Oral Histories

David Kinney, Amy (Timm) Kinney, Ravi Duvvuri, and Christian Nøkkentved

Streaming Media


David Kinney, Amy (Timm) Kinney, Ravi Duvvuri, and Christian Nøkkentved



Three members of the class of 1995 look back on their IMSA experiences twenty years after they graduated. David Kinney says he applied to IMSA because he wanted to get out of the house. Amy (Timm) Kinney had grown up in the Chicago area before her family moved to southern Illinois, where she didn't feel she fit in and she wasn't challenged enough academically. Ravi Duvvuri grew up in central Illinois and likewise didn't feel challenged enough at home. Duvvuri heard about IMSA from a math teacher. Amy Kinney had participated in a summer camp. A grade school science teacher recommended that David Kinney apply to IMSA.

On arrival, David Kinney recalls finding the building layout very confusing. Amy Kinney recalls the diversity of the student population, and also feeling like she fit in among other smart, motivated students. Duvvuri remembers meeting the other people in his dorm and everyone trying to negotiate their newfound independence, as well as their new classmates. Amy Kinney recalls how important roommates and wingmates were for new friendships, because when they came to IMSA they did not have easy ways to keep in touch with friends at home, only letters or phone calls. She reflects on how different it is for students now. Because more students stayed at school on the weekends then, they had more opportunities to learn to live independently and live together. Duvvuri reflects on the formative experience of living at IMSA and the friendships it fostered.

In terms of classes, they all remember the novelty of problem-based learning and ways it was present throughout the curriculum, from science and math classes to history. Duvvuri talks about Dr. Hollister's history class where he wanted the students to think. At first they treated it as free time, until he got his first ever C on a report card with a note that he needed to "try harder". After that he approached his own learning differently. He also remembers liking his physics and English classes, as well as a scientific writing class he had junior year. Amy Kinney liked being able to choose electives her senior year, particularly Modern Irish Writing and Ecology, particularly in the latter case where they got to go out in the field. She also stayed active playing in band and orchestra. David Kinney's favorite classes were all in the humanities, though he also fondly remembers math teachers who took the time to get to know him and help him.

Duvvuri participated in the mentorship (now SIR) program his senior year, working at Argonne National Laboratory, and talks about the work he did there and participating in Presentation Day. Neither David nor Amy Kinney participated in the mentorship program, though David Kinney recalls a formative moment when he visited a lab at Northwestern. A researcher there described a "eureka moment" when he knew what he wanted to study, and on the bus ride back Kinney realized he felt the same way about computer programming.

Though none of the interviewees participated in international student trips while at IMSA, the languages they learned were useful, particularly the immersive way they were taught. Amy Kinney studied Spanish at IMSA and in college and ended up teaching bilingual grade school classes. David Kinney took Latin, while Duvvuri took French.

In terms of what they took away from their IMSA experience, Amy and David Kinney met and started dating their sophomore year, and while they went their separate ways in college, they ended up getting married ten years later.

Duration: 33:33




curriculum, residential life, friends, faculty, science classes, math classes, humanities, computer science, language classes, Student Inquiry & Research


Oral History


Digital Video Recording


Copy permitted for study or investigation purposes, citing the source Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Any other use requires permission. For more information please contact archives@imsa.edu.

David Kinney, Amy (Timm) Kinney, Ravi Duvvuri, and Christian Nøkkentved