Meet Abby

Grade 8

Avid chess player.
Competitive mathlete.
Vibrant vocalist.

She’s anticipating her next move.

Abby’s mathematical mind is constantly computing. Whether she’s teaching kids how to play chess or writing code for an upcoming science project, this eighth grader’s ability to think strategically positions her to problem-solve, no problem.
When it comes to learning, Abby’s curiosity is boundless. She architects algorithms at every avenue, from her chess matches to her choir sheet music. Outfitted with a cool confidence, her positive attitude means she’s always up for a challenge—and in search of her next checkmate.

How her interests have developed at Ellis

List of 7 items.

  • A passion for problem-solving:

    As a member of the MATHCOUNTS club, Abby competes in math competitions with her friends. “I like learning about math because there isn’t just one way to get to the right answer. There’s a lot of freedom when figuring out how to solve a problem. I’ll research different ways to solve problems after we learn something new—I like to dive a bit deeper into it.”
  • How Ellis builds her confidence:

    “Coming to Ellis has made me a much more confident person. I’ve been able to be myself because my classmates have completely allowed me to do that and made me feel confident in who I am. I know I’m raising my hand a lot more. I’m allowing myself to make mistakes. I know it’s okay to get the wrong answer in class, because that’s how you learn.”
  • Looking forward to:

    Delving into her Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science project. “I’m writing a computer program using Python to make an animation of the Tower of Hanoi. My goal is to learn more about recursion which is a topic that comes up a lot in math and computer science.”
  • Favorite spot on campus:

    “The music room because I love to sing. Every time I’m in there it brings back memories from choir, singing, and having fun with my friends.”
  • How she wants to change the world:

    By being a good neighbor. “We learned about a couple of organizations that help refugees settle here in Pittsburgh last year. It taught me about the importance of helping people and being kind to your neighbors. My neighbor is 101 years old, so I try to help her with her groceries or her garden.”
  • How her teachers make learning fun:

    By relating lessons to the real world. “In science class, we had to pick a building and compare the different spaces to the parts of a cell. I picked Ellis. The hallways were the cytoplasm and the teachers were the mitochondria. The project showed me how much fun academics can be when you relate them to real-life.” 
  • How she uses her voice:

    By sharing her love of chess—with the help of an Ellis alumna. “Over the summer, I interned at the Queen’s Gambit Chess Institute, which is run by an Ellis alumna. I did marketing research and reached out to different organizations. Now, I’m working as a student-teacher. I teach young kids chess over Zoom on Saturday mornings.” 

Inspired by Abby's Story?

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