Nan Campbell - SharpSchool

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May 17, 2013 ... A: “Faith of the Fallen” by Terry Goodkind. It's the sixth book in the Sword of Truth series. It was an amazingly powerful book about taking control ...
SENIOR FRIDAY PROFILE Nan Campbell ’13 May 17, 2013


enior Nan Campbell credits her introduction to Science Olympiad to her best friend, who suggested they both attend a meeting during her freshman year at St. Mary’s. Fast-forward four years, and Nan is a Science Olympiad co-captain, leading the varsity team to the national competition in Ohio on May 17 and 18. Last month, the SMA Science Olympiad team won the state tournament for the seventh consecutive year. The accolades are one reason why Nan keeps coming back. “I love getting medals at state. Before advancing to the state competition my freshman year, I was on the fence about coming back because my passion is really more math-centric. But after winning a gold and two bronze medals at state, I was completely sold,” Nan said. The other reason she returns? The people. “In Science Olympiad, I find people whom I can easily communicate with because of our common interests and intellectual pursuits. When people ask me a rhetorical question, I give them a scientific answer. That is a quality which is embraced and understood by my peers on our team. I love being around people like that,” she said. Despite her scientific approach to life, Nan also enjoys exercising the right side of her brain. She participates in a number of creative pursuits at SMA, including Novel Club, Math Club, Writer’s Club, Theatre Club and Dance Club. She has even received recognition in the Mt. Hood Conference Acting Competition. Nan has put a lot of effort toward developing her academic career, including taking a handful of college-level courses at institutions like Portland State University, Reed College and Stanford University. This coursework and her studies at St. Mary’s have positioned her well to be successful at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., next fall. She plans to double major in math and biology before going on to pursue a doctorate in math or genetics. This year, Nan secured her academic standing as a National Merit Finalist and was selected as a winner of a Merit Scholarship award of $2,500. With a bright future ahead of her, Nan has a few words of wisdom to pass down to future Science Olympiad torchbearers: “Even if you aren’t completely sold on science, I would suggest it because there are so many different areas you can go into. You can expand your interests past the standard courses of biology, chemistry or physics. If your passion lies elsewhere, there’s always something else for you to do, and many different events to compete in,” she said. Good luck to Nan and the entire Science Olympiad team at their competition today and tomorrow!

Q&A with Nan

Q: Why did you choose SMA? A: It was between St. Mary’s Academy and Grant, where my sister went. My best friend was coming here, so the choice was either to attend Grant and be known throughout high school as Ruth’s little sister or come here with friends and experience a rigorous academic environment. Q: What was your favorite memory of this year? A: I’d say winning state with Science Olympiad. Our win was closer than it’s ever been before, so it felt really good to beat that all-boy’s team from Westview. Q: What was your favorite memory of the past four years? A: I have a lot of really great memories from theater. This year, playing Titania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was really memorable. It was a fun role to play, and I got to play two different sides of the same character — before she gets a spell cast on her and then after. It was fun and challenging to play both sides and try to mesh them together and make them very different. Q: What is your favorite academic subject and why? A: I would have to say math because I’ve loved math since third grade. I’ve taken so many math classes. I was in pre-calculus my freshman year, then AP calculus sophomore year, and I took a PSU course during junior year. The summer between junior and senior year, I took an eight-week program through Stanford, living on campus and studying linear algebra and differential calculus, as well as taking a physics class on the nature of the universe. Q: What is your favorite hobby or sport? A: I’m on the varsity tennis team. I started playing in seventh grade, and before then I bounced around to a lot of different sports. Part of what I love is that it’s the gentleman’s sport. I really like the culture, which is centered around being fair, kind and polite. Q: What three adjectives best describe you? A: Introspective, focused, and my friends think I’m funny, but I’ve never seen myself that way. Q: What book changed your life and why? A: “Faith of the Fallen” by Terry Goodkind. It’s the sixth book in the Sword of Truth series. It was an amazingly powerful book about taking control of your life and taking responsibility for the mistakes you make, but also getting past them. It’s fantasy, which is my favorite genre. There are fantasy books that have magic and adventure, but in this series magic is a metaphor. The magic and fantasy are secondary as a means to get at the message, which is why I love these books. Q: Who or what inspires you? A: My sister really inspires me. We took very different paths academically. She does history and social studies and works amazingly with people of all ages. Her passion for changing the world really inspires me to also have a similar passion. We’re only three years apart, but we’re really close. We never had that sister rivalry stuff because we are both going in different directions and we are different people.