As an 11th grader at a private Catholic school who had taken all of her school's advanced STEM offerings, Ellen hoped to use her mentorship to engage more deeply with her interests. In particular, she was interested in engineering and the "science of folding", having already created an original website to feature her origami.
Expand her theoretical understanding of physics and gain practical engineering skills needed to create a prototype
Combine her passion for origami with her interest in engineering in an original, innovative hands-on project that could be extended for her senior year independent project
Learn effective ways to approach a problem in search of a solution through engineering in a long-term STEM project
With a PhD in particle physics and a law degree, Ellen's mentor was uniquely equipped to support her deep dive into engineering and science, while explaining the process of creating original, patentable inventions.
Ellen learned practical skills and knowledge needed to create her prototype, including soldering, circuitry and wiring.
Ellen and her mentor began by developing and refining a design for her prototype, based on other solar cell models that have employed the Miura-ori folding technique.
Ellen continued to refine and work on her prototype during the school year, culminating with her senior independent project in the spring. She plans on engaging in "more intensive engineering" on her design as a student at Harvey Mudd.
This mentorship my first big exposure to “the science world”. I’d always said "I’m going to be a scientist" but had anxiety about if that were really true. Tackling big concepts during this mentorship really boosted my confidence-- I started thinking, "Maybe being a scientist is really something I can do-- I’m not fooling myself when I say this is what I want to become."
Getting the experience of working with an expert in a field I want to go into was really eye-opening and helped me develop my love and appreciation of physics.
I got into Harvey Mudd, my top choice school, and I couldn't have done it without my mentor's help. I honestly think my Hugo mentorship was a really big push for getting into the college of my choice, which was really competitive.
Accomplishing a personal goal
Readiness for college-level work
Increased academic self-confidence
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