BKW’s top student will study chemical engineering at WPI, explore the world

HILLTOWNS — There was no doubt that Jodie Howland was going to be Berne-Knox-Westerlo’s valedictorian since she is, according to salutatorian Katie Joslin, “brilliant.” 

Howland is on her way to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, where she’ll study chemical engineering, having taken AP Chemistry in high school and finding that she really enjoyed it.

“I just had a lot of fun learning about all the chemistry stuff because it’s kind of explaining natural phenomena — how it actually works,” she told The Enterprise.

Plus, her mother is an engineer and Howland always knew she wanted to do something in that area.

Howland said in the profile and in her speech at graduation that BKW offered her friendships that have allowed her to open up socially and be more adventurous. At WPI, she said she’ll take advantage of the study abroad program, which lets students take several trips.

Right now she doesn’t have any specific destinations in mind, but said that Europe has “so many cool countries.” 

Howland said she’s excited, if a little nervous, to meet new people who’ve had experiences different from that of living on the Hill. And she’ll always be close enough to home — about two- to three-hour drive away.

“I think it’s closer to home than my sister is, and she’s still in-state,” she said.

Howland said she’ll spend her summer on her hobbies — drawing and 2D animation. 

“I usually just do it on my own because I haven’t had a lot of experience, so it’s not polished much,” she said of animation. “But I definitely want to get to the point where I can publish this stuff and have other people see it.” 

More Hilltowns News

  • Berne-Knox-Westerlo kicked off the 2024-25 administrative school year at its reorganizational meeting on July 1, where the board of education elected Matthew Tedeschi as its president, and heard from the new superintendent, Bonnie Kane, on the district’s new block-scheduling format.

  • In a 3-to-2 vote, the Westerlo Town Board got rid of the town’s planning board — which Supervisor Matt Kryzak has described as “rogue” — despite opposition from residents and the Albany County Planning Board.

  • Berne-Knox-Westerlo salutatorian Katie Joslin is headed to the State University of New York at Binghamton where they will study psychology, hoping to one day go into private practice and help give adolescents a strong foundation during their formative years. 

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