We are very much looking forward to our highly-anticipated Meet The Alumni Event on March 13 at 11 AM. Families are invited to join school leadership as well as nearly a dozen BASIS alumni from around the country as we reflect on their years at BASIS. 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 are no exception. Currently attending Virginia Tech, Cornell, Brown, Duke, MIT, College of William & Mary, Yale, and Princeton, these former BASIS students embody the preparation for great things that a BASIS education affords. Leading up to March 13, we want to give you a sneak peek of some of the alumni that you will meet.

Keep reading for more and be sure to register for the Meet The Alumni Event on March 13 at 11 AM!

Tristan Schrader - BASIS Oro Valley Class of 2014
 Princeton University, Class 2018

What did you do to balance academics with things outside of school, like your social life, extracurriculars, team sports, etc.?

TS: I did so many activities outside of academics, from academic extracurricular initiatives to athletic teams and art programs. I have been a competitive swimmer since I was 7, and 20-25 hours per week of practice is no small commitment, whether it be after school and on the weekends... or in the early hours of the morning before school. I competed in all kinds of academic bowls and bees related to math, chemistry, biology, physics, computer science, and even astronomy. I started all kinds of clubs with my friends to connect over quirky and niche board games, constellations and late night stargazing, and so much more. BASIS gives you a lot of freedom if you try to find it.

Did you do a Senior Project? If so, what was it about?

TS: My Senior Project was about cancer biology and the effects of human growth hormone on tumor growth and genesis. For 3 months in senior year, I worked in a research laboratory at the University of Arizona Cancer Center for 40 hours per week with postdoctoral research associates and several graduate students doing just this, but I also assisted with many of my colleagues' projects as well, which involved many in vitro and in vivo studies. This was a wonderful experience, and I encourage everyone at BASIS to take advantage of the opportunity.

What are you most proud of and/or passionate about in your life?

TS: I am most proud of my determination, particularly how it helps me and those I care for realize their passions. No matter the interest of mine (e.g. my intensive major, my athletic engagement, my family and friends, etc.), I refuse to give up when things get tough. Especially when it gets tough. BASIS really helped that personality grow within me, and I am forever grateful.

What advice do you have for kids considering BASIS?

TS: BASIS is a lot of things. There are a lot of rules and responsibilities, but there is a lot of freedom if you put yourself out there to find it. Always ask questions. Always get involved. Get to know everyone. You can completely revolutionize the system and perfect it to what you and your fellow students want and need. In some sense, BASIS was a good precursor to college in that you can exercise influence, develop lasting connections with people in all disciplines, and personalize your experience. Don't be faint of heart. You can do a lot here.

Don't miss our Meet The Alumni Event on March 13 at 11 AM!

Do you have any questions for Tristan? Leave them in the comments section, below: