The Pingry Review - Summer 2018

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SEEDS Honors Two Pingry Alumni New Jersey SEEDS’s Executive Director John F. Castano comments on both honorees, “Bill has been part of the SEEDS family since its inception. He works tirelessly to show that students from low-income families need to be given opportunity and access to reach their full potential. Excelling academically and professionally, Neha has never forgotten her SEEDS roots. Throughout her career in medicine, she has worked to engage and empower vulnerable populations.” Board-certified in internal medicine, Neha cares for patients at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine, and is a medical editor at WebMD, working to develop content and ensure the accuracy of health information. She is pursuing a master’s degree in Wellness and Health Education. Honorary Trustee Bill Engel ’67 and Dr. Neha Pathak ’98.

New Jersey SEEDS, a nonprofit organization that has been preparing high-achieving, low-income students for independent schools for more than 25 years, honored two Pingry alumni at the organization’s Leading Change Benefit in April: BILL ENGEL ’67, a SEEDS Co-Founder and Trustee Emeritus, and DR. NEHA PATHAK ’98, a SEEDS alumna (from the organization’s first class: 1994). Each year, SEEDS presents the Leading Change Award to those whose initiative and commitment have enhanced the educational opportunities of young people throughout New Jersey.

At the ceremony, Neha expressed her immense gratitude to SEEDS for both changing her life and bestowing this honor. Upon learning that “Mr. Engel” was also going to be honored, she especially wanted to attend, to pay tribute to “Mr. Engel, the face of SEEDS for us.” She continued, “Most gratifying is that I don’t have to worry or wonder about how I’m going to provide my children with the opportunities they deserve.” For his part, Bill is proud to be part of an organization that has changed so many lives, and he was especially honored to be recognized with Neha, “a pioneer for SEEDS and [a pioneer] at Pingry. Her SEEDS class’s successes at schools like Pingry paved the way for future generations of SEEDS students.”

STEVEN LIEBERMAN writes, “After undergraduate and graduate studies at Yale, I spent 19761992 at the (White House) Office of Management and Budget, rising from a budget examiner to a (career) Assistant Director and mainly worked on health programs. After six years in Arizona and California running an HMO, the delivery system for a large academic medical center, and founding a venture capital-funded health services company, I returned to Washington, D.C. as the policy deputy at the Congressional Budget Office from 1999-2004. After retiring from the federal government in 2004, I’ve served as the Deputy Executive Director of the National Governors Association and run a health consulting company, and I have an appointment (as a Non-Resident Fellow) in Economics and Health Policy at the Brookings Institution. I’ve been married to Hannah Miller Lieberman since 1973, and we have two children. Josh is an M.D./ Ph.D. working at the University of Washington, and Michaela is a public interest lawyer in Virginia.

Receiving an Honor for Teaching Honors DR. DAVID WILDER ’70, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health, and a member of the Honors Faculty at the University of Iowa, received the university’s 2018 Honors Program Teaching Award in recognition of eight years of work on behalf of the university’s honors students. He is the first Engineering professor to receive the award.

Dr. Art Spisak, Professor of Classics, Director of the Honors Program, and Immediate Past President of the National Collegiate Honors Council, commended David for his classroom work that involves experiential, hands-on learning to affirm the students’ problem solving skills; his efforts on the Honors Steering Committee (the Honors Program’s faculty advisory group) that helped bring the Honors Program up to national standards; and his role in instituting honors sections of Engineering courses, some of which David has taught. “In short,” Dr. Spisak wrote, “your contributions as part of the Honors Steering Committee have resulted in improvements in the delivery of an honors education for our students across the undergraduate colleges.”

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Credit: Destiney Ohrt

David began to work with honors students by being in the right place at the right time, and he has written, “It is important to facilitate imagination, creativity, productivity, and access to opportunities in highly skilled, selfmotivated students…I am touched that the Honors Program students are interested in my work, experience, and insight, and I cherish the opportunity to get to know them at the beginning of the arc of their careers. The Honors Program students always leave me with confidence that they will carry on the attitude of valuing the insight of others and make the world a better place.”

Dr. David Wilder ’70 receives the 2018 Honors Program Teaching Award from Dr. Art Spisak, Director of the University of Iowa Honors Program.

Because of his fascination with how things work, including the human body, David wanted to be a creative problem solver as an engineer. He gained experience in explaining biomechanics to orthopedic residents, but was then asked to talk about the spine to a lay audience—he used simple metaphors and ended up discovering his teaching style. In general, David considers teaching “a goal-directed performance art: storytelling using memorable images, surprise, and humor. Storytelling in an engineering context is as important as learning traditional technical engineering tools. The stories provide context and perspective for the use and limitations of the tools of engineering.”