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Academic Life

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello, MSSM community!

After a long and restful Summer, it’s finally time for everyone to return to Limestone! With many new faces, including students AND faculty, we can confidently predict a successful academic year. Here at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, new students are getting into the groove of their new environment. Returning students are doing a great job helping them adjust to life at MSSM (it has always amazed me that our community is so genuinely caring)! 

On another note, MSSM has recently accomplished something that is very important; for the first time, the student body at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics has a female majority! Kudos to our school for breaking the gender stereotypes and contributing to female representation in STEM fields.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition of “So This Happened at MSSM”.... We will be interviewing a third-year senior regarding her positive experience at MSSM. Get ready for some special inside information!

Sarah Kuptchik, ‘18
 

Sarah Kuptchik

This Summer, I participated in two STEM related programs. In early July, I attended a program at the University of Maine called Consider Engineering. Students in the program were given the opportunity to tackle real engineering problems and work on projects with professors and graduate students. The focus of the project that I worked on was researching Gold Nanoparticles to treat cancer.

After Consider Engineering, I worked as a biological research intern at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (another MSSM!) in New York City. I was given the opportunity to research programmed cell death, cancer, and In Vitro Fertilization. 

Reed Oestreicher

This summer I interned at Enercon Technologies in Grey Maine. They are a tech manufacturing firm that works primarily on medical and automotive circuit board design and manufacturing. I worked closely with the production engineers to help with everything from the parts prep to the inventory and shipping processes. I learned a lot about tech firm specific protocols and procedures. I completed an Electrostatic Discharge course and other lab safety courses to get on the floor. The lab environment was an exciting place to work for the summer. MSSM gave me the independence and necessary skill set to intern as the only high school student in the program. 

-Reed Oestreicher

Ryan McDonald

Ana Ramirez, A Junior from Colombia

I am a new student here at MSSM. I moved about a year ago all the way to the United States from Colombia, with a long-term goal of helping improve people’s wellness, health, and quality of life, and I think that one of the best ways to do it is by pursuing a career in Biomedical Engineering at MIT. I hope to someday push the boundaries of the medical community. After my grandmother passed away of Cancer and my grandfather of Parkinson's disease, the word "medicine" took a whole new meaning for me. I want to innovate and create to improve the quality of life of the people.

Two years ago I started working as a volunteer at a non-profit cooperation in Colombia called Fabrilab where, through 3D printing, we have been able to develop technical solutions in the area of health among which we have the hand and arm prostheses and we are currently trying to improve our prototype of lower limb prosthesis. Although I was not in Colombia last year because I went to Newton South High School in Newton, Massachusetts, I came back this summer to keep working there. We develop customized prostheses that we donate to underprivileged children and we all work from our hearts to give these prostheses to the children and bring back their smiles and some of their manual abilities, of course, they did not have before. We have donated more than 70 prostheses and we are still working on this good cause.

Chris Evans, Senior from Portland.

I attended BWSI Racecar at MIT this summer. We learned how to code fully autonomous race cars to run a course. We did this over the course of 4 weeks. The race cars run ROS on Linux and we programmed them to run a path consisting of multiple different obstacles including a path with no walls and only colored flooring, a walled pathway, a hair pin turn, and other stuff too. 

Here is a video from a camera mounted on the car (it might make you dizzy) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exYrqYwyUD4

Sophia Smith, A Senior from North Yarmouth.

This summer I worked with multiple Portland-based organizations to train dogs. I worked with North Edge K9 to train police dogs for the Portland Police Department as well as K9's On The Front Line training free PTSD service dogs for combat veterans. I met lots of great people (and dogs!) and learned many skills I will need later on for my desired area of study: veterinary medicine.

I spent 6 weeks this summer participating in the National High School Game Academy at Carnegie Mellon University. As you might guess, it's a summer school focusing on video game development. During the last two weeks, I acted as the producer for my team of five and produced a game regarded one of the best in the program. It is a first person action game based on Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch, a very popular virtual reality platform. Here's a link to the demo video of the game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugU99ALZS3M. The main scene is what the player wearing the headset would hear, and the video on the bottom right is webcam capture of people playing the game.

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello MSSM Community!

After a long and successful year at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, it is finally time to rest. We wish the best of luck to all of the graduated seniors and will miss seeing their faces! The MSSM class of 2017 graduates will be attending a wide variety of universities this Fall. A few of these universities (out of many!) are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Maine, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Colby College. Over the Summer, many rising seniors will be entering college mode; Common Application essays will be written, SATs will be taken, colleges will be visited... our seniors are prepared! We are so excited to start a new year of learning and meet all of the first year students. Have a great, restful Summer and we will see you this Fall! That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM"

Sarah Kuptchik, '18

Editor's Note: We have appreciated Sarah's unique and engaging blog throughout the past year as well as her presence every week as the Admission Office Work Assignment representative. Mrs. Scott and I wish you a very restful summer and thank you for all of your work.

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello MSSM Community!

Next year, MSSM will be offering many new and exciting courses! These classes range from STEM fields to Humanities–there is definitely a variety! Our new Humanities department chair, Mr. Mark Tasker, will be bringing in Anthropology 1, Anthropology 2, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and Sociology. These classes will give students an opportunity to earn social science credits through interesting and challenging curriculum. In the science department, Dr. Debbie Eustis-Grandy is bringing back a former class, Genetics and Biotechnology. This is a biology class that explores genetics. Another science class that will be offered is Advanced Topics in Physics. This is an advanced course that students may take after AP Physics C. With all of these new classes, we can expect an awesome year!

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM"

Sarah Kuptchik, '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello MSSM Community!

Recently, things at MSSM have been quite busy! With Advanced Placement exams, students have definitely been kept occupied. Students are in full test-taking mode, as AP exams are very important in this academic environment. (Fun fact: MSSM students' AP scores have reflected that our college readiness index is 100%... great job, MSSM!) Thanks to the year-round support of our incredible teachers, college counselor, and many others, MSSM students have the tools to succeed. In addition, hours and hours of hard work are put into exam preparation by the students. Best of luck to those who are testing in the next few weeks!

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM"

Sarah Kuptchik, '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello MSSM Community!

On Tuesday April 4th, the state math meet was held in Augusta. MSSM's Ivory team drove a long but worthwhile four hours to the competition. The fun-filled day of math ended in very pleasant results: MSSM Ivory finished in first place with a score of 801 points (a whole 140 points ahead of the second place team). In addition, Brett Foster tied for first place, scoring a perfect meet of 72 points! James Hawkes, Peter Nielsen, and Tobyn Blatt tied for sixth place with 67 points. We are extremely proud of our classmates and the efforts that they have made this MAML season.

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM"

Sarah Kuptchik, '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello, MSSM community!

As many people know, MSSM offers a myriad of STEM related extracurriculars. One of the activities that we have been offering for a while is competing in the Science Bowl. Once a year, the U.S. Department of Energy hosts a National Science Bowl for young scientists to participate in. Teams participate in several matches to determine the rankings. Each match consists of two teams in a division and approximately 20 questions are asked. Students are challenged with questions ranging from topics in physics, biology, astronomy, and many other branches of science. Last weekend, MSSM sent two teams of five to the Maine Regional High School Science Bowl. After a long day of matches, MSSM Team A was completely undefeated in Division X and MSSM Team B had only two losses in Division Y. In order to determine which teams went to the finals and which went to the semifinals, the two MSSM teams competed head-on! The two teams definitely put up a great fight, giving each other some friendly competition. In the end MSSM team A went on to the finals and team B went on to the semifinals. Team B finished in 4th place after competing with Greely and MSSM team A finished second to Cape Elizabeth. MSSM did excellent as a school, being the only school with both its teams making it to the semi-finals. Great job, MSSM Science Bowl!

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello, MSSM community!

After a week of rest and relaxation, MSSM students have returned from February break. Before we left, J-Term off-campus exhibition occurred. During J-Term at MSSM, many students take the opportunity to participate in an exciting internship. Internships ranged from working in a prosthetics clinic, to law offices, to software engineering firms. Internships are a great opportunity for students to get a taste of the career they may be interested in. Other off-campus J-Term opportunities were trips to the Bahamas, Japan, or Jackson Labs. Students in the Bahamas and Jackson Labs had a concentration in biology, while students in Japan visited our sister school Hikone-Higashi. Students greatly enjoyed watching the presentations and hearing about the great time that our fellow Penguins had!

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello, MSSM Community!

At MSSM, time is flying at a rapid pace, as we are already almost a month into the Spring Semester. In about a week, students will depart for February break. Before we leave, however, there is a lot of work to be done! On Tuesday, February 7, all MSSM students participated in the American Mathematics Competition. Freshmen and sophomores in Accelerated Principles of Geometry and Accelerated Advanced Mathematics were administered the AMC 10, while all students in before calculus, calculus, and post-calculus classes were administered the AMC 12. In the past few years, MSSM has seen some of its highest scores; several of our students had qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). In preparation for AMCs, most students were given group projects with difficult practice problems in order to prepare for the exam.

Stay tuned:

In next week's blog post, you will learn about the J-Term off-campus and internship exhibition!

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello, MSSM community!

Up in Limestone, J-Term has officially ended, marking the commencement of the Spring Semester. For many, the new semester will bring lots of fun and new experiences. After becoming comfortable with MSSM during the first semester, first-year students are given the opportunity to finally enroll in elective classes; most returning students add on elective classes, as well. A popular elective this semester was Programming and Algorithms with Dr. Hamlin. According to many students, it is a very fun class! In addition to Programming and Algorithms, some electives that students were given the opportunity to enroll in are Number Theory, Astronomy II, Winter Ecology, App Development, and Watercolors. 

Hopefully this semester will be successful for all!

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello, MSSM community!

After two great weeks of fun-filled learning experiences, J-Term is coming to a close. On Friday, January 20th, students will prepare presentations for the J-Term exhibition. Although the end of J-Term marks the commencement of the Spring Semester and new beginnings, it is definitely bittersweet to put this term behind us. Many students would agree that J-Term is one of the best MSSM experiences!

For the 2016-2017 school year, I decided to enroll in the Organic Chemistry J-Term course... to put it simply, the experience was amazing! After taking a semester of Honors Chemistry, I had set my mind on taking the O-Chem J-Term; finding out that I was given a spot in the course was an extremely exciting moment! As it is a challenging course, Organic Chemistry has been filled with both fun and at times, frustration. What does the combination of those two feelings equate to? Learning! We have learned so much in Organic Chemistry. The skills that we have obtained in this two-week course will carry into Honors Chemistry and any other upper-level chemistry class. Here is a brief list of some labs that have been completed in O-Chem:

Melting Point Determination, Structure and Reactivity in Nucleophilic Substitutions, Synthesis of Esters, Extraction, Isolation of Natural Products: Caffeine and Eugenol, and Martius Yellow.

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Greetings, MSSM community!

After a much-needed break, students have recharged and are ready to learn! Before the Spring Semester, J-Term takes place. In J-Term, students are given the opportunity to take a wide array of classes, participate in an internship, or travel and partake in educational trips. Some of the on-campus offerings this year were Enumerative Combinatorics, Conspiracy Theories, Organic Chemistry, and the Fitness Challenge... believe it or not, this does not cover all of the class offerings! The three trips that have been offered this year include conducting marine research in the Bahamas, visiting MSSM's sister school in Japan, and conducting genetic research at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor. As of today, we are one week into J-Term and students are already filled with knowledge regarding new concepts. J-Term is an incredible opportunity for students as two full weeks are spent learning about one specific subject and it is very hands-on. Students are also able to transition into the Spring Semester in a more relaxed fashion.

In next week's article, I will be speaking about the J-Term that I am currently participating in: Organic Chemistry! Stay tuned....

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Greetings MSSM Community!

As the semester is coming to a close and winter is settling in, midterm exams are rapidly approaching for MSSM students. In less than two weeks, students will be hopping on buses and going home for holiday break. Although time goes by very quickly at MSSM, the stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always the longest for students. In these next few days, students will be preparing for their major exams, hoping to end the semester on a good note. Teachers are offering many office hours in order for students to get assistance in classes. On December 10, quiet hours will commence in the dormitory. Exams are being taken on December 14, 15, and 16. As this can be a stressful time, it is important for students to take time to relax... playing in the snow is a great de-stresser! Remember to be happy and study hard.

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello MSSM Community!

If you have attended an Open House, you may remember the wandering student who were wearing grey vests... these are the MSSM Admissions Ambassadors! Admissions Ambassadors serve as a liaison between prospective and current MSSM students. By giving tours, volunteering at Open Houses, and chatting with new students, the Admissions Ambassadors help prospective students see what our school is all about. Our 20 ambassadors meet every Monday afternoon in order to discuss the previous and upcoming Open Houses. The Admissions Ambassador program is a great extracurricular that allows students to give back to MSSM... don't be afraid to submit an application to the admissions team in order to participate! If you ever find yourself at an Open House, come say hello to these students and feel free to ask any questions!

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hi MSSM community!

We are officially on Thanksgiving break and students are up to many different things. After the long bus ride back home, many students immediately headed down to Boston to attend MIT Splash. MIT Splash is a weekend event held in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the MIT campus. Students are given the opportunity to take a wide variety of classes ranging from STEM to humanities. This was a wonderful opportunity for MSSM students to explore and experience college classes! Another event that occurred this weekend was a VEX robotics competition in Cape Elizabeth. Two of our four VEX teams attended the competition and did very well; Penguins B placed in fourteenth and Penguins D placed in nineteenth. Overall, this weekend was a very exciting start to Thanksgiving break.

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hello, MSSM community!

On Friday, November 11, MSSM hosted an Open House. As it was Veteran's Day, many prospective students did not have school, making it the perfect time to attend an Open House! Although MSSM classes were still in session, students had a great time meeting some of their future peers as they attended classes. This Open House was very successful, with seventeen prospective students attending! Students and their families arrived bright and early in the morning in order to get started on their eventful day. From attending classes, to interviews, to community panels, the prospective students were very busy. The day ended on a very nice note with a concert featuring many of MSSM's performing arts groups. Although it was chilly outside, our close-knit and spirited community warmed the day up.

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18

Sarah Kuptchik

Hi MSSM Community!

At the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, we are rapidly approaching the second semester. Before we know it, finals week will have arrived and MSSM students will have very different schedules. This is a sample of the current schedule for some first-year junior students.

Monday

  • 8:00-8:30 – Breakfast.
  • 8:30-9:30 – Accelerated Advanced Mathematics BC. with Mr. Pedersen.
  • 9:30-10:30 – AP U.S. History with Mr. Tasker.
  • 10:30-11:30 – Focused Study in the Learning Center.
  • 11:30-12:30 – Free period, typically used to attend office hours with teachers.
  • 12:30-1:30 – Lunch and club meetings (The clubs vary by day)!
  • 1:30-2:30 – Honors Chemistry with Mr. Dougan.
  • 2:30-4:30 – Free period (more office hours, lots of studying).
  • 4:30-5:30 – Math Team.
  • 5:30-6:00 – Dinner.
  • 6:00-8:00 - Composition and Literature with Mr. Scott.
  • 8:00-8:30 – Structured Study.

Note that Structured Study, mandatory study hours, happens from 6:30-8:30, however, some night classes do occur. Regularly missed structured study hours are scheduled to be made up during the day. It is also to be noted that schedules vary from day to day. For instance, Composition and Literature does not meet on Tuesdays; at this time, UMPI Chinese 1 will meet. One can state that most time at MSSM is spent either in class or preparing for class! The academic environment is very structured and students are extremely motivated.

That's a wrap for this week's edition of "So This Happened at MSSM!"

Sarah Kuptchik '18