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Elise B. ‘24


Elise Bertolino

Meet Elise

Elise, Class of ‘24, started at Tampa Prep as a 6th grader.  Her older brother was already a Terrapin, so she was bit by the robotics bug early, as she grew up watching him stay after school nearly every day for Robotics Club and participate in robotics competitions.  And, although much of her life now is admittedly consumed by robotics, she does save some time for relaxing at home with her cat, rabbit and hermit crab.

Favorite subject?  “I don’t really have just one favorite subject.  I’m in the STEM concentration so I’m a big fan of math and science.  My engineering class is really fun and I really like my humanities classes: french and history. I guess I really like them all!”

Favorite teacher?  “I like teachers who seem like they are personally interested in the subject that they’re teaching.  Ms. Emrich, who is my chemistry teacher, is just really good at explaining things.  Ms. Englenton is so engaging – her class is really student driven, so it’s fun and interesting.  She really gives us the opportunity to learn from each other.   And, Mr. Quah, who is my engineering teacher, is great. He gives a lot of personal examples in class so that we know why what we’re learning is important.”

Awards/accomplishments/recognitions?  “I’ve gotten a lot of robotics awards, in the four years that I’ve competed.  I got five academic awards in middle school and I got two honors in math and science last year.  In robotics, in 8th grade, I was the captain of the middle school team.  And I’m now one of the captains of one of the varsity teams, which we nicknamed the Power Teams.  So, I’m kind of the VP of the Club.”  

Something you’re proud of?  “Last year, my robotics team went to the World Championship.  Prep schools hadn’t gone in several years, like since 2014 or 2015, and we had two teams go last year.  We got Skills Champion, which means we got the highest score in the individual section and we qualified for Worlds.  Our team, 727G, got the Amaze Award, which is a judged award.  We were tournament finalists with our sister team, 727R, and that qualified us both to Worlds.  We were all really proud of that.” 

Future aspirations?  “I do want to go into a STEM field because that’s what I’ve always loved doing.  And, engineering is very interesting and I love it very much but it’s not the career I’m aiming for right now.  I’m considering going into medicine, but I’m not set on a particular school.   For my education, I might stay in the United States, but I’m also interested in possibly going to the United Kingdom.  In the UK, you can go directly into medical school, as opposed to how it’s done here in the U.S. (4 years of college followed by another 4 years of medical school).   I prefer the way they do it in the UK because you get to focus directly on what you want to do, right from the beginning.”

Favorite thing about Tampa Prep?  “My favorite thing?  I’d have to say robotics.  I also like the fact that we get to use ipads – it’s so much easier than doing everything on paper.  I like that it’s a smaller school.  And, I love that the teachers are so open to help. You can tell that the teachers really care about you as an individual – they aren’t super strict and they treat you with respect.  I appreciate that there aren’t a bunch of unreasonable rules and that students are given a decent amount of freedom.” 

Elise is also interested in


Donna Fowler on Elise

“I just find Elise to be a phenomenal person. She has an incredible leadership style that is gentle but firm. She is so very talented both academically and intellectually and she has excelled at robotics. Elise’s creative skills are amazing.  Her end of year project was beautiful, creative, and meticulous. Elise is a quiet, competent, focused leader.  If I had a team, she’d be one of my first picks!”  Advisor Donna Fowler