Student Feature: Dean Barrow

Our past Student Features have introduced readers to CYSO musicians who are active in the performing arts including theatre, dance, and even composition. This month’s Student Feature showcases something a little bit different. Meet Dean Barrow, an 18-year-old violinist in Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his musical studies, Dean has a serious interest in physics and biology. Read on as Dean talks about his 8 years in CYSO and the connections he sees between playing music and the science world.

Symphony Orchestra violinist Dean Barrow

First off, can you tell us about your CYSO experience?

I have been in CYSO since 2015 when I was in 5th grade. I’ve had the fortune of creating music with my friends and spending time together for 8 years. CYSO has some of the most talented individuals I’ve ever met. I have truly enjoyed all the years spent in CYSO and have made amazing friends along the journey.

Tell us about your interest in science. How did you get into it?

I have been interested in particle physics and biology since high school. I signed up for a class called “Modern Physics” and shortly after, joined the Fermilab Particle Physics research group. I have been conducting research for the past two years. My research group has focused on the study of Dark Photons and the Doubly Charged Higgs Boson.

What have you learned from your studies so far?

I have learned a great deal about particles governing the universe. In one of my courses, Cancer Biology, we were able to spend hours in the lab analyzing cancer tissues and common hallmarks of cancer.

Do you have any exciting events, research projects, or internships coming up?

I will be attending the American Physical Society (APS) research conference in April. I also have an internship planned at the Mayo Clinic this summer.

Are there any connections between your study of science and music? Do you think one makes you better at the other?

I believe there are many connections between physics and music. Scientifically speaking, physics deals a lot with the characteristics of waves and music can be broken down into frequencies. I believe music has played an important role in my passion for science and medicine. Music instilled discipline in me, which later applied to my studies in science and medicine. I believe music and science complement each other very well and many of my musician friends are also incredibly gifted in science and medicine.

A young Dean captured during a Preparatory Strings photo shoot.

Is must be hard to give your time and attention to both your academic work and music—How do you balance it?

Balancing academic work and music has been crucial to my life over the past couple of years. It hasn’t always been easy. I try to divide my afternoon into hour sections where I alternate between studying and practicing. Balancing both requires a strict schedule, but it’s very rewarding.

Could you tell us about what your plans are after high school? What are your thoughts on your career as you contemplate going into either music or science, or both?

I would like to work in a quantitative trading firm and later found my own business. My thoughts are that music will always remain a part of my life. To play music and create music with others is a unique privilege to have. I hope to play in the orchestra at college.

Dean and his parents pose after a CYSO concert

Anything else that’s you’d like to share?

I just want to say thank you to CYSO for the past 8 years. I remember starting in Preparatory Strings and working my way up to Symphony Orchestra. I have made some incredible friends and memories along the way. I am grateful for the privilege to play and create beautiful music with wonderful people. I think CYSO is an amazing organization and really helps give young kids an opportunity to express themselves.

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