MADISON COUNTY Ala. -- Most Ivy League schools had record low acceptance rates this year. Less than 7% of students who apply to schools like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will get in.
A Madison County high schooler didn't let those numbers get in the way of her dreams.
Alexis Lopez is a senior at Madison County High School and a future quantum physicist.
"What we normally think of as physics as like common sense, but quantum physics goes against common sense and I thought that was really really neat," she said.
She says the next step on her path to becoming a renowned scientist is a quality college education, like one at MIT.
"I've even had people say that its kind of a reach. So I never thought that I could. And then when I got this whole Questbridge thing, MIT was one of the colleges that were offered," said Lopez.
Questbridge gives scholarships that connects that nation's most exceptional low-income youth with top colleges.
Alexis applied. She wrote the essays, took the tests, did the interviews, then she waited to see if she was matched with any colleges.
"Everybody at my school has been kind of rooting for me because they know that I've been wanting this for a really long time," she said. "My teacher made me check it at the very end of the day before the bell was about to ring. So she was beside my desk, my friends were beside my desk. and everybody was looking at me, everybody in the classroom. Then when I checked it I didn't really read it at first. And then my teacher pointed to the school and she screamed, and then everybody started screaming. So then I laid down face first on the floor because I was kind of in disbelief. And I still kind of am."
Next fall Alexis will be going to MIT on a full scholarship, but she remains humble.
"I never really think that way, that I'm better than the average person. I do think if somebody has a passion for it then they do have to capacity to do it," she said.
Alexis has lived in Alabama her entire life, but she says she's ready for the change.
"It's going to be really cold, that's my biggest concern. But it's not like, you know, compared to what I have to, what I've gotten. It's a small thing to deal with you know," Lopez said.
Alexis said her parents and teachers are extremely proud of her. She said she plans on double majoring in math and physics.