We are very much looking forward to our highly-anticipated  Meet The Alumni Event on March 18 at 12:30 PM. Families are invited to join our Head of School and three alumni from BASIS Oro Valley.  BASIS Oro Valley was ranked the #1 high school in the United States by the Washington Post in 2016. Though BASIS Independent McLean is new to Northern Virginia, the BASIS name carries with it a legacy of preparing students to attend some of the world's best colleges and universities. The alumni who will be in attendance at the event currently attend Virginia Tech, Duke, and Haverford College. Leading up to March 18, we want to give you a sneak peek of some of the alumni that you will meet.


Syndey Dorman.pngSydney Dorman, BASIS Oro Valley Class of 2015

College: Haverford College

Major: Astrophysics

Minor: Physics

When did you start at BASIS? Tell us about transitioning to the program in high school.

I transitioned in 10th grade. The transition was a lot easier than expected because I made such good friends and I felt like I was finally being taught at a level that was challenging enough. Before BASIS Oro Valley I never felt engaged in school and even the "advanced" classes didn't feel right for me.

Did you do a senior project? If so, what was it about?

Yes. I worked with the University of Arizona's High Energy Particle Physics Graduate Department building micromegas electronics for the 2018 update of the Large Hadron Collider.

How would you describe the culture at BASIS?

I believe BASIS gets a reputation of being a cut-throat, solely academics oriented environment, however I found the students there to be earnest, supportive and very well rounded. In my experience, the community at BASIS is far more collaborative than competitive.

When you think of the teachers you had at BASIS Oro Valley, what comes to mind? I want to be one! The teachers at BASIS Oro Valley were like family to me. I miss them every day that I'm away at college. Of course they prepared me for AP exams and whatnot, but more than that they genuinely cared for me and my well-being. Shout out to Mr. Aiken, Ms. Fluitt, Mme Cutillas, Mrs.Wheeler, Mr Torrez, Mr Thomas. etc!

What did you do to balance academics with outside activities, extracurriculars, etc.?

My Junior year I worked 20 hours per week and was involved in many clubs on campus. It was difficult, but it can be done. I reached out to my teachers for support when I was feeling stressed by balancing both academics and extracurriculars, and they helped me get through it.

What advice do you have for kids considering BASIS Independent McLean?

GO TO BASIS. Honestly. It was challenging at times ( to say the least), but it is the best decision I've ever made. There were all kinds of people in my graduating class at BASIS Oro Valley and each one went on to do very different but very amazing things. That is to say, there really is something for each student at BASIS. Whether you're more artistically inclined, an entrepreneur, or a science kid like myself, you can make BASIS fit your goals. There's so much opportunity at BASIS and the staff and teachers are there to help you make it happen.

Don't miss our Meet the Alumni Event on March 18 at 12:30 PM!

Do you have any questions for Sydney?  Leave them in the comments section below.