Justine Huetteman, rising senior
Justine Huetteman is a natural leader.
She spent eight hours a day this summer at cheerleading camp, played the lead in her school’s musical, “The Pirates of Penzance,” welcomed new students to Marist School last year as a peer leader and led a 10- minute presentation to the Center of Disease Control’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response department.
“I’m always busy with something!” Huetteman said, laughing.
Her fast-paced lifestyle began at the ripe age of 3, when her parents signed her up for dance class. She kept it up for nearly a decade, exploring tap, jazz and modern, but remaining focused on ballet.
She quit in eighth grade, saying it was too much of a time commitment—and promptly took up cheerleading and participating in Marist’s musicals instead. Cheerleading’s sharp movements felt familiar after years of hip-hop, and the musicals gave Huetteman a chance to dance and explore a talent she never knew she had: singing. She has since excelled at the two activities, taking on leading roles in the musicals and becoming the Varsity cheerleading captain for this upcoming school year.
“I need an artistic outlook,” Huetteman said. “I’m always focused on school, and expressing myself just is a way for me to relax.”
Despite her lengthy list of extra-curricular activitiess, that focus on school has landed her on the Dean’s List every term and given her various academic accolades, including a U.S. History Award this past year.
History, however, is not Huetteman’s passion. Instead, she finds she has more chemistry with science.
“I took AP Biology this year and loved it,” Huetteman said. “I liked learning about the life aspect of science and have always been interested in public health.”
Her interest landed her a six-week internship at the CDC this summer, where she worked five days a week for eight hours a day. She researched the effectiveness of a project the CDC conducted in 2008 in which the department funded eight states to become better prepared for pandemic influenza.
Her findings? In nearly all the states, the preventative programs were not complete, despite the intention to have them finished in 2009. She presented her findings and recommendations to the Public Health Preparedness and Response department at the end of her internship.
“I’m sure I made some enemies in my presentation,” Huetteman said. “I basically had to tell the department that I recommended they actually do their job.”
Obviously, Huetteman is well on her way to becoming a future leader.
This singing and dancing scientist has no intention of slacking off her senior year—she plans to continue all her activities, from cheerleading to musicals, while maintaining her spot on the Dean’s list. Currently she has no definite college choices, but she’s particularly interested in Georgetown University, Northwestern University and Princeton University.
Although she loves science, she hopes to avoid the medical route—blood makes her squeamish—and instead pursue public health law, a topic which also factors in her passion for politics.
And while she doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do after college, one thing is for sure: she hopes to live in a big city where there’s always something going on.