LASR Project Update

Fighter Pilot, Marine Biologist, and Videographer

What do these three professions have in common? They are just a few of the many interests White Mountain School students are investigating this semester through the LASR Project program.

LASR (Leadership, Arts, Service, and Research) provides an opportunity for all WMS students to pursue inquiry-driven projects or work in areas of their choosing. Some students elect to follow a formal, research-based curriculum with mentorship from a research specialist on campus. Others develop and propose an independent study project or an internship with a mentor of their choosing.

This semester, Aaron ’17 is studying psychology and emotional responses in military pilots. He’s following in the footsteps of his uncle, who has been an Air Force pilot for the last 30 years. Aaron’s project combines research and reading about changes in the emotional states of pilots, from pre-flight jitters to adrenaline rushes in flight, with interviews and firsthand flight lessons with an uncle who is based out of Nellis Air Force base in Las Vegas, Nevada. During spring break, Aaron (who had previously flown in a fighter jet with his uncle as a fourth grader) took to the cockpit himself for two flight lessons in a Cessna 172 in Nevada. Aaron says that he plans to follow his uncle’s path as an Air Force pilot in the future.


A Cessna 172, the type of plane Aaron ’17 is learning to pilot.

Maren ’17 has connected with Littleton Regional Hospital for an internship in the pathology department. Each week, for five hours at a time, Maren works in a different area of pathology. She’s helped in hematology and the blood bank, urine analysis, and even worked with placentas. She also has opportunities to interact with patients. In particular, Maren has enjoyed getting to know one of the hospital’s phlebotomists, who says that through the process of drawing blood samples she comes to learn and appreciate many patients’ stories. As part of her project, Maren keeps a journal each day to record the things she’s learning. Maren plans to study and work towards becoming a marine biologist, and she knows that the experience she is gaining in the lab at the hospital will translate directly to her work later on.

Field Course video

Nico shares thoughts on the LASR project and inquiry-based learning with newly accepted students in a video he filmed and edited during Field Course.

Nico ’17 is helping with marketing for the School’s Admission Office. He meets with our Director of Admission each week to discuss marketing to teens and young adults and to plan projects for the department. Nico, a recognized YouTube celebrity of sorts, brings experience in reaching this demographic with his own, authentic voice. During Spring Field Course, Nico took on an independent study project in which he planned, filmed, and edited a video for newly accepted students. Nico took on the responsibility of distributing the film to new students and inviting them to share questions about WMS with him. Nico says, “I enjoy making videos and working with that demographic. It’s fun.” Nico hopes to transfer the skills that have brought him recognition on YouTube to a more professional setting, a transition that will help him find his life’s work in something he already loves to do.

Thank you for sharing your projects with us, Aaron, Maren, and Nico!

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