In Upper School at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, Alex Luttery ’17 wasn’t sure what she wanted to study after high school, which made selecting a college a bit challenging. After learning about Bennington College, a private liberal arts college in Bennington, Vt., and its unique plan of study that does not require majors or minors, Alex realized she could feed a variety of her interests.
Her primary focus is astronomy and coding and she will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree. She is planning to apply to graduate school perhaps to study film.
“I really like doing something new and different,” Alex said.
Alex’s time at HIES greatly influenced her ideas about learning. Her participation in Science Olympiad in Middle School sparked her interest in science, while AP World History with Chris Yarsawich and AP English with Chris Swann were among her favorite classes.
“My love of reading has influenced the way I watch films,” she said. “HIES definitely made me a well-rounded student, and I felt very prepared for college.”
With approximately 800 students enrolled at Bennington – fewer than HIES – Alex felt comfortable in her new environment.
“Bennington has proved to me how much I like small schools,” she said.
Alex has the opportunity to interact with students as well as visitors at the Stickney Observatory on campus, where she holds a work-study job as the manager. The observatory is open to the public one evening per week for viewings and also hosts special events.
Bennington requires students to complete field work and internships. In January 2019, Alex enjoyed the unique experience of working with the four VERITAS telescopes at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Amado, Ariz. The VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) is a ground-based instrument used to observe gamma rays that cause particle showers in the Earth’s atmosphere.
“This was an amazing opportunity that never would have happened if I were not at Bennington,” Alex said.
With that thought in mind, Alex encouraged students to venture outside the norm in their college searches.
“Students should look at other parts of the country for college and gain more independence,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to spread your wings some more.”