Liberal Arts Education: Where Can it Take You? A Publication for Alumni & Friends
Fall / Winter 2019
Mike McGill Head of School
Margie Combs, Editor Director of Communications Beth Mulvey Director of Development Julie Lombardo Assistant Director of Development Svetlana Turetskaya Alumni Program Coordinator Maria Mazcorro Development and Volunteer Coordinator Peter Woodburn Website and Digital Media Coordinator
The Northwest School is an international college preparatory and boarding school for girls and boys, grades 6-12. Inquiries for academic year admission should be directed to Michele Sanchez, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management. firstname.lastname@example.org 206.682.7309 Inquiries for international admission should be directed to John Lloyd, International Program Coordinator. email@example.com 206.682.7309
Inquiries for global partnerships and programs should be directed to Dmitry Sherbakov, Director of Global Marketing and Programs. firstname.lastname@example.org 206.816.6202 The Northwest School Magazine welcomes notes and photographs by alumni, parents, and friends. Please email to alumni@ northwestschool.org.
Contributing Writers Margie Combs Alice Shahan Peter Woodburn Svetlana Turetskaya Contributing Photographers Stefanie Felix Jeff Halstead Shelley Oberman Erik Stuhaug Peter Woodburn NWS Faculty, Students, Parents, and Alumni Graphic Design Barbara Chin
Table of Contents
cover photo: Interaction Designer Sophia Hannaford ’10, installing an instrument on the da Vinci Xi® Gen 4 surgical robot, October 2019 this page: Mosey Brown ’19, capturing first place in the 100 yard dash at the Emerald City League Track & Field Championships, May 2019
The Ecological Imperitive of an Urban Environmental Education
From the Archives: Filling in Historical Gaps
News and Notes
Farewell to Our Departing Teaching Faculty
Northwest School Community Joins Global Climate Strike
Learning How to Budget
Seniors Simulate Negotiations with North Korea
Humanities Teacher Named Fulbright Specialist
Athletes Capture League Awards
Creating Global Connections
Celebrating the Arts
Class of 2019 Celebrates Graduation
Why Liberal Arts?
Sophia Hannaford ’10
Stesha Brandon ’91
Martin Merz ’09
Olin Berger ’03
ach June as we adjourn for the summer, I “gift” the school’s Trustees with a book. I try to choose a title that’s relevant to some of our conversations as a Board, to our work as a faculty, or to the school’s strategic priorities. Last year, for example, we read Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race, which we processed together in a discussion facilitated by Northwest alum Fleur Larsen ’97. This summer, we tackled Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, the most recent book by the journalist and environmentalist Bill McKibben, which addresses two converging trends, climate change and new technologies like artificial intelligence (you can tell that my taste in books tends to light beach reading!).
The Ecological Imperitive of an Urban Environmental Education
Early in Falter, McKibben recounts a story that illustrates the interconnection of three important Northwest School commitments: to environmental stewardship, to social justice, and to developing in each of our students a genuine global perspective. In describing the proliferation of geopolitical conflicts, McKibben writes: Those conflicts…are ever more closely linked to the damage we’ve done to the climate. By now it’s a commonplace that record drought helped destabilize Syria, sparking the conflict that sent a million refugees sprawling across Europe and helped poison the politics of the West. And a 2018 World Bank study predicted that further climate change would displace as many as 143 million people from Africa, South Asia, and Latin America by 2050. Understanding how climate change intersects with issues of social justice (e.g., hunger) and global geopolitics is one focus of Northwest’s Strategic Framework, Engagement and Evolution. On the one hand, we felt it essential to incorporate this because it represents a crisis that threatens humankind’s very existence, and because our students’ generation must both solve it and live with its consequences. But as educators, we recognize that like every crisis, climate change represents a unique opportunity, as well.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the study of the environment is one of the richest of interdisciplinary fields: one can’t meaningfully grapple with the implications of climate change without strong grounding in the sciences, mathematics, history, civics, geography, economics, international politics, and even religion. Its study also develops in students the capacity for systems thinking, perhaps the most crucial of so-called “21st Century Habits of Mind.” And as McKibben’s anecdotes illustrate, it’s impossible to disentangle environmental concerns from issues of global social justice. Now, more than ever, then, it is imperative that schools everywhere center this study in their curricula and programs. Northwest is truly in the vanguard of this burgeoning movement and we’re getting some well-deserved recognition for our efforts. Last week, we hosted nearly 40 educators and officials from (among others) the U.S. Department of Education, Washington’s OSPI, Senator Patti Murray’s office, the EPA, and the National Wildlife Federation, all of whom were in Seattle to celebrate, in part, our having been awarded the U.S Department of Education Green Ribbon Award, which was created “to inspire schools, districts, and institutions of higher education (IHEs) to strive for 21st-century excellence by highlighting promising school sustainability practices and resources that all can employ.” Northwest was recognized for reducing our environmental impact and costs; for working to improve the health and wellness of our students and faculty; and for providing effective environmental and sustainability education. This commitment extends to the way we think about our Capitol Hill campus, as well. As we contemplate creating new facilities (primarily classrooms and other spaces for learning) to complement our much-loved—and very full!—House, we’ll endeavor to proceed with the vision laid out in the Strategic Framework firmly in mind, namely that “our urban campus reflect our educational philosophy: bold, imaginative, and consistent with our environmental values.” The Board has engaged Mahlum Architects to help us develop a master plan that will imagine a campus that can serve the next generation of students and faculty. Known for its creativity and strong commitment to green design and construction, Mahlum is excited to be working with Northwest again (they did the North Addition to the Main Building in the early 2000s) and drawn to our mission, which is very compatible with their own. We’ll keep you posted about opportunities to join the planning conversations in the coming months. In the meantime, enjoy this edition of the magazine. We hope to see you in The House sometime soon. Best wishes,
From the Archive
Filling in Historical Gaps by Alice Shahan Northwest School Archivist (2016-2019)
ollecting practices are often imperfect. We are certainly lucky that venerable figures in Northwest School’s history stashed away so many valuable records from their time with the school. However, that’s also the hitch. Evidence of the school’s history is couched in the records the individual created and/or retained. Representation of the wider community is not as strong. When coverage in the records is lacking, oral history interviews are a great tool to add perspectives and insights absent from, or underrepresented in, the collection.
01 Bob Martin (second
from left), with faculty members Meles Negussie (on left), Dawit Endale Alemayehu (on right), and student Mekdes Getye, at Lebawi, Northwest School’s partner school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 02 Leah Kosh,
I began recording interviews with long-term faculty early on in this project. The historic details are carried in the stories the faculty tell and are such a pleasure to hear. For example, if we listen to my interview with our former Facilities Manager Bob Martin, we learn about the clinker bricks used in the construction of the Summit School building (and what a clinker brick is, exactly.) Bob also talks about the challenges of maintaining a landmarked building and how he hunted down the original quarry that supplied the sandstone for the capping stones located along the theater and skylight exterior. Another example comes from my conversation with Founding Art Director Leah Kosh. In her interview she gives us a clear picture of how she conducted her classes as a “benevolent dictatorship” and taught the students a language through which they could translate the three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional one. This community has a shared history, often spanning decades. The oral history program will continue to document faculty voices and eventually expand its scope to include alumni, parents, students, and board members. We want to capture how different perspectives recount big and small moments in the school’s history to more accurately capture documentation of our community for the hist
Meet our New Archivist Amanda Demeter joined our community in September 2019 as the new archivist of The Northwest School. She is inheriting the helm from former archivist Alice Shahan who relocated this fall with her husband and son to the east coast. Amanda comes to us from the King County Archives where she has been serving as assistant archivist. Prior to that, she was archivist at The Museum of Flight in Seattle, and journeyman archivist at the Carrie M. McLain Memorial Museum in Nome, Alaska. Amanda holds a Master of Library & Information Science from the University of Washington, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In her conversation with the search committee she said what drew her most to Northwest was the school’s values, particularly the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition, she is excited to be able to work in a smaller community environment.
Laura Ferri Laura inspired and mentored Northwest School students for 28 years, all the while writing original plays, adapting others, and directing enumerable sophisticated and powerful productions for both Upper and Middle School casts. Among the many standout performances guided by her hand were the Upper School’s 2008 production of House of Spirits, which Laura adapted from the novel by Isobel Allende, and her 2019 original Middle School Advanced Theatre play, The Fourth Green Field, about “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, stemming from over 800 years of contentious English and Irish conflict.
Farewell to Our Departing Teaching Faculty
Laura’s departure from her teaching role will allow her more time to work on a plethora of grant-funded theatre projects, including working with the blind and low-vision community on a play featuring both sighted and blind actors; and working with the Alchemist Theatre Company on a play about how immigrant experience morphs when they come to America.
03 Michelle Kowals, 1993
04 Michelle assists
Parker D.’23 with a Spanish assignment, 2018. 0 1 Laura, with her daughter,
05 Adina Meyer, 1999
Annie Loggins ’07, 1997 06 Adina, celebrating 0 2 Laura, onstage with the
cast of Newsies, Broadway Performance Hall, 2019
the “Trint of Love” at Community Meeting, 2019
News & Notes
After 30 years of teaching Humanities at The Northwest School, Adina is taking what she calls a “50s gap year” to embrace her passion for experiencing new people, cultures, and locations. She and her husband will go on anaround-the-world trip, starting in London and stopping in more than 20 places, including cities such as Edinburgh, Paris, Biarritz, Barcelona, Sicily, Ferrara, and Dubai. They’ll also explore countries such as New Zealand, Viet Nam, Vanuatu Island, Ethiopia, Egypt, Greece, Morocco, and Turkey. Upon her return to Seattle, Adina plans to dive into a new career: In fall 2020, she will become a student again, pursuing a Master of Divinity at Seattle University.
Michelle Kowals Michelle moved back to the United States from Spain in 1992. She dedicated the next 27 years of her life teaching Spanish to students at The Northwest School as well as raising her daughter. Initially hired as both an ESL and Spanish teacher, Michelle ushered hundreds of students from the beginning steps of speaking a second language to the thrill of conversing in Spanish with host families on the trips to Spain and El Salvador. Michelle will be pursuing professional opportunities that will bring passion to her life, one of which is to start a tutoring business, and another, to volunteer at KCBS 91.3, the public radio station serving the Seattle-Tacoma region. In her words, “I will start saying yes to the things I’ve always wanted to do.”
Northwest School Community Joins Global Climate Strike
ver four hundred Northwest School students and faculty joined the youthled international movement to march in the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, 2019, gathering at Cal Anderson Park and continuing on to City Hall.
“We are demanding a place to live that is stable for humans,” says Iliana G. ’20, one of the leaders of the school’s Environmental Interest Group (EIG). “We are demanding more climate control regulations on companies, stronger environmental policies at the federal level, and funding for environmental projects and research. The end goal is to have a future—a good future.”
0 1 Students, faculty, and
community members gather to march for Climate Strike 2019. 0 2 Joining the marching
students are faculty members (from left) Françoise Canter, David Montero, and Elvin Jones.
Students and faculty worked together to organize Northwest’s participation in the strike. A handful of Upper School students developed and delivered presentations to all Middle and Upper School students about the youth-led Global Climate Strike and the disproportionate impact that climate change has on already marginalized communities, especially people of color, indigenous peoples, and people living in poverty. Faculty helped organize logistics for the day, including snacks and sandwiches for all students participating in the strike, and also planned climate change education programming for students and faculty not able to or interested in participating in the Climate Strike. Students who did not participate in the march engaged in climate change-focused activities at the school, including watching the film Chasing Ice and discussing possible local and global actions to address climate change. “Participating in the climate strike is an outstanding learning opportunity, bringing together lessons from science, humanities, modern languages, the arts, among others, and engaging in a global movement outside of the confines of the school,” says Head of School Mike McGill. “The Climate Strike provides an opportunity for Northwest to live out its mission and to stand in solidarity with the young people whose futures are on the line.”
News & Notes
Learning How to Budget 04 0 1 From left: Gareth W. ’25
ixth Grade students applied their knowledge of math by building a small business in spring 2019 through the Microloan Project. The project included a field trip to the Junior Achievement Finance Park, in Auburn, during which the students created comprehensive mock budgets. For the Microloan part of the project, students worked individually or in small groups and requested up to a $15 (per person) loan. Then, they designed a business that covered the cost of the loan, plus paid back 10 percent interest. The businesses ranged from homemade slime and otter pops to custom-made stickers and bracelets.
“Being able to look at the realities of life for many Americans helps build capacity for multiple perspectives,” says Jenn. “This activity brings in awareness, and that, in turn, helps build empathy.” Like many of the 6th graders, Rafi H. was exposed to a comprehensive budget for the first time. Says Rafi H: “I learned if you start saving money early, you get used to it, and it will be much easier in the future.”
“This project is a great application of proportional reasoning, working with percentages, and almost all the other curriculum we have covered this year,” says 6th Grade math teacher Jenn Ford. “It helps students learn how to use their math in real life situations.” Students simultaneously performed various budgeting activities while their businesses were operating. On the field trip to the Junior Achievement Finance Park, students engaged in a day-long, budgeting, roleplaying scenario. Each student was given a life situation and each created a corresponding budget, including such line items as insurance, utilities, credit card debt, and student loan debt. The scenarios ranged from a single I.T. manager making over $100,000 per year to a single parent of two children making $35,000. 05
works alongside classmates Lucca G. ’25, Bryce K. ’25, and (far right) Zach F.’25 on budgets for their businesses. 0 2 From left: Rafi H.’25,
Cam M. ’25, and Aiden L. ’25 conduct a transaction as part of the Microloan Project.
News & Notes
Seniors Simulate Negotiations with North Korea
enior Humanities students studying East Asian and the Modern World in the 201819 school year experienced the challenges of diplomacy in a simulated event. Splitting into groups representing Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, the United States, and North Korea, students worked towards an agreement in which North Korea would tone back its nuclear program.
“The idea of the simulation is for students to engage in something similar with what they accomplish in an essay, in which they have a broad question and use their specific knowledge to answer that question,” explains Humanities teacher Isaac Meyer. Isaac provided students a role sheet that contained a list of objectives and a broad framework to help determine how the countries interact. This simulation was specifically a culmination of a unit on North Korea, focusing on understanding the ideology behind North Korea’s actions, and the strategic thinking of its foreign relations. During the unit, students learned about the North Korean experience by watching a Frontline documentary and reading Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick, a book featuring over 100 interviews of refugees from Chongjin, North Korea. The North Korea simulation took place over two days, and the six represented countries had to produce a treaty addressing several key areas, including: • Whether inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency will be allowed to visit civilian sites, military ones, or both. • Whether UN resolutions and economic sanctions targeting North Korea will be terminated. • Whether the Yongbyon reactor will be redesigned so it cannot make weaponsgrade plutonium. • Whether or not North Korea will be allowed to maintain a stockpile of highly enriched uranium. • Agreements on limits to North Korea weapons deals abroad.
The treaty had to be signed by North Korea, China, South Korea, and two of the three other countries. Zoe Tokheim ’19 was a member of the North Korea team, and the six-party talks helped her realize just how hard it is to deal with the rogue nation. “This simulation brought to light how difficult multi-country talks can be, especially when it involves North Korea,” says Zoe. “My teammates and I realized early on we didn’t have anything to gain from the talks outside of increased economic opportunity and improved diplomatic relations. Everyone had to compromise to get us to agree to anything at all.”
ighth Grade Humanities teacher Jeff Blair was named a Fulbright Specialist by the United States Department of State in June 2019. The Fulbright Specialist Program provides opportunities for academics to engage in twoto six-week project-based exchanges at host institutions all over the world.
“I’ve been looking for ways to continue my international experiences,” says Jeff, who previously traveled to Japan for a Fulbright Exchange Program, and to South Africa with a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching for educational research. “They’ve been very rich, and I feel like they have contributed a lot to my own growth and to what I’ve been able to bring back and accomplish in my classroom.” Jeff will spend three years as a Fulbright Specialist. During that time, he will join a pool of candidates to work as both a mentor and a project manager for schools and other institutions around the world. The program works in both directions: Jeff can search for projects that interest him, and institutions can select him out of the Fulbright Specialist pool.
Humanities Teacher Named Fulbright Specialist Each project Jeff works on will be a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 42 days. “This work helps connect The Northwest School globally, and we as a school can be informed by, and contribute to, broader global conversations,” says Jeff. “It is worth the school’s support and my investment of time because this work comes back and benefits our students and our community.”
0 1 Zoe Tokheim ’19 (left) and Deanna Wang ’19
play the parts of North Korean officials in a simulation of nuclear power treaty negotiations. 0 2 From left: Evan N. ’23 and Emelyn C. ’23,
listening to Humanities teacher Jeff Blair
Athletes Capture League Awards
wenty-two Northwest School student athletes received Emerald City League awards for excellent performances in spring 2019 sports. In addition to these individual awards, our girls’ ultimate team and boys’ track and field squad were both named league champions.
Girls’ Ultimate • Melat Feseha ’19 – First Team • Jaedyn F. ’20 – First Team • Maya Kalmus ’19 – Honorable Mention • Nina Alworth ’19 – Honorable Mention
Boys’ Soccer • Graham H. ’20 – Second Team
Girls’ Track and Field (All League)
• Macenna Hansen ’19 • Amelia Hewson ’19 • Grace Patterson ’19 • Mikaela Lipsky ’19 • Lanie R. ’20 • Maleda S. ’21 • Sasha B. ’20 • Haylie B-H ’21 • Logan S. ’21
Boys’ Track and Field (All League)
• Mosey Brown ’19 • Ben Weiner ’19 • Tamrat Hathaway ’19 • Tony Wu ’19 • Keegan M. ’20 • Jeffrey J. ’20 • Owen B. ’20 • Milo G. ’20
0 1 Northwest School’s Girls’ Ultimate Team, 2019 0 2 Graham H.’20 (left) steals the ball in spring 2019. 0 3 2019 Track and Field All League winners
(from left) Grace Patterson ’19, Melada S. ’21, Mikaela Lipsky ’19, Amelia Hewson ’19 0 4 All League winner Keegan M.’20 (left), 04
followed closely by Merek W. ’22, in the 2019 Emerald City League Championships
News & Notes
t The Northwest School, we believe teaching with a global perspective is imperative. We also believe providing opportunities for our students to travel abroad is one of the best ways to cement their global learning. In March 2019, two groups of Upper School students headed on two-week trips to France, China, and Taiwan.
Creating Global Connections
Here are some short testimonials from students on the trip:
Ava L. ’20 (France) on her experience: “Staying with my host family in France has been an experience like no other. I consider it one of the most challenging things I’ve encountered, as it pushes everyone out of their comfort zones… I’ve noticed as the days go by that I have learned more about myself, what challenges me and what makes me, me. Being able to bring those attributes to the table each night has not always been easy, but it has been worth the effort to create a new relationship far from Seattle and memories to look back on. In the last couple of days, I have made a new home, established new friendships, and gained a broader perspective on the beauty of human connection.”
Sophie R. ’21 (China/Taiwan) details an experience she had on a train: “A lady got on and sat next to me. Only a little after, she showed me her phone which had a translator app on it. It said, converted to English from Chinese, “Are you tourists?” I told her no, we were visiting students, and that started a conversation via translator that lasted nearly two hours. She was such a blessing to talk to, I’ll never forget that as long as I live.”
0 5 Northwest school students
harvest tea leaves in rural China, March 2019. 0 6 Visting a castle outside of
Angers, in the Loire Valley: Back row, from left: Brian T. ’21, Atticus M. ’20, Alpha B. ’21, German C-L. ’21, Greta H. ’20, Avery P. ’21, Amelia H. ’21, Humanities teacher Sarah Porter; Middle row, from left: Asa E. ’20, Emma R. ’20, Athena B. ’21, Seeah L. ’20, Ava L. ’20, Scout S. ’20, Anna G. ’21, Mia Huber ’19, Humanities teacher Suzanne Bottelli; Front, kneeling: Eve S. ’20
Celebrating the Arts
0 1 Northwest’s A Cappella Choir,
0 4 Social Dance Class Performers:
performing “Georgia on My Mind”
Top: Rose B. ’20; Middle row: Jackson C-M. ’20 (left) and Gabe O. ’20; Bottom row, from left: Kien W. ’21, Owen B. ’20, Jeffery J. ’20; Standing, back: Cesar F. ’21
0 2 The Upper School Play Production
cast, performing a song from Newsies, 2019 0 3 Upper School Jazz Band: Back row,
from left: Milo G. ’21, Caroline F. ’21, William C. ’22; Front row, from left: Aylina K. ’20, Haylie B-H ’21, Lucas King ’19, Peyton Clark ’19
0 5 Upper School Choirs join
the Upper School Orchestra to perform Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Background photo: Jazz & Theatre Dance class, performing “That’s My Girl”
News & Notes
aculty, friends, and family members of the Northwest community packed into the newly renovated Seattle Town Hall for the 39th annual ArtsFest Gala, on June 4, 2019. Over 300 Middle and Upper School students participated in the gala celebration of music, dance, visual arts, and theatre. The evening featured 17 live performances from all choir, band, and dance classes offered at Northwest, and a visual arts slideshow encompassing student artwork created throughout the year.
Many of the acts featured collaborations between classes: The evening opened with the combined Upper School Choirs and Upper School Orchestra performing Queen’s classic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the Middle School Orchestras, Intro to Band, and the Middle School Band teamed up to perform the theme song from Mission: Impossible. A particular high point was the special performance of “Seize the Day” from Newsies, the 2018-19 Winter Musical performance. 04
Class of 2019 Celebrates Graduation 02
inety students comprising The Northwest School Class of 2019 gathered under the evening glow of the sun on June 11, 2019, in Town Hall, to receive their high school diplomas and begin an exciting new era in their development.
Head of School Mike McGill opened the ceremony by welcoming graduates’ families from countries all over the world, including China, South Korea, Spain, and Taiwan. “We are a better school and a stronger community for your having been in the House with us,” said Mike. “We are excited to see what you will do in the next phase of your lives, and hopefully, you will come back, often, to share those accomplishments with us.”
News & Notes
The students heard remarks from faculty speakers and Humanities teachers Harumi LaDuke and Adina Meyer. Senior speakers Melat F. and Isaiah J. delivered powerful messages of perseverance, appreciation for their education, and gratitude for the care and support of their parents. Graduation was the final opportunity of the year for students to showcase their artistic talents for the Northwest community. Highlights of all the performances included three separate groups of students performing “Unchained Melody,” by The Righteous Brothers, “Homeward Bound,” by Paul Simon, and “Cheers,” by Mayday.
0 1 Tony Wu ’19
0 2 2019 graduates celebrate with 07
the traditional cap toss. 0 3 Head of School Mike McGill 0 4 Mia Huber ’19 0 5 Student Speaker
Melat Fescha ’19 0 6 Student Speaker
Isaiah Jeannot ’19 0 7 From left: Luogi Wang’19,
Ziheng Zhang ’19, Jiayi Yao ’19, Chen Hu ’19, Chunzhi Fan ’19, Qigang Li ’19, Yen-Chung Lo ’19, Scott Chen ’19
Why Liberal Arts? Q&A with Robert Stacey, Dean of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington
Considering the current debate over what kind of education best prepares for today’s world, STEM or Liberal Arts, Northwest School Magazine Editor Margie Combs paid a visit to the University of Washington to hear from Dean of Arts and Sciences Robert Stacey. Robert, a professor of history, has served as dean since 2013, and in 1977, he received the UW Distinquished Teaching Award. His daughter, Anna Stacey ’14, is currently in law school at Georgetown University.
Conventional thinking is that STEM fields have greater capacity for employment opportunities and higher salaries. What is your response to that? There’s a great deal of short sightedness about the STEM wave. It’s not to say that science and technology aren’t important or that they aren’t fascinating. For a lot of students, technology has been the single most important phenomenon that has changed their lives in the 18 years they’ve been on the planet—highly understandable that people would want to work in that industry. In no way am I saying they shouldn’t. What breaks my heart, though, is the number of students we see here at UW, and my colleagues around the country see, who believe that they must study STEM in order to be employed. They don’t particularly like STEM, nor are they especially good at it, but they believe this is what they have to do. That is just simply not true.
Say more. What are those challenges and what capacities must people have to meet them? Thirty percent of the jobs that people are in now did not exist ten years ago. It’s an employment landscape that changes constantly and rapidly. Most people coming out college will not stay with their job more than 18 months. Many of them will leave within 12 months. Those who stay with their first employer for five years make substantially less money than the those who change employers after 12 to 18 months. Now what does that tell us? It tells us that it’s not your starting job which is going to be the job that you stay with. It’s not your starting job that is ultimately going to determine what you earn over the course of your career. The question for every young person entering the job market these days is not so much what are the skills you bring with you straight out of college but how prepared are you to continue to acquire new skills and to adapt to change?
What is true? Both in terms of salaries and career opportunities? For the most part, people in engineering and computer science will start with higher salaries straight out of college than will people who major in social sciences, or humanities, or the arts. That is true. But by the time those people are 40, those differences have largely disappeared. Partly this is because a lot of liberal arts students will go on and pursue MBAs, get law degrees, or go to medical school. But also because liberal arts students tend to be able to adapt and prosper in a rapidly changing workplace. There was an interesting piece in the New York Times a few weeks ago, done by several economists who have been studying the earnings levels of people at age 40. One of the points this article makes is how many computer scientists have left the field by the time they are 40 because they are being replaced by 22-year-olds who are up-to-the-minute in a way that they perhaps no longer are. Those 40-year-olds often move into management or they move sideways into another line of work. So, the idea that if I study computer science, I’m going to be a computer scientist my whole life, not so. And at the midlife mark, computer scientists are facing a different set of challenges—challenges that in many ways a liberal arts degree might have fitted them better to meet.
We are in the business as educators of preparing students for a world the outlines of which we haven’t the slightest idea. We do not know what our students are going to need to know 10, 15, 20 years from now. So, is it better to train in a very specific subject area, one that gives you a very specific set of skills that lead to a very specific outcome? Take accounting for example: if your goal is to be an accountant, majoring in accounting at the undergraduate level makes perfect sense. But there is only a limited number of accountants the economy can sustain, and there are a relatively small number of those kinds of positions. So, the jobs that are paying high salaries now may not be the jobs paying high salaries 10 years from now. And if you spend all your time preparing for one of those jobs and the tide goes out on that industry, where do you go from there?
Okay, so drill down for us: What does a liberal arts education do to prepare students for that kind of world? There are the obvious skills of communication, writing, public speaking; there are the analytic skills, and critical thinking skills (a much over-used term but it’s not completely meaningless). Can you learn critical thinking in other areas? Yeah, sure—you don’t have to be a philosophy major to learn critical thinking—but there’s a kind of rigor that comes with a philosophy degree for example, or a history degree, or a sensitivity to language and a capacity to read and analyze texts that comes from an English degree that is valuable across the board.
Can you give an example of high-salaried STEM jobs disappearing? Back in 2004, the highest starting salaries for someone coming out of college with a Bachelor of Science degree were in petroleum engineering. They were getting hired at 130,000 dollars per year. Then the great recession hit, and fracking came along; oil prices went off the cliff. Oil that was selling for 100 dollars per barrel was suddenly selling for 42 dollars per barrel. As a graduating student with a petroleum engineering degree, there were no jobs for you, period. So, what do you do if your entire training is in petroleum engineering and you haven’t gotten the kind of education that allows you to adapt and change? When you don’t know what the world is going to look like, but you’re going to have to make your way in it, there’s a very strong argument for a broad, deep, liberal arts education as the best possible preparation for making your way in that kind of a world.
The way I would put it—which is a little different from what skills people must have—is to say that a liberal arts education gives you a variety of different analytical frameworks within which to think about a question. Engineers think like engineers, and that’s a good thing, because when you are driving across the bridge, you want that bridge to hold you up (laughter), and we rely on the capacity of engineers to see a problem and apply technical solutions to it. With a liberal arts education, you can think like a historian, you can think like a sociologist, you can think like a literary scholar, you should be able to think like a scientist too—because science is a part of the liberal arts, it always has been—but you are not bound to any one framework. What you do have is an understanding of the way in which these various approaches work, as well as a respect for expert knowledge in those the particular areas. That’s what decision-makers need. Whether those decisionmakers are in politics or business or in government or civil service, what they need is a respect for expert knowledge and a capacity to know when expert knowledge needs to be called in. If we are thinking only like a psychologist, then we may think that the reason a person is homeless is because something is wrong with them. But a liberal arts grad should be able to think like a sociologist and say, ‘You know, there is a whole variety of social contributors to this situation: There is a historical context—this is not the first time people have been homeless—and there’s a political element to this because a whole set of policy decisions have been taken over many years that have to do with the zoning of real estate. A liberal arts graduate knows the questions to ask and is comfortable with the fact that life is complicated, and all these different approaches are not necessarily going to lead to the same answer.
Why Liberal Arts?
How are these capabilities developed through liberal arts? For the most part, a teacher in the social sciences, or the humanities, or the arts, is not up in front of the class spouting off answers; if they are, they’re wasting their time and their students’ time. Because if the main point of a lecture is to convey a body of information, that is a really inefficient way to do it. What a liberal arts lecture is modeling and asking for students to do is to think through problems, think through questions. And it teaches them to express clearly and cogently. My daughter, Anna, is now in law school, she was an English major in college, and in high school, she learned to write really well at The Northwest School. That has carried her through undergrad at Georgetown. She is now a secondyear law student at Georgetown and a writing tutor for the first-year students, and she interned for a Washington State Supreme Court Justice this past summer. In each case, it’s the fact that she writes well that sets her apart from most of her law school classmates.
As a parent, as well as an academic dean, how would you advise middle and high school parents searching for the best educational experience for their child? The question I would ask a parent is where will your child flourish? That’s a different question than which school will get them into the highest ranked university. It’s a different question from which school will give them a STEM education so they can get a certain job. I like that word flourish; it encompasses a lot of character issues. What kind of person do you want your child to grow up to be? One of the things that was so important to us about The Northwest School was that it was such a warm and supportive and embracing community, and that proved to be enormously important for us. When Anna was 16 and in 10th grade, her brother, Will (who was 8 years older), a Marine Corps sergeant, was killed in Afghanistan—and the school just rallied around her in ways I’ll never forget. She came away from Northwest loving the things that she studied and, to me, that’s what you really want for a child: you want them to love what they’re doing and to feel like they are good at it, and that they are doing something important in studying it. And that they want to learn more. Is Northwest the only school in Seattle where that happens? Probably not. But it is one of the places where it does.
0 1 Back: Sy’Neah S. ’20; front, from left:
Peter M. ’20, Miles H. ’20, Oliver P-K. ’20 0 2 From left: Amelia Hewson ’19, Brigid Dennehy ’19,
Allegra Abruzzese ’19, Hantong Wu ’19 0 3 Iliana G. ’21 0 4 Miles N. ’23
s an interaction designer at Intuitive Surgical Inc., a company in Silicon Valley that develops robotic-assisted technologies, Sophia Hannaford ’10 is working with a team of people developing the next generation of surgical robot. At present, the most advanced surgical robot is the 4th generation da Vinci Xi® system. Sophia is working on the 5th generation.
Sophia Hannaford ’10
Interaction Designer, Intuitive Surgical
“With this 5th generation, we are making the robot friendly and approachable,” says Sophia. “Our goal is to enable caregivers to focus on what matters: caring for the patient, not running a machine. We want it to be intuitive; we want to make things seamless.” The da Vinci Xi® enables superhuman capabilities, allowing surgeons to turn on x-ray vision and perform intricate and complicated procedures with extreme precision. But these capabilities are less effective if the surgeon gets tangled up in the robotic arms or has to pause to reposition the machine. “We do not want the user to get bogged down in the mechanics of the machine,” explains Sophia. “For example, the robot that performs laparoscopic surgery has a lot of joints, and it’s ideal when the surgeon can push one button and have the robot put all its joints in the right position.” Sophia’s role is unique in that she is constantly thinking of hardware as it relates to software. “We have to think through all these workflows: what task does the surgeon need to set up so surgery is seamless? How can we slim down the steps involved?”
Inspired by Grey’s Anatomy
From Math to Art
In her early teen years, Sophia decided after watching the TV series Grey’s Anatomy that she wanted to be a surgeon. While in Upper School at Northwest, her father, an electrical engineering professor at University of Washington’s Bioengineering Department, arranged for Sophia to view a da Vinci Xi® robot perform a procedure at Seattle Children’s Hospital
Sophia describes herself as a very math-science-logicoriented person and she reveled in those subject areas while attending Northwest.
“It was a pediatric neurology case,” recalls Sophia. “I saw the possibility of using a robot in practice.” At Whitman College, Sophia majored in biology, in a premed track, and minored in chemistry. Upon taking the MCAT, she received a decent score, but in the end, she decided she didn’t want to go to medical school. “Once you commit to med school you can’t go back financially,” explains Sophia. “I knew I was interested in other things, and also, I was listening to my body; I wanted to avoid a stressful work-life imbalance.” When she learned of a ‘simulated use’ opportunity at Intuitive Surgical Inc., she jumped at the chance. Simulated use is when a person steps into the role of a surgeon or caregiver and performs a simulated procedure to test the robot and report any bugs. “I got to play a surgeon operating on pig hearts, and I sutured a heart valve back together using the Gen 3 Xi,” recounts Sophia. “I became an expert user on both the Gen 3 and Gen 4 Xis.”
“Thomas (Elliott)’s math class was huge for me. Her passion made it fun,” recalls Sophia. “Mark Terry’s Primate Bio class—he gave us open-ended projects like creating a skeleton from a mummified rat. I loved Renee Fredrickson’s class. She and I are similar: there is not space for fooling around—we are getting down to business.” But it was Northwest’s Humanities and arts classes that Sophia now credits for giving her many of the skills she draws on as an interaction designer. “The school’s emphasis on creativity and art is why I’m here today,” states Sophia. “That’s the form part of what I do: you have to have an artistic mind. I spent three years in Lyn McCracken’s photography class and that helped me develop an artistic eye.” The Humanities classes were equally valuable to her education, precisely because they stretched her in ways that weren’t comfortable. “At Intuitive, so much of what I do is communication and so much of my work is building relationships and trust,” confirms Sophia. “A big part of being an action designer is to empathize with the person who is the caregiver. Those skills you get through Humanities.”
01 Sophia, with the da Vinci Xi® Gen
4 robot, in the Intuitive Surgical development lab, Silicon Valley, 2019 02 Sophia whiteboards wireframes as
precursors to digital prototypes, 2019.
omething magical happens when people engage with literature. Stesha Brandon should know. As Literature and Humanities Program Manager at The Seattle Public Library (SPL), Stesha oversees author programming and, in addition, devotes forty percent of her time to Seattle Reads, an annual one-city, one-book program that inspires thousands of readers to read the same book at the same time. Originating in Seattle in 1998, the one-city, one-book concept has been implemented across the country, in all 50 states, as well as being implemented internationally.
“It is a real joy to bring together community and celebrate the work authors have done,” says Stesha, who holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Washington.
Stesha Brandon ’91
Literature and Humanities Program Manager, The Seattle Public Library
Every year, Stesha and members of the Seattle Reads Advisory Board read 20 to 30 books for consideration and discuss their suitability before making the final pick. The choice for 2019 was The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui, a graphic memoir about a family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves in America. “The goals of the Seattle Reads program are to deepen engagement with literature, to open people’s minds to ideas, and help people to be inspired,” says Stesha. “One thing we did this year was to have graphic novel workshops so readers might be able to be inspired to tell their own stories.”
Connecting through Written Expression In addition to Seattle Reads, Stesha sits on the boards of Seattle Arts & Lectures and Seattle City of Literature. In Oct 2017, Seattle was named as a City of Literature by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The designation is awarded to world cities that have demonstrated a fervent interest in literature, publishing, and other forms of written expression. These cities commit to develop and exchange innovative best practices to promote creative industries, strengthen participation in cultural life, and integrate culture into sustainable urban development policies. Seattle joins a group of 28 international cities that includes Edinburgh, Dublin, Krakow, Baghdad, and Montevideo. Explains Stesha: “The designation opens doors for communication and cultural exchange and allows us to connect with networks all over the world in multiple disciplines to find opportunities to build understanding through the literary arts and cultural forms.”
Combining Management and Literature
An Interdisciplinary Brain
After graduating from UW, Stesha considered graduate school but realized she was not interested in either of the two graduate tracks: creative or criticism. A professor encouraged her to get out in the world, and since she wanted to cook for a living, she went to work for a catering company. However, after a few years, her brain wanted more. “I missed intellectual stimulation,” says Stesha.
Stesha graduated summa cum laude from UW, an accomplishment she believes that would not have been possible if she hadn’t attended The Northwest School.
She took a job as an editor for a small publishing company called Educare Press and proceeded to find that editing was not the best fit for her either. “I like people,” she laughs, “and being an editor can be lonely.” Serendipitously, a friend encouraged her to take a job in Seattle’s University Book Store, and it was there that things clicked for her. The job combined her event management and project management skills with her love of literature. Today, she applies all three skill sets to her job as program manager at SPL. “I bring a unique perspective to my work: I know what booksellers are looking for; what nonprofits are looking for; and what the public sector is looking for,” points out Stesha.
01 Stesha Brandon, 2019
(photo credit: Misha Stone) 02 Stesha, introducing the
“I felt like I had already been to college – it was easy after Northwest,” she testifies. “Everything (at Northwest) was taught in an interdisciplinary way and that’s how my own brain works. In Humanities, we were not only learning about wars but learning about them in the context of literature, political treatises, and musical movements.” According to Stesha, the number-one skill honed at Northwest was the ability to speak articulately, coherently, cogently, and with feeling. “Northwest was a really great education. I loved that students were respected and expected to engage; the number-one takeaway was being able to go into a class and engage and have that confidence to listen with understanding, and to share.” Stesha sang in Northwest’s choir and loved taking classes in every art discipline. She vividly remembers learning to write sonnets and being “blown away” by the elegance of the form and how to express so much in a constrained way. “I am grateful for that: for validation of all different parts of learning and especially of the value arts bring,” says Stesha. “(Humanities teacher) Glen Sterr and (science teacher) Mark Terry both said that their job was to teach us how to be curious—and that lasts a lifetime.”
2019 Seattle Reads event (photo credit: Naomi Ishisaka)
Olin Berger ’03
Ultramarathon Runner, U.S. Trail Team Champion 01
or some runners, the distance of a traditional marathon—26.2 miles—is just not long enough. They prefer the ultramarathon, which is any race that exceeds the 26.2 mile distance. Olin Berger ’03 tackles footraces that are 50 miles and more. To date, his longest race has been 100 miles “in one go”—the Cascade Crest Endurance Run over the pass to Eastern Washington.
Last year, Olin competed as a member of the U.S. Trail Team in the 2018 Trail World Championships in Penyagolosa/Castellón, Spain, against 48 other countries. He joined the U.S. team of six women and six men to run the 50-mile, point-to-point course that went from sea level in the city of Castellón to the elevation of Sant Joan de Penyagolosa Mountain. The course, predominantly uphill, climbed to a maximum height of 1500 meters above sea level. The top three U.S. finishers scored for the team in each gender division. “I scored for the men’s team,” says Olin, who finished third. “I ran a good race.”
Integrity and Commitment Olin grew up playing soccer, and in Upper School at Northwest, it became apparent he was suited for endurance running. “At the end of those games I was still running up and down the field,” recalls Olin. “I was on one of the first track teams at Northwest and a light bulb went off – oh this is what I am good at.” Olin praises Humanities teacher Jeff Blair, the school’s soccer coach at the time, for providing a role model for athletic discipline and good sportsmanship. “Jeff was always fully committed—he had high expectations for everyone,” recalls Olin. “He was not only out there running, he was out there ahead of you. Jeff taught us that it was not only about how you play the game but how you conduct yourself off the field. The integrity should always be there, even if it is unstated. It is never purely about the game itself.”
Finding a Work-life Balance On the academic front, Olin attended college at the University of Washington, earning a BA in Comparative History of Ideas, and then proceeded on to graduate school at Columbia University, earning his MPA in Environmental Studies in the Sustainability Management Program. His passion for sustainability led him to do a fellowship with the Environmental Defense Fund, and he spent a summer in Chicago participating in an energy efficiency project. It was there that he came to the conclusion he was not the right fit for the day-to-day work in the field. “All day was spent with my head in spreadsheets, analyzing light bulbs,” recounts Olin. “It was a lot of very technical analysis.” Instead, Olin returned to Seattle and is now applying his environmental values to his work at Seattle’s Central Co-op, a community-owned natural foods cooperative dedicated to sustainable practices and strong relationships with Washington farmers and artisans.
Supporting Sustainability Values
As a front-end manager, Olin supports the co-op’s philosophy and twelve principles that guide its operation, including caring for ecosystems, respecting animal and human habitats, sponsoring The Capitol Hill Solar Project, a community-driven effort that promotes a socially equitable, environmentally resilient and culturally vibrant neighborhood, and reducing both energy consumption and water use.
Now Olin’s training schedule has him running, on average, 80-90 miles per week. Currently, he is getting over a hamstring injury, not uncommon in long distance runners, which means he spends 12-15 hours per week in rehab. He is not daunted by his injury or by the fact that he is no longer in his twenties.
“I like the work,” says Olin. “And I appreciate the people and the values.” Working at the co-op has allowed Olin the flexibility to continue his love of running, which has taken him around the world to Scotland, England, and recently, to Chamonix, France. Though he is naturally good at endurance running, Olin readily admits he did not start out winning ultramarathons. On the contrary, it took failure and persistence. “A college friend talked me into running the Whidbey Island Marathon in 2010— which I botched,” admits Olin, laughing. “Next, in 2011, I entered a 50K, put on by Seattle Running Club, which I also botched. But by then, I was hooked.”
0 1 Olin, completing
the Chuckanut 50k in Bellingham, Washington, 2019. 0 2 Olin (front right), with
members of the U.S. Trail Team in the 2018 Trail World Championships in Spain 0 3 Olin pauses on a trail
run in Mt. St. Helens National Park, 2018.
“I have goals I’d like to achieve—I started working with a coach two years ago and he stresses embracing the process over the goals. If you don’t enjoy the process, it is just a grueling activity. A goal I have is to appreciate the entirety of the process.” In that vein, Olin says he never regrets a run. “Each run is an opportunity to be the person I’d like to be. ‘I ran today’ creates a baseline for self-worth; everything else can rest on that,” Olin says. After a short pause, he adds, definitively, “I don’t think I’ve run my best race yet.”
very month, Martin Merz ’09 gathers with a small group of consultants, engineers, fisheries scientists and other friends in the water field to discuss the health of the region’s rivers, wetlands, and marine areas. This group, which he started a year ago, calls these gatherings “Water Nerd Meet Ups.” “We support each other in our careers, share about interesting projects that we are working on, and discuss current events,” explains Martin, who works as a Physical Scientist in the Water Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 10, in Seattle. “I want to create spaces to talk openly about these issues.” Martin holds a master’s in Environmental Science and Management with a specialization in Water Resources Management from the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara. During his graduate studies he was part of the Sustainable Water Markets Fellowship Program. Martin’s current work at the EPA is largely focused on the quality and temperature of Pacific Northwest rivers and the habitat they provide for salmon, with most of his work focused on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
Martin Merz ’09
Physical Scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
“In the summer, many Pacific Northwest rivers, including the Columbia and Snake Rivers, are too warm and can be harmful to migrating salmon,” explains Martin. “When salmon migrate up the Columbia River to their spawning grounds, the temperature of the river and the temperature of any cold-water habitat they can find to rest in plays a substantial role in determining their spawning success. Their gas tank depletes more quickly in warm temperatures.”
Cooling the River The Columbia River, which has always heated up in the summer, is now trending warmer in the summer months, and will continue to trend in this direction. “To cope with the warmer temperatures, migrating salmon seek out and rest in cold-water pockets, which are created where colder, often glacially fed, tributaries meet the Columbia River,” explains Martin. “One of my current projects involves working with colleagues to map these ‘cold water refuges,’ determine how they are used by salmon, and identify restoration actions to maintain and support them.” These restoration actions can involve planting trees along riverbanks to provide shade, reconnecting rivers with their floodplains, and identifying other levers throughout the tributary watersheds that impact the quality of these cold-water refuges.
01 Martin, hiking the
Enchantments Trail in Levenworth, Washington, summer 2019 02 Martin demonstrates
a watershed model (with Kool Aid and dye as ‘pollution’) at Totem Middle School in Kent, Washington. 02
Ensuring a Healthy Watershed Navigating the world of river restoration and management involves an intricate balance of law (Clean Water Act/ Endangered Species Act), science (temperature/climate/ biology); and institutional dynamics and economics (who is funding what and where?). “The analyses and reports we are working on provide a regional view of restoration priorities, which may help to steer organizations, decision makers, and funders towards restoration projects and actions that provide broader benefits to migrating salmon,” says Martin. “The goal is healthy watersheds that work for fish and people.” In addition to this work, Martin oversees the Washington water quality permits for tribal and federal fish hatcheries and net pens—meaning he spends a lot of time working closely with the region’s Native American Tribes. These hatcheries are for enhancement purposes, meaning the fish are released to bolster fish populations and, in some cases, to help feed endangered Orca Whales. Additionally, Martin is engaged in permitting for the Columbia and Snake River Dams. “Permitting involves evaluating water quality standards, evaluating pollution levels in the river and in the effluent of a facility, and developing best management practices and pollution limits that are protective of human health and aquatic life,” explains Martin. “It’s very rewarding to work on these issues in the area where I grew up—working to protect water quality in rivers I swam in as a kid.”
Developing the responsibility to care for the environment came in part from Martin’s teenage years in The Northwest School Environment Program. “In taking care of your immediate environment you learn to take some responsibility for the broader landscape where you live and on which we all depend,” confirms Martin. The physical scientist Martin is today can be traced back to biology with Mark Terry, chemistry with Renee Fredrickson, and physics with Cecilia Tung, according to Martin. “I work on the cusp of all of these: chemistry as I’m writing permits about all kinds of pollutants; physics in how those pollutants mix with water and move around, and biology in what it means for fish and humans to interact with the water.”
Motivating Action Because he works on environmental issues and deals with the impacts of climate change, Martin concedes he is often the bearer of bad news. At the same time, he doesn’t shy away from hard facts. “My 2019 goal was to stop beating around the bush. These are important issues and we need to talk about them openly without it being seen as ‘negative.’ If you say it’s all going to be okay, where’s the motivation to act and change behavior?” That said, Martin insists he is positive: “It feels good to get up every day and have the opportunity to engage with these important issues, always trying to learn something new, connect the dots, and search for solutions. It’s exciting and dynamic, and I’m always looking for what’s next.”
Mikaela Kiner ’89  I’m a native Seattleite and, except for three years in India, I’ve been back in Seattle since 1998, after going to college in New York. I run an HR consulting firm and am thrilled to be publishing my first book, Female Firebrands: Stories and Techniques to Ignite Change, Take Control, and Succeed in the Workplace. I have two wonderful teens: Simon will be a senior at Franklin, and Sidonie starts 9th grade at SAAS (this year). Any Seattleites out there, I’d love to (re)connect.
Junko Yamamoto ’92  After recently exhibiting my soft sculpture installations at Seattle Asian Art Museum, SAM, and other venues, my large softsculpture mobile installation, “Atmospheric Consciousness,” was part of a group exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (seen in photo). Earlier in 2018, I was included in a year-long exhibition, Re:definition 2018, at Paramount Theater, curated by Juan Alonso-Rodríguez. It will be showing there again in 2020, this time curated by Tariqa Waters. Earlier this year, 4Culture purchased my largescale paintings for King County Children and Family Justice Center, which is due to open in November 2019. Also, my work was recently featured in an issue of Israel’s Portfolio Magazine about the Microsoft Art Collection, and in October 2019, the Office of Arts and Culture included my work in a group exhibition, Envisioning a Brighter Future. I’m looking forward to taking part in another group exhibition at SAM Gallery in November 2019, and to teaching an abstract painting course at GAGE Academy. I’m so honored and humbled for all these wonderful opportunities that have been given to me.
David Bestock ’97 An executive director of the nonprofit Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association since 2012, David has received a substantial grant from the Washington Women’s Foundation that will ensure his nonprofit will continue doing important work. The Seattle non-profit is dedicated to social, racial, and environmental justice and offers an array of great programs for the community. Written by NWS Dylan Meconis ’01 [03,04] Dylan’s new graphic novel, Queen of the Sea, was published this summer. The novel received an enthusiastic review from The New York Times, and Dylan was recently interviewed by the NPR book editor Petra Meyer. Queen of the Sea is a richly detailed hybrid novel, loosely based on the exile of Queen Elizabeth I by her sister, Queen Mary. Written by NWS
Abe Koogler ’02  The Dramatists Guild of American has selected Abe for the prestigious 2019 Lanford Wilson Award. This award is presented annually to a dramatist, based primarily on their work as an early career playwright. Abe has produced plays that include Aspen Ideas (upcoming at DC’s Studio Theatre), Fulfillment Center (Manhattan Theatre Club), Kill Floor (LCT3), and Lisa, My Friend (Kitchen Dog Theatre). He has previously received an Obie Award for Playwriting and the Weissberger Award. Written by NWS
Paul Fields ’05 Paul joined Adaptive Biotechnologies about a year ago as a computational biologist. Adaptive Biotechnologies is a Seattle biotech company that aims to translate the genetics of the adaptive immune system into diagnostics and therapeutics to improve patients’ lives and outcomes. “I work directly with partners to analyze and interpret the output of our technology to get the most biological insights and benefits. It is an exciting field and there are constantly new directions to explore.” Laney Rupp ’05 Laney is a core organizer for a social justice project through Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center (MI-YVPC). The MI-YVPC is studying the effects of vacant property improvements on violence, property crimes, and intentional injuries in three U.S. cities: Flint, Michigan, Youngstown, Ohio, and Camden, New Jersey. The Center is focusing on supporting work that engages residents, particularly youth, in caring for properties in their neighborhoods by mowing, planting gardens, or doing other “greening” activities. Written by NWS.
Jake Millett ’06  Jake grew up in a family of artists that celebrates the creative process, and, as a lifer at NWS, he was further encouraged to explore and grow as an artist. At NWS, he had ample opportunities to be creative in a number of different mediums, and some of his favorite times were had in the ceramics studio with Karla Leiberman. After NWS, Jake received his BA in studio art at the University of California Santa Cruz, focusing in printmaking. Jake now works primarily with spray paint and masking tape, using bold colors and geometric compositions. He has exhibited across the globe and has had numerous solo shows in Seattle at galleries such as The Factory, Martyr Sauce, Cupcake Royale, and The Hillman City Collaboratory. Jake is also an accomplished muralist; you can spot his murals all around Seattle, adorning businesses like Restaurant Homer on Beacon Hill or Backyard Bar in Columbia City. Jake also works as a welder and fabricator for his father, sculptor Peter Millett, and freelances to make functional objects and structural elements. Jake is excited to be getting married next year, and lives on Beacon Hill with his fiancée, Anna, in a little house with a big garden. You can see more of Jake’s artwork at www.jakemillett.com or on Instagram @bubzini.
Carson Robinson ’08  I moved back to Seattle in December and am now the Practitioner Lead for the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program at Harborview. DBT is a highly effective treatment for suicidal behavior and other severe mental health problems, and the Harborview program is the longest-running DBT program in the world. I live in a bright pink house on Cherry Hill and walk to work. I also go to Kremwerk a lot and produce techno music. Moriah Patashnik ’10  A lot has happened in the past few years! My husband and I got married last summer on Whidbey Island, and welcomed our first human baby, Bodhi, earlier this summer. We also have two very spirited herding dogs who are like children to us. I am in my final year of a master’s degree program in Nursing through Vanderbilt University, and will graduate as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. My husband and I spend lots of time cycling and racing and are looking forward to introducing Bodhi to the world of bikes!
Omar Faust (Forrest) ’11 I am the Resident Production Manager at Annex Theatre on Capitol Hill. I am trying to keep theater a fun and inclusive place for all that showcases Seattle’s artistic core. In dark times, it is too easy to disengage from one’s community to produce dark and brooding art. Whether it’s the LGBTQ community, the POC community, the deaf community, or any other community, we should all be able to sit together and watch fun theater and learn to be better people together. It has become a quest of mine to make that vision a reality. George Felton ’11 George Felton started and shut down a company called Lonely Produce, and endured the loss of his mother and grandparents this year. He has since left the USA to travel through Eastern Europe and East Africa until the end of 2019. Some of George’s highlights include conducting archaeology at the Roman fort of Halmyris in Romania, and taking intensive Swahili classes in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ben Fields ’11 Life has been pretty busy in the last several years for me. I graduated from Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development in May of 2018 with my MEd in Higher Education Administration. As a college- and education-obsessed person, I decided to find my way back to a high school and spent the last year working at KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy as a college counselor and head coach of the cross-country team. While this was an incredible job, I felt a yearning for more education throughout the year and realized that I needed to apply and then head back to school this coming fall. So, I will be headed back for (hopefully) my final degree at University of California, Riverside, where I’ll be persuing a doctorate in Sociology. Down in Southern California, I’ll also be working as an assistant coach with the University of Redlands swim team.
Sylvie Baldwin ’11  Greeting from Chicagoland! This fall I begin a new journey teaching undergraduate theatre and pursuing my MFA in acting at Northern Illinois University. Before the school year begins, I have been enjoying time on set, shooting a new feature film produced by James Choi (SXSW Award-winner). The film follows a senior in high school as she navigates her neurodiversity challenges. (Still photo from a film titled Love.) Aside from acting, I’ve been hiking my way through our gorgeous National Parks—this past year I visited Bryce, Zion, Cedar Breaks, Badlands, Yellowstone, and Glacier—and keeping up with my yoga practice. Love to all!
Khalif El-Salaam ’12 I graduated from The Northwest School in 2012 and I am happy to say I loved being a Northwest School student. I look back on my years there very fondly and remember the amazing faculty that influenced my life. I graduated from the University of Washington in 2017 and jumped into the Consulting world working for The Spur Group, specializing in business operations. Contracted by Microsoft for most of the projects I was staffed on, it was my job to assist with project management, keeping them on track to accomplish their business goals. I very much enjoyed my two years in the Consulting field. I am now moving to San Diego and looking for a new job in a new place! I am still playing ultimate frisbee, classic khalif. In 2017, the Club team I have been playing for since 2014 finally won Nationals! We were the best team in 2017, winning all three major tournaments that season. I also still play professionally for the Seattle Cascades! That season runs from February to August, so I basically spend my whole year still playing! I have represented the USA on an Ultimate Frisbee National team (and won gold) four times since graduation. Playing ultimate at NWS is a big reason for that success! There is another tryout for the 2020 national team next year – cross your fingers for me!
Chris Norwood ’12 I recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Malaysia. I am now a doctoral candidate for clinical audiology and vestibular sciences at Northwestern University in Chicago. Jack Buckner ’14  After graduating from The Northwest School in 2014, I attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, where I studied mathematics and chemistry. I became very excited about a career in science after spending two summers working in physical and analytical chemistry labs at the University of Washington and Montana State University. This fall, I started to work toward a PhD in ecology at the University of California, Davis. The primary goal of my research here at UCD is to help design environmental policies that take into account the full complexity of social ecological systems and to quantify the value of ecosystem information in this process. I use tools from mathematics and computer sciences to create dynamic models of ecological systems that I use to test the effects of new policies. Rose Driver ’15 Rose received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to travel the world with her project “Making Comics Together.” She is working alongside cartoonists in Yogijakarta, Berlin, Tokyo, and Melbourne to explore how these artists support one another and their communities. Written by NWS Leah Jarvik ’15 Leah has recently starred in the new fascinating play Blood Water Paint at 12 Avenue Arts. Blood Water Paint is a moving story of Artemisia Gentileschi, an Italian Baroque painter now considered one of the most accomplished of her generation. Written by NWS
Graham Peet ’15 Graham Peet ’15 received a 2018-19 Google Cloud Academic All-District Men’s Track & Field/ Cross Country Team Award. Graham is also a recipient of the 2019 Kannerstein Award, a distinction bestowed on a few students at Haverford College for outstanding athletic achievement and leadership. Written by NWS Gabriel Braun ’15 Gabriel received a Fulbright Award this past spring to research treatment for Alzheimer’s disease at Lund University, Sweden. A press release by Haverford quotes Gabriel: “I will be researching β-amyloid peptides, the aggregation of which is implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease […] specifically, I will be developing aggregation inhibitors, basing my work off of previous discoveries made by Professor Linse’s lab about the molecular process of this aggregation, with the goal of producing novel molecules to treat—or prevent—Alzheimer’s.” Written by NWS Josie Gillett ’15 Josie recently won the wellknown 2019 Donovan Award. The award goes to the best ultimate player in the women’s division. Ultiworld.com reports: “It’s not only on the field that the senior captain [Josie Gillett] pushes herself and her team; the supportive nature and humble attitude of ‘team first’ have developed a culture of hard work without sacrifice of the important principles that draw players to the ultimate community. A captain since her second semester at Bates, Gillett is described by her team as a role model who welcomes new players and has the patience and tenacity to teach the basics and instill a love of the sport.” Written by NWS
Tibebu “Tibs” Proctor ’17 Tibs was recently featured in the Seattle Globalist. A star athlete in distance running as well as a star UW student, Tibs plans on entering dental school and, eventually, wants to join Dentists Without Borders and travel the world. Written by NWS Mark Terry Mark recently published a book review in The RNCSE Review, discussing Michael J. Behe’s new book Darwin Devolves, and casting a sharp, critical eye on the revival of the “intelligent design” argument. The review is a highly informative read about recent debates on evolution. Written by NWS Mark Terry Mark writes: “The October 2019 National Geographic is largely devoted to threatened species, and on pp. 75-78 make up a double fold-out illustration of seven different species of sea turtles swimming by, including cutaways of internal anatomy on a couple of them. Mesa Schumacher ’04 credits a National Geographic team for being part of it, but it’s pretty clear that at least the anatomical specimens are hers. I bet all the sea turtles are hers. It’s spectacular.” According to Mesa, Mark was largely correct. Mesa writes, “The sea turtle art was mostly The National Geographic artist and editor Fernando Baptista, though I did draft much of the internal anatomy.”
Alumni Happenings 03
lumni Reunion 2019 brought over 80 alumni, faculty and friends back to The House on June 22, 2019. Memorable moments from the gathering included a visit to the attic during The House Tour, a stroll through our blooming Farm and Garden during the cocktail reception, and great lunch classics served for dinner and prepared by our NWS kitchen magicians Tony and Patrick.
Thank you to many alumni who returned to Northwest, making the reunion warm and memorable. We hope you enjoyed reconnecting with your classmates and teachers and hope to see you all again next year.
01 Left to right: Corey Guilvette
(friend), Caitlin Aylward ’09, and Francoise Canter 01 Left to right: Holly Blue ’89,
Cathleen Craviotto ’87, Erica Blum ’86, and Sarah Gundle ’89 01 Left to right: Simone Wood ’09,
Ben Haager (friend), Gabriel Welsh ’09, Shadie Hijazi ’09, Madi Feil ’09, Emuna David ’09 02 The Class of 2009 celebrate their
10th reunion, pictured here with Jeff Blair and Kevin Alexander.
Save the Date!
Alumni Basketball Games Come back to The House on December 22, 2019, to reconnect with Northwest faculty and friends at the annual Alumni Basketball Games. Join the women’s or the men’s team on the court, or be there to cheer them on from the sidelines.
Sunday, December 22, 2019 • 401 E. Pike 3:30-5:00pm • Men’s Game, Alumni and Faculty 5:15-6:45pm • Women’s Game, Alumni and Faculty For more details and to RSVP, visit northwestschool.org/ our-community/alumni/alumni-events or reach out to Alumni Program Coordinator Svetlana Turetskaya at email@example.com
Save the NEW Date! Alumni Reunion Weekend April 16-18, 2020 Alumni currently at Colorado College met with Mike McGill on September 28 to talk about college life and share NWS memories. The attendees at the Colorado event (standing, from left): Jack Domeika ’18, Willa Serling ’16, and Gabe McGill ’15; (seated, from left): Max Sarkowsky ’16, Ada Bowles ’17, and Josie Ballew ’18.
April will be the new month to return to The House and reconnect with fellow alumni and beloved faculty. Alumni from all classes are invited, and we will especially celebrate class years ending in 0 and 5 with milestone reunions: ’85, ’90, ’95, ’00, ’05, ’10, and ’15. For more details visit northwestschool.org/our-community/alumni/alumni-events or reach out to Alumni Program Coordinator Svetlana Turetskaya at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reunion Weekend Activities Alumni parents came back to NWS to help us prepare care packages for our recent alums! Big thank you to (front row, from left): Daphne Cuizon, Andrea King, Kirsten Morrison, Reena Koshy, Patricia Nef; (middle row, from left): Director of Development Beth Mulvey, Micheline Baral, Alumni Program Coordinator Svetlana Turetskaya, Sonja Krejci; (back row, from left): Susan Cook, Felecia Job, John Bramhall, Christine Carr. We mailed over 300 packages. Thank you!
April 16 • Leadership Dinner, Annual Fund giving level $2500 or more April 17 • Upper School class visits and evening cocktail reception for faculty and alumni April 18 • Alumni community events at NWS and evening individual class gatherings Are you a Class Rep planning special gatherings for your class this year? Let us know by emailing email@example.com! We can help you promote your activities as well as direct alumni from your class to you for details.
Please help us! The Archives Project needs you! Faculty and alumni are invited to identify people and events in photographs in our archives. Our archival sessions will be led by NWS archivist Amanda Demeter in the “House West” Building (1422 Bellevue Ave). We are planning to have archival sessions on the following dates in 2020: January 29 (Wednesday) • 10am–noon February 25 (Tuesday) • 8–10am March 19 (Thursday) March 19 • 5–7pm April 18 (Reunion Saturday) • time TBD To RSVP, contact Svetlana Turetskaya, Alumni Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nonprofit Org. U.S. Postage
1415 Summit Avenue Seattle, WA 98122
Seattle, Wa. Permit No. 10921
Left: Sharon Doub receives a music lesson from her grandson, Ian P.â€™25, during Grandparents and Special Friends Day, May 2019.
Printed on process chlorine free, 10% post-consumer recycled paper.