By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer
Q: You’re getting ready to graduate at age 16. Did you skip a grade?
A: My mom home-schooled me until I was in the third grade. Then we moved to New York. They didn’t have home-schools there. I passed into a higher grade level.
Q: So when did you move back to Washington?
A: About two years later.
Q: You have experienced both home-schooling and public schools. Could you reflect on both those experiences?
A: The big plus with home-schools was I was able to be with my mom. She’s helped me through my senior year with my math and science courses. In public school, I have had the best of both worlds. I have a “teacher” to help me with my homework. Public schooling is kind of a better scenario because I can be in school, and my mom can help me.
Q: What’s your mom’s background?
A: Mom has degrees in chemical engineering.
Q: You were selected for the National Youth Science Camp, an annual summer event with two delegates from each state to exchange ideas with leading scientists and professionals from academics and business. Could you tell me more about that?
A: I was notified I would represent Washington state. It’s definitely not an opportunity you get often. But you know, I’m really excited to go meet people like-minded and with similar interests, and meet with mentors established in the field so I have people to look up or schools I could be reaching out toward.
Q: What college or university are you planning on attending next year?
A: The University of Washington.
Q: Have you chosen a major?
A: Not specifically. I definitely know I want to major in the sciences, maybe biology or bioengineering.
Q: There’s been a lot of discussions nationally about attracting more women into the sciences. Is there someone who encouraged or influenced you?
A: Definitely my biology teacher my sophomore year and biotechnology the following year, Michele Wolski. She’s definitely a huge influence.
Q: You’re vice president of your class?
Q: Can you tell me about your involvement in student government?
A: I’ve been involved in student government for some time, since my freshman year.
There’s ASB, and there are class officers. I’m the class officer. I (like) that you’re able to work behind the scenes, planning dances, putting on events. You’re definitely not in the forefront, but you’re still able to have impact and have a hand in how the school is run.
Q: What other activities are you involved in?
A: I am in the RESPECT teams. We put on events about color and diversity throughout the school. Different nationalities ? traditional dances, what they sing.
We have events where students can sit at a different lunch table to meet new friends.
Q: How many nationalities or cultures are there at your school?
A: There’s a lot ? maybe 20.
Q: What other activities are you involved in?
A: I’m in the National Honor Society and the Medical Explorers program, which showcases different careers in the health care field. Doctors and nurses come and speak to us about their careers.
Q: And any other activities?
A: There’s Art Club. I like to make things from glass — fused and stained glass. Every year there’s an art festival as part of Art Club. We make art in whatever medium and we sell it to raise money for the art department for the schools.
Q: What art form did you use?
A: I’ve made wind chimes and mosaics.
Q: How many hours do you spend studying each week?
A: Maybe 25 hours.
Q: You sound very self-directed. Are you?
A: Yes. My parents have an influence on how far I’ve come, but I’m definitely stubborn. Once I commit to something I never really give up until the task is completed.
The drawback is I commit to too much. But I suppose it’s a better trait to have than to not want to do anything.
Q: Is there any reading you do for fun?
A: I haven’t had time to do it the past couple of years, but over the summer I read lots of books.
Q: What are you favorites?
A: “Harry Potter.” I also enjoy reading poems by Robert Frost.
Q: Are you involved in any community activities?
A: I volunteer at the Arlington Library and at Cascade Valley Hospital.
At the library I usually shelve (books) once a week for just a few hours.
Q: What do you do at the hospital?
A: I work in a couple different departments and ? sometimes when they don’t need help I give people directions or tell them which room their loved one is in.
Q: What type of music do you like?
A: I like indie and alternative music.
The Shins? I also like Phoenix and Arctic Monkeys.
Q: Do you play any instruments yourself?
A: Violin. I’ve played for six years. I don’t take formal lessons anymore. I try to teach myself new songs, a hobby I enjoy in my spare time.