Alexandra plans to major in Criminology and belong to a naval ROTC in college. Later, she hopes to become a Marine Corps officer, then join the FBI as a special agent. Taking part in these summer programs helped Alexandra solidify her plans, and, with Grier’s help, she is going into her senior year with courses that will help prepare her for her college major. Alexandra believes her Calculus class will be beneficial to ballistics studies, while Neurobiology will help her better understand the human brain on both an anatomic and molecular level and its influences decision-making. Honors English will give her confidence and the skills needed to master college essays and applications. Both AP Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Forensic Psychology will be useful to gain a better understanding of the human mind.
Studious though she is, Alexandra believes that it is important to have an outlet for hobbies, too. As a talented chanteuse who played a featured role in last year’s spring musical, this year, Alexandra has earned a spot in the first ever Grier Singers Honors Choir. Alexandra says, “Honors Choir will allow me to healthily relieve any anxiety that comes my way as I embark on my college process this year.”
Alexandra writes about the first program she attended, which was in Forensic Science at American University:
We had multiple field trips including the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the DEA, and the Washington Monuments. We also had a three-day criminal investigation simulation where we used knowledge from our classes and roleplayed the process of a full investigation. This included working on the crime scene all the way through to the trial. My case, specifically, involved a framed suicide that we had to prove in trial to be a homocide. Some of my favorite classes included Ballistics and Blood Spatter Analysis, where we used trigonometry and physics to determine the trajectory of a bullet as well as the location of the suspect. Blood Spatter Analysis was a bit messy, but so much fun! We were given a scenario and challenged to replicate the pattern of blood based on the distance and weapon. Every person was put into a group where we would hit a large piece of paper to create the blood spatter and then other groups would guess the scenario. I also learned how to analyze DNA by using gel electrophoresis, which helps find similarities between the DNA at the scene and the DNA of the suspects. We also had guest lectures both on and off campus.
Of her lab-based Crime Scene Investigation course, instructed by an Investigator for the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office, at George Washington University, Alexandra writes:
We learned about different lab techniques involved in analyzing evidence. For instance, we took shoe prints and imprints, looked at evidence on a microscopic level, learned about different chemicals used to reveal invisible evidence, and even got to use a magnetic machine that revealed imprints from handwriting three or four sheets under the original writing. We listened to many guest speakers including an NCIS agent, a forensic entomologist, a police officer, and a forensic photographer. We also went on field trips that included the Spy Museum and the American Museum of Natural History with “backstage” access to artifacts unavailable to the public.
Alexandra’s third summer program was a course in National Security and Central Intelligence back at American University. Alexandra writes:
We were immediately greeted by all ROTC and military TAs who were with us the entire program, making for an inspiring mentor-like relationship. We listened to guest speakers, such as the Deputy Director of the FBI, a special agent, a recruitment officer for the Marine Corps, a DEA agent and professor, and more. Our field trip destinations overlapped with some of my other programs, but that repeated exposure allowed me to learn even more and gain a different perspective. Our simulation was very complex and very intense. We were each assigned a role within the National Security Council for the United States and worked with our “president” (a TA who acted very militaristically) on security threat. My original situation was a bombing of a Muslim culture event in D.C that simultaneously overlapped with a hostage takeover of our United Nations building in Iraq. The perpetrators ended up being completely different. In the scenario, ISIS was responsible for the UN attack, while three locals to D.C were the state actors of the Muslim culture celebration. We learned how to safely approach with the least amount of casualties possible and were successful in retrieving majority of the hostages unarmed. We were all taken by surprise when our president was yelling at us and getting in our faces to purposely add stress so we could learn how to manage in a highly intense and stress producing scenario. Given my president’s military background, she did not hold back on her treatment, even though, in reality, she is one of the most inspirational and sweetest people I have ever met. She helped me realize my full potential.
Alexandra is grateful that Grier provides her with the opportunity to learn in an interactive and personalized way, with unique subjects and small class sizes. She thanks the Grier teachers who wrote her letters of recommendation for her summer programs and who provide her with exceptional learning experiences.