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May 31, 2023

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

New Notre Dame Prep graduate begins university studies in the fall at Cornell University after a couple of precollege science programs at both Brown University and Cornell.

Abby Archey NDP'23 plans to major in biological sciences at Cornell University.

Precollege is an educational experience that helps high school students prepare for the transition to a college environment. These programs typically feature college-level courses, some of which can be online and others that can give students the chance to live on campus in the residence halls. 

The classes, most often held during the summer, work with high school students to develop critical-thinking skills, advanced reading and writing abilities and provide a head start on mastering college-level study skills.

For Abby Archey, who graduated from Notre Dame Prep on May 21, her precollege experience last summer with Cornell University was in fact a precursor to her actual college of first choice. She matriculates to Cornell in the fall to study biological sciences.

Archey participated in the "summer at Cornell" program in 2022, taking a 4-credit undergrad course in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and earning a 4.0. The summer before found Archey at a different Ivy League school — Brown University — taking a precollege program in neuroscience.

Ecological research and fieldwork

For those who know Archey, it is perhaps not surprising that she chooses to spend some of her hard-earned time off during each summer in a classroom. She is laser-focused on getting herself into a position to more fully study science and conduct research in the natural world — all as quickly as possible. 

"I have always loved and felt an affinity for nature and all its inhabitants," she said. "But while as a child that meant hiking in the woods Up North or diving for crayfish in Elk Lake, I now feel compelled to understand the complex and beautiful mechanisms that inform the creation I see all around me."

She says she always feels most alive when she's observing the nesting birds at Holland Ponds, for example, or walking the Jordan River Trail, or pruning the paths at the Grass River Natural Area. 

Archey is most comfortable when she's doing fieldwork and research in the natural world.

And she's looking forward to more of the same, but at all the next levels.

"I'm hoping to pursue ecological research and fieldwork in college and beyond," added Archey, who said her summer work at Brown and Cornell was a huge head start in that pursuit. 

Her summer 2021 course at Brown was called "comparative neuroanatomy and animal behavior" and it included group projects with other students (her group created a presentation on platypus electroreception). 

"At Cornell last summer, however, the evolution course through the EEB department had students collaborating in an unusually different way," she said. "Throughout the course we were asked to submit quiz-style questions about the material we learned, and those questions as well as a few from the professor and teaching assistants were then compiled to create the final exam. So in a way, we ended up testing ourselves!"

Protecting and cherishing God’s creation

Archey attended Holy Family Regional School for grade school and said she's enormously grateful that she came to Notre Dame Prep for high school, especially given her preoccupation with the science of the natural world.

"The academic experiences that NDP offered to me, especially with classes like botany, horticulture, AP biology and entomology, were amazing. These courses afforded multiple opportunities for hands-on exploration and field research, from monitoring soil health and identifying zooplankton in Suttons Bay, to growing plants in NDP’s very own greenhouse."

Aligning almost perfectly with the Notre Dame Prep mission, Archey also said that she grew up with the belief that an important part of upright citizenship and Christian action is protecting and cherishing God’s creation. 

"By pursuing a rigorous education in the natural sciences and devoting my free time to conservation efforts, I can act in the service of both wildlife and my fellow man," she said. "A great real-world example of that is the NDP Bee Club. Without bees, wild areas and farms alike would suffer greatly, and so the club’s support of bee conservation is emblematic of a profound respect for both nature and humanity. I loved participating in Bee Club and even served as the club's secretary in my senior year."

So now looking into her crystal ball, what does Archey think she might be doing years from now after her post-secondary academic career is over?

"It’s early to say, of course, but I hope that I can conduct research, including field research, in ornithology. My ultimate goal is advanced research in animal behavior and ecology, and I am especially captivated by newfound discoveries in bird intelligence."

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at