Beth Ann Less (Class of 2009)

"The Montessori focus on independent learning taught me problem-solving skills and confidence when completing projects, which I have utilized in school, internships, and now in my career."
“I was given so many opportunities to learn communication skills at West Side through projects such as Invention Convention and the Island Project in Upper Elementary and the weekly team-based research presentations in Middle School. I also honed my communication skills every day in the classroom by interacting with and learning from students in grades above me and teaching the students in lower grades. These skills have helped me in interviews, team projects, professional presentations, and, most recently, in teaching an introductory engineering class.

Throughout my 13 years at West Side, I was encouraged to pursue topics that interested me, utilize my network of peers, define my personality, and learn by doing. These fundamental characteristics and skills stick with me today. 

The curiosity-driven lessons taught me the important fact that I am more motivated, happy, and successful when I am studying something that interests me. This realization has been beneficial as I mold my Mechanical Engineering degree and pursue minors in International Engineering and Sustainability. Most importantly, I credit my creativity and curiosity to West Side's theme of fostering a lifelong love of learning. As I worked through my years in college, completed summer internships, and looked toward employment after college, I'm confident in the foundation that Montessori education built in my life.

My West Side experiences gave me a respect for diversity and an interest in global issues. I am grateful to have studied Spanish at West Side from a young age, and have continued my study of the language through college, both at the University of Michigan and in Madrid, Spain. One of my ultimate career goals is to live and work abroad.”

Beth Ann is an Advanced Design Engineer at 3M in Minneapolis.