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Alumni Profiles

The Waterford School alumni are a testament to the success of the school. The education and experience has nurtured students’ intellectual, physical, and moral development, and Waterford graduates are sent into the larger community with a curiosity to learn, a responsibility to make a difference, and desire to strive for excellence. Waterford is a lifetime experience, here is a small glimpse into a few of our alumni's lives beyond Waterford. 

If you are a Waterford alum, please reach out and say hello to us here

 

George Matus '16
George Matus, Waterford Alumni
George on a beach in Oman where he met with
   one of his investors

Accomplishments: Thiel Fellowship recipient, 2015; named one of Forbes' 30 under 30 young visionaries in Consumer Technology, 2018

Currently: CEO & Founder, Teal Drones

Lives in: Holladay, UT

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While at Waterford, George was captain of the Ravens Robotics team and also competed on the second season of ABC’s popular show, Battlebots. George’s passions for drones, robotics, and business led him to establish his own drone company, Teal Drones, during his sophomore year (2014) and pitch his dream to investors around Silicon Valley. 

His company now has 30 employees and has raised more than $16 million in venture funding. George believes that drones can be much more than flying cameras and should be accessible to everyone. Currently his agile drones can fly up to 70 miles per hour.  

During my 4 years at Waterford, the academic rigor and work ethic I adopted was undoubtedly helpful in starting Teal. Add to that my in depth experiences with Waterford's robotics program, as well as the support from all at the school for me to pursue my passion, I think Waterford was an amazing environment overall to let this all come to fruition!

As part of his Thiel Fellowship, George is deferring college to pursue his drone business full-time. 

George spoke with Megyn Kelly on the TODAY show about his successful startup.  Watch the video below:

Heather Sneddon '95

Heather Sneddon '95, Waterford Alumni

Education: Brown University ’99, A.B. Religious Studies
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ’02, J.D.

Currently: Commercial Litigator, Anderson & Karrenberg

Lives in: Salt Lake City, UT

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During her senior year at Waterford, Heather Sneddon had her sights set on an Ivy League education. She applied to Dartmouth College and was waitlisted. Word quickly spread through the faculty that Heather had not been accepted at her first choice. “I never learned exactly which teachers at Waterford sent in additional letters of recommendation to get me into Dartmouth, but it was Mr. Rosett who let me know that a group of them did so, without my asking. And so even though I ultimately got into Dartmouth because of the incredible outpouring of support I received from my Waterford teachers, I chose to go to Brown because Mr. Shaw, my college counselor, convinced me that his alma mater was the perfect fit for me. And he was absolutely right.”

During law school, she served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Sandra N. Peuler of the Third District Court, and as a law clerk at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Division of Enforcement. She joined Anderson & Karrenberg in 2003, and has spent the last thirteen years as a commercial litigator focusing on contract, trade secret, intellectual property and real estate disputes, professional malpractice matters, shareholder derivative lawsuits and the prosecution and defense of all manner of business torts.

Heather calls her time at Waterford extremely influential and is quick to attribute much of her success to the Waterford experience.

“Waterford helped me develop the capacity for analytical thought that has served me well in everything I have done since. I learned logic, critical analysis, and writing skills at Waterford.”

James Browning '11

James Browning ’11, Waterford Alumni

Education: Carleton College, ‘15, History & Russian Studies
Fulbright Fellowship recipient

Currently: At Harvard University studying for a Masters in regional studies: Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Future goals: Ph.D. in History at Cambridge and ultimately teach

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James Browning says that coming back to spend time with Kathy Morris, Waterford Strings teacher and Orchestra Director, was the best kind of homecoming. James played the viola in the Orchestra while he was at Waterford, and he reconnected with Kathy after the Orchestra’s winter concert.

“I enjoy coming back to Waterford for the Orchestra concerts, but I don’t usually say hello to Mrs. Morris since I know how busy she is preparing for the performance. But, at the winter concert, the Orchestra played several Russian pieces, and I couldn’t help but ask Mrs. Morris why she chose to include them. That’s when I learned about the Orchestra’s upcoming trip to Russia, Estonia, and Finland.”

After graduating from Carleton, James spent ten months in Russia on a Fulbright Fellowship teaching English. After reconnecting this winter, Kathy began meeting with James weekly in preparation for the Orchestra’s upcoming trip. The meetings focused on Russian language and culture. It also gave James an opportunity to advise Kathy on the Orchestra’s itinerary.

“Mrs. Morris used to say ‘go big or go home’ during Orchestra rehearsals. And, as I was helping her prepare for the Orchestra’s trip, she showed me that she truly lives this mantra. She put so much energy and passion into learning Russian language and culture, and I was like a proud mother when she stood up in the Orchestra’s spring concert and spoke in Russian to the audience. She is such an excellent teacher, and the opportunity to reconnect with her and Waterford was invaluable.”

Divya Jayaraman '04

Divya Jayaraman '04, Waterford AlumniEducation: University of Pennsylvania ‘08, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
University of Utah School of Medicine ‘12

Currently: Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The University of Utah School of Medicine, Division of Allergy & Immunology

Started Waterford in: PreK-4

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Divya Jayaraman’s parents chose Waterford because they knew education was the most important gift they could give their daughter. “When they came to campus and met with Nancy Heuston, my mother knew right away that this was the right place.” And, it was Heuston’s vision – a well-rounded approach to life rooted in the Liberal Arts - that has set Divya up for the success she now enjoys.

“Waterford gave me an incredible gift: a strong sense of the importance of a well-rounded life. I love writing. I have a sincere love of the arts. I was a member of the Waterford Singers and took AP Ceramics while I was a student. But, I also took enough math and science courses during my time at Waterford to keep my Indian father happy.”

After moving east for undergraduate study, she returned home to attend Medical School and followed that with a residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. An interaction with a pediatric patient suffering from an anaphylactic reaction resulted in fellowship training in Allergy and Immunology at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. And now, Divya has come home again to join the faculty at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She specializes in the treatment of asthma, allergy, and immune disorders in pediatric and adult populations, with a special interest in eczema management, food allergy, and severe asthma.

In her new role, Divya will not only practice clinically, but she’ll also have the opportunity to mentor and teach medical students and residents at the University. The teacher-student relationship is something she learned to appreciate at Waterford.

“Waterford has such an incredible sense of community. I experienced one on one attention in a nurturing environment – something I have yet to experience again. This is a community that cares about generations of students."

Brandon Hopkins '05

Brandon Hopkins '05, Waterford AlumniEducation: Harvard University ‘09 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 

Currently: Ph.D. candidate at MIT

Lives in: Cambridge, MA

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Brandon had two stints at Waterford School, first in the lower school from Grade I-IV and then he came back to complete Grade VII-XII because his parents wanted the best for him. And for Brandon, one notable outcome of his education at Waterford is the instruction he received on writing. "I still use and refer to some materials I used at Waterford. I remember the phrase, 'point, evidence, and explain' for organizing my writing. Even though I am a researcher and design engineer, I also have to be a part-time writer. If you aren’t a good writer, you don’t get grants and can’t get money to do the research you want to do."

Leaving Waterford, Brandon initially thought he wanted to go into physics, but while he loved his physics classes, he realized through his physics research in college that he didn’t like the work  physicists actually had to do. He also wanted to incorporate his visual arts talents somehow. He wanted to be an inventor/artist, the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci. After taking a few design engineering classes in college, Brandon quickly realized that product design was the closest profession that matched his passions for the sciences, visual art, and business. His research thus far has been focused on energy storage and renewable energy.​ 

Many of Brandon's passions were founded in the opportunities his education allowed him, especially in his exploration of the visual and performing arts at Waterford. He is currently studying in Cambridge, MA and states that words to live by are "Be humble, kind, and don’t give up too quickly."