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Steven Bennett ’11

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Steven is a graduate of the Ivy League school Columbia University in New York City. When did you come to Waterford, and why did you choose Waterford as your school?
I first started at Waterford in the Nursery 2 program and remained at the school until graduation from high school. I can’t necessarily say that I chose to matriculate at two years of age, but I know that my parents were confident in enrolling me after hearing about the exceptional academic program.

What do you feel has been the most meaningful impact that Waterford has had on you? 
Throughout my Waterford experience I was continually exposed to a range of novel ideas both in and out of the classroom. The teachers provided an intimate setting in which conceptions and hypotheses could be freely discussed and examined. Nothing was too far fetched to be categorized as nonsensical fantasy. This free range of intellectual examination taught me the importance of challenging myself on a daily basis whether it be in the academic or the physical realm. Waterford taught me to trust myself as an individual and to never shy away from that which is difficult or daunting.

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.)
One of the best gifts I received was the introduction to stringed instruments. I was entranced in lower school when I first plucked a violin. I eventually took an interest to the larger instruments and fell in love with the cello. The music program is truly outstanding in that I was given ample time to practice and perform between my academic courses, and it was something that defined my time at Waterford.

Did you have a favorite teacher or more than one? Why?
All of the teachers I had were truly exceptional; they care deeply for the students which is reflected in the energy they commit toward each individual’s development. The current music director, Kathy Morris, is one such remarkable teacher and is to this day a great friend. She teaches with passion and excitement which engages all students regardless of musical background. Going to orchestra is for many the best part of the day which is intrinsically correlated to Kathy’s positive demeanor and teaching ability.

How prepared for college and for life were you?
My time at Waterford provided me with tools in which I felt ready to successfully and healthily live away from the campus and Utah proper. Academically I felt exceptionally prepared in my first year college classes in comparison to many of my colleagues. Without the rigor of a Waterford education I’m certain that the introduction into college life would have been much more painful. I learned over time about the genuine importance of hard work and the benefits that can be received. I brought this work ethic to college which has proven to be substantially rewarding. On a more specific note, many educational experiences within Waterford have proven to be useful even in upper level courses. As a small anecdote, in my biochemistry course we’re currently discussing enzyme kinetics, reaction rates and how these two concepts can be manipulated through varying the chemical properties of amino acid side chain residues via organic chemistry. Whenever the discussion turns to enzymes, Dr. Malatesta immediately comes to the forefront of my mind since the first introduction to the topic was from him. These instances attest to the power that the teachers have in fostering the creative aspects of students’ interests which, perhaps, have the power to direct them on a certain life path.

Where did you go to college?
I’m currently in my fourth year at Columbia University and am majoring in Evolutionary Biology. I will also be applying to medical schools this upcoming spring.

Words to live by?
Life is not prescribed. The greatest gift we have is the present and choice. And a small secret: everyone is winging it.