When Reese Barrett was growing up, her parents always pushed her to do her best. For Barrett, doing her best translated into becoming valedictorian for the Severna Park High School class of 2019.
“I’m a very self-motivated person, so when I set a goal, I do what I need to do to accomplish it,” Barrett said. “That being my goal in and of itself was a good motivator for me.”
Barrett has many accomplishments outside of academics. She was class treasurer for three years, part of her school’s “It’s Academic” team and a camp counselor at the Anne Arundel County 4-H Camp, which is held annually at the Western Maryland 4-H Center in Garrett County.
Growing up, the 4-H camp really helped shape Barrett.
“It’s one of my favorite places in the world,” Barrett said. “It’s such a safe and happy place. It’s an awesome place for kids to be themselves and learn self-confidence and how to advocate for themselves.”
Competitive dance has been another key activity in Barrett’s life. She has been on a competitive dance team at Edna Lee Dance Studio in Glen Burnie since middle school, and she trains six days a week.
“Dance taught me how to work hard. Grades are a lot easier for me than dancing is, so I had the experience where I wasn’t as good at something and had to push myself to become who I wanted to be,” Barrett said. “Being a dancer definitely taught me about being part of a team and working hard.”
For the third summer, Barrett will intern at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. Now viewed as a college intern, Barrett will be “given more advanced work, and I’m getting to do more what a real engineering job is like, so that’s a really awesome experience.”
In the fall, Barrett will attend the University of Maryland as part of the Banneker/Key Scholars Program. She plans to major in electrical engineering with a minor in sustainability.
“I really want a career that has a positive impact on the world,” Barrett said. “As I’ve learned through my experiences with the camp, doing good is something that’s really fulfilling to me.”
Though she is looking forward to the next chapter, Barrett said she feels “lucky to have gotten to go to a school where there are so many good people.”
“All of them have taught me how important it is to be kind and to be genuine, and how important it is to support each other,” Barrett said. “The people at Severna Park have taught me so much about what it means to be a good person, so that will definitely help me with my future.”