The #1 source for news for Dominion High School students and the Dominion High School community in Sterling, VA

DHS Press

The #1 source for news for Dominion High School students and the Dominion High School community in Sterling, VA

DHS Press

The #1 source for news for Dominion High School students and the Dominion High School community in Sterling, VA

DHS Press

WYD Titan Alumni: Matthew Armstrong

Dominion 2018 graduate Matthew Armstrong is currently working towards a masters degree, in Conservation Genetics at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. From perfect SAT scores and recognition as a scholar to now on his way towards a PhD, Armstrong has done nothing but excel after graduating.

How do you feel about your accomplishments in high school? 

Matthew is on the Titan Wall of Fame, recognized as a National Hispanic Scholar, and for perfect scores on SAT Math and SAT Biology.

I feel like it felt more important at the time [when applying for colleges], it feels like something that’s pretty stressful. But I guess my comment now would be [that it is] not actually worth worrying about too much, a couple years down the line. It probably doesn’t impact too much.


Did they open up any opportunities for you with colleges? Or even just like scholarships? Would you recommend other students to go after it because of what things you were like opened up to?

You definitely should. Look at colleges you’re interested in to see what their average scores [admitted] are, but do not stress about 10 or 20 points. [You] should have a ballpark of what sort of goal you have, but not worry about it too much.


During your time in high school did you participate in any clubs or sports?

I was in some clubs at the Academies of Science, half the time, but at Dominion,  Model United Nations.

What did you study at the Academies of Science?

Matthew attended the Academies all four years of high school, spending every other day in Ashburn. 

I did Environmental Biology one year and I did some stuff on biofuels, and then another year, chemical material science antibacterials. 

What college did you attend for your undergraduate degree?

Matthew completed his undergrad in 2021. Following that, he worked at a university research lab in his second year of a masters. 

I went to the University of Virginia for undergrad and then worked at the University of Michigan for the year. Now I’m at University of Nebraska Lincoln. 

What did you major in for your undergraduate? What is your current major while pursuing your masters degree?

In undergrad, I did a Biology and Environmental Science double major. And then my current Masters is Conservation Genetics with birds. I am interested in animal behavior research for a PhD in the future.

Have you had any cool experiences, internships, or jobs?

Sort of always. I’ve been doing some field related research type stuff all the time. I would recommend if you’re going into science, always try to be involved with labs if possible. In high school, I really enjoyed the Governor’s School for Marine Biology at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. I was working at a lab and really got experience that [you] normally wouldn’t get until like, third or fourth year of college. I really enjoyed that program in high school and then later on working/volunteering in research labs in college as well. I think coursework only gets you so far. 

What is one thing you would tell to your high school self or even just like a piece of advice you would give to current students?

Just in terms of stress and worrying about the future, set the big picture goal but then, day to day or even semester to semester really [don’t worry] about the minute details. You know where you want to be but it doesn’t matter whether you stay up late, do some assignments, just definitely enjoy the other aspects.

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About the Contributor
Olivia Columbel
Olivia Columbel, Assistant Editor
Olivia Columbel is an Assistant Editor for DHS Press. She is currently a junior and serving her second year with the program. Olivia hopes to pursue a career in social work and possibly expand to journalism as well. She loves to investigate teachers, sports and students for fascinating feature pieces. If Olivia is not at Dominion, in a classroom or on the field managing a sport, you can find her fast asleep in her own bed, getting food with friends, reading a book or doing her favorite activity, listening to music. 

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