Camron Chugg '15
Over the past two years, I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day
Saints in Rome, Italy. During these two years my purpose was to invite people to come unto
Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, and His
Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.
My daily schedule was very demanding, every day I started at 6:30 a.m. from then on, I
exercised, studied the Book of Mormon and Bible, planned with my companion (another
missionary that I worked with), and by 10:00 a.m. I was off proselyting in the streets of Italy.
During those proselyting hours we did our best to serve the people of Italy. When we serve our
fellowman, we serve God as well. In doing so, you experience an incredible joy. We learn this
from reading in the New Testament when Jesus Christ taught “inasmuch as ye have done it
unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” These past two years of
serving God and man have been the happiest and most fulfilling two years of my life.
Of everything that happened over those two years, what I take with me are the
memories of the people. The people of Italy will always have a special place in my heart. They
are loud, they always talk with their hands, they are always late, but they have huge hearts and
they love to give. It was difficult to leave my family here in America to go to Italy, but it was
difficult to leave my Italian family when I came home.
One memory that is particularly significant to me was when I was transferred from
Sardinia to Naples. The first Sunday in Naples, I attended church and saw a well-dressed young
man. In that moment, I had the impression that he was the reason for which I was transferred
to Naples. Over the next three months, we made it a goal to watch over and care for this young
man. His name is Gennaro (Genny) and he is a twenty-year-old from Naples. When I met him,
he was struggling with making good decisions and standing firm for what he believed. Over the
next three months we spent a lot of time with him; getting to know his family, playing soccer
with him, reading from the Book of Mormon, and helping him understand what matters most in
this life. We saw a significant change in Genny. He was happier and even made the decision to
serve a mission himself. We became brothers and are still in close contact to this day.
It is impossible to explain in words all aspects of a mission and what it entails. My
mission means everything to me and has helped me to come to know who God is and His
relationship with me. It has helped me to know who Jesus Christ is and what He did for me,
that God has a plan for all of us, his children, and that God gives us families as a way to apply
His teachings and experience the joy and happiness that He intends for us to have.
Alex Sappok '00
Lessons from the Classroom
This article focuses on lessons from the classroom and how they shaped the future of one Collegiate
Life at Collegiate: Alexander Sappok started Collegiate in kindergarten 1987. “One of my earliest
memories at WCS was Mrs. Myers teaching me to tie my shoes, epitomizing the saying - all I really need
to know I learned in kindergarten. It was in those days that I met some of my closest friends, and
although we didn’t know it at the time, twelve of us would graduate together as “lifers,” with the class
From those early beginnings, Alex’s career at Collegiate included a healthy dose of academics,
graduating as valedictorian, balanced with active involvement in athletics, including state championship
tennis teams, and extracurriculars on- and off-campus. “Collegiate’s rigorous academics really pushed
me to develop a strong work ethic and an endless curiosity to never stop learning. Balancing the
demands of the classroom with a host of activities on and off the athletic field provided a well-rounded
foundation, which continues to serve me well to this day.”
“A vivid memory that sticks out in my mind, which embodies this balance, was a state weightlifting meet
my senior year. The meet started early on a cold, fall Saturday morning, but James Knight (’00) and I
arrived late, having taken the SAT II exams at WSU earlier in the day. By the time we got there, late into
the meet, a number of medals had already been handed out. I remember James, without warming up
and still wearing his khakis and polo shirt, beating the top lift of the day on his first attempt. By the time
we were done, many of the medals had to be returned and redistributed.”
Life after Collegiate: Alex attended Kansas State University, graduating with a B.S. in Mechanical
Engineering and a minor in German. While at KSU, he received a scholarship to study abroad for one
year at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland. “Moving to a foreign country where I knew no one, attending
engineering classes in German, and working in a world-class R&D institute, was an incredible experience,
which I credit in large part to the academic foundation and work ethic developed at Collegiate.”
Following undergrad, Alex moved to Boston where he attended graduate school at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. At MIT, he held the Cummins-MIT Fellowship, receiving S.M. and Ph.D. degrees
in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in business from MIT’s Sloan School. “My research at MIT
focused on using synthetic diesel fuels to improve engine efficiency and developing technologies to
reduce engine emissions. Many of the technologies we evaluated in the lab ended up in production
vehicles in the mid-2000’s, reducing harmful particle emissions by an order of magnitude.” Over the
course of his research career, Alex has authored over 40 journal and peer-reviewed publications and he
holds a dozen issued patents in the fields of energy efficiency, emissions systems, and advanced sensing.
It was also at MIT that Alex had the opportunity to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship, founding an
automotive tech company, which was spun-out of the university in 2008. The company, FST, developed
radio frequency (RF) sensors, and gained early traction with development partners including Corning,
Daimler, Cummins, and Fiat-Chrysler. By 2015 the company had grown in Boston to the point where
they needed to scale in order to support the demands of their OEM customers and FST was acquired by
CTS Corporation (NYSE: CTS), a global manufacturer of sensors and electronic systems.
“Founding and leading FST from startup through acquisition was an incredible rollercoaster. I’ve logged
more airline miles than I care to admit, building relationships with auto manufacturers in Japan,
Germany, Sweden, S. Korea, China, the UK, and the U.S. At the end of the day, seeing something that
started as an idea develop into a product has been an extremely rewarding experience.” Today Alex is
responsible for the RF sensing business at CTS and spends his free time actively advising and mentoring
other tech startups through MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service (VMS).
Lessons from the Classroom: “F - See me after class” was the note written in bold red ink on the first
page of my essay on the topic of the causes of the French Revolution in Dr. Nixon’s AP European History
class my junior year. Flipping through the paper, I saw each of the last five pages crossed out with a
large red “X”. Having spent days researching, editing, and writing (he had only asked for five pages, but I
had written ten), I was as perplexed and disappointed as Ralphie in the movie A Christmas Story after
receiving a C+ for his essay on the Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun.
Standing in front of Dr. Nixon’s desk after class, all he said was “Go home and watch the first scene of A
River Runs Through It.” Puzzled by this request, I stopped by the Blockbuster Video at the corner of 21 st
and Rock after school. The opening scene shows a minister instructing his young son in the art of
writing. The boy approaches his father’s desk with a sheet of paper. After studying the writing for a
minute, the minister crosses out several sentences, hands the paper back to his son and says, “half as
long.” This process repeats until the minister is satisfied and then says “good, now throw it away.”
After watching that scene, something finally clicked. Dr. Nixon had asked for a five-page essay NOT the
ten-page novel I had written. Clearly and concisely conveying a message, “making it twice as good and
half as long” was the challenge. All of the extra pages I had written counted for nothing, and indeed
were the easy way out. Although I took his message to heart, it would be reinforced time and time
again over the course of my career.
Many years later at MIT, the approach of distilling complex concepts to their essence, describing and
presenting them clearly and concisely, was drummed into all of the graduate students in the
department. During the annual doctoral qualifying exams, where candidates work out open-ended
problems on the chalkboard in front of a committee of professors, one in particular was famous for
insisting “if you can’t explain it to a kindergartner, you don’t really understand it.” Thank you, Mrs.
Learning to write, to communicate effectively, was one of the key skills I learned at Collegiate, thanks to
the patience and persistence of teachers like Dr. Nixon, Mrs. Yeargan, and Mr. Mykel. (If you are
reading this, I am sure you can still find plenty of mistakes). Jack Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group,
one of the world’s largest investment companies, echoed this sentiment when he returned to his high
school, Blair Academy, in 2018. "It was at Blair that I learned to use the English language and how to
write. My teachers spent so much time with me, mostly with a red pen. …The result is that my writing
ability, among other things, enabled me to go to Princeton and start Vanguard and watch it grow into a
In an era where communication increasingly occurs through electronic means, via texts and tweets,
marked by sequences of incomprehensible acronyms and cartoons, the value of clear and concise
writing is more important than ever. Whether defending my thesis, pitching ideas to investors, writing
proposals, or negotiating commercial contracts, the skills I learned during those formative years at WCS
have been invaluable. To all those teachers, coaches, and classmates who have shaped Collegiate into
the amazing place that it is – Thank You - most of all to my parents who sacrificed much to make it all
Alex resides in Newton, MA with his wife Heidi. He can be reached at: email@example.com
Robert McIntyre, WCS Class of 2007
Robert McIntyre started Wichita Collegiate School halfway through 6th grade and graduated with the Class of 2007. During his time at Collegiate he served as president of the science olympiad team and was a national merit scholar. Robert loved Collegiate’s math and science program and completed every math and science class that WCS had to offer, in addition to talking classes at WSU during the summer. By his junior year, Robert had finished all of Collegiate’s math classes, so Mr. Farmer (now retired) created a special one-on-one math class for his senior year! Robert graduated summa cum laude and won Collegiate’s math and science award.
“I had a great time at WCS mainly because of great teachers like Ms. Crowley, Mr. Farmer, Mr. Hawley, and Mr. Mykel, who all put in so much effort to help me succeed. I remember staying late to work on Science Olympiad projects, getting my first taste of chemistry research with Ms. Crowley, and hours spent in Mr. Farmer's office discussing real analysis. Mr. Mykel's humanities class is a real gem and something I wish every high school had. All these experiences helped build the scientific discipline and moral perspective that I carry with me today!"
Robert became interested in programming while at WCS and built a system called masterscheduler to eliminate the many hours of paperwork required to schedule parent-teacher conferences. WCS used the system for several years to save time after he graduated.
After graduating from WCS, Robert went to MIT where he majored in neuroscience, computer science and electrical engineering. Robert received his bachelor's in 2011 and continued on to pursue a master's in artificial intelligence at MIT. While pursuing the master's degree, Robert studied under Prof. Marvin Minsky (considered to be the father of artificial intelligence), Prof. Gerald Sussman, and Prof. Patrick Winston. His thesis won the Charles and Jennifer Johnson thesis award for best EE/CS master's of engineering thesis.
"For my artificial intelligence work at MIT, I focused on the idea of embodied cognition -- how a mind can integrate multiple streams of sensory data to form a coherent picture of reality. To approach this problem I made a simulation environment suitable for creating virtual creatures that had simulated senses of touch, hearing, proprioception, etc. Then I taught a simulated worm-creature how to recognize actions performed by another worm-creature by imagining what it would feel like to do those actions itself."
During his time at MIT, Robert became interested in the idea of preserving and extracting the memories stored in the human brain, and started volunteering for the brain preservation foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing brain preservation technology by offering a scientific prize to the first team that could demonstrably preserve all of a brain's synapses. After graduating MIT, Robert set out to win the brain preservation foundation's prize and started work at 21st century medicine, a cryobiology company located in Southern California.
"I've been interested in brain preservation technology for over 10 years, both for the scientific goal of understanding how the brain works and the humanitarian goal of preserving individuals' memories and personalities. Towards the end of my time at MIT, I conceived of aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation (ASC), a technique that I thought might work to preserve all the synaptic connections in a brain. The basic idea is to use a chemical called glutaraldehyde to rapidly stabilize the brain's molecular machinery , then follow up with a chemical called ethylene glycol (the same chemical used in automotive antifreeze solutions) to prevent ice formation. The combination of glutaraldehyde and ethylene glycol allows us to preserve and store brains at the extremely cold temperature of -135°c with no ice damage, perfectly preserving all of the brain's delicate synapses! Determined to see if the idea could work, I gave up a promising Ph.D. opportunity at MIT and spent a year at 21st Century Medicine to try and win the brain preservation prize."
In September 2015, Robert published a scientific paper in the journal cryobiology (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cryobiol.2015.09.003) detailing the ASC method and its stunning ability to preserve brain tissue. In February 2016, samples from a rabbit brain preserved with ASC passed the brain preservation prize's stringent testing criteria and won the brain preservation prize. ASC has since been covered in Popular Science, Scientific American, Gizmodo, the Huffington Post, New Scientist, Vice News, and BBC's Horizon.
After winning the brain preservation prize, Robert has founded a neuroscience company called Nectome (http://nectome.com) and is working to expand on ASC and develop a technique that can preserve all of a brain's memories.
Words from Dylan Holmes, WCS 2008
“Even in high-school, Robert was hardworking, self-motivated, and full of infectious enthusiasm. I often saw him working late into the night on projects for Science Olympiad, stagecraft, or tutoring other students. He always excelled academically, but in a true Collegiate fashion, he was known not only for his academic achievements, but for his willingness to lend a hand: he was always the first to volunteer to help set up before Science Olympiad events, he helped tutor other students for math classes and organized study sessions for chemistry classes, and when he heard that the secretary, Mrs. Delay, spent hours manually scheduling parent-teacher conferences, he wrote a computer program to do it automatically. I've had the opportunity to watch Robert blossom into an outstanding young man during his time WCS, during our time together at MIT, and afterwards as he's begun to work on what I think might end up being one of the most important neuroscience technologies of all time. Robert has always been a ‘humanitarian in a lab coat.’ He has worked to understand how computers and brains work, not only for the sake of the knowledge itself, but for what it can do to help others. -- Dylan Holmes, WCS Class of 2008, currently Ph.D. student at MIT in the field of artificial intelligence.
Robert maintains a blog at http://aurellem.org and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We wish him the best with his exciting work!
CLASS OF 2005
Christian Corrigan began at Wichita Collegiate in 1990 and graduated as member of the class of 2005. During his time at Collegiate he was a four year letterman in varsity football, serving as a captain his senior year and twice receiving all-conference honors. He was a two-time 4A state powerlifting champion and set three state records for his weight class. He was a two-time captain of the debate team. He also participated on the scholar’s bowl, golf, and baseball teams. He was a member of Madrigals and participated in fourteen theatrical productions during his time at WCS. In 2004, he was elected Governor of Boys State of Kansas. He was on the high honor roll every semester, a member of the Cum Laude Society, and as a senior he received the Headmaster’s Award.
He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a four-time varsity letter winner and all-conference selection in Sprint Football. He received his law degree from the University of Kansas, where he was an editor of the Kansas Law Review.
He has worked for the Office of the Chief Counsel for Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, the Kansas Legislature’s House Judiciary Committee, and the American Legislative Exchange Council. His political experience includes time on John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and several congressional campaigns. During the 2014 midterm elections, he served on the legal team for the North Carolina Republican Party.
Christian currently resides in Washington, D.C. and serves as Director of Publications for the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies, an organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers dedicated to reforming the American legal system. He works with attorneys, judges, law professors, and elected officials to advance the rule of law and the first principles espoused by America’s Founding Fathers and the Framers of the U.S. Constitution.
In his personal capacity, he writes on politics, public policy, and constitutional law. His work has been published in the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, Human Events, the Wichita Eagle, Doublethink Magazine, and theUniversity Daily Kansan. His law review article, “McDonald v. Chicago: Did Justice Thomas Resurrect the Privileges or Immunities Clause from the Dead? (And Did Justice Scalia Kill It Again?),” was published by the Kansas Law Review in 2012. He also co-authored the Kansas Law Review’s 2011 Criminal Procedure Survey.
In the fall, he will be returning to Kansas to clerk for Justice Caleb Stegall of the Kansas Supreme Court.
Words from Christian’s classmate
For almost as long as I can remember during our time together at WCS, Christian told anyone who would listen that he wanted to be an astronaut. Though I believe this desire was heavily based on a trip to the Kansas Cosmosphere in third grade, I also think it was based on inherent aspirations to be a pioneer and change our country for the better. We took a small step toward this goal together by heading up our 4th grade Chillers snow cone business during what I believe was the most profitable year in the history of the project. I have absolutely no facts to back that up.
Though, during his high school football days, Christian the aspiring astronaut probably became Christian the aspiring Kansas City Chief, he never lost his patriotic and pioneering spirit. Always the first person to suggest an America-themed event during law school at KU, it was well known that Christian was destined for our nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
Living and working in the same areas we toured together during our 7th grade trip to the capital city, Christian now uses the breadth of his education to help improve our country's legal system. Though dreams of a walk in space may now have been replaced by dreams of a walk into the Oval Office, Christian will always remain a proud American and proud Wichita Collegiate School alumnus.
VAN WINTER, WCS CLASS OF 2005