Olivia Schwob was born in Syracuse, upstate New York, in a big house with a big yard and a highway running in front. Her parents, both professors at a nearby medical school, were uncharacteristically cosmopolitan for their surroundings, and channeled their frustrations at living in a cultural black hole into leading abnormally cultured lives. This sense of being out of place was shared by their children; young Olivia always knew in her heart that she was a city girl, and 4-years-older Anneke was much more of a flower child than local standards of normalcy would allow. Thus, when the family relocated to Boston in Olivia’s eighth year, the change was met with superficial tears and a fundamental sigh of relief. Anneke immediately enrolled at the Boston Latin School, a public school which offered a much better education than any private schools offered in Syracuse, and Olivia began third grade at the James W. Hennigan Elementary School, part of the Boston Public Schools system. From there on out, she began to live and breathe Boston. She began riding the T on her own in the fourth grade, and now knows much of the city like the back of her hand. The Hennigan was a wonderful experience for Olivia, and an appropriate induction into the realities of urban life: it was the first and only school in which she was a minority, and her two best friends were Latina.
After the Hennigan and a brief sojourn at the Irving Middle School, Olivia entered her Sixie year at Boston Latin School. Nothing has come to define her experience at BLS so much as Olivia’s extracurricular activities, which have included the Junior Classical League, the Seevak Competition, Amnesty International, The BLS Register, the Argo, and, most of all, the Science Fair. The Science Fair has been a part of Olivia’s life since ninth grade, and she has dedicated an immeasurable amount of time to her project, which involves creating mutant worms with abnormal learning power, which could in the future help discover more about human learning and learning disabilities. Olivia valued her experience with the project for the values of hard work and analysis it instilled in her, but also had success in competition, winning the 2008 Massachusetts Science Fair and the 2009 Intel International Science Fair. Her interests also include human rights, which she has pursued through Amnesty and the Seevak Competition, and art and design, which she pursues outside of school.
Olivia’s interest in public service is owed to her parents. Both her parents grew up in families much less well off than the one they created together, and so, while providing their children many opportunities and benefits, have instilled in them the wish to help those less fortunate. Both parents are interested and engaged in politics and current events, and have passed on that interest to their children. Olivia was particularly struck by how fortunate she was when, during a trip with her mother to India in the sixth grade, she saw first hand the debasement and poverty experienced by so many and ignored by much of the world. Her involvement in Amnesty and Seevak have built upon that awareness and fueled her desire to help others in whatever profession she pursues: what that is to be has not yet been decided. Olivia hopes to attend an excellent college where she can be exposed to as many different viewpoints as possible, and where she can explore her many areas of interest. Most of all, Olivia wishes to be educated and able to make intelligent decisions and evaluations about her world, in the hopes of one day making it better.