LAKE STEVENS — Samantha Amey-Gonzalez has a 4.0 grade point average, is president of the Knowledge Bowl teams and vice president of the Hi-Q team. She was awarded one of 800 National Merit Achievement Scholarships, given to top-performing African-American students each year. She will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall and plans to study biomechanical engineering and veterinary medicine for marine mammals.
Question: What sparked your interest in veterinary medicine for marine mammals?
Answer: Ever since first grade I’ve been reading dolphin books in the library and I’m kind of obsessed. I want to get into patient care too, working on prosthetics for dolphins, tail fins and flukes, kind of like Winter in the “Dolphin Tale” movie. Originally I just wanted to be a veterinarian, but I though dogs and cats would be just too boring.
Q: How did your father, Timothy Amey Jr., influence and inspire you?
A: He works as a data center engineer for Amazon. He kind of came from a background with financial difficulties in Fresno, Calif., but was able to graduate from high school and go to college. He’s always encouraged me to be independent. He was also my “sensei” in karate for eight years. And I also want a bigger paycheck than him. I think I’ll do well in college across the country because of him.
Q: What about your mother, Lymaris Gonzalez-Amey?
A: She’s a medical assistant. She met my father in the Army in Germany, where I was born. Mom left the Army when I was about 1 or 2. I think I like biology because of her. I knew all the bones in the body by middle school. A lot of our dinner conversation is about blood and guts, because that’s interesting to us.
Q: What kinds of activities do you do outside school?
A: I’ve volunteered the past four years at the Sarvey Wildlife Center (an Arlington animal rehabilitation center). I feed the baby mammals, including squirrels, bunnies and opossums — they smell pretty bad. I’m also learning how to draw blood and wrap wings, working with owls and hawks.
Q: Given your interest in biomechanical engineering as well as veterinary medicines, do you feel you’ll do better as an animal caregiver or as a researcher?
A: I want to do both. Maybe I’ll figure it out in college. Also I want to study epidemiology, disease paths from animals to humans. There’s a lot I want to do in a little bit of time.
Q: How do you juggle all your activities and schoolwork?
A: Little sleep. Five or six hours a night. I wish it was more. I have to be at school at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursday for Knowledge Bowl practice. It’s my favorite activity. The answers get really funny when we’re only half-asleep.
Q: What kind of interests do you have outside biology and the sciences?
A: I like British literature. Charles Dickens is probably my favorite author. I really liked “Hard Times.” It has an interesting story and the characterization is really good. And also the fact that he puts a little bit of his life in each book. You can kind of piece it together.
Q: Along with college, what are some of your other plans for the coming years?
A: I’m excited to just cut myself off and see how I do. I’m also interested in studying abroad, maybe in Australia or Hawaii where there’s lots of marine wildlife. I’m also interested in traveling abroad. My dad gets to travel a lot for work. For sophomore year I went to London and I want to go again. It was wonderful.
Chris Winters: 425-374-4165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.