MSMS Connects recently caught up with alumna and AAYME Assistant Director Madison Wardlaw, who graduated from MSMS in 2016. 

  1. How would you describe your time at MSMS? 

I really enjoyed my time at MSMS. My social circle was small, but that was fun because I feel like I made some quality friendships. After all these years, we are still good friends, and we talk all the time. I can also still remember participating in fun math lessons and being a part of Mu Alpha Theta, getting help from Ms. Zarandona during tutorials or being involved with Blue Diamonds step team.  

  1. After attending MSMS, what university did you attend? 

After MSMS, I went to Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and I received my bachelor’s degree in chemistry. I just recently graduated in May with my master’s degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania.  

MSMS made me realize how much I like stem. Taking chemistry and biology here I was like, “Whoa, I actually like this. I want to major in one of these sciences.” Before coming to MSMS, I had no clue, but after taking Ms. Truitt’s chemistry class, I knew I was going to major in chemistry.  

 3. Do you think MSMS helped prepare you for your future professional endeavors? 

After graduating from MSMS, I immediately started the chemistry track, and I would even go as far to say MSMS helped me figure out I wanted to pursue my master’s in education in a roundabout way. I think this is partially because I had the chance to teach and work with rising middle schoolers and high schoolers during the MSMS Summer Enrichment Camps. 

4. What is your current profession? 

Beginning this fall, I will be teaching fourth grade STEM at Edward Gideon School for Diversity and Inclusion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In this role, I really want to give students more hands-on experiences and team building experiences to show that learning in life is a process. 

5. Why did you apply to become an Assistant Director for African American Youth of Mississippi Excelling (AAYME) Program? 

This is my seventh year being affiliated with the summer enrichment camps, so when I saw the opportunity to be an Assistant Director for MSMS’ newest camp, AAYME, I knew I wanted to be involved. I’ve always wanted MSMS to host a camp like this, so I didn’t hesitate to be part of it. 

6. Why do you think this camp is beneficial for students? 

Mississippi has an insidious like history with racism and slavery, but this camp is a way we can rectify some of these wrongs that we still feel today. Due to economic exclusion and the way school funding works, a lot of like black children in the state of Mississippi do not receive the type of education, especially the type of gifted education that we see here. So, it is important for folks to know the sky’s the limit, and those opportunities are available for them at places like MSMS.