In the fifth grade, a routine test revealed hearing loss in Tsering Shola’s right ear. Little did Tsering or her parents know, that diagnosis would set Shola up for success as a Camas High School sophomore.This weekend, Tsering is heading to Los Angeles to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair — the largest precollege scientific research event in the world. The trip will cap a string of successes the 16-year-old has had at state science fairs where she presented a project that made “a great contribution” to an Oregon Health & Science University lab.“She deserves the accolades coming her way,” said Peter Steyger, a researcher and professor of otolaryngology at OHSU. Steyger has been mentoring Tsering for about a year and a half.Validating workAs an elementary school student, Tsering was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss — the most common type of hearing loss. The deficit was great enough that Tsering needed a hearing aid, but it also sparked a career interest.“I thought it would be cool to be an audiologist,” she said.As an eighth-grader, Tsering decided to act on that interest and reached out to local professors, one of whom connected the middle schooler to Steyger.