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The Passion of the Teachers was Contagious

Julia Milton, TAISM Alumna

Julia Milton outside the United Nations office in Vienna.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Julia Milton’s limited time at TAISM was life-changing. Before joining our learning community in 9th grade, Milton had experienced international schools and schools in the U.S., but it wasn’t until moving to Oman that she truly got to discover her passions.

“I appreciated how hands-on a lot of the classes were and how the teachers would connect our lessons to real life in Oman,” Milton says. “Like in chemistry, we took a field trip to a local food processing site to see what we were studying in action.”

It was that attitude and her teachers’ dedication that helped lead Milton to a career in science.

“My biology teacher was very passionate about science and sharing her love with us,” says Milton. “I had always liked science, but before that class, I hadn’t considered it as something I wanted to do. Afterward, I knew it was the field I wanted to go into.”

Now, Milton holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Policy and Aerospace Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I applied to MIT because the policy aspect appealed to me. As a scientist, it’s important that you have a strong technical background, but policy is often what makes things happen. It’s an important component.”

Milton’s choice to pursue aerospace engineering was informed by her work with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna, where she worked on projects related to the peaceful use of outer space technology for sustainability. After beginning her doctorate program, Milton also interned at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena, California. In all she does, Milton brings the sense of responsibility and appreciation for diversity she cultivated at TAISM.

“I appreciated the Discover Oman trips, and got to go on a few of them. They stand out as great memories,” Milton says. “We got to see a lot of nature and learn about Omani culture. It was a really unique experience that I wouldn’t have had anywhere else.”

Milton’s time at TAISM wasn’t all about science and the environment, however. She participated in several after school activities, including the swim team and basketball.

My favorite part was traveling for tournaments. We would travel internationally to other schools and host traveling teams when they visited TAISM. I met students from around the world, and still stay in touch with people I met through these international events.

Julia Milton's artwork is still displayed in Director Schafer's office.

In addition to sports, Milton was also active in drama, choir and art. “TAISM really emphasizes creativity,” says Milton. “There were so many opportunities and classes to take. For instance, I was in art for all three years. I loved art class. For me, it was a sanctuary in the day, and I learned a lot of different techniques.”

When Milton looks back on her time at TAISM, it is with fondness and gratitude. She advises current high school students to pursue their interests and seek out mentors:

“If you’re passionate about something or think you’re interested in it, don’t worry that it might not be attainable. Go for it. Don’t limit yourself. Find mentors or people you look up to and who are doing things you might want to do later in life. Be honest about what your goals are and seek out those who will help you along the way.”