Upper school students saw where global policies are made, stocks are traded, designs are strategized, historic art is displayed, and more on the myExperience program’s inaugural cohort trips. Two cohorts, global civic engagement and entrepreneurship, went to New York, and two other cohorts, STEM and art and design, visited Boston.
With support from Hutchison faculty, the students planned both trips and took charge. Each cohort researched the experiences in their respective city, determined what they wanted to do, made reservations, planned out their transportation, and budgeted and tracked all of their expenses. Institute for Responsible Citizenship Director Nick Simpson said the goal of the trips was to help girls broaden their perspectives, learn the executive and organizational skills of planning, make connections with professionals, and gain inspiration for their culminating projects. In talking to the girls, the trips seem to have succeeded in those goals and more. For instance, many reported that the trips helped them become more independent and grow as leaders.
“A school trip like this one is critical because it allows you to not only see the world through your specific lens but also take the opportunity to visit places outside of the Memphis community,” Natalie Alexander ’25 said.
The myExperience cohorts meet weekly throughout the year, and Hutchison faculty members provide connections to real-world activities and professionals. Planning and taking a trip to another city, though, took these experiences to another level. A highlight of the global civic engagement and entrepreneurship cohorts’ trip to New York was touring the United Nations Headquarters. For some students, it was especially meaningful because they participate in Model UN at Hutchison. “I loved being able to witness the impact the UN has on people and places around the world,” Lauren Coleman ’24 said.
The global civic engagement cohort also got an inside look at New York City Hall and visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Throughout their first year in the cohort, students held discussions about what it means to be a global citizen, the strength of the international community at the United Nations, and the impact of events on American history, such as how the September 11 attacks affected travel and international politics. The group said their experiences in New York brought them back to those previous conversations and opened their eyes to the broader community.
“I learned about how cooperation contributes to global civic engagement and how there are many different ways to help a community or the world at large no matter what your interests or passions are,” Chloe Simpson ’25 said.
While on the Wall Street Insider Tour, the entrepreneurship cohort posed with the famous "Fearless Girl" statue.
In addition to visiting the United Nations Headquarters, students in the entrepreneurship cohort took the Wall Street Insider Tour and enjoyed learning about the New York Stock Exchange. “I was proud that I could understand our tour guide’s finance terms thanks to the cohort,” Caroline Kim ’24 said. One of the entrepreneurship cohort’s advisors – Upper School Assistant Head Katy Nair – said students have learned about what it takes to start a business, including how people come up with ideas to fill unique needs and the risks that come with investing. While in New York, the cohort also visited places of interest such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Color Factory. Emily Jackson ’25 said the Big Apple was a great place to see the many different possibilities in business.
In Boston, the STEM cohort was wowed by an artificial intelligence-controlled dog at the Museum of Science. This came as no surprise to their advisors because the cohort had several student-led discussions about robots and AI during the previous school year. The group also enjoyed seeing the aquatic life at the New England Aquarium and flexed their engineering and design skills in a pottery-making workshop. Through the trip’s various activities, Lauren Dukes ’24 said she gained a deeper understanding of how people can find different connections to science, technology, math, and engineering. “I learned that STEM isn't only for one certain group. For example, it's not only for people who like math or engineering. The idea of STEM can be expanded upon to include everyone's interests no matter what they may be,” she said.
Members of the art and design cohort, including Olivia Lester ’24, Lilly Rower ’24, and Adela Calzada ’24, enjoyed viewing the artwork at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The art and design cohort saw a variety of artistic interpretations on their trip to Boston. Students were amazed by the impressive art collections at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Institute of Contemporary Art. “It was interesting to see all of the different types of art and how various artists have different interpretations. Everyone expressed themselves differently, which was amazing to see through their works,” Olivia Lester ’24 said.
Students in the art and design cohort expressed their interest in community-based work during the school year, and they were able to incorporate this into their trip. They explored Underground at Ink Block, an underpass that’s been turned into an urban park with world-class street art. Several students also said their favorite experience was seeing the Boston Ballet perform “The Sleeping Beauty.” Adela Calzada ’24 appreciated that she not only got to explore her interest in dance by seeing the ballet but also enjoyed learning about her fellow students’ interests.
While in New York and Boston, the cohorts made various connections to what they’ve learned in the classroom at Hutchison. One example: in AP Environmental Science, students study the impact of urbanization and the sustainability of cities each year, and some students noted the importance of Central Park to the health and happiness of New Yorkers. The STEM cohort visited the Boston Tea Party Museum, and as they roleplayed the event themselves, they connected it to learning about the implications of historical events in AP U.S. History.
Students considered their possibilities after Hutchison as each group went on at least one college tour. They visited Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Columbia University, and New York University. The girls also enjoyed special experiences along the way, such as seeing the Broadway show “Wicked,” cheering on a Red Sox win at Fenway Park, and stepping into the sweet wonderland of the Museum of Ice Cream.
Hutchison alumnae in New York met with students in the global civic engagement and entrepreneurship cohorts.
The cohorts have held many sessions on professionalism, and students have learned how to write powerful resumes, sell themselves in interviews, build connections through networking, and maintain relationships with mentors. They lived out these skills when they had the incredible opportunity to meet up with Hutchison alumnae. Alumnae director Mary Aubrey Stafford ’10 joined the global civic engagement and entrepreneurship cohorts in New York, and Dr. Ring caught up with the STEM and art design cohorts in Boston. Jamila Smith Gramsey ’02 gave Dr. Ring and the STEM and art and design cohorts a tour of the software, engineering, and design company EPAM, where she is an innovation consultant, and spoke to the girls about careers in design strategy. Upper school girls and alumnae had a great time networking and connecting about their experiences at Hutchison.
“Seeing all the great things they have accomplished and are still accomplishing was very inspiring to me. This assured me that I can also accomplish my goals, and Hutchison is truly a place that can prepare me for that,” Dukes said.
Students in the STEM and art and design cohorts and Hutchison Head of School Dr. Kristen Ring spent an evening with Hutchison alumnae in Boston.
The rising juniors and seniors returned to Hutchison with a stronger passion for their cohort subject, and they were proud of how they grew as leaders on the trips. After getting a glimpse of this summer’s trips, Hutchison sophomores are already talking about what they want to do next summer. Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Paris… wherever they go, it’s up to the students.