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Three Rivers Middle College senior headed to Bucknell with passions for math and dance

Georgia Corbett opted to go to Three Rivers Middle College Magnet High School after reaching a level in math and science in her homeschooling where her mother could no longer help with her online classes, but she ended her high school career unexpectedly taking online classes again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's definitely disappointing," she said, noting that going from being homeschooled her whole life, "you want to be able to walk in graduation, you want to be able to have new friends."

Corbett, 17, did make some great friends at Three Rivers, saying they "were definitely a little more outgoing than I was, and so it was really nice to be able to be pushed out of my element a little bit by them just being them."

While it's unclear what college classes will look like in the fall, Corbett is headed to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania to study math. She hopes after college to get her Ph.D. in math, a dream Corbett said she's had since about age 7.

She doesn't know exactly what kind of career she wants in math but knows there are many possibilities, citing a cryptographer as one that looks interesting.

"Ever since I was young, puzzles and solving problems kind of just fit in my brain, and math always came pretty easy to me," Corbett said in a phone interview in mid-May. She added, "As I got into the higher-level math, you can really see the beauty in all the numbers, and I've kind of looked into the descriptions of courses that I will have to take in undergrad, and they all look so fascinating."

Corbett — who lives in East Lyme with her parents, brother and grandmother — had her first experience at Three Rivers her sophomore year, taking pre-calculus and calculus 1. She entered the middle college, where her brother also went, her junior year.

She then took calculus II, multivariable calculus, statistics and linear algebra. (She wanted to take differential equations and discrete math, but they didn't fit into her schedule.)

Three Rivers Middle College Magnet High School is unique in its ability for students to take college classes and get many college credits while in high school. There are some classes specific to the middle college, but Corbett only took the community college classes her junior and senior year.

"They're giving you an opportunity, and it's your responsibility whether or not to take it," she said. "They have all the support for you to be really successful, and I've seen throughout my junior and senior year some people who take that opportunity and some people who don't."

Outside of the classroom, Corbett has been dancing with Eastern Connecticut Ballet since she was 3 and performs in "The Nutcracker" at the Garde Arts Center every year — going from a mouse as a young child to the Dewdrop Fairy this past year.

"I really like the artistry, and it allows me to basically escape from all the academics that you have to do," Corbett said. She added, "It has taught me a lot of things, and I really enjoy knowing that you're never going to be perfect, but there's always something you can just change a little bit, and it really has helped me to just continually work harder and not give up."

She hopes to minor in dance at Bucknell, where she's going as a Presidential Fellow. The Presidential Fellowships award is a merit scholarship that allows students to work one-on-one with a faculty member on a long-term project.

Corbett said she likes having this requirement, since going into math research will be a big part of her undergraduate and graduate career.

e.moser@theday.com

 

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