The Class of 2009: Science whiz knows just where she belongs: MIT

STANWOOD — Christy Swartz could appreciate the symbolism.

On March 14, at 1:59 p.m., the Stanwood High School senior received an e-mail from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology letting her know she had been accepted to the university renowned for its math and science.

The month, day and time the e-mail was sent translate to 3.14159, better known as pi, the mathematical symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

“I loved that,” said Christy, 17, who sees math and science everywhere, be it the sound waves from the harp she plays or the dimensions and composition of a homemade trombone she built for a science project.

“People see confusion between the arts and science,” she said. “I see them as interrelated. It’s just a matter of seeing the connection.”

During her freshman year at Stanwood High, Christy set her sights on MIT after reading a story in Scientific American magazine about students with a passion for math and problem-solving.

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I belong with those people.’ It became an obsession. It always has been my dream.”

Christy, one of four valedictorians at Stanwood High, is considering studying physics and electrical engineering at MIT, but she’s already had her hands in meaningful science.

She and classmates Jimmy Besancon and Derek Britain recently won $10,000 in a statewide technology competition at Washington State University based on their work converting tidal energy from Saratoga Passage into usable power that charges a 12-volt battery. Half their winnings go to their school, but they get to split $5,000.

They spent 250 hours on their project.

To Christy, the pursuit of math and science and taking the toughest classes her school

offers is worth it.

“If you love something, it’s not hard,” she said. “It’s just fun and challenging.”

More of the Class of 2009:

  • Cancer hasn’t dimmed grad’s spirit
  • Drummer is always upbeat
  • Handling a balancing act with grace
  • Her education gave her purpose
  • Part-time senior made the most of his year
  • Talk to us

    > Give us your news tips.

    > Send us a letter to the editor.

    > More Herald contact information.

    More in Local News

    Traffic idles while waiting for the lights to change along 33rd Avenue West on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Lynnwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Lynnwood seeks solutions to Costco traffic boondoggle

    Let’s take a look at the troublesome intersection of 33rd Avenue W and 30th Place W, as Lynnwood weighs options for better traffic flow.

    A memorial with small gifts surrounded a utility pole with a photograph of Ariel Garcia at the corner of Alpine Drive and Vesper Drive ion Wednesday, April 10, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Death of Everett boy, 4, spurs questions over lack of Amber Alert

    Local police and court authorities were reluctant to address some key questions, when asked by a Daily Herald reporter this week.

    The new Amazon fulfillment center under construction along 172nd Street NE in Arlington, just south of Arlington Municipal Airport. (Chuck Taylor / The Herald) 20210708
    Frito-Lay leases massive building at Marysville business park

    The company will move next door to Tesla and occupy a 300,0000-square-foot building at the Marysville business park.

    Authorities found King County woman Jane Tang who was missing since March 2 near Heather Lake. (Family photo)
    Body of missing woman recovered near Heather Lake

    Jane Tang, 61, told family she was going to a state park last month. Search teams found her body weeks later.

    Deborah Wade (photo provided by Everett Public Schools)
    Everett teacher died after driving off Tulalip road

    Deborah Wade “saw the world and found beauty in people,” according to her obituary. She was 56.

    Snohomish City Hall on Friday, April 12, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Snohomish may sell off old City Hall, water treatment plant, more

    That’s because, as soon as 2027, Snohomish City Hall and the police and public works departments could move to a brand-new campus.

    Lewis the cat weaves his way through a row of participants during Kitten Yoga at the Everett Animal Shelter on Saturday, April 13, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    Downward cat? At kitten yoga in Everett, it’s all paw-sitive vibes

    It wasn’t a stretch for furry felines to distract participants. Some cats left with new families — including a reporter.

    FILE - In this Friday, March 31, 2017, file photo, Boeing employees walk the new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner down towards the delivery ramp area at the company's facility in South Carolina after conducting its first test flight at Charleston International Airport in North Charleston, S.C. Federal safety officials aren't ready to give back authority for approving new planes to Boeing when it comes to the large 787 jet, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. The plane has been plagued by production flaws for more than a year.(AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)
    Boeing pushes back on Everett whistleblower’s allegations

    Two Boeing engineering executives on Monday described in detail how panels are fitted together, particularly on the 787 Dreamliner.

    Ferry workers wait for cars to start loading onto the M/V Kitsap on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
    Struggling state ferry system finds its way into WA governor’s race

    Bob Ferguson backs new diesel ferries if it means getting boats sooner. Dave Reichert said he took the idea from Republicans.

    Traffic camera footage shows a crash on northbound I-5 near Arlington that closed all lanes of the highway Monday afternoon. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
    Woman dies almost 2 weeks after wrong-way I-5 crash near Arlington

    On April 1, Jason Lee was driving south on northbound I-5 near the Stillaguamish River bridge when he crashed into a car. Sharon Heeringa later died.

    Owner Fatou Dibba prepares food at the African Heritage Restaurant on Saturday, April 6, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    Oxtail stew and fufu: Heritage African Restaurant in Everett dishes it up

    “Most of the people who walk in through the door don’t know our food,” said Fatou Dibba, co-owner of the new restaurant at Hewitt and Broadway.

    A pig and her piglets munch on some leftover food from the Darrington School District’s cafeteria at the Guerzan homestead on Friday, March 15, 2024, in Darrington, Washington. Eileen Guerzan, a special education teacher with the district, frequently brings home food scraps from the cafeteria to feed to her pigs, chickens and goats. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
    ‘A slopportunity’: Darrington school calls in pigs to reduce food waste

    Washingtonians waste over 1 million tons of food every year. Darrington found a win-win way to divert scraps from landfills.

    Support local journalism

    If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.