2011 Scholar Profiles

Walee Ahmed
Walee emigrated from Bangladesh with his family in 2009, taking up residency in Queens, New York.  With an eye toward his goal of becoming a geneticist and clinical researcher, Walee was in the premedical program at Hillcrest High School (Queens, NY).  He earned college credits through the "College Now" program, and was selected for membership in the National Honor Society. Walee describes success as the ability to help, motivate, and inspire others; he performed more than 100 hours of volunteer service at Queens Medical Center and enjoyed helping his peers with their homework. In his free time, he also enjoys researching quantum physics, competing at chess, and playing the guitar. At Hunter, he majored in Psychology and Mathematics, and participated in a laboratory research group investigating the effects of oral methamphetamine on mice. He also served as music director and vice president of the college radio station, providing him with dual opportunities for music curation and daily operations.
Matthew Heinichen
Matthew maintained excellent grades in the most rigorous courses at Signal Mountain High School (Signal Mountain, TN) and participated in varsity cross country and the YMCA Youth Leadership Program, all while working part-time to help supplement his family’s resources. He has a deeply loving relationship with his younger brother, whose heart condition has required numerous surgeries, and with whom Matthew spent time each evening before doing his homework. He received awards including the International Baccalaureate "risk taker," for which he was nominated by Signal Mountain's faculty for his "ability to approach unfamiliar and uncertain situations with courage and forethought, for his independent spirit, bravery, and his ability to articulate and defend his beliefs." Matthew majored in civil engineering at UIUC's School of Engineering.
Kassandra Hopkins
Located in the Fox Islands off the coast of Maine, Vinalhaven School (Vinalhaven, ME) is a tiny school - Kassandra was one of just 14 students in her graduating class. Wishing to expand beyond the opportunities available in Vinalhaven, Kassandra researched and applied to attend a semester at Coastal Studies for Girls, a unique residential school for girls interested in the sciences. A peer mentor, tutor, and leader, she was a founding member of the ACCESS Team, a group of youth volunteers who worked to transform her town's arts and recreation center into a student-run Internet coffee shop and business training center. Kassandra worked as a babysitter, helped care for her younger siblings, and was involved in numerous extracurricular and community activities. At Amherst, she majored in Psychology and took other courses to preapre for a career in medicine. While she was a member of Amherst College Emergency Medical Services, she served as treasurer of the Campus Activities Board, provided mentoring for early learners in Reader for Reader,  participated in the Women’s Soccer Club, and worked as a peer tutor for a statistics class in the Psychology Department.  She studied in Italy during the fall semester of her senior year.
Emtithal Mahmoud
Born in the Darfur region of the Sudan, Emtithal ("Emi") is the oldest of five children whom she cared for after high school while her mother attended Thomas Jefferson University. At J.R. Masterman School (Philadelphia, PA), she excelled in science, participated in the Bridges to Regenerative Biology Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and received first-place awards for her poetry. A committed young leader and advocate for the people of her native region, Emi began sharing her writings about the Darfur conflict as a middle-school student, and has since conducted presentations across Philadelphia, spoken at national rallies with the Darfur Alert Coalition and Save Darfur, and discussed the issue with members of Congress. Emi's goal is to use her talents to improve the lives of others - she plans to become a doctor, earning an M.D. and a Ph.D. in order to both conduct research and treat patients. A Biology major at Yale, she won the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship, a national competition for performance poetry.  She also published her first book of poems and signed a three-year book contract with a New York-based publishing house. For a summer program in Nepal, she interviewed patients, prepared educational materials, spoke with health professionals and media personnel, and collected epidemiological data.  She was selected by the BBC as one of the 100 Most Inspirational Women in 2015.
Alexandria Oviatt
Ranked first in her class of more than 200 students at Red Bank High School (Chattanooga, TN), Alexandria was the only eighth grader to accept the challenge of going to her local high school campus to take the PSAT. Her teachers described her as hard-working and selfless - though somewhat introverted in person, Alexandria frequently texted her English teacher to suggest a question or idea that might foster class discussion or aid a struggling student. "She’s amazing that way," her teacher wrote. "Alexandria spends her time sending me links to help other students learn; most students don't care that much about their own learning, let alone other students' learning." Alexandria was a member of the Principal's Advisory Council, the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), and was the co-founder of her school's first book club. At Barnard, she was a chemistry major who completed a senior thesis and provided a professor with research support in his lab.  She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry at Vanderbilt University.
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