Emmy Walton ’23 Shoots for the Stars in Pursuing a Career in Rocketry

Fifteen-year student Emmy Walton ’23 has put her heart into becoming a rocket scientist one day. After developing her interests in science and math through various STEM opportunities at Hutchison, she will follow her dreams at one of the nation’s top schools for engineering, Purdue University.
It’s no coincidence that Emmy Walton ’23 will attend the same college as the first person to walk on the moon. Neil Armstrong graduated from Purdue University in 1955, and one day, Emmy hopes to work in rocketry. 

“I’ve always had a strong interest in space. It’s developing so fast, and I hope to get to play a part in that,” she said.

Her love of math and science started at a young age, and she has always embraced her curiosity to experiment with different math or science concepts. She remembers enjoying lower school science classes with Ms. Wesson and programming using LEGO robotics kits, but watching “Hidden Figures” in middle school was the catalyst for her dreams. That year, she also got to visit the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, on a class trip.

Since then, the 15-year student and National Merit Commended Student has worked diligently to get into one of the nation’s top engineering programs. She is an AP Scholar with Distinction and received the Rochester Institute of Technology Book Award. She attended the Tennessee Governor’s School for Computational Physics and the QubitxQubit Quantum Computing Summer Camp. At Hutchison, Emmy is a member of the Robotics Team and the Society of Women Engineers Next Club and also served as the Technology Council president this school year.

This physical science experiment in 8th grade is one of many examples of how Emmy has explored her interests in STEM at Hutchison.

Another formative experience for Emmy has been running sound for Hutchison’s theatre productions since her freshman year. “I was always fascinated by how complex the boards looked. When I started doing tech, I immediately became passionate about it,” she said. As a leader of the sound crew, she mics up cast members for each theatre performance, operates sound effects, and runs projections. She ensures inputs and outputs from the audio board match with the students’ microphones and are properly programmed. She also records senior speeches. Emmy said she has enjoyed seeing her impact in real time, especially during “The Addams Family” in spring 2022.

“There were so many sound effects that would make or break the show. It's something that a lot of people don't realize when it's there, but it's very evident to tell when it's not there,” Emmy said. “Having the sound and creating that environment and atmosphere for the shows has been very captivating, and I've loved playing a part in ensuring that everything goes smoothly.”

This spring, Emmy received the Technical Theatre Award for her efforts. She also is a talented artist and received a Gold Key for her portfolio in the Mid-South Scholastic Art Awards. Her portfolio was called “The HeART of Music” and centered around different instruments. Under the guidance of art teacher Jeanette Leake and with encouragement from her classmates, Emmy has not only gained confidence in her artistic abilities but also in herself as a whole.

“I have learned to give myself more credit. I had been very introverted, but within the last year or two, I have found the confidence that I needed through AP Drawing,” she said. “I have always been hard on myself, and the support systems within the Hutchison community have helped me become more confident.”

Emmy got to see several pieces of her artwork displayed at the Brooks Museum after her portfolio won a Gold Key.

Hutchison also has taught Emmy how to be a leader. She said class discussions, speeches, and other opportunities have helped her become more independent and become a better public speaker: “It has never been my forte, but I have learned to become more comfortable and confident when talking to people.”

As Emmy prepares for her next chapter at Purdue, she is excited about what her future holds but will miss Hutchison. Her mother, sister, and grandmother are Hutchison alumnae, and the school has played a big role in her life. As for what awaits her, she will be a Goss Scholar in the honors college, which will offer her unique opportunities in career exploration and preparation, such as experiential learning and networking. She will be the first woman in engineering in her family after looking up to a number of male relatives who are engineers. 

“I hope to continue to expand upon the confidence I found at Hutchison, especially going into a field where women are such a minority,” she said.


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