Tess Stanley is an adventurer. The incoming Huntington High School junior is always ready for a challenge and she rarely allows a good opportunity to pass her by.
The teenager participated in a neuroscience program at McGill University in Montreal this summer. She was not only was accepted into the competitive program, but even earned a scholarship to help defray some of its cost.
Ms. Stanley went on a family vacation to Montreal in September 2016 and visited McGill University. “While there, my father signed up for the McGill newsletter and, about a year later, they introduced the McGill Summer Academy,” she said. “I had to wait two years until I was able to apply due to age since it is only offered to rising juniors and seniors.”
The teenager applied for the neuroscience program last January and was accepted. The session ran from July 21-August 3. Participants stayed in McGill’s new residence hall, a hotel-style dormitory within walking distance of their classrooms.
Classes were taught by 14 Ph.D. candidates. “There was a different topic each day, including memory, neuropharmacology and neurophysiology,” Ms. Stanley said. “The teachers held topic-based workshops, including sensory illusions for sensory systems, human to human interface for motor systems and holding a human brain for neuroanatomy. We had plenty of free time, giving me a chance to eat my way through Montreal. Each night students completed a different evening activity, whether it be a scavenger hunt, a museum tour, movie night or a mini Olympics.”
The Huntington junior found the summer program to be time well spent. “To say that this was one of the best experiences of my life might be an understatement,” Ms. Stanley said. “The camp offered me much more than just an introduction and overview of neuroscience. It helped me to define what I want from my future college experience. I also learned how to navigate a new setting, how to make friends that I hope last a lifetime, how to reach outside my comfort zone and even how to zip line. My new group of friends, which included students from Kenya, Columbia, Germany, Canada and all across the U.S., taught me how to be spontaneous and how to squeeze as much fun as possible in the two weeks we had together. This meant going to festivals, walking far to enjoy great food and even climbing Mount Royal at 4 a.m. one morning to watch the sunrise.”
Ms. Stanley’s junior year courses include Advanced Placement US History, AP Spanish, AP Seminar, Physics, Pre-Calculus, Senior Band Honors and Music Theory.
The teenager plays on Huntington’s varsity field hockey team. Ms. Stanley also performs with the Blue Devil marching band on the baritone and is a member of the high school Environmental Club and Key Club.
As Ms. Stanley goes about her junior year, it wouldn’t be surprising if her mind periodically drifts back to the special summer experience in Canada and all the new people that came into her life.