Out and about: How MSMS students spent the summer

Junior Lucianna Marquez views Mount St. John from the front of String Lake in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

John Robert Walker, Staff Writer

With travel restrictions lifted, summer programs and international robotics competitions returning in person and various local and national opportunities, MSMS students were in full swing this summer break. Students filled their summers with activities ranging from camping trips to college visits.

Summer Programs and Internship

Emerging Rural Leaders (University of Chicago)

Senior Danielle McConnell explores Chicago during her free time at the University of Chicago’s Emerging Rural Leaders summer program. (Photo courtesy of Danielle McConnell)

“I participated in the Emerging Rural Leaders summer program at the University of Chicago that centered around taking an undergraduate course through the university. I chose to take a molecular engineering course, which prepared me to study in a nanotech lab when they flew me up for a week. I got to do some pretty cool things in the lab, like make dye sensitized solar cells and re-engineer dye molecules. My favorite part of the program was getting to explore the city in my free time.” – Danielle McConnell, senior







Engineering Research and Development Center Internship

“I had an internship at the Engineering Research and Devolvement Center looking into quantum variational linear solvers. The goal of this solver was to solve partial differential equations quicker and more

Claire Ellison walks around UT Austin’s campus while visiting colleges in Texas. (Photo courtesy of Claire Ellison)

efficiently. The internship provided me with the opportunity to visit the University of Texas at Austin’s research lab and see quantum experiments. I also had the opportunity to visit multiple college campuses. I visited Rice when I was traveling to UT Austin for my research, and I got to stay on Texas A&M’s campus overnight with a current student when I was in Texas for the First Robotics Competition. At the end of the summer, I got to stay the night in the gym of West Virginia University due to a 26-hour- and 14-minute-long … First Robotics Competition. On that trip, our team also stopped at Dollywood and the New River Gorge.”Claire Ellison, senior







Naval Academy Summer Seminar

Avery McMechan completes the Sea Trials with his Squad at the Naval Academy Summer Seminar. (Photo courtesy of Avery McMechan)

“The Naval Academy Summer Seminar consists of six different classes that each midshipman candidate chooses based on individual interests, as well as things like pep (morning workouts with the entire battalion), meals and various squad building exercises. Each squad is made up of six candidates and two Squad Leaders that are second-year students at the academy. The seminar is all about brotherhood and how your squad and company as a whole works together. Our company, Echo Company, received the Honor Company Award for providing the most attitude, courage and energy.” – Avery McMechan, senior





Senior Christina Zhang competes at the National Catholic Forensic League Grand Nationals Debate Tournament in Washington. (Photo courtesy of Christina Zhang)

NCFL Debate Nationals

“Going to Washington for debate was really interesting! It was great experiencing what debate is like outside of the Mississippi circuit, even though it was stressful and surprising to see such invested debaters from other states. My favorite part was sightseeing in the city.” – Christina Zhang, senior








SeaPerch International Competition

From left to right: Tuan Dao, Roman Luckett, Ethan Liao and Max Feng visit the Capitol on their trip to the University of Maryland for the SeaPerch International Competition with the Starkville High School SeaPerch team. (Photo courtesy of Roman Luckett)

“SeaPerch is an underwater robotics competition that requires teams to build robots out of PVC pipes and motors. The goal is to design a robot with some sort of attachments that can complete the challenge and obstacle courses as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the SeaPerch International competition we went to, we placed second for Engineering Notebook, fifth for our Team Video, seventh for Obstacle Course and fourth Overall.” – Ethan Liao, junior








College Visits

Senior Dylan Randall visits University of Texas at Austin and University of Arizona over summer break. (Photo Courtesy of Dylan Randall)

“This summer I visited the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Arizona. I enjoyed exploring their physics and astronomy departments and talking with advisors about their majors, and at Arizona, I was granted a special tour to visit the observatory on campus and talk with a current grad student! In addition, I explored San Antonio, Fort Worth and Dallas with my family and saw some old friends in Phoenix. It was hot but worth the visits!” – Dylan Randall, senior








MSMS Germany Trip

Junior Maddie Brain visits Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany with other classmates, parents and graduates. (Photo courtesy of Maddie Brain)

“Over the summer, I went on the MSMS trip to Germany with a few other students, several parents and alums. We flew into Frankfurt and then went down to Bavaria for a couple of days. Of the many sites we visited, Neuschwanstein Castle was my favorite by far. I am really into castles and architecture, so that was amazing. The structure of the trip and sightseeing was great, but I enjoyed the free time we had to explore the cities we were in.” – Maddie Brain, junior







Banff and Jasper National Parks

Junior Rusleen Bhalla takes in scenic views of Mount Norquay near Banff, Alberta, Canada. (Photo courtesy of Rusleen Bhalla)

“My family and I visited Banff National Park and Jasper National Park in Canada this summer. We went exploring in the mountains, river rafting and tried as many Indian restaurants as possible. My favorite part of the trip was spending quality time with my family before I left for MSMS and before my sister left for law school.” – Rusleen Bhalla, junior






Pacific Coast

Junior Mariane Powell takes a camping trip up the coast of California and Oregon to see the tide pools and rock formations of the Pacific Coast. (Photo courtesy of Mariane Powell)

“This summer I drove up the Pacific Coast with my family, camping along the way. It was my first time seeing that part of

the country, and I really enjoyed the beautiful scenery.” – Mariane Powell, junior









Philmont Scout Ranch

Junior Ethan Liao hikes through Philmont Scout Ranch with his Boy Scout Troop. (Photo courtesy of Ethan Liao)

“This summer, I was able to go to Philmont Scout Ranch with my Boy Scout Troop. Philmont is a high adventure scouting base in New Mexico. For many older scouts, Philmont is the goal. It is a 12-day, 65-mile hike around the ranch. We climbed about 6,000 feet of elevation at the highest and went up and down the mountains a lot over the 12 days.” – Ethan Liao, junior









Volunteer Work

100 Black Men of Jackson Swim Lessons

Junior Dylan Wiley volunteers his time to give free swim lessons to kids in the Jackson area. (Courtesy of Dylan Wiley)

“I am a lifeguard and a state championship swimmer for Sunkist Swim Team in Jackson. This summer, my swim team had the opportunity to work with the 100 Black Men of Jackson to give swim lessons to kids ages 8-18. This was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had.” – Dylan Wiley, junior