Senior Spotlight: Alanna Dorsey


Courtesy of Alanna Dorsey

Christine Nguyen, Co-Editor-in-Chief

  Involved in a variety of diverse extracurricular activities, Alanna Dorsey (12) shared significant moments of her high school experience and various goals that she plans on accomplishing at Stanford University.


Q: How did you react when you received the news of getting admitted into Stanford?


A: I sat on a tree and cried for 10 minutes. Since I first visited campus last August, I knew Stanford was the place I wanted to go. I loved the school and the people there so much, but I knew how difficult it was to get in. Once I read the “Congratulations!” I felt blissful joy, like I was on cloud ten, instead of cloud nine. It was definitely one of the happiest days of my life.


Q: Was there anyone you looked up to throughout high school?


A: I’ve always looked up to Michelle Obama. She is unapologetically bold and empowers minority groups to break the glass ceiling. She inspired me to be black and brilliant, which particularly helped in my decision to be a woman of color in STEM.


Q: What are you planning to major in and what are your future plans at Stanford?


A: Stanford doesn’t have a neuroscience major, so I’m planning on majoring in Human Biology. It’s an interdisciplinary program that combines my interest in neuroscience with health policy, anthropology, philosophy, and a myriad of other disciplines. I’m excited to expand my perspective and consider the many aspects of what it means to be human.

I’m also planning on doing undergraduate research on neurobiology or neurodegenerative diseases, and studying abroad. Stanford has an amazing co-term program, which will allow me to get a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in five years, so I can specialize my studies in neuroscience in my fifth year. A career in medicine is currently my goal, so I’m entering as a pre-med.

  Though unrelated to academics, I also can’t wait to join an a cappella group at Stanford. The groups are incredibly talented, and it’ll be a fantastic way to continue pursuing vocal music. I also intend to join a Christian fellowship and Black Student Union at Stanford.


Q: What is the most valuable lesson that you have learned from your experiences?


A: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to how make decisions. Before now, my parents have made most of my decisions for me, but college gave me the opportunity to make a huge life decision mostly by myself. It wasn’t just choosing which colleges to apply to; I also had to decide who to listen to when asking for advice. Family members, friends, and society in general all pulled me many conflicting directions in terms of deciding what I want out of my college experience. It came down to me taking a moment to myself and thinking about what really matters to me. I also prayed a lot. God led me to a school that’s an excellent fit for me. I believe He gave me the gut feeling that told me Stanford was the one.


Q: Where do you see yourself in ten years?


A: In ten years, I see myself in an MD/PhD program. I want to become a neurologist or neurosurgeon who practices research on the side, so I’ll get graduate degrees that allow me to do both. After that, I’ll likely do a residency and fellowship, and hopefully become a physician.


Q: How have your extracurriculars shaped you as a person?


A: My extracurriculars shaped my ability to have compassion for others. In choir, we have to work together to produce a cohesive sound that blends well. I interact with a lot of people through choir, allowing me understand and empathize with them. Through FCA, I’ve had numerous conversations with people about the spiritual struggles they’re facing, and I’ve learned to support them. FCA and choir taught me to care for many different people, allowing me to find one of the greater meanings in life.


  Alanna’s dedication and passion has opened the doors of opportunity that await her at Stanford and beyond.