Leah Grace Wolf ’21 Succeeds in Science Lab and on the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Mat
When Leah Grace Wolf is not thinking about solving a science problem or tinkering with a new invention, you can find her at the mixed martial arts gym, thinking about next steps to overpower her opponent. This National Merit Commended Student is the epitome of a Hutchison girl who enjoys exploring a variety of interests.
Her insatiable curiosity is a driving factor, and she credits her Hutchison teachers with nurturing that part of her personality.
“My experience at Hutchison has been great, and I give my teachers all the credit for making that possible. I have had some incredibly inspiring teachers who I hope to always stay connected to. They have developed my passion for curiosity and always encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and apply my knowledge and the things I have learned to the real world. I owe it all to my teachers,” she says.
After coming to Hutchison in third grade, Leah Grace further pursued her passion for science. As a kid she would ask for chemistry sets or microscopes for Christmas, but now she works in real labs with real science equipment as she studies science at school. She works with the Refugee Empowerment Program where she runs a summer camp for kids interested in engineering and the sciences. This past summer she participated in the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Radar Introduction for Student Engineers where she learned to build doppler and radar range systems.
“I have a deeply rooted love of learning,” says Leah Grace, who is enrolled in the most rigorous science and math curriculum offered at Hutchison. “However, science is one subject that stands above all others. I have always questioned the world. I was the kid who asked ‘why?’ on repeat. Science almost always gave me the answers, and it continues to do so. Having answers to my questions compels me to want to know more. Science fed and continues to feed my curiosity, which I believe is the character trait that drives me most.”
In her spare time, Leah Grace loves to be outside, hike around Shelby Farms, and rock climb. She loves to create and build things such as chessboards made of oak slabs and hand-carved pieces made from her brother’s pocketknife or bookcases that were inspired after seeing a pile of cedar on sale at Lowe’s. Not one to let the pandemic slow her down, Leah Grace recently spent part of her quarantine creating Adirondack chairs with her dad. In addition to building things, one of her greatest passions is self-defense and mixed martial arts (MMA). She takes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and Krav Maga classes and started a self defense club at Hutchison to provide an option for girls to be empowered and feel safer.
“I joined a mixed martial arts club in 9th grade, and since then it’s become an addiction. I do it as often as I can. I’ve noticed the skills you pick up at the MMA gym are applicable in all aspects of life. You learn to think differently—whether it’s honing your natural instincts or developing the tactical, calculating part of your brain. My capacity to think in advance has clearly been positively affected by BJJ,” says Leah Grace.
When she’s not enjoying nature, building and creating, or perfecting her self-defense skills, she finds joy in reading and writing. This past summer, she participated in the Young Writer’s Studio at the University of Iowa, a six-week creative writing course. She has an insatiable curiosity for learning and an excellent grasp of content.
“My love of reading stems from reading Harry Potter in first grade, but now I really enjoy non-fiction. I have found that reading nonfiction books capitalizes on my curiosity and interest in the world around me, which has made me become a more avid reader. The deep research done in all of these books has molded me into someone who loves researching just for the joy of it. The hunt for undiscovered knowledge excites me and makes me want to keep reading nonfiction.”
Her school schedule is just as jam packed as her extracurricular schedule as she is taking five AP classes and dual enrollment multivariable calculus III in partnership with The University of Memphis. She is currently in the college admissions process, but she hopes to double major in International Business and Mechanical Engineering with plans to one day work as an intelligence analyst for a government agency. She credits her teachers at Hutchison for inspiring her to dream big and remain curious.