Senior Spotlight: From Robots to Octopuses, Kate Weiss on a Full Walker’s Life

Kate Weiss Girl Scout Gold Award

Pictured: Kate Weiss ’21 with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center staff and some of the 80 crocheted octopuses she donated to the NICU as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award.

Senior Kate Weiss knows how to seize every opportunity and moment. And this last year, despite a pandemic and a host of challenges around it, was no different. 

Kate managed to balance a passion for both the arts and sciences by stacking her schedule with choir, a capella, and theater while also diving deeper into advanced science courses and solving epidemiology cases in her public health class. The year, even with all the pandemic bumps, was her favorite year yet.

After graduation, Kate will head to Lehigh University to study population health, an area of public health she is particularly interested in, with a goal to eventually enter the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That interest was sparked in a middle school forensic science class, and she’s been singularly focused ever since. 

It’s that kind of focus that has not only allowed Kate to excel academically but also to showcase her deep intellectual curiosity with many outside-the-classroom achievements. She’s created robots that high-five as a member of the Robotics Team; extracted DNA from strawberries as head of the Science Club; and even took Walker’s to nationals in the Girls Go Cyberstart Competition, a program to encourage more girls into the field of cyber defense. “I managed to achieve my goal of completing one more challenge than I did the year before. It was so much fun and offered an intellectually stimulating break from school!” says Kate.

Although not flush with extra time, Kate also managed to earn a prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award for stitching 80 octopuses for the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Unit (NICU). The project was close to home, she says, having been a premature baby and having spent time in the NICU herself. The legs of the octopus allow premature babies to believe that they are holding onto their mother’s umbilical cord as they did before they were born. Making the octopuses was her way of giving back to the nurses who helped save her life as a baby.

Kate Weiss ’21, a member of Walker’s CyberStrong club, qualified Walker’s for nationals in the 2020 Girls Go Cyberstart competition

Looking back, though, it wasn’t all robots, coding, and awards. Kate will carry with her many memories of casual time spent with friends and special moments that a Walker’s experience brings, including opening night of musicals and singing for Rock Band. 

“It’s definitely exciting to be graduating, because of the mounds of opportunities that await in college and beyond. However, I would be lying if I weren’t nervous to leave behind all I’ve known for the past four years. I’m excited to study a field I love (public health) and I know that my time at Walker’s has prepared me well.”