Katherine Mumm: The Perfect Balance


Photo by Kimia Shahidi.

For most students, handling multiple extracurriculars, academics and sports feels like a precarious balancing act, and one must be as skilled as a professional circus performer to able to execute it skillfully. Senior Katherine Mumm has mastered the art and is able to excel at all three. She has played three years of varsity volleyball, worked a prestigious internship, and gained various academic achievements so far during her time at Los Altos, successes that can be attributed to her determination, hard work both on and off the court, and overall positive mindset.

“You learn a lot of time management from a busy schedule, and it almost makes it easier to balance everything that’s going on,” Katherine said. “You just have to understand how to compartmentalize the things that are going on and not really let the things that are happening outside of volleyball or outside of school affect you.”

During her years on varsity, Katherine has accumulated 424 kills, 81 blocks and has a hitting percentage of .290, and her achievements at Los Altos have not gone unnoticed. She has been named a co-captain this year as well as having attracted the attention of multiple D1 colleges.

“Hitting and blocking [are her biggest strengths],” junior outside hitter Aevia Trainor said. “She is very tall, so she is able to just stuff those blocks. [Her skill] is just a combination of her naturally being really athletic, and also, when she gets up, she is able to just throw her arms up, lifting her whole body, so she is able to get on top of the ball. That is why it goes straight down.”

Two of her proudest achievements include being selected as sophomore scholar athlete of the year as well as passing level 5 in piano with merit. Maintaining a positive attitude is important on the court, but equally so with academics. Katherine makes it a point to pursue what she is genuinely interested in, a major factor in her success.

“I don’t necessarily love [all parts of] school, but I do love learning,” Katherine said. “So if I’m doing something, be it science or history or art, I really love what I’m doing, and I want to do it… I would honestly say to people that are like ‘Oh, I just have to get it done’: don’t do it. Go to bed. If you don’t want to do it, do not do it, because you are not going to put your heart and soul into it, and you are not going to do a good job on it. Just go to sleep.”

In conjunction with her passion in aerospace engineering, Katherine began interning at NASA in March of last year. Currently, she is managing a project working to discover exoplanets, which involves running data trials and engineering pieces of needed equipment.  She hopes to further develop this passion by majoring in it in college, a reason that academics is equally, if not more, important to her when considering schools.

“[Some schools are] definitely more focused toward volleyball because they are D1 schools, and that [is all that I would] really do there,” Katherine said. “I am someone who loves school, I am such a nerd, and I wouldn’t want to lose that in college. I want to go to college for the academic experience, not for the volleyball experience, but it is definitely still something I want to do in college.”