Qaren Quartey

Hometown: Gaitherburg, MD

high school: Watkins Mill HS

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Molecular and Cellular Biology

One could justifiably say that Qaren’s background is far from glorious. She was born in Accra, Ghana and later moved to the United States. Qaren arrived in the U.S. at five years of age and skipped kindergarten at the prompting of her mother. Her parents constantly told her how she had to strive for the best and not waste the opportunity so many people in Ghana desired. Qaren has often said, “My origins have a huge influence on my daily behavior, my ideals, my work ethic, and much more, but principally my intellectual curiosity.”

In fourth grade, Qaren craved a challenge and decided to advance to sixth grade. Though her peers had an advantage of two years, she kept up, making sure to pursue excellence in all areas of knowledge. Qaren began to take Spanish in the seventh grade, which would soon lead to her love of language. She joined the National Junior Honor Society, which fostered her devotion to service in her community. Her stint as a tutor for 2nd graders soon became the impetus for her interest in aiding others in attaining academic excellence.

In Watkins Mill High School, Qaren decided she had to make an impact, if not for herself, for her father. She maintained a 4.0 GPA from her second semester onwards as she played volleyball for her school. In tenth grade, Qaren joined Sisters in Success (S.I.S.) at Watkins Mill and became the class liaison for her sophomore class at the urging of her peers. From then on, she took on several positions of leadership at her high school--secretary and president of S.I.S., treasurer of the Class of 2011, officer of the Science National Honor Society, co-captain of the volleyball team, and secretary of the newly-founded African-Caribbean Student Association. Qaren still remembered her love for tutoring and joined the Study Buddies group. She formally tutored in Biology and Chemistry for the Science National Honor Society and continued informally aiding her peers whenever possible. She won the STAR Scholarship for three consecutive years, along with the National Achievement Scholarship in senior year, and received several awards for academic excellence, community service, and sportsmanship. She currently holds a 4.73 weighted GPA, the highest in her senior class.

Qaren’s choice to become an International Baccalaureate (I.B.) candidate greatly molded her outlook on education. When asked about the program, she replies, “We analyze the ways of knowing, learning not to mindlessly accept what we’re told, and often veer off into topics of interest. Our small group of about thirty is made up of people from various backgrounds and we all converge in our academic pursuits.”

She yearns to pursue a major in Molecular Biology on the Pre-Med track and a minor in Spanish in her undergraduate studies. Qaren stands out from her colleagues because she will not accept failure. She begins with the end in mind and always fights the urge to be average.

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