Alumni 2016-2017 Spotlight:

Dakota Grusak 

Dakota Grusak 

Dakota is a junior at Trinity University who is passionate about his major, electrical engineering. This past summer, Dakota found a great internship with a research project in the Neurosciences and the Arts, at the University of Houston, Department of Electrical Engineering.
The research seeks to better understand how parts of the brain respond to creative stimuli in humans over time. Along with the research team, Dakota spent time in the lab, chomping through research data using sophisticated computer programs like matlab and statistics, and out in the field, working with test subjects. He spent one week with the team at the Children’s Museum of Houston this summer, recording the brain activity of children as they completed creative tasks, measured through a labyrinth of electrical sensors attached non-invasively through a cap set over the children’s heads. The team looked at the data collected back in the lab to identify what areas of the brain responded to stimuli. Dakota will be published as a member of the research team this year —a great resume builder for a young college student.

Dakota is a lifer at St. Stephen’s, attending from age 3 to 18.

Dakota’s parents sought a highly personalized and warm Montessori program that encouraged the same creative, personal and intellectual development as their own core values. Jo Ann, a visual artist, and Michael, a plant research biologist with the FDA, were very involved in the school, despite busy careers. Michael made time to chaperone nearly every school field trip and student travel program, from Camp Allen in Lower El, to Spain, Portugal and Mexico, in High School, despite his own work travel.

Dakota received a well-rounded student experience at St. Stephen’s with strong academics, close relationships with faculty, afterschool sports and extracurricular activities, building relationships with St. Stephen’s diverse student body and connection to the world. Leaving St. Stephen’s, he felt prepared academically for Trinity’s rigorous engineering program. There, he worked hard and stay focused his freshman and sophomore years, enabling him to find this great internship. Dakota has great communication skills that help him connect to people. He knows the small environment of St. Stephen’s helped develop those talents, because students can’t hide in a corner, like they can in bigger programs.

In a small environment, you learn how to engage everyone, and those communication and relationship skills are paying off for him now. After college, he does not know exactly where he will end up but is keeping an open mind for now, enjoying everything Trinity has to offer. #wildlycurious