Alumni Spotlight: Chloe Stapleton, Musician and Engineer


Chloe Stapleton

A Classic Tale

Growing up in a musical household, it’s inevitable that the rhythm will eventually get you. “My dad played piano through college and was quick to open the door for me when I told him I wanted to take lessons at about 6 years old. I loved it immediately.” This love lasted through grade school when piano lessons included both classical and jazz tunes. “This introduction to jazz piano made me seek outside instruction and I started taking jazz lessons at the College of Charleston.” However, the growing passion could not be contained within just one school. “By 10th grade, I made the decision to switch to Laurel Springs which allowed me to take a bigger part in the jazz department at CofC through dual enrollment. Even though I chose not to get a degree in music, I feel so lucky that I still get to keep up my love of music with jazz lessons.”

Breaking Out of the Music Box

When passion and talent take over, there’s little time to waste on the “tedious” parts of life. Chloe and her family decided to enroll in Laurel Springs for the freedom it afforded to follow a passionate path while still gaining the all-important education. “My first year (10th grade), I had what my parents consider to be the best learning experience of my life.” Even though Chloe never had an issue with self-motivation before, the transition to online school still took a little getting used to. “I didn’t have my balance quite right at first and went for slow and perfect instead of a more realistic pacing. After a couple of warnings from teachers and a little bit of panicky catch-up work, I learned my lesson. The rest of my high school experience was smooth sailing, but what I learned has stuck with me and made me much more prepared for the freedom of college, too.”
Of course, no one could foresee what would happen to the education system during a worldwide pandemic, but Laurel Springs has also set up students like Chloe for success. “I’d say I’m pretty skilled in the remote learning experience so the switch to online class in college was not a big deal to me. It’s even helped in my current remote internship.”

A Different Kind of Keyboard

Chloe knows her way around piano keys, and as it turns out she’s pretty proficient with computer keyboards as well. Just like her love for piano stemmed from her father, both of her physician parents passed on their love of STEM.
“My dad started a software company alongside his medical practice, and I took the opportunity to work with his software engineer to understand coding a little. We built a banking system for an elementary school in California, and though I was very inexperienced and didn’t contribute much on the technical side, I loved the process of building something that helped others. During my very first week of computer science classes...I was confident I made the right choice. For the same reasons I like jazz piano, I like [computer science]—the mix of logic and creativity.”

Keys for the Future

Chloe is set for her senior year to start this fall at the College of Charleston. “I’m heavily involved in the Honors College and the [computer science] department...with mentoring and club leadership." Working in the cybersecurity lab led to last year’s win at the national conference, and Chloe continues to participate in software engineering research for the Cyber Infrastructure Research & Development Lab for the Earth Sciences. “I’m passionate about creative software development that can benefit people and diversity and inclusion in STEM. I see a full-time software engineering role and grad school in my future. Because of the pandemic, the timeline for that is up in the air but anything is possible!”