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Future Leader Finds New Inspiration In Engineering

DENVER (CBS4) – As the digital economy takes hold in the United States, more and more schools and students are turning to the science, technology, engineering and math fields. CBS4 is partnered with the Colorado School of Mines to recognize high school students who are excelling in STEM. January's Future Leader winner is a senior at East High School, and she's ready to change the world.

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Yokabed Ogbai receives the Future Leaders award from CBS4's Ashton Altieri. (credit CBS)

Yokabed Ogbai, 18, works where art meets science.

"Arts Street is a nonprofit organization that helps under-served youth with creative means to help them get into the workforce," Ogbai explained.

LINK: Nominate a Future Leader

As a volunteer intern at Arts Streets, she's learned Adobe, Photoshop, Illustrator and many other skills that kicked her art to the next level.

"Arts Street has helped me, kind of, get out of my comfort zone," Ogbai told CBS4.

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Yokabed Ogbai at Arts Street. (credit CBS)

Outside her comfort zone, Ogbai found the ENvision Summer Program at Colorado State University. Ogbai and high school students from across Colorado got to experiment within various engineering fields.

"Growing up, I was raised to be … like this perfect housewife, trained to cook, and clean, and take care of everyone else," Ogbai said. "I found out about all these different fields in engineering, and I was just kind of awed by it, the fact that I could do something that can impact the world to such a big degree."

RELATED: Check Out Former Future Leader Winners

Now she has her sights set on bringing better health care to her home country.

"Because Eritrea doesn't have a stable medical system. I don't know, a lot of people, close to me, have passed way," Ogbai said.

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(credit CBS)

Four years ago, she escaped the poverty and tyranny of the tiny African nation of Eritrea.

"I would have been in the military, if I hadn't gotten out," she explained.

"Tell me about your plans for the future," asked CBS4's Ashton Altieri.

"My dream school has been NYU for forever. And hopefully I'd like to get into their engineering program and study biomedical engineering and graphic design there," Ogbai responded.

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Yokabed Ogbai in Robotics Club at East High School. (credit CBS)

For right now, she works with the Robotics Club at East High School and expands her skills at Arts Street, embracing all the possibilities that come her way.

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