THAT'S ONE SMART COOKIE! ... Mika Chi, a student at Lucille M. Nixon Elementary School, has been recognized by the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth as one of the brightest young students in the world. Mika, a resident of Los Altos Hills, was bestowed with the High Honors Award, which is given to students " for their exceptional performance on the SAT, ACT, or similar assessment taken as part of the CTY Talent Search, according to a press release from the center issued this week. "CTY uses above-grade-level testing to identify advanced students from around the world and provide a clear picture of their true academic abilities." She was among more than 16,000 students from 66 countries who were tested -- less than half were in the running for the award. "This is especially commendable in a year that has been difficult for students everywhere," the center's executive director, Dr. Virgina Roach, said in the release.
FROM SILICON VALLEY TO D.C. ... After seven years of leading the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Nuria Fernandez is stepping down from her leadership role for a position in the Biden-Harris administration. Fernandez, who served as VTA's general manager and CEO, is taking a position with the Department of Transportation. While the federal agency had yet to announce her role as of Wednesday afternoon, multiple media outlets have cited news from Politico, which has reported that she will initially become a deputy administrator at the Federal Transit Administration and later be nominated to the top FTA job. During her time at the VTA, Fernandez led 2,100 employees. "It has been pure joy to lead the VTA organization and see the early seeds of plans develop into programs and projects that will continue to transform mobility in this region for many years to come," Fernandez said in a statement on Jan. 19, her last day with the agency. "There is truly no one better at this time, in this moment, to take on such a pivotal role in transportation," added Glenn Hendricks, chair of the VTA's board of directors and Sunnyvale's vice mayor. Hendricks appointed Evelynn Tran to temporarily fill Fernandez's shoes as the agency conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.