Bismarck High School senior Alexus Anderson is a four-time state Science Olympiad champion, which qualified her to compete at nationals each time. Among her favorite events to “nerd out” in is anatomy, which, as a junior, she placed first in the state.
“Science Olympiad is one of my favorite things to do,” she said, referring to it as the track and field of academics. “It’s been really cool to visit all these different places and compete with all these different people from every state.”
The 18-year-old Bismarck native also competes in Science Bowl and is a member of the Academic Team, which quizzes students on subjects such as math, science, English, history and current events.
Anderson says academic competitions are a way for her, a self-described nonathlete, to “show off” her strengths, much like a star basketball player shines on the court.
“Instead of it just being you pushing yourself on, it’s a whole crowd watching you and trying to compete with you. That’s my favorite part,” she said. “That’s really cool just having … the support of the entire crowd.”
Anderson, who aims to compete at the National Science Olympiad again this year, is this week’s Teen of the Week.
“Alexus is a rare type of student who combines exceptional natural ability with a willingness and eagerness to learn. She has exceptional analytical and critical thinking skills,” wrote BHS chemistry teacher Scott Weigum, in a letter of recommendation. “As her (Science Olympiad) coach, one could not find a better competitor. I find her to be a very personable individual who is easy to meet and visit.”
The teen, who scored a 32 on her ACT exam and has a 4.2 weighted GPA, has taken eight Advanced Placement classes throughout her high school career, including Physics 1 and 2, chemistry and English 11, which she says are all her favorites.
When she graduates in May, Anderson will have taken a total of 10 AP exams. She was designated an AP Scholar with Honor, last year, for receiving a minimum average score of 3.25 on all AP exams taken and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of those exams.
“I’ve never had anything other than an A (grade),” she said. “It’s one of my best accomplishments, I think, especially with the classes I’ve taken.”
The straight-A student plays the baritone saxophone, which she picked up in the seventh grade after experimenting with the alto sax the year prior. She’s involved in BHS’s pep and marching bands, as well as jazz and wind ensembles.
“I love band so much. It’s one of my favorite things,” she said. “Tenth grade is when I really, really started to just fall in love with it … I really started appreciating the music. I would be playing it and the whole song would just really be sinking in. You’re right in the middle of all the noise.”
In the fall of 2016, Anderson began working as a dietary aide at Missouri Slope Lutheran Care Center, where she volunteered prior. In the latter role, she said she enjoyed playing cards with the residents. Her favorite thing to do now, as an employee who works weekends, is serve food to the elderly and ask them about their day.
“You get to pour their milk and be like, ‘How are you today?’ and talk about their day. And tease them a little bit and they tease you,” she said. “Being able to have conversations with my residents … that’s the best.”
Anderson, the daughter of Jerry and Delanie, plans to attend Colorado State University this fall. She says she’s undecided on a major but is leaning toward research science. Earning a doctorate is a lifelong dream of hers.
The teen, who enjoys relaxing, reading, watching Netflix and baking, says she’s grateful for her family’s support.
“My family is just rock solid for me. Every single time I accomplish anything, they’re always like, ‘Way to go!’” she said, fighting back tears. “I’m so thankful that they are there for me like that.”