Dear editors, thank you for considering the following press release and attached photo for publication.
From the desk of
Asst. Local Secretary, North New Jersey Mensa
October 17, 2016
Hillsdale’s Alexandra Soluri awarded local Mensa scholarship
NORTH JERSEY -- Alexandra Soluri is somewhat of an anomaly—and she couldn’t be happier about it.
While so many other girls her age worry about their wardrobe and celebrity gossip, this Hillsdale 18-year old spends a lot of her spare time changing the oil and brake fluid on her Ford truck and her friends’ cars. For as long as she remembers, Lexie, as she likes to be called, has had her sights on pursuing a career in the automotive industry and hopes to one day own her own performance shop.
“When I was little, I played with toy [Volkswagen] bugs and would fix the tires if they came off,” Lexie said. “Then as I got older, I would work on friends’ cars. I definitely was not a ‘girly’ girl,” said Lexie. But she added that she faced “some pretty judgmental people, even parents who said I didn’t belong working on cars. Crazy, huh?”
The criticism did not deter her and she is now attending Brookdale Community College in Linden studying – what else? – automotive.
“I’ve loved cars and trucks all my life so I don’t really care what people say,” Lexie said. Her passion for the subject came through loud and clear in her winning essay chosen by judges of the North New Jersey Chapter of Mensa, the high intelligence organization that has chapters world-wide. NNJM awards a scholarship amount of $500 each year to one deserving high school or college student whose essay is judged to have best met the contest criteria.
“I was really surprised with the award and it sure helps,” Lexie said. “The automotive books alone are a small fortune, so I’m grateful for the extra money.”
Now in her first year at Brookdale, she is taking general education courses in composition, English and psychology, as well as automotive fundamentals, which covers the basics such as power steering, wheel alignment, and air conditioning and heating.
“Some of my classes are online but the fundamentals classes are hands-on,” she said. “They are really concentrated and ‘in your face’ but you learn much better when you’re actually doing the work.”
Lexie is the only female in the class, but “It’s kind of what I expected,” she said. “I was nervous at first but everyone is supportive.”
Despite the earlier criticisms, Lexie, who graduated in June from Pascack Valley High School, has had the support from the people who counted the most: a few close pals, her mom and a favorite teacher during her senior year who told her he was “so proud of her.”
“That meant a lot to me,” she said, “and I’m so determined that I’m going to do it. I’m going to finish my course work, get some experience, and one day open my own shop.”
Photo: Alexandra “Lexie” Soluri accepts the scholarship check from William Holzmann, Treasurer, North New Jersey Mensa.