DACC’s Simons follows her lifelong passion
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“Taking the unknown and making it known,” is what Delaware Area Career Center student Victoria Simons hopes to do in her future as she studies life under a microscope.
The senior, whose home school is Worthington Kilbourne High School, is in her second year at the Career Center’s zoo school with plans to attend college and eventually obtain a doctorate.
Victoria’s love of the ocean, science and animals can be traced back to when she was four years old. It was then that during a behind the scenes tour at Sea World, she saw a marine biologist and she knew, even then, that this is what she wanted to do.
And so she plans to major in marine biology and cellular biology.
Schools on her short list to attend include MIT or Duke, Harvard, Rutgers, Ohio State or Bowling Green State universities.
All the essays and some applications are completed as she is now in the midst of the college application process.
“I know I want to work in a lab. That’s what interests me the most,” Victoria said, adding, “I see myself at a microscope.”
She will be looking at chemicals, proteins and compounds, she said, searching for cures, diseases and new uses “taking the unknown and making it known.”
Victoria was 5 years old when she was given her first microscope. It was a little plastic green one. “I remember the first time I saw plants cells on a blade of grass,” she said. “I’ve been a biology lover my entire life.”
Victoria is also a certified scuba diver, with about six different certifications.
With her background and love of science, Victoria jumped at the chance to enroll in the zoo school where she has taken zoology and statistics.
“Stats is fun,” Victoria said, noting the research involved with the class.
Victoria spent last year studying domestic chickens. This year she has an internship at the Discovery Reef where her tasks teach her how to run an aquarium. She is doing many of the same tasks a keeper would do, such as testing the water quality.
“The opportunity do research while still in high school is an amazing opportunity, like a dream,” she said of her experience at zoo school.
Laura Henderson is the Career Center’s project coordinator and instructor of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium School.
“Vicki Simons, academically, has been one of our best students during the past two years of Zoo Research School. She has an intrinsic curiosity about all living things. She is also a very kind and gentle person who is always willing to help her teachers and her classmates. While she says she loves to spend time behind a microscope, I can also see her flying along in a zodiac ready to scuba dive to study a marine creature,” Henderson said.
Victoria is busy beyond zoo school as well. While earning numerous academic awards, she also has time to be a student advisory board member for the Leadership Worthington Program, do community service work through her high school club Interact, volunteer at the zoo, participate on the In The Know team and the Science Olympiad team this year.
During the summer months, one might find her scuba diving at any of the numerous quarries in the area. In her spare time, she also enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy novels.
Originally from Scottsdale, Ariz., Victoria has lived in the Central Ohio area since the fifth grade, a day after the family arrives, there was a “giant blizzard. I was confused. All I saw was white,” she said.
It was the first time she had ever seen real snow.
But now, in her final year of high school she has both her high school and zoo friends. She does not view it as a problem that she is not seeing her high school friends as often as she used to.
“I look at it as not as losing friends, but gaining more friends,” she said.
With prom and graduation to look forward to, and hopefully a summer job to help pay for college, Victoria thinks what lies ahead will finally sink in the closer she gets to graduation.
With the prospect of leaving the area for the unknown, Victoria said, “The way I learned to think of things is, if all else changes, I am still me — the constant. I will have new friends, new experiences, but it does not frighten me all that much.”
Victoria is the daughter of Debra and Tim Simons of Powell.