Standout Scholars: Zoe Younger is Fighting Racism, Writing Poetry and So Much More

A black and white shot of St. Louis Park High School senior Zoe Younger, one of 2019's Standout Scholars.
St. Louis Park High School's Zoe Younger plans to go into a STEM field, but she also loves poetry and is very involved in anti-racism work.

Zoe Younger
St. Louis Park High School

I understand you’ve been very involved in anti-racism work at your school. Can you talk about that?
Last year, I went to our school’s Students Organized for Anti-racism—they hold a panel twice a year. I went to that in the spring and I was really interested in what they were doing. They were so knowledgeable about how race is a social construct, and bringing the community together to talk about race, because it’s a hard topic to talk about. I started going to their meetings and this year I officially joined and ever since then I’ve been helping hold panels, and I’ve talked to a lot of teachers.

I went on the Civil Rights Research Experience. We learned a lot about African-American history, African history and critical race theory. We went on a trip down South to see prominent locations from the civil rights movement.

I got involved because I have a multiracial background. I’m biracial—black and white, and so I’ve never really been able to have conversations about race. It was really interesting to learn more and be able to have those conversations and to be able to recognize both sides of my history.

What are your main academic interests?
I really love math and science. I plan to go into a career in the STEM fields, maybe engineering. But I also love English—reading, writing, I’m really into writing poetry and writing in general.

What has been the highlight of your academic career so far?
The Civil Rights Research Experience. That was probably the best learning experience I’ve ever had. I was surrounded by students who were motivated and teachers who had high expectations for all of us.

What have been some of your challenges in high school?
Finding a balance between my academics and my extracurriculars. I take a lot of AP, IB and honors classes, but I also love sports and other things outside of school.

What else are you involved in?
I’m in jazz band—I play trombone. And sports—cross-country in the fall, strength and conditioning in the winter, and track and field in the spring. I usually run sprints, the 200 or 100, sometimes the 400, and I do triple jump and long jump.

What is your special power?
Talking to a large group of people and bringing them together. I started a club this year like the Dead Poets Society. I got a lot of people to start showing up and listening to my work, I’ve done poetry at a gala I had for the Civil Right Research Experience and I did a black history month presentation at school.

Who has influenced you to be the person that you are?
My teachers. I’ve gotten really close to a lot of them, especially in the science department. They’re really supportive and I love talking to them. And my parents are constantly pushing me to be a better person and a better student.

What advice would you give someone just starting high school?
Take all the opportunities that are offered because high school is only four years and you don’t want to leave it regretting anything.

What are your thoughts for what you'll do after graduation?
I want to go to college, but not sure what I’m going to major in. It could be engineering, maybe environmental engineering. It could be social justice. It could be a little bit of both, but I definitely want to double major or minor in Spanish as well.

Any schools in mind?
I checked out Loyola and Madison and loved them both, but I’m still searching, of course.