Brittainy Lovett ’16
Currently Attending: Northwestern University
Years at Shipley: 11
Activities & Positions Held: Literature Club; Tennis Co-Captain, Squash Co-Captain, Co-Head of The Compass, Head of Model UN
Pushed and Prepared to Succeed
What makes Shipley so phenomenal is that the students are not limited to a standard education, but are encouraged to pursue what interests them and move beyond their comfort zone. I have always had a passion for math and science, so during my senior year I was determined to take an advanced Newtonian Mechanics class that combines Calculus and Physics. However, I did not have the credits to enroll in the class since the prerequisite course is generally taken senior year. I went to Shipley’s science department and explained my situation, and they not only allowed me to enroll in the course, but also set up a program to prepare me for it. The teacher, Mr. Tierney, agreed to meet with me periodically over the summer (during his vacation) and continued to help me throughout the year. Newtonian Mechanics was the most difficult and my favorite course that I took in high school because I worked harder than I ever had before, but I also accomplished more. I am so grateful that Shipley, rather than turning me away since I did not have the traditional profile for Newtonian Mechanics, encouraged me to push myself and excel in ways I never thought possible.
Discovering Interests, Learning Leadership
Shipley also helped me to broaden my range of interests by offering so many ways to participate in different things. I was heavily involved in the Model UN club and The Compass, Shipley’s literary magazine, throughout high school and eventually became head of these activities. Model UN and The Compass opened me up to foreign affairs and creative writing, two disciplines I never thought I would grow to love. At Shipley, clubs are student run, which allows kids to learn about leadership and responsibility. I was recruited to these clubs by upperclassmen when I was a freshman and was able to meet people, learn, and grow under their leadership. So, it was amazing for me to become head of these clubs as a senior so that I could bring my own ideas to the activity and hopefully pass on all that I had gained from my experience to the younger members, too. Shipley is special in the way that, since it is a relatively small school, underclassmen and upperclassmen interact, which makes the community stronger and more dynamic.
Developing a Confident Voice
Two very influential teachers I had the pleasure of having are Mrs. Pickering and Mr. Kline, who jointly taught my junior year American Studies course. They both challenged me in class discussion, pushed me to improve my analytical writing, and gave me an appreciation for the liberal arts. The summer after I took their class, I went to Boston and was amazed by how I could recognize and admire the history and art there. I could spot a John Singer Sargent portrait or explain the meaning behind the plaque of the 54th Massachusetts regime. Mrs. Pickering and Mr. Kline would encourage me to voice my opinions, but also would challenge me to elaborate and back-up my ideas. I can appreciate now that this teaching style gave me confidence in my own ability to articulate my thoughts and stand by them.
Plans for Fall 2016
In the fall of 2016, I will start school at Northwestern University in the McCormick School of Engineering.
I have grown up with technology impacting everything around me, from social media revolutionizing how people communicate to medicine being impacted by 3D printers manufacturing live tissue. These are two examples of products that greatly affect modern life, but were not in existence 15 years ago. When I move beyond my college career towards new possibilities, I want to contribute to the innovation around me by using my engineering degree and entrepreneurial skills to make systems and machines more efficient. What has led me to this ambition is my love for problem solving and my desire to improve the world around me.
Shipley has prepared me to not shy away from opportunities just because there is a risk of failure. By exposing me to challenges such as trying out for sports teams, enrolling in advanced classes, and holding leadership positions, I now feel confident that I can handle and learn from both success and disappointments. At Shipley I achieved at times, such as when I earned leadership positions, but I also failed at times, such as when I lost sports matches or did not do so well on assessments. Even when I was facing disappointment, Shipley’s community and faculty taught me to not get discouraged, but to learn from the experience so I could do better next time.