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10 Questions with Amina Hurd ’23

Amina Hurd ’23 is a four-year Senior from Los Altos, California. Hurd has immersed herself in a variety of extracurriculars during her time at Andover; currently, she’s serving as Co-President of Students in Medicine (SIM), pursuing Nordic Skiing, and proctoring in Adams House. With a dream of becoming an astronaut, Amina began learning Russian at Andover in order to gain proficiency in the language. As her class’s Lorant Fellow, she continued this study while volunteering in Poland. 

  1. What was one of your most memorable experiences from traveling to Estonia?

There was this really fun game we played… it was definitely sanctioned by our teachers… it’s basically like Russian truth or dare, but it’s just dare, and you can’t refuse, you have to do it. So there were some really interesting things that people had to do. A lot of running involved, jumping into rivers involved, that was really fun. Another really memorable experience that’s a bit more tame was when we traveled to an Estonian national park called Lahemaa. And it was full of dogs, and it was beautiful. It was so, so beautiful. I loved it there. It was unlike anything, any sort of landscape or ecosystem, I’ve ever seen before. So definitely that as well, just for the sheer beauty.

  1. Why do you want to be an astronaut?

When I was younger, I feel like it was more elementary concepts that intrigued me. But now that I’m older, and I’m seeing what’s actually done on the ISS (International Space Station), it really is groundbreaking science that they’ve never done before… The type of work that they’re doing and why they’re doing it is really interesting. Like, who would have thought that studying bones in space could potentially impact osteoporosis patients? You know, there’s stuff like that, that’s just so cool.

  1. What or who is your biggest inspiration?

I’d say the unknown really pushes me, to know that there’s so much more to find out about the world and there is so much to discover. Even if it [has been discovered], obviously there’s several categories. There’s the unknown to me and then there’s the unknown to everybody else.

  1. If you could broadcast a message, ten words or less, to all of campus, what would you say?

I would say my message is “seek new opportunities and try new things…” I’d say the reasoning is now that I’m a Senior, I’m realizing the clock is ticking. It’s my Senior Winter, past the midterm. So I’ve already made it through half the year. And I think at the beginning of the year, it really hit home that there are just some things that I’ve really wanted to try. So for example, I tried Nordic [Skiing] this winter, and I’m absolutely loving it. I’m planning to try [Outdoor Pursuits] in the spring, which I’m really looking forward to. And, you know, if you haven’t been to the observatory, go to the observatory… If something catches your eye, even if you’re like, “Oh, I don’t know if I’ll be good” or “Oh, I don’t know if I will love this.” Just try it. You never know until you try.

  1. What has been your biggest flop year at Andover?

Upper year, 1,000 percent. I think we came back from Covid-19, and I was having to get used to things again. I feel like Upper year is hard for everybody, but then, especially coming out of Lower year classes, which were online and finally coming back to sports, clubs, and just other on-campus activities. [We now had a] normal schedule, normal homework load, it was just a lot for me at once, and I still hadn’t built the requisite, study skill set, and I didn’t know how to ask for help yet, I wasn’t super comfortable with it. So I think Upper year was my biggest flop year.

  1. What encouraged you to start learning Russian?

Ever since [I was] like five years old, I’ve wanted to be an astronaut. So since then, I’ve [thought], “okay, what courses can I take to help me on that journey?” So, I learned you have to focus on sciences, and I was like, “great, I’ll focus on science and pick one that I like, [which was] biology.” And then another [step] was that Russian proficiency is preferred. And that made sense [since] they worked a lot with Roscosmos, which is the Russian space agency. So when I was applying to schools, and I found out that Andover had Russian, it was like: Boom, instantly to the top of my list. So that’s what inspired me to start taking Russian.

  1. Since you want to be an astronaut, do you believe in aliens?

I definitely believe in life outside of what we know. I feel like somewhere else in the universe, there has to be life. I don’t know if it’s scary, if there’s life, or if it’s scarier if we’re all alone.

  1. Why do you like Students in Medicine so much?

It’s been really fun to work with the members of our community who are also focused on health — so that’s Dr. Patel, Dr. Kemp; that’s other health clubs, such as Active Minds, YES+, [and] I think we did a collaboration with HOSA (Future Health Professionals) once. It’s really fun to collaborate with like-minded people, to find guest speakers, and learn from them and [host] great meetings.

  1. What’s the best cluster, in your opinion?

If I had to choose a favorite, West Quad South has treated me pretty well. It’s close enough to sports, close enough to [Paresky] Commons and classes, but it still feels removed [from the main campus]. I felt like when I was in [Flagstaff], everybody could see inside my dorm and I could always hear everybody. And then when I was in [Pine] Knoll, it was nice, but it was also a little bit of a hike up that hill, so I feel like West Quad South has been the best of both worlds.

  1. What are you going to miss the most and the least about Andover?

I’ve made some really good friends here. I’m going to miss you guys, actually, next year I’m going to be so sad… I really liked my Russian class. We’ve been together all four years, or all three years because there were some Class of ’24 [students]… I feel like high school is unlike college, you know, you don’t have a major, you don’t have to study any one thing. I feel really free to try whatever I want, without having to do a bunch of paperwork… What I’m going to miss the least is the Commons mint brownies. They’re a flop.