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School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt

Student Spotlights

The SSMV is an exciting and dynamic environment and our students are dynamic as well. Representing 8 different MNPS high schools, our students are not only academically talented and passionate about science but have other interests as well.



Able– Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet  High School – Class of 2015

“SSMV gave me an invaluable opportunity to experience laboratory research in an actual laboratory. Without the help of the extremely talented faculty, I would have never dreamed of accomplishing what I have. I am truly humbled and honored to be a part of SSMV, and I am proud to represent them at the Regional Finals in the Siemens Competition.” 

When he was a sophomore, Able told us how excited he was by the array of scientific opportunities available to him as student. Over the next two years, he honed his interests and focused his efforts. Through his research project, “Targeted MERTK inhibition improves response of Braf-mutant melanomas to vemurafinib,” in Dr. Rebecca Cook’s lab, he identified genes that play a role in melanoma. He was recently named a regional semifinalist in nation the Siemens Competition for high school students.  He maintains a balance, though, with his focus on academics; he still plays alto saxophone in the school band and gives back through service in Beta Club. 



David– Hume Fogg Academic Magnet School – Class of 2016

"I love being a part of SSMV because of the unique opportunity I get to work on hands-on experiments. Every week, there's always a discussion of topics that are completely different from each other. One week, we might discuss DNA, the next week we might engage in engineering robotics. In SSMV, I'm learning about topics beyond the curriculum at school and thinking beyond the realms of what is known. For the past few years, I've definitely had a stronger appreciation for science.”

In his free time, David loves to play chess, tennis, and travel. He is currently a first chair bassoon player in the Hume-Fogg wind ensemble. He shares his academic talents with others by volunteering to tutor. David always has his sights set high, but he knows how to have fun; he recently served as the vice president of his school’s Rubiks Cube club.  He says that he loves to swim every day during the summer, and he rarely misses a chance to spend some time playing foosball with his SSMV friends after school. 



Fiona– Hume Fogg Academic Magnet School  – Class of 2017

 “I have truly loved being in the SSMV. It’s a group of 25 solid friends that will be your friends and colleagues throughout high school and beyond. Whether we’re out in nature or in the classroom, we’re always solving new puzzles and making new memories. It has been a truly unmatched experience for me (so far), and I feel honored, truly, to be a part of it.”

 Fiona is an enthusiast who gives her all to most everything she does, including the SSMV. As a precocious 8th grader and an aspiring civil engineer, she wrote a letter to her congressman to support developing alternative energy and was recognized by a visit from him to her school. She has played several sports including wheelchair basketball, baseball, and tennis. Her current passion outside of school is Dungeons and Dragons, which she, as Dungeon Master, helps lead. 



Cassady– McGavock High School – Class of 2018

“I am truly in love with this program. Every day is like a week’s worth of knowledge and is so different from anything you could learn anywhere else. This program allows me to learn the full extent of everything and there are always fun things tied into it. Every week is a new challenge and even though it seems hard at first, the more I go through the day, the more it all makes sense. I love the new friends I have made and I love how the instructors teach with such passion and understanding that makes it easier for us to learn it, too. I cannot wait to see what we learn next!”

Even before Cassady applied to the SSMV, she was a dedicated volunteer on the SENSE project through the research lab of Dr. Blythe Corbett at Vanderbilt where she was able to merge her interest in research with her passion for helping others. When she is not in school, she is usually either babysitting or writing. She loves to write horror stories and mysteries, and loves to read anything that has to do with medicine. She sometimes plays piano and tutors when she can, but admits that her true love is school and anything that challenges her. 

If you are interested in applying to be a student at the School for Science and Math, see our  Prospective Students  section or jump straight to the  Application Information Page .

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