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Why Give

Nate Faessler '12: Helping to Launch a Career

In 2011, the MSSM Foundation helped Nate Fasessler and two other MSSM students accompany researchers from the University of Maine's AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center on a trip to MARIN, a large-scale facility for testing floating wind turbines in the Netherlands. That trip helped Nate win a scholarship to attend the University of Maine and work in the AEWC lab.

Nate is from Sanford, Maine. His first introduction to MSSM came as a fifth-grade summer camper. He was so impressed with the MSSM student counselors that he knew he wanted to come here for high school. He’s glad he did; he would have exhausted his local high school’s math offerings as a junior.

MSSM has done more than just provide Nate with advanced math courses. It has helped him hone his childhood interest in alternative energy into a career path. Last year, the entire school toured the AEWC in Orono and saw cutting-edge research in wind and tidal energy. Then in the Netherlands, Nate gained inside access to a state-of-the-art engineering facility with wave pools, highly sophisticated testing equipment, and scale models of super-tankers, turbines, and platforms. He met engineers from MARIN, Maine Maritime Academy, and the University of Maine and interacted with Dr. Habib Dagher, the AEWC’s director.

Four days later, back in Maine, Nate and classmate Darius Haskell won the AEWC’s Windstorm Challenge, a competition in which students construct floating wind turbines. They received internships worth up to $20,000 to work in the AEWC lab while studying engineering at the University of Maine. Nate credits their win to the Netherlands trip. “Our design placed second in testing by just a few points but our presentation scored first by a lot and that’s how we won. The Netherlands trip gave it to us - we had a more educated view on where wind energy is headed.”

Nate says, “I am thrilled that I’m going to go to the University of Maine and be involved in these programs. That’s really where I want to be, and my confidence in knowing that is really all because of MSSM.”

Lillian Costello '15: “You're Changing Lives.”

Lil Costello came to MSSM from the small town of Milo, Maine, to pursue her dream of becoming an astronaut. In just one year, she has already experienced the role that the MSSM Foundation will have in her education – she conducted experiments in the newly renovated greenhouse, traveled to the state science fair, and tinkered with printers, electronics, and robots in the robotics lab. Happy in her decision to switch schools, she says, “I think MSSM is going to play a big role in my goals.” When asked what she'd tell people who donate to the MSSM Foundation, Lil says, “You're changing lives.”

Lil's great grandfather was a military pilot who worked with the first Apollo astronauts. Ever since inheriting his memorabilia, she has dreamed of becoming an astronaut herself. But her school wasn't preparing her. Through elementary and middle school, she was ahead of her peers and not getting extra enrichment from her teachers. She even experienced bullying. Finally one interested teacher helped her learn Algebra I outside of class and another instructor told her about MSSM. She attended an open house and was hooked. “The people were amazing,” she recalls.

In her first-year chemistry class, Lil tested the effect of water temperature on plant growth in the hydroponics facility funded by grants from the Perloff Family Foundation. That led to a trip to the Maine State Science Fair, paid for by the MSSM Foundation. Seeing student research from across the state and presenting to judges was a “really great experience,” recalls Lil.

Lil is glad she chose MSSM. “If I'd stayed [at my sending school], I wouldn't have gotten the education that I'm getting here. It's challenging and yet it's doable.” She credits the support of classmates and faculty with helping her make the transition. Lil hopes to attend a military academy and major in aeronautical engineering after MSSM.

Message from the Chair

Dear Friends,

Over nearly two decades, my wife, Fritzie, and I have fed MSSM students at our kitchen table, cheered as its graduates set off for impressive careers, and watched the institution grow to serve more students and teachers than ever before. We've seen how this institution changes lives. For that reason, we've been longtime contributers to the MSSM Foundation and I'm honored to serve as its chair.

Today, MSSM's enrollment is growing, new faculty are arriving from across the country, and new programs are benefiting more Maine students and teachers than ever before. MSSM’s momentum is notable and inspiring; even turning the heads of many longtime Limestone residents who are my neighbors and friends.

The MSSM Foundation plays a key role in this growth. Through donor generosity, we make possible activities, programs, and investments that the school's traditional public funding sources simply cannot cover. Most importantly, we help to ensure that all students can participate fully in the MSSM experience, regardless of their financial circumstances. Since its formation in 1994, the Foundation has raised over $1.5 million in support of this unique school.

On behalf of the MSSM Foundation and its beneficiaries, I would like to thank the many staff members, parents, alumni, and friends who have contributed so generously. Your support keeps MSSM strong.

Best regards,

Art Thompson

Chair, MSSM Foundation

Message from the Executive Director

Dear Donors,

As MSSM's Executive Director, I strive to provide students the most enriching educational experience possible and to ensure that each of them can experience it fully. The MSSM Foundation is vital to making that happen. Private and philanthropic contributions support activities, programs, investments, and student assistance that the school's traditional public funding sources simply cannot cover.

When I think of the MSSM Foundation, I recall high school students who overcome financial hardships thanks to the foundation's assistance; I think of middle school students who had their first summer camp experience thanks to scholarships; and I remember the many times I turned to the Foundation as a teacher to fund activities that captivated and motivated my students.

On behalf of the entire MSSM community, please accept my heartfelt thanks for your support. We see your gifts to the MSSM Foundation as investments - in our students, our faculty, and our institution. Thank you for investing in MSSM.


Luke C. Shorty, ’98

MSSM Executive Director

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