Chemistry may have stolen Laura Mueller’s mind, but music always has her heart.
A senior at Cedar Cliff High School, Mueller is the daughter of Eileen and John Mueller. She said she had always wanted to be a doctor—until she took her first chemistry class. Then, she realized she liked chemistry so much that she plans to major in chemistry in college.
“I was thinking to have a career in chemistry. I’m not completely sure which career yet, but I’m going to explore my options in college,” Mueller said.
Science has also been at the core of two of her activities in high school, the Science Olympiad and the Epidemiology Challenge.
Mueller explained that students compete in the Science Olympiad in challenges ranging from biology to psychology to physics. Of course, she competes in the chemistry-related disciplines of chemistry lab, forensics and material science.
As a freshman, Mueller applied to participate in Cedar Cliff’s Epidemiology Challenge. Then, as a sophomore, she participated in the challenge that gave students the opportunity to meet with epidemiologists at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and to be part of creating an epidemiology-based project, which was presented at the Capital Area Engineering and Science Fair.
But, for all her skill in science, music plays the major role in the highlights of her high school career.
Mueller’s love of music started when she was about 3 years old and started taking piano lessons from her best friend’s father. That sparked an interest in music that went on to joining choirs and to participate in musicals, including lead roles.
One of Mueller’s favorite roles came in elementary school when she played the Artful Dodger in “Oliver,” but she said her “absolute favorite” was the role of Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde Jr.” as a freshman.
“It was such a new experience for me because I had leads before, but I had never been the focus of the whole show. I was pretty much onstage the entire time,” she said.
At Cedar Cliff, Mueller has been a member of Cedar Cliff Chamber Singers, a group for which she is serving as the president this year. She also plays the marimba in the West Shore Marching Band and Indoor Percussion Ensemble.
One thing Mueller would like to accomplish in her remaining months of high school is to write her own song. She’s already talked to the chorus teacher about helping her with music theory, and has been working on her writing and improving her vocabulary.
Though she plans to have a career in the field of chemistry, Mueller said music will always be a part of her life, potentially through teaching private vocal lessons or assisting with the direction of a musical.
“Music is a huge passion of mine. It’s the thing that takes me away from real life and opens me up to a whole new dream world,” Mueller said.