TRiO Spotlight: Fiona Hughes


Surviving four years of honors, AP, and IB courses, Fiona Hughes will serve as the 2018 Valedictorian of John Adams High School in South Bend, Indiana. In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Fiona is a member of the National Honor Society, the John Adams High School Volunteer Association, Marching Band, Science Olympiad, Mock Trial, and Spanish Club. Fiona is also an active participant in the University of Notre Dame’s Upward Bound program, 4-H, the Notre Dame Summer Band, and the Niles Orchestra.  To further explore her academic curiosities, Fiona has participated in the Educational Opportunity Association’s Girls in STEM Conference; the University of Notre Dame’s QuarkNet program; and Chemistry research at the University of Notre Dame.  While Fiona is intensely focused on academics, she also actively serves her community through volunteerism at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, the Nihon Friendship Club, the 4-H Junior Leaders, the Riverbend Math Academy, the St. Joseph County Public Library, the St. Joseph County Polls (during elections), South Bend Parks & Recreation, St. Vincent DePaul, and the Jewish Federation. In addition to Fiona’s heavy schedule, she also serves as the CEO and sole employee of Fiona’s LawnCare where she hopes to defray college expenses while enjoying her fascination with grass.

Due to Fiona’s academic tenacity and civic engagement, she has been awarded the 4-H Junior Leaders Scholarship, the 4-H Esther Singer Building Scholarship, the Burger King Scholarship, and the Indiana CPA Scholarship. Fiona is also a scholarship recipient of the 21st Century Scholars program. Fiona has also been recognized for her outstanding achievements via the University of Notre Dame’s Summer Scholars program (also a scholarship recipient), the Japan America Society of Chicago, and the Indiana State Schools Music Association (as a gold medalist for flute and violin solos). 

Prior to beginning her collegiate career, Fiona will take audiences on a physics journey inside the Golden Dome—modeling what you would see if you could actually view the subatomic particles that comprise a gold molecule via the University of Notre Dame's QuarkNet program where she will present at the International Planetarium Society Symposium in Toulouse, France. 

This fall, Fiona will attend Purdue University – West Lafayette where she will major in chemical engineering. 

Favorite Quote: I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination. – Jimmy Dean
Fun Fact: Fiona is fluent in Japanese, English, and Spanish