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16-year-old Dino, engineer wins national award

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A local whiz kid was recently named one of Canada's Top 20 Under 20.

Carolina Romeo, a 16-year-old University of Calgary student, is recognized as the youngest female athlete ever to play for a university varsity team -- and the youngest ever athlete for the U of C.

As well as being commended for her athletic capabilities, she was also the recipient of the highest award a new student can receive. Adding to her ever-growing list of awards and achievements, she was named one of Canada's Top 20 Under 20.

The award, given to 20 young Canadians yearly, is based on eight criteria ranging from academic and personal achievements to overall community impact. The award is given out by Youth in Motion, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to helping youth realize their full potential.

Romeo said receiving the award was truly an honour.

"When I received the great news it was a surprise," Romeo said. "I didn't really think I had a strong chance of winning it."

As well as being named amongst 19 other notable young Canadians, she benefited from meeting national business executives and leaders. During a four-day leadership summit in Toronto, she met with BMO executive Sara Joyce, as well as the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable David C. Onley.

"Meeting all of the other winners from across the country was really inspirational," Romeo said, noting she learned a lot at the summit. "It was very interesting to learn the stories of the other 19 people there and they really are amazing individuals."

Other winners include environmental activists and entrepreneurs.

"It was neat to see how we were all tackling different challenges with the same simple mindset: seeing the benefit for others and the community," said Romeo.

That seems to be the primary criterion for receiving the Youth In Motion award.

Now that Romeo's achievements have been recognized on a national level, she doesn't plan on changing her game plan.

"I just get involved in things that I love and put a lot of hard work, heart and persistance into everything that I do and it's nice to see it pay off -- not only for me but for those around me," said Romeo.

Her future plans consist of focusing on athletics in the summer months. Romeo plays on several sports teams including the national team for the Junior Ringette World Championships. She will play for team Canada in August in Prague, Czech Republic. The 16-year-old also plans on competing for Canada's field hockey team.

When school starts in September, Romeo wants to spend any spare time on sports and volunteering.

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