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About the Team
Team Photo   Veronica D Pillar
Thomas Jefferson HSST, Alexandria, VA

Reading, singing, playing sports with my brother, French horn

Varsity track and field, marching band, math team, Russian honor society, National Honor Society

National Merit Scholarship received, USA Math Olympiad participant, USA Chemistry Olympiad qualifier, gold medalist in Russian speaking an writing contests, and ARML, HMMT, and Duke Math Meet participant (high scoring team and individual multiple times).

I consider myself a science person, and I’m planning on majoring in chemistry or physics at college next year. I’ve never before had the opportunity to work closely with other people on physics beyond cramming for a test, so I’m excited for this chance to learn physics with a group of people at least as good as I am. I’m not on my school’s physics team because of numerous scheduling conflicts, so last year I didn’t hear about the Olympiad until it was too late to sign up. This, therefore, is my first year participating, and I actually enjoyed taking the tests for the first two rounds. I’ve been described as friendly, nice, analytical, moral, funny, crazy, modest, and helpful. I love all my friends to pieces, and I don’t always hang out with the same group of people. Although I’m not too outgoing I enjoy being around people and talking with them; if you start talking to me I’ll be glad to carry on a conversation. I’m often sleep-deprived thanks to my obsession with reading fan fiction, but that doesn’t stop me from being hyper, huggable, and easily amused throughout the day (without caffeine, by the way). Although I celebrate Christmas and Easter with my parents and younger brother, I don’t really have a religion unless you count the light-hearted church of Rentitarianism (followers of the musical Rent under High Priest Jonathan Larson). I became a Renthead after seeing the movie several months ago, and beyond loving the characters and singing the whole soundtrack in the car on the way to school, I’m learning to embrace the clear, positive message of Rent: “forget regret,” “measure in love,” “no day but today.” At 17 I don’t have a grounded life philosophy, but I do believe in the power of moving on from the past and loving and doing all that you can in the present. I find joy in spontaneity; for example, I play French horn but last Christmas I picked up a euphonium, quickly learned to play it, and performed in the annual Tuba Christmas concert. Politically I’m somewhat liberal, although I don’t identify with a particular party or common ideology. (In fact, I’m opposed to labeling people on principle, although I know I unfortunately do it without thinking all the time from habit or convenience.) A quick snapshot of my beliefs would show I’m pro-life, pro-gun control, anti-war, pro-LGBT rights, and big on protecting the environment and promoting education of all kinds. I’ll be voting for the first time in the upcoming congressional election. I’m going to Princeton, Carleton, or Amherst next year for college, and I plan to continue on to grad school, hopefully working for a couple of years in the Peace Corps in between. I’d like to become a research scientist at a university where I can also teach students. Someday I’d like to go backpacking, run a marathon, learn modern dance or a martial art, and be fluent in three languages. I love smiley faces, green, and sweatpants; and that completes me in a nutshell.