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  /  News   /  Five Driven Seniors Graduate with a Plan

Five Driven Seniors Graduate with a Plan

While many seniors will be heading into the endless variety of classes liberal arts colleges have to offer, a few are ready to get started on very particular subjects. From forestry to meteorology, and from art school to music school, these six seniors are wasting no time preparing for their future.  



Ian Russel (’17)

Packer’s very own weatherman, Ian Russell (‘17), is heading to Pennsylvania State University in the fall to study meteorology. Ian’s interest in weather started at five-years-old when he began watching the weather channel on TV. “I was really intrigued by storms and how powerful they could be,” said Ian. He also distinctly remembers a moment from first grade where one of his teachers asked Ian, a well known weather enthusiast at the time, to teach third graders about weather. Although many joke by calling him a “weatherman” he is not interested in television broadcasting, instead Ian’s interests lie more in the research and forecasting side of weather. “I became more interested in weather after Hurricane Sandy,” said Ian. “The destruction really affected me.” At Packer, Ian has taken advantage of the Science Research program to study climate in California which aligns with his general interest in weather patterns. Next year, Ian will have one of the best meteorology programs in the country at his fingertips at Penn State, as he beings his hopeful future in weather forecasting.

Elizabeth Hall-Keough (’17)

The star of the spring musical, My Fair Lady, is moving on to bigger and better things. Elizabeth Hall-Keough (‘17) will attend Oberlin college to take part in a five year program that will play to both her musical and academic strengths. The talented actress and musician says, “I have been playing the cello since I was five, so that’s certainly something that I never want to give up and don’t intend to.” Oberlin will provide Elizabeth with a place where she can continue her cello lessons and studies in music as well as pursue her interests in English and History. “It’s using the advantages of a liberal arts school but also getting to do something that I really love,” she says. Elizabeth attended Packer Middle School, and was contemplating whether or not to stay, saying, “I specifically decided to stay at Packer for high school because, like the program at Oberlin, it will maintain my interests in English and History and also allow me to do things that I am passionate about, especially theatre.” Elizabeth is eager to start school at Oberlin. “I want to push myself to be at the highest level possible and this program will do that for me, but it also won’t limit my experiences and opportunities.”

Sascha Miasnikova (’17)

Although her decision to commit to art school was a risk, Sasha Miasnikova (‘17)  will find herself at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) next fall. She’ll be one of two seniors heading to art school. “I didn’t know if I wanted to go the liberal arts route which felt like what I was supposed to do,” said Sasha. “I felt strongly about taking a risk and committing to doing art.” Sasha took full advantage of the art department here at Packer; she’s worked on film, photography, painting, drawing, and PCI magazine. She is currently creating a film for her Senior Thesis and has taken a number of art classes outside of Packer’s walls. “A really good thing about MICA is that I don’t necessarily have to choose [one art medium],” said Sasha. “I can go into a general major which allows me to be interdisciplinary.” She will also have the opportunity to take a few liberal arts classes at MICA or at Johns Hopkins University, a neighboring school in Baltimore. Ultimately, Sasha hopes to make a career out of art whether that’s in publication, the film industry or other directions, but next year will certainly start to transition her into the art world. “For my homework, I will have to make art. That’s a really weird thing to wrap my brain around,” said Sasha. “I’m excited for that but also kind of nervous.”

Shivam Khatri (’17)

Set to enter a rigorous seven year program at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, Shivam Khatri (‘17) will emerge from his studies with a BS and an MD. Shivam explains this unconventional program by saying “basically this is a seven-year program, where you don’t take the MCATs, so I’ll become a doctor–I’m guaranteed to become a doctor.” A driven student, Shivam has been interested in medicine since the ninth grade, and credits Packer’s AT Science classes for helping him further develop his interest. Shivam also says, “I do a lot of research outside of school, so that helped me to understand that I wanted to pursue my interest in medicine.” Next year, the future Dr. Khatri will be steering away from the humanities and transitioning into the world of biomedicine.

Ned Ellis (’17)

A driven student, Ned Ellis (‘17), will attend the University of Wisconsin to focus on forestry. While Ned sometimes complains about his lengthy commute to school, he used it to his advantage, saying, “It [was during that time] that I figured out what direction I wanted to take my studies.” In Wisconsin, Ned will be able to enjoy the state’s outstanding natural beauty. “I love science and being outside, which is why Wisconsin appeals to me. It has some of the best national forests in the world.” Science has always been a strong point for Ned, though he also credits other classes in helping develop his interest in forestry. “In terms of classes, it was actually AT Government that got me fascinated in the workings of the federal government and how it preserves and maintains the millions of acres of federal land in the US.” Ned’s love for the outdoors and knowledge of science makes forestry a perfect career path. “I would love to get a job working for the the National Parks Service or the National Forest service, assuming Trump doesn’t cut funding.”


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