Yende Mangum


Q: What school are you going to in the fall? Do you know your major yet?

A: I am very excited to attend Princeton University starting in the fall! I will be concentrating in Operations Research & Financial Engineering, at the heart of which is data science, probabilistic modeling, and optimization. I will also be pursuing a certificate in music, most likely composition.


Q: What were your family’s/friends’ reactions when you committed to your school?

A: My family was (almost) as excited as I was! I don’t think anyone was surprised, though. It was my number one choice. However, when I first got in, my friends’ reactions were priceless. 


Q: Do you have any ideas for future careers?

A: I don’t know exactly what the future has in store for me. One of the reasons I chose my major was because it has applications in so many different fields. I’m fascinated by the world of finance and will probably gravitate toward professions in that realm. I plan to never stop pursuing music, even if it is not my primary focus later in life. I’ll definitely have at least one piano in my house when I grow old, that’s for sure. I’ve always dreamt of putting one in the bathroom.


Q: What was your favorite memory from high school? 

A: This one’s hard. I enjoy the little things more so than the big ones, like arguing over fantasy football in advisory and clowning around at lunch. If I had to pinpoint one, it would be the day of the Winter Concert in 2017. There was a basketball game that day as well, so I stayed after school to watch it instead of going home. In the couple of hours between the game and the concert, I hung out in the auditorium, getting warmed up and whatnot. I was all suited up and ready to go (bow tie and piano socks on) when Mr. Comfort came in for soundcheck. There happened to be an idle guitar sitting on the stage, so I asked him if he wanted to jam. For the next fifteen minutes, I was trading fours with my chemistry teacher over an E minor blues. You don’t see that every day. 


Q: Is there any teacher/adult in specific who helped you through your high school journey or you created a special bond with?

A: There are many people who brightened my days in and around Masterman. Ms. Diane holding up the entire lunch line to get me some milk. The 2 bus driver that I talked to every day in the mornings. The lady at the food truck right outside CCP (if you know, you know). I feel that every teacher and administrator at Masterman has looked out for me at some point. But at the end of the day, if there was anyone who I could count on to be consistently in my corner, it was Madame Copeland. When I needed her for recommendations in crunch time, she pulled through. After hundreds of emails in “frenglish” and two years as her student, I can safely say that I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for her. 


Q: What is some knowledge you gained during your high school career that you want to share with underclassmen?

A: Be nice to your teachers. Even when you don’t like them. I’m willing to bet that the teachers I didn’t like still don’t know that I didn’t like them. The better your relationship is with a teacher, the better experience you will have in their class. You will certainly become more successful in the class, and you may even learn more. Teachers are people too. 


Q: Any thoughts on how the pandemic has affected your senior year?

A: It sucks, but we will have one hell of a story to tell when this is all said and done. It is cruel, but it is affecting everyone, and that gives the Class of 2020 something to bond over worldwide. On the bright side, I had senioritis anyway.