Michael Spaulding ’08
When did you come to Waterford, and why did you choose Waterford as your school?
I came to Waterford in Kindergarten, so I don’t think I was very involved in the decision to attend. That said, I have heard from my parents that the school was a major influence in their decision to move to Utah in the first place.
What do you feel has been the most important impact that Waterford has had on you?
While it may sound cliche, Waterford really taught me how to learn and think critically. Every kid feels like an adult in their own mind, but at Waterford my teachers actually treated me like one, which made me much more invested in my own education and showed me the value (and fun) of continuous, engaged learning.
What passions did you find at Waterford that you may not have discovered elsewhere (photo, theater, dance, robotics, birding, Shakespeare, ceramics, tennis, outdoor, lacrosse, etc. )
The first thing that comes to mind is playing the Cello, especially in quartets and the Chamber Orchestra. While I don’t play as much now as I would like to, music has been a part of my life since I can remember, and I feel very lucky to have had the opportunities I did in Mrs. Morris’ strings program. I also loved photography, especially working with medium format film cameras and the dark room.
What were Waterford students campaigning for when you were a student?
Well, we students were always campaigning for something! I remember circulating a petition myself in the fourth grade to be allowed to play the cello instead of the violin in my music class, student government candidates in Middle School promising an end to the uniform policy as we knew it, and Upper School students passionately focused on alleviating the crisis in Darfur.
Did you have a favorite teacher or more than one? Why?
I had many favorite teachers, and I don’t mean to cheapen the term. As I mentioned before, I think one of the major things that distinguishes Waterford is the way in which faculty engage with students as intellectual peers. By the time I graduated, I related to my favorite teachers more as friends and colleagues than the arbiters of my GPA. I actually still stay in touch with a number of my Waterford teachers to this day, and occasionally stop by campus when I am in town to say hello.
How prepared for college and for life were you?
Well, academically and socially, I felt that I was very well prepared for my first semester of college. What was more challenging was figuring out how to manage all of the aspects of my life that I had previously taken for granted (finding time for laundry, figuring out how to operate the oven without setting fire to the dorm, and finding out how many cups of coffee a human being could drink in a single paper-writing session).
Where did you go to college?
Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
What was your first job after college?
I worked for PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) in their federal government consulting practice in Washington, D.C.
What culminating experience(s) helped you select a career?
I chose to work in government consulting because I was excited by the opportunity to apply myself to the challenges facing the US government, and thereby have an impact for the millions of people who depend on it. Government consulting is also a well-tread path among Georgetown graduates, so I had a number of friends in the field, which helped me choose it as a place to start my professional career.
How has your career evolved?
It has changed dramatically in a very short amount of time. After working at PwC for about 6 months, I decided to try something completely different, and began working for Google in their Mountain View, CA headquarters, building systems to detect and fight online fraud.
Where do you live now?
San Francisco, CA
Words to live by?
Keep an open mind, be willing to take risks, and never take yourself too seriously.