From Cary High… to the United Nations?

By: Jack Morgenstein

In a lot of ways, high school defines the trajectory most people find themselves on for the remainder of their lives. The people you meet, classes you take, and extracurriculars you participate in often shape who you are. From telling freshmen about the pool on the 2000 roof to hoping our football team wins a single game during the season, Cary High alumni share certain collective experiences from our time here. As I finish my fourth year with you all and start looking towards college next fall, I realize now more than ever how important it is to seek guidance from those that come before you. Through the process of applying to and deciding on a college, I ended up speaking to Cary High alumni from the past 10+ years spanning all phases of their lives. It was inspiring to look at where alumni are now and hear how they worked to get there from standing in my position today. And thus, I decided to start what I hope will be an ongoing series of alumni showcases. The goal of these is to help give current Cary High students a picture of what life and hard work look like after graduating. The subject of this inaugural composition (who also happens to be my older brother) is Kyle Morgenstein.

Kyle graduated from Cary High School in 2016. While here, he led the Cary High Lincoln-Douglas team all the way to nationals as well as played on the varsity tennis team. He also was an active member in his local and national youth group for all four years. After graduating, he attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology for four years for his undergraduate education. While there, he studied engineering with a focus on aerospace, as well as planetary science. At MIT, he participated in a number of activities ranging from MIT’s D1 rowing team to hackathons to becoming president of MIT’s AE𝚷 chapter. He also participated in research resulting in two theses: one into telescopic interferometry and the other into Earth’s early atmospheric composition. He now is attending graduate school at UT Austin in robotics and currently has a job working for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He participates in a lot of outreach, including the speech alluded to in the title of this piece: speaking for the United Nations. More specifically, on April 29th, 2021, Kyle gave a speech for the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs into his work in using biosignatures to identify certain astrologic and biologic conditions which millions and billions of years ago have led to the Earth we now live on. If you’d like to see this speech, it can be found on the following link at the 2:14:15 mark: Speech.

Even if you have no interest in any of the work Kyle is doing, throughout Cary High’s history, alumni success has been a constant in nearly every field. In speaking to Kyle, he revealed to me that hard work and ambition are the best methods to achieving any goal, whether it be passing a class or searching for life on other planets. High school is a time to experience life, but it also is a time to prepare for the future. Reaching out to those that came before me has been an invaluable experience that has shaped who I am. Whether it be reaching out to a teacher, guidance counselor, or alumni, I urge each of you to take advantage of every opportunity to speak with those who have stood in your shoes. As I look towards my own future, I wish you all the best of luck; I know each of you can succeed!

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