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‘I want to be an epidemiologist’
Sinclaire Hamilton — a top student, volunteer and athlete — will study at Harvard University.
Maria-Pia Negro | Catholic Herald
Courtesy photo
Sinclaire Hamilton

Sinclaire Hamilton, the salutatorian of Pope John Paul the Great High School in Dumfries, does not like to set limits on her creativity. She pushes herself to be the best she can be while balancing schoolwork, varsity sports, band, volunteering and having a social life.

The effort is paying off. She was accepted into universities such as Yale, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown and Notre Dame. She will attend her dream school, Harvard, next fall.

“I’m extremely happy. It was my first choice since I was in third grade,” Hamilton said, adding that she is still deciding what to study. “I am leaning toward statistics and computational biology or bioinformatics. I want to be an epidemiologist.”

She said that John Paul the Great’s bioethics program, which focuses on the ethical implications of biological and medical procedures, influenced her career choice and expanded her horizons.

“The teachers here challenged me. I learned to be independent and confident,” Hamilton said, adding that her Catholic education helped her understand her life purpose. “I want to contribute to the common good.”

A National Honor Society member, Hamilton also played volleyball for four years and was part of the varsity track team for three years. She plays the oboe, tutors and is part of the school’s pro-life club, French club and French Honor Society. During her free time, she volunteers at a nursing home and is part of a youth ministry group at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Triangle.

To make sure she did not neglect her schoolwork, she studies on the bus on the way to track meets.

Hamilton spent her summer fulfilling her craving for knowledge in programs that force her to think creatively.

For example, in 2012 she was selected to participate at a weeklong summer enrichment program hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she learned how to use innovative mechanical engineering technology to build an external combustion machine.

Later that summer, she participated at a pre-med program at Notre Dame. During the three-week program she learned more about ethical dilemmas, clinical trials and how to turn scientific research into clinical treatments.

After that summer, she was convinced that she wanted to go into public health.

Hamilton won’t be idle this summer either. She was accepted into Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute. From June 23 to July 13, she will learn about computer programs and algorithms at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

“I am hopeful the CSSI program will inspire me to contribute to the betterment of society and empower me to think outside the box,” Hamilton said. “I will incorporate these forward-looking visions into my career as an epidemiologist.”

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