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Ally Sarkis: For love of science

Ally Sarkis's résumé is remarkably well-rounded for a 17-year-old: four-year varsity cheerleader, including captain her senior year; Virginia Young Scientist Award winner; French and Math National Honor societies; varsity gymnastics; and a Wendy's High School Heisman Award.

While the accomplishments are significant, what's so engaging about the Dominion High School senior is her enthusiasm and passion for topics many of her high school classmates may find dull.

Whether talking about “the effects of methane gas exposure at hydraulic fracturing sites and landfills” or “auditory learning of horses,” Sarkis can't mask her love of science. She's taken nine science courses at Dominion.

Sarkis nabbed first place at the Loudoun County Regional Science Fair her sophomore year for her equine auditory experiment, which found that horses were able to associate sounds with objects.

“This is Ally’s idea of fun- a long car ride where she can talk about science with people willing to listen, a day in the field collecting and analyzing leaf samples, and an evening to discuss the successful completion of her research project,” said Lauren Gould, Dominion Science Department Chair.

Gould lists tenacity and dedication as two of Ally’s most admirable traits. “Ally simply never gives up,” she said.

Sarkis, in turn, praised Gould as the inspiration for her love of science.

Dedication and leadership go hand-in-hand for Sarkis, as do accountability and a sense of giving.

She completed more than 100 hours of community service during high school. This included tutoring, coaching for youth equestrians and cheerleaders, and volunteering at Seneca Ridge Middle School.

“The primary tenet of leadership, scholarship and citizenship is accountability,” Sarkis said. “Looking in the mirror every night with no regrets, knowing I did everything I could, knowing I made my mark, hoping someday the world will know that Ally Sarkis was here.

“The obligation to help those in need and facilitate change when necessary defines good citizenship.”

Sarkis has been accepted to the University to Virginia, where she said she'll be thrilled to go, but she's also holding out for the University of Chicago or Boston College.

“Wherever I end up will be the right place for me,” Sarkis said. “This is great rehearsal for the fair.”

Science – she just can't get it off her mind.

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