Mischa Nee (Mikhail Erickson Nee) of Palo Alto, Calif., died on March 22, 2019 in a hiking accident in Deià, Spain, on the island of Majorca. He was 20 years old.
He is survived by his parents, Tekla (Perry) Nee and Eric Nee of Palo Alto, and his siblings, Nadya Nee and Alex Nee of Los Angeles.
Mischa was kind, loving, and happy, with a unique gift of connection and a talent for finding and nurturing friendships with a wide variety of people. He never let himself be limited by labels or definitions.
Mischa was born in Palo Alto on August 1, 1998. Since early childhood, he embraced the circus arts, quickly excelling in juggling, unicycle, aerials, and slackline. He was a proud alumnus of Camp Winnarainbow, a circus and performing arts camp in Laytonville, Calif. He was also an avid skimboarder, a skill nurtured during summers with extended family at the Jersey Shore.
At Palo Alto High School (Paly), where he graduated in 2016, Mischa spent much of his time in the Media Arts Center, serving as editor-in-chief of The Campanile, the Paly newspaper, and assisting with other publications. In 2014, he co-founded Camp MAC, a journalism program for rising eighth and ninth graders that continues to operate today. He was a member of the Paly debate team, the junior varsity lacrosse team, and the varsity cross country team.
Mischa also participated in Amigos de las Américas, a service organization, and spent two months working in the Dominican Republic when he was 15. He received the President’s Volunteer Service Award/Gold, was a Gold Key winner for critical essay in the Scholastic Writing Awards, and was a National Merit Finalist.
Mischa entered Stanford University in September of 2016, quickly discovering computer science as a new passion and winning the Programming Methodology Graphics Contest that year. At the same time, Mischa rediscovered the fine arts, studying art history, and sketching and painting as an artist himself, an interest he had put aside after elementary school. At Stanford he joined the jump rope team. He also participated in Stanford Dance Marathon, not only as a 24-hour marathoner but also serving as dorm captain, event coordinator, and graphic designer.
Mischa studied in Madrid in 2018 and in Florence in 2019 as part of Stanford’s Bing Overseas Studies Program, becoming fluent in both Spanish and Italian. He worked as a computer science tutor through Breakout Mentors in Palo Alto, and held computer science internships at Infosys in Bangalore, India; Zeal Learning in San Francisco; and Breakout Mentors. He also worked as a graphics design intern at Opinno in Madrid.
Mischa loved to travel. He wanted to see the world, and in his short lifetime indeed saw much of it, visiting nearly 30 countries beyond the United States: Aruba, Austria, the Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Canada, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. Mischa went beyond casual tourism; he was proud that he had lived (by his definition, a stay of more than two months) in five countries besides the U.S.: the Dominican Republic, France, India, Italy, and Spain.