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From a NASA research laboratory to an Italian mozzarella farm, students explored new frontiers during Winterim 2024

From a NASA research laboratory to an Italian mozzarella farm, students explored new frontiers during Winterim 2024
From a NASA research laboratory to an Italian mozzarella farm, students explored new frontiers during Winterim 2024

Each year, Winterim takes Harpeth Hall students beyond the bounds of the classroom. They explore realms as far away as the cosmos and experience the heart of cultures oceans away.

Winterim has been a cornerstone of the Harpeth Hall experience for over half a century. This year's three-week program featured internships and academic experiences that spanned the globe, offering students an opportunity to discover new interests, explore careers, make professional connections, and study places unknown.

From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the vibrant energy of Bridgestone Arena, our students share what they accomplished, learned, and experienced during Winterim 2024.

Chloe Graham, 12th grade | Independent Study
A music industry-focused independent study gave Chloe Graham the chance to dive into her dream career as a Nashville singer-songwriter. She worked with contacts she made during an internship last year at Blackbird Studio and set up a recording session for her debut single. After recording her music, she organized a marketing photoshoot and began promoting the upcoming release on artist profile platforms such as Spotify.

With the help of her faculty mentor, Harpeth Hall Director of Performing Arts Brion Kennedy, Chloe gained confidence in her belief that she is meant to be a part of the music industry.

“While it was important for me to learn the ins and outs of music distribution platforms, setting up a recording session, and learning more about my particular style of songwriting, I value the life lessons I was not expecting to learn even more,” Chloe said of her Winterim 2024 independent study. “For example, I learned, over the course of the three weeks, to gain the confidence that, even as an 18-year-old, I can be taken seriously in this industry. It was really neat to see how my determination and passion shone through to allow me to be treated as a professional client of the top engineers and contacts in the industry during my session at Blackbird Studio.”

Shaffer Dale, 12th grade | Internship
Shaffer Dale traveled to Japan for global economic development internship experiences with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Japan Office, Arc Times, byFood, and the Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation. During her time in Japan, she gave a presentation titled "Advancing the Relationship Between Tennessee and Japan" to the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and the city of Kamakura.

“The entire presentation process was so rewarding. I enjoyed researching, meeting people who work in the industry, getting feedback, making edits, practicing with my host, and learning how to present without letting the language barrier get in the way,” Shaffer said. “I am very proud of how hard I worked, and I know that experience will stick with me. After spending time with some newspaper companies, I am much more confident in my decision to major in journalism in college. I have also decided to take Japanese in college. I hope to live in Japan for a couple of years when I am older. The people were so kind, the city was so safe, and everyone I met made me feel so welcome. It was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Tara Howard, 12th grade | Academic Travel
Tara traveled to Italy for Winterim as a part of an academic trip. While in Italy, Tara traveled to a mozzarella farm to learn about cheese production, wandered through ancient Roman ruins, and learned more about Italian art, architecture, and history.

“I loved the culture and the attitude of the Italians,” Tara said. “There was never one person who didn't want to help. My favorite part of the trip was the Vatican. I am in AP Art History, so seeing so many of the Art History pieces was a highlight. My biggest takeaway was being appreciative of all the art we see. Not only in museums but in the streets, too. It ranged from fountain sculptures to graffiti, and all of it was incredibly done!”

Louisa Wang, 10th grade | On-Campus Classes
Louisa Wang joined her 10th grade classmates for the on-campus Winterim experience. She selected classes that fit her interests, including Screenwriting, Maker’s Toolkit, Musical Theatre Workshop, and The Chinese Cultural Revolution. Her most memorable experience was when she performed in a masterclass

with Broadway actress Susan Egan during the Musical Theater Workshop. She also enjoyed the creative process of her screenwriting class.

“One of my biggest takeaways from my Winterim experience was the importance of working with peers and getting constructive criticism,” Louisa said. “I learned so much when I was in a supportive environment with lots of sharing my work. One example of this was in my screenwriting class, where almost every single class we got to share our projects and even sometimes cast people to read as our characters. I received so much advice on how to move my story forward and make it more interesting, and that completely transformed it from an idea to a working draft and storyline.”

Abby James Witherspoon, 12th grade | Independent Study
Abby James Witherspoon took a deep dive into film and television production for her independent internship. The first week, she stayed in Nashville and interned virtually with Orlee Rose Strauss, a successful female film producer. During the second week of Winterim, Abby James went to New York to intern with Hello Sunshine’s social media team.

Her first day with the company, she met with and learned from Maureen Polo, Hello Sunshine’s head of direct-to-consumer marketing. Ms. Polo presented the qualities she believes each female leader should have to become successful. “I took extensive notes on her presentation and was immediately encouraged to work each day towards my career goals,” Abby James said. “I have found that my best days, and the most inspiring moments in my life, often involve strong female leaders who are kind and willing to lead the next generation of young females” For the final week of Winterim, Abby James returned to Nashville and began to apply the information she learned at Hello Sunshine to her own social media account.

“The best part about my Winterim experience was that the time and energy I put into learning and creating during the three weeks set the foundation for my future work,” Abby James said.”I created and strengthened connections that will be extremely beneficial to my career and essential for my future. I am so thankful for the Harpeth Hall Winterim experience, it is one that is unmatched and has launched my career at an early age. I have been given the opportunity to realize my potential in the workforce and gain confidence. I hope that every Harpeth Hall girl uses the Winterim experience to its fullest potential because if you do, we can become a force to be reckoned with.”

Liza Nelle Meltesen, 10th grade | On-Campus Classes
Liza Nelle Meltesen participated in on-campus classes during Winterim 2024. The Welcome to Deutschland class gave her the opportunity to examine the richness of Deutsche kultur (German culture) through a variety of lenses: film, art, literature, music, dance, history, geography, and, of course, food. It also inspired her to learn more about the student exchange program at Harpeth Hall. Another class, Not Your Grandma’s Quilt, was a hands-on experience where students learned to sew and contributed art pieces to a quilt that was gifted to two Harpeth Hall faculty members in celebration of their soon-to-arrive son.

“My biggest takeaway from my Winterim experience is to continue doing the activities I enjoy even when I feel like I don't have the time during the school semester,” Liza Nelle said. “I found that doing those activities is helpful to maintaining balance, so I was happy that Winterim left me with both a stronger belief in this idea as well as new exciting activities to do.”

Sophie Sellers, 12th grade | Internship
Sophie completed an internship with the Nashville Predators hockey team during Winterim 2024. Her favorite experiences were game days when she was able to work alongside others in her department, Guest Experience, to problem solve and ensure fans had the best time at the game.

“Winterim opened my eyes to a new career I could see myself pursuing,” Sophie said. “Winterim is truly a time of self-discovery, and through interning with the Nashville Predators, I have learned so much about myself and what it means to be a woman working in sports. After working in an office environment, I now know my preferences, and I will be able to search for a job in the future that best suits me.”