Like many high schoolers, Tai Michaels has plenty of hobbies.
He runs cross country. He’s on the speech and debate team. He struggles with Spanish class at times. His favorite band is The Killers.
He’s also doing scientific research to protect Southern California from future wildfires, working hand-in-hand with postdoctoral scholars at UCLA’s La Kretz Center for Conservation Science.
After winning first place for ecology at the LA County Science Fair, Michaels went on to win top prize in environmental science at the state science fair. His research showed how chaparral vegetation is changed by repeated wildfires, and how that affects their risk of burning in the future.