hoh Nation. Lastly, she is kind, considerate and never speaking ill of anyone. She may not agree at times but makes a point of always hearing varying viewpoints. She would be a phenomenal Star for her people, our region and the nation.” -Ryan Stevens, Principal of Quileute Tribal School



The Washington STEM Rising Star Awards, presented by Kaiser Permanente, encourage girls to embrace STEM education and to explore the use of STEM in ways that will support their education, career, and personal development and the development and needs of others.

Meet all of the 2022 Washington STEM Rising Stars on our website!