Dhruv Muppidi ’21 Named Presidential Scholar Semifinalist

photo of DhruvCongratulations to senior Dhruv Muppidi on being named one of 625 Presidential Scholar semifinalists from out of 3.6 million seniors across the country! Since 1964, the Presidential Scholars Program has honored the nation’s most distinguished high school seniors based on academic success, leadership, and service to school and community. Dhruv is one of only 10 semifinalists from Minnesota. He will find out if he is selected as one of 160 Presidential Scholarship recipients in early May!

Meet Dhruv Muppidi ’21

What prompted your application to the Presidential Scholars Program?
After receiving the invitation to apply to the Presidential Scholars Program, I decided to apply mostly on a whim to eliminate any regret I may have had if I didn’t at least test my chances. I never once expected to be a semifinalist, and to be considered alongside some of the most accomplished high school seniors in the country is extremely humbling. It’s a testament to the wonderful work being done at MPA by the teachers and the student body.

What’s your big dream?
If we’re talking long-term (and perhaps a tad idealistically), NBA commissioner is my ultimate dream, combining my love of business management, economics, and sports. However, I’m also passionate about combating educational inequities, and I would love to continue working in the non-profit sector during college and beyond.

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Meet Margaret Lee ’14

Margaret Lee HeadshotMargaret Lee ’14 works as a Production Assistant at The Film Posse, a documentary production company based in Middletown, CT. They are premiering a 2-hour program, American Oz, on PBS for the series American Experience on April 19, 2021 at 8PM CST.

What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
I am currently working in the documentary production field. I live in New Haven, Connecticut, but will be moving to New York City in the next couple months to pursue other documentary film or TV work there.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?
I attended Yale University, where I majored in Film & Media studies and graduated in 2019. I initially started the major intending to work in academia. My junior year, I took a screenwriting class which drew me to the more creative side of film. My screenwriting professor was a huge inspiration in choosing that path; he was extremely honest and blunt (something I was not used to as a Minnesotan!), but made each of his students feel like we mattered and that he only wanted us to be excellent, as he knew we could be. Taking four semesters of classes with him not only thickened my skin as a writer, but pushed me to rethink the ways in which stories could be told. This is why I pursue filmmaking and writing now. Read More

Meet Dr. Sirid Kellermann ’88

The Kellermann FamilyDr. Kellermann, class of 1988, is experiencing MPA again as parent to ninth grader Aixa Kellerman!

What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally? How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?

After graduating from MPA in 1988, I went to the University of Minnesota for a B.S. in cell biology and a Ph.D. in cellular and molecular immunology. Then I had the option to take a job in either Connecticut or Palo Alto, California. The job interviews were both in early December – it wasn’t hard to decide which position to accept! I spent 14 years in the Bay Area at R&D and marketing positions at various drug discovery companies. I also got an MBA in sustainable business management along the way. The Bay Area is a great place to live if you have no kids and you were one of the first 30 employees at Google or Facebook and you don’t mind sitting in traffic on the 101. As none of these applied to me, I found it made sense to return to Minnesota where I ultimately started my own consulting business in 2012. Read More

Meet Caleb Rhodes ‘21

Caleb Holding His ViolaMusic, particularly singing, has provided me with an opportunity to grow and learn. I attended Minnesota Waldorf School through 8th grade, and music is a significant component of Waldorf education. I learned to play the pentatonic flute in first grade, the C flute in second grade, the viola in third and the Alto recorder in fifth grade. Singing was an everyday activity in elementary school but I didn’t really enjoy it until my freshman year of high school at MPA.

When I made the switch to MPA, music was one of a activities that felt most familiar and comfortable to me, so I decided I would take varsity choir. At the end of my freshman year, my family encouraged me to audition for Madrigal Singers, MPA’s most select singing group. Getting in to Madrigal Singers ignited my love for singing and gave me the opportunity to express myself. Since that point, I have been in Concert Choir and Madrigal Singers for the last three school years, and I have auditioned for, and been accepted to the MMEA All-State Honor Choir the last two years. Singing provides me with an opportunity to confidently express my emotions in a way no other activity has been able to do. I am able to channel my feelings into music through my voice. This has made it much easier for me to open up to those around me and establish close relationships with classmates, and even with students from other schools, who I have met through our shared love of music. Read More

Meet the Soma Family

The Soma FamilyThe Soma Family lives in North Oaks, MN, and have a first grade daughter.

What do you love about MPA?

We love that character education is as much a part of the curriculum as traditional learning, from PreK through Grade 12. MPA has a clear mission and seems to base all of its decisions on that mission. The academics are top notch but learning feels effortless because my child is having so much fun and feels supported in the classroom.

What initially attracted you to MPA? Do your same needs/desires hold true today?

We were attracted by how friendly and welcoming the MPA community is. From the first day we interviewed, it felt like home. I have always had the feeling that if I had a problem or concern, I could express that freely and that it would be openly received. Read More

Meet David Slade ’01

David Slade and familyWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

I am currently an assistant professor of Infectious Diseases at Loyola University Medical Center in the Chicago area. The COVID-19 pandemic has been central to our efforts over this past year, and we have been working hard to stay abreast of the latest treatment options and infection control measures. I have a background in law and my academic interest is primarily in that of health care policy. My hobbies these days are cycling, running, learning Italian, and cooking.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?

I attending college at the University of St. Thomas, and enrolled in the MD/JD program at Southern Illinois University after college. I’ve had the chance along the way to learn about many fascinating aspects of law, health policy, and bioethics. During training, I completed an internship at the National Institutes of Health in health policy which inspired me and has continued to define my career interests in this area. Read More

Meet Beth Larson ’08

Beth LarsonWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

I am a doctoral student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department. My research interests include the use of normative approaches to understand family planning use and how social norms affect people’s decision-making around family planning internationally, and with a focus on Francophone West Africa. I aim to base my work in reproductive justice, which represents the right of a person to have the autonomy to decide to have children, to not have children, and to parent children in a safe and supportive environment.

Outside of school, I work on several projects, including Performance Monitoring for Action (PMA), a large-scale international mobile phone-based survey on key sexual and reproductive health indicators. I also participate on a research project based out of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Health that aims to understand how to increase womens’ voices to ensure the ethical provision of family planning care to women in Francophone West Africa.

I also play on numerous tennis and softball teams throughout the year, volunteer as an escort at Planned Parenthood, have been providing emergency food relief to people in my community since the start of COVID, and, of course, strive to be the best dog mamma possible to my dog Sasha. Read More

Meet Michael Moran

Michael MoranMichael Moran is the Academic Technology Integrationist.

How many years have you been at MPA?

This is my first year.

What do you love about MPA?

MPA has an incredible staff dedicated to the mission of the school. The family-feel culture and inclusivity of MPA was something I wanted to be a part of and is something very important to me. I love the fact that I started my position mid-year but immediately felt that welcoming and supportive environment.

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?

It is all about the environment created by our teachers. We teach our students to take ownership of their work and ideas through support and guidance. However, teaching to the whole student is the most important part of what we do. We like to say we inspire our students but many times our students inspire us. Read More

Meet Tom Hooven ’97

Tom Hooven and his familyWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

I’m an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Newborn Medicine in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. I run a research laboratory that uses molecular genetics and bioinformatic techniques to better understand the interactions between bacteria, pregnant mothers, and newborn babies. The goal of this work is to develop better preventative and treatment approaches to avoid the worst complications of bacterial infections in pregnancy and early newborn life. I also serve as an attending physician in the neonatal intensive care units at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC, where our teams care for newborns and infants with complications of prematurity, congenital malformations, and other neonatal illnesses. I teach medical students, residents, neonatology fellows, and research scientists training at the University of Pittsburgh and affiliated institutions.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?

I attended college at Yale University, where I benefitted from a true liberal arts education that let me study broadly, with very few constraints. I did not enter college planning a career in medicine or science. (I thought I’d be an English major!) I think having the freedom to explore many topics allowed me to find a calling in medicine that I hadn’t expected. It was a result of realizing that I wanted a career that combined reason and science with humanitarian goals. Read More

Meet Micah Hudock ’24

Micah dribbling the basketball vs. Hill MurrayWhat do you love about MPA?
I love the friends that I have here at MPA. I also love how unique of a learning environment we have here. I talk to friends who go to other schools and they all seem kind of the same, MPA is really unique.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
My teachers challenge me to think deeply and creatively, and to always, always dream big and do right.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
My teachers are amazing. I think they teach the way they do because they too, are encouraged to dream big and do right by everyone in our community. Read More