Class of 2020 Senior Spotlight - Alexandra Wong, Hayfield Secondary School
1) What has been your biggest disappointment/hardship since schools have been closed for the remainder of the academic year?
I never got the chance to say goodbye to my teachers. This year I arrived at school 40 minutes before school started, because my parking skills are lacking. With all this free time, I ended up going around and saying “Hi!” to some of my favorite teachers and counselors, having small chats about what they (or their kids or adorable pets) have been up to. It was great getting to know each of them as a person, and I miss these small moments.
2) What are your plans for the fall?
In the fall, I plan to study computational neuroscience and public health at Johns Hopkins University.
3) How have your plans changed, if at all?
I was supposed to move to Baltimore two weeks before graduation to start my summer research internship with Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and get acquainted with living on campus, but that internship has been moved to a virtual format. Now, I’m balancing two virtual jobs, but really I’m just grateful to have a job as most of my friends’ summer jobs have been cancelled due to the pandemic.
4) What have you learned about yourself since the COVID-19 closures?
I learned that I like keeping busy. I’ve kept myself busy by learning how to utilize technology to still stay connected such as using Google My Maps to create a virtual map of 200+ Hayfield seniors’ college destinations, contacting 40+ Hayfield alumni to create a tribute video for a beloved retiring teacher, and hosting virtual webinars to introduce students to STEM opportunities and college application tips.
5) What is your passion?
My passion is uncovering patterns. History is my favorite subject and with each event and in everyday actions there’s always a precedent. When we look at the past, we can predict “What’s next?” about the present. The most prevalent kinds of patterns (trends) are those found in data. I uncover and analyze these patterns in data by using my computer science and statistics background, researching within the University of Maryland’s department of computer science to help create a machine learning algorithm that assists web developers visualize these data patterns.
6) Have you discovered a new passion in light of social distancing?
I’ve been journaling. These past few months will be part of our history books someday, as life as we know it has dramatically changed. I write down what I’ve been doing, my feelings about everything going on, and the total number of COVID-19 cases everyday, to have a keepsake of what I experienced. I want to have a record of what happened to show my family someday and self-reflection. So, I journal for 1.5-2 hours everyday, and I’ve finished two journals (about 500 pages) in the past twelve weeks.
7) What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that the world is kinder and more equitable. For myself, I hope to explore the intersection of neuroscience, hearing loss, data science, and technology as a practicing physician or a principal investigator of my own lab, and one day return to Hayfield to award scholarships to deserving seniors.
8) Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I love cream puffs, and I once did blindfolded piano improv! My friends say “I never stop smiling.” Also, especially now, I am so grateful to go to such a diverse school and that Hayfield has resources such as the “No Place for Hate” committee and the Student2Student Ambassadors program to encourage acceptance. Being a Hayfield student has introduced me to so many different perspectives. I have made friends with people from around the world and my experience as a Hayfield student has made me even more accepting and aware.
9) What are you most proud of about your school experience/best memory?
I’m most proud of coming to school everyday with a smile, hoping to encourage others to be happier as well. I love to lift people up, make them see that they matter, whether that be through welcoming new students through Student2Student, tutoring individuals in the Hawk Writing Center (HWC), or just saying “Hello!” and offering a smile. My best memories as a Hayfield student are the times I spent in the HWC. My HWC experience helped me grow as a person and a writer. I have been so lucky to learn from the amazing tutors and Ms. Passino as we tutored students and had enlightening conversations on subjects such as “Which bell pepper is the best?”