Senior Jenny Moody and her ‘mega’ not bummer semester

The Southerner

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BY CARSON SHADWELL

Ranked eighth in her class, senior Jenny Moody appears similar to many other motivated students. Outside of school, however, she has a life of which few are aware and even fewer understand.

Moody’s average weekday starts at 8 a.m.

“Actually, I think my alarm is set to 7:57 a.m.,” Moody recalled with a laugh.

She begins her morning with a daily online Calculus Three lecture, then she pulls her blue-dyed hair into a ponytail and hops on her bike, arriving at school just in time for second period.

“My Grady classes are really easy,” Moody said.

After third period, she embarks on her second bike ride of the day to the Georgia Institute of Technology, better known as Georgia Tech. Once there, she works alongside several undergraduate students as a paid intern in the chemistry and biochemistry department.

“On a daily basis, I’m working on theoretical quantum physics applications using programming languages,” Moody said. “Recently I’ve been working on an ion trap simulation.”

Most of her work is theoretical, meaning she creates simulations using a computer as opposed to the experimental lab nearby, which physically traps the ions for experimentation. By doing simulated experiments, she can test basic theories of quantum mechanics.

Moody began her internship in May after participating in the coincidentally named Moody’s Mega Math Challenge, a 14-hour applied mathematics competition open to high school students along the East Coast. Her team, which consisted of seniors Alex Munger, Justin Williams, Troy Kleber and Mezmure Dargie, made it to the semifinals. The team’s performance at the competition so impressed her teammate’s father that he offered the team summer internships, which they accepted.

After the start of the school year, Moody continued her internship through Grady’s work co-op program.

“She’s probably the most diligent of the theorists,” her co-worker John Addison said. “You have to be self-motivated to work here.”

“My co-workers are very nice,” Moody said. “They’ll help me if I have a bug in my code even though I mainly work on lower priority projects.”

Moody attends lectures and meetings in addition to her work in the lab. She leaves Georgia Tech at 5 or 5:30 p.m. each day.

“I don’t really hang out with people,” she said. “My main social interaction is during school.”

Moody spends her free time biking around the neighborhood and reading postmodern literature.

“I’ve been working feverishly on a paint-by-number hot air balloon picture over the past few days,” Moody said. “I’ve made at least 20 percent progress on it.”

She will usually make dinner for herself and her father as well as clean up around her house.

“I’m getting really into cleaning lately,” Moody said. “Afterwards, my dad and I watch House Hunters.”

On the weekends, Moody works as a server at The All American Roadhouse in Virginia Highland.

“When Jenny first got here, she was very shy and timid,” said Venesha McDaniel, one of Moody’s co-workers. “After six months, we broke her out of her shell. She has this dry sense of humor and is very kind-hearted.”

Moody is conflicted about her future. She hasn’t yet decided if she wants to major in physics or genetic engineering. She does know, however, that she would like to receive a masters or doctorate in whatever area of study she decides to pursue. She also must decide between attending a liberal arts college or a college of math and technology, both of which she has applied to.

“It all depends if I can make it through high school first,” Moody said.  p

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