Meet Evan W. ‘24

Students playing soccerWhat do you love about MPA?
How people are very kind and inclusive. Another thing that I really like about MPA is that the class sizes are very small, so the teachers really get to know you and your personality genuinely well. That makes it easy and comfortable to ask them for help.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
What encourages me is that the teachers are always supportive. If you have an idea and you tell one of your teachers, they would never make you think that your idea is stupid or not good. They would actually encourage you to try it and help you with it.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
One of the things that is different is that there are 10 times more teacher help than at other schools. Because MPA has such small class sizes, the teachers will give you lots more help and you will be able to get all your questions answered.

What would you tell a family considering MPA?
I would tell them that the environment at MPA is super welcoming and nice and that there are great people at the school, so you will be able to make friends very easily. Read More


Meet Isaac ’29

What do you love about MPA?
My favorite part of MPA is playing with friends, especially in phy. ed. class. Mr. Sheehan is my teacher and he is always nice. He’s just a fun person. I also love math because I use my whole brain and I work together with my friends.

How do you dream big and do right at MPA?
Dream big and do right means being nice to my friends. I make sure to give (my best friend) a hug every morning when I see him, and he gives me a hug.

What would you tell a friend considering MPA?
MPA is a very fun place because you have everything you need. You have friends, you have a really good hot lunch, you have a big playground, you have lots of books in the library. The library is a place I really like because I love books, especially books about football. I also really like Ms. Espeland’s music class and Ms. Mastel’s drama class. I really can’t pick which of those I like best because I like them both so much. 

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Meet Brenna Bray ’02

brenna bray '02What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
In December 2018 I successfully completed my Ph.D. in biomedical sciences (neuroscience specialization).

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 graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield in 2006 with a psychology major and media studies concentration. That summer I attended the Denver Publishing Institute then accepted a position in textbook publishing in Seattle for two years. I became very interested in the science books I was representing, and subsequently moved back to Minnesota to pursue a career in the health care industry. I worked as a medical scribe in the emergency department while taking pre-med courses back at my alma mater (St. Olaf College). I spent two years in a middle management scribe position, helping to start- and manage new emergency department scribe programs nation-wide, then returned to my coursework. I took a research class one summer and fell in love with it. In 2013, a mentor at St. Olaf received an e-mail from my now former advisor stating she had an opening for a graduate student in her lab. I got in touch with her, her work was very similar to the research I was doing at the time, and I was quickly accepted into the Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences in the Graduate School at the University of South Dakota/Sanford School of Medicine. Read More


Meet Aneesh Syal ’19

high school student in classWhat do you love about MPA?
MPA is one big group of people, striving for the same goal: to make this world a better place. All of us come from different backgrounds, different families, and different religions yet we all work together to help one another. I believe the soul of MPA is embedded within the students, teachers, and administration. The reason I love MPA is because the people.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
MPA constantly reminds us that while we are fortunate enough to receive a wonderful education, we have to constantly check ourselves. We are developing as a society, and I believe MPA students are on the front lines of this. We stand up for what we believe, we do what we preach, and most of all we listen to our peers. MPA gives us the motivation and ability to do what we want. Read More


Meet Ryan Martin ’94

MPA alum speakingWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
I’m a professor and chair of the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. I’m an anger researcher and just recently did a TEDx talk called “The Upside of Anger.”

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 went to the University of St. Thomas for undergrad and studied psychology. I earned my master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi in counseling psychology. After a year as a visiting professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, I got a job as an assistant professor here at UW-Green Bay.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA help you dream big and do right?
There were a lot of little things that I learned at MPA that set me up for success (writing skills, public speaking, etc.), but honestly, what I’m most thankful for are the teachers who continued to believe in me even when I was difficult. I was not a great student and there were many times teachers could have given up on me. I am very thankful for those teachers who supported me and continue to support me. Read More


Meet Ms. McFarland

Student talking with teacherInternational Student Program coordinator and MPA parent

How many years have you been at MPA?
This is my fourth year.

What do you love about MPA?
The joy the students of all ages find in simply being at school, in classes and hallways, working hard and having fun!

How does MPA nurture students who forever dream big and do right?
MPA teachers and staff don’t shy away from tough issues, instead posing them as discussion topics and guiding students in thinking through them critically and empathetically to arrive at a conscientious, thoughtful opinion.

If you have worked at another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
Again, I’d have to say the amount of JOY in the building. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I came for my initial interview and continues to amaze me four years later. Read More


Meet Junior JD Ogden

MPA Upper School student with younger brotherWhat do you love about MPA?
I love that I get individual feedback from my teachers on assignments.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right?
When I see classmates working hard and challenging themselves around me, it makes me aspire to be my best self.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
I came to MPA in kindergarten, so I don’t recall exactly!

What would you tell a family considering MPA?
It’s a great community and I know everyone so well. For example, on the Deep Portage overnight trip last year, our grade got to know each other even better. There was a moment when we were in groups and I had new students that I didn’t know as well in mine, plus some teachers that our grade was just getting to know, yet everyone was themselves with each other.

In what ways has MPA prepared you for life?
It has taught me so many life lessons around how to be an ethical person. Read More


Meet MPA Parent Tobi Tanzer

MPA parent with studentWhat do you love about MPA?
Faculty and administration that connect with each student. They expertly recognize each child’s strengths and encourage them to challenge themselves (and succeed) in ways they never thought possible.

How is your child encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
Starting with the application process, the emphasis was on what things my son could personally contribute to the school and to his peers—with extra encouragement to explore completely new things. By using and appreciating his own emerging talents and interests, he has gained the confidence to think of himself as a scholar, world citizen and kind friend.

If your child has attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?
The difference—and my son’s transformation—have been remarkable. His previous school, though highly regarded academically, had a one-dimensional approach to teaching and learning. That approach suppressed, rather than nurtured, my son’s talents and interests. By the time he reached middle school, this curious, bright and compassionate boy had become an indifferent, unmotivated student. At MPA, with the support of teachers who immediately saw his strengths (and his weak spots), he has become a highly motivated learner, who actively participates in both academic and extracurricular activities. Read More


Meet Cameron Meyer-Mueller ’13

MPA alum holding a dessertWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally? I graduated from college last spring, and I am applying to medical school for the fall of 2019. However, I am currently spending two gap years abroad in the southern French port city of Marseille, where I’m taking full advantage of all the opportunities this city and country have to offer. I spend two days a week working as an English language assistant for a preschool and primary school, where I teach English lessons to little ones. When I’m not in the schools, I’m either in the hospital or laboratory and take part in a weekly shadowing internship with a French neonatologist. I’ve even started to sit in on births in the operating and delivery rooms! I also volunteer weekly at another local children’s hospital, where I play board games with patients. The rest of my time is spent working in a neuroscience lab at the local university, where I will start conducting spatial navigation experiments on rats. The best part of my time in France is that I can do all of things I love in the clinical and laboratory settings all while speaking French!

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 received my undergraduate degree from Barnard College, the women’s college of Columbia University in New York City, where I majored in neuroscience and behavior and minored in French. I spent one semester abroad in France in a program that emphasized cultural integration into the community and placed me in a homestay. This experience solidified my decision to take a few years off before medical school and return to France to seek opportunities to interact with people different than myself. I am adamant that homestays are one of the best ways to learn about and live like the local population. Read More


Meet Junior Elli Carlson

Upper School studentWhat do you love about MPA?

I love that at MPA, I am able to participate in a wide variety of activities. I can play soccer but also be on the debate team. Additionally, the arts department has so many more options than a lot of other schools do. I can take photography, two ceramics classes, and a theatre class all in one year. This allows me to pursue areas outside of just required courses, and for me, these are the areas that interest me most.

If you have attended another school, how has your experience at MPA been different?

MPA is different from my old school in virtually every aspect. The block schedule at MPA gives us longer class periods, allowing for deep discussion and more in depth learning in each class. The longer lunch period gives students to have a break in the day, allowing us to be able to focus during our afternoon classes. The wide variety of arts courses allowed is much more rigorous than my old school’s and allows me to advance my skills in an area that is important to me, as I plan on pursuing a career in the arts after high school. Read More