Here’s one side of Perri Solhjou: Her science class research project titled “The effect of alium sativum, hydroxypropanic acid, acetylsalicyclic acid, and Iioththiocyanate on the retardation of biofilm formation in pseudomonas fluoroscens, microcococous luteus, and enterobactor aerogenes.”
Here’s the other side: Her English honors class, where she explains the symbolism of John Cheever’s short story “The Swimmer.”
Perri, a senior at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, is as adept at microbiology research as she is at explaining allegory to fellow students. Left brain analytical skills. Right brain creativity. But there’s more to Perri Solhjou than her brain. There’s character.
“Certain students are doors to understanding for their classmates,” said her English teacher, Shabrayle Setliff. “Perri is a model of thoughtful learning.”
Perri’s high school resume reads like a nomination for the Nobel Prize. Her research project took First Place in the microbiology category of the Loudoun County Science and Engineering Fair. Her paper on “Psychological Aspects Shared by All Terrorists” was the winner in the Psychology Category of the Loudoun County Regional Social Sciences Fair, and was later published by the American Society for Industrial Security. She spent part of her vacation conferring with Nobel Laureates at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute holiday lectures at the Janelia Farm research campus in Ashburn.
When she’s not flexing her brain with researchers and scientists, she’s holding her own in high school. Perri serves as president of the Stone Bridge science and math national honor societies, vice president of the student council and co-captain of the debate team. She’s a member of the National Honor Society, the English National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society. Did we mention she’s vice president of American Red Cross Youth of Loudoun and chairman of the Loudoun County Animal Shelter Committee?
Amid her impressive academic achievements, Perri’s teachers point to her heart as well as her brain.
“It is her desire to create awareness about important issues and make a significant positive impact,” said Setliff.
Her participation outside the classroom speaks volumes about her commitment to community and leadership, including her leadership in Students Against Destructive Decisions.
Perri says her character and her ambitions derive from the traditions of her multi-cultural family: Her father is Iranian, her mother is Polish.
“They want to make everything better,” she said. “They instilled in me the idea that I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it.”
Perri is about to put her mind to it once again. She will attend the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg in the fall, majoring in neuroscience and minoring in public health. She will be pursuing her dream job of becoming a doctor and researcher, helping make the world better through science and understanding.
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