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.
In the late 1990s, Alex’s family conducted extensive research to find the best education for him (and for younger brother Connor ‘12) before landing at Waterford.. Alex started at Waterford as a first grader. His parents were impressed with Waterford’s liberal arts focus and were particularly excited that the academic program included Latin and computer science. Like many alumni, Alex says that Waterford instilled a love of learning inspired by classes that focused on discussion and the development of ideas.
Reflecting back on his most meaningful experiences, Alex describes participating in MS/US choir. He realizes how much he enjoyed singing in a group and is currently looking for opportunities to get involved in a community choir. He is also proud that he had the opportunity to row on the Great Salt Lake, which is a rare experience for oarsman in our country. Although crew was a physically demanding sport, he valued the team camaraderie and the satisfaction that came with gliding through the water.
After Waterford, Alex attended the College of Wooster in Ohio. He went in with a focus on biology and chemistry, and emerged with a degree in sustainable food systems. While in college, Alex studied abroad in rural Thailand where he developed a passion for sustainable agriculture and community food systems. After Wooster, he began an AmeriCorps VISTA position with a refugee resettlement organization called The International Rescue Committee (IRC) New Roots program in Salt Lake City. In this position, Alex combined his zeal for international travel and community food systems work, while helping underserved populations. Alex says that his time with AmeriCorps taught him to hone his skills in logistics coordination and in developing community partnerships. He was promoted from his VISTA year into a community outreach and community garden specialist role. Just this past summer, Alex accepted a position with the IRC New Roots program in Baltimore.
Alex quotes French essayist, Marcel Proust, with words to live by: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” This quote speaks to him because although he is an avid traveler, it reminds him that there is plenty to discover, or rediscover, internally and in our local environments and communities by considering our influence and responsibility in those areas.
In 1985, Patrick joined Waterford as a Class I student, the same year that Waterford opened its Sandy campus. His parents compared schools in the area and were drawn to Waterford’s progressive liberal arts approach to education. Patrick’s early exposure to fine arts, specifically photography, had a great impact on his life—he has worked with hundreds of people during his professional career, but none who had the early exposure to photography that Waterford provided.
Patrick’s most influential and favorite teacher was Tillman Crane, who ran the photography department in the late 1990s and early 2000s. His passion and mentorship guided Patrick throughout both the creative and scientific aspects of photography and printmaking. “I worked side by side with Tillman as his darkroom assistant,” Randak says, “and Dusty Heuton (Waterford Institute Founder) was dedicated to the development of a stellar photography department.”, says Patrick, details that only bolstered his photography experience at Waterford. Alongside his passion for photography, Patrick was a member of the ski team, racquetball team, and participated in rock climbing.
After graduating from The Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Patrick moved to New York City to intern for and ultimately assist the celebrity photographer, Mark Seliger. During this time, Seliger was shooting covers for Rolling Stone and GQ, as well as producing TV album art and movie posters. Patrick says that he was thoroughly prepared for his role because he had the technical and analytical skills to manage work in a competitive and demanding environment. Because of his Waterford based computer skills, he was able to help Seliger bridge the digital gap, an advantage he had over many of his peers. Patrick worked for Seliger for five years before beginning his freelance career in 2010. He has built a niche photographing the fitness and activewear industry allowing him to combine his skills with his passion for the outdoors.
When describing Waterford, the word “home” comes to Patrick’s mind. He says that he grew up on campus and it grew with him. In first grade, he attended school in a single hallway of what is now the Lower School; by the time he graduated, Waterford had expanded to the almost 41-acre campus that it is today. Patrick identifies Waterford as a consistent positive force that has given him the ability to manage many of life’s hurdles. He advises Waterford graduates to have a plan but be flexible and always seek to work outside of your comfort zone as, “Some of the best opportunities come from the unexpected.”
SENIOR ASSOCIATE CONSULTANT, BRIDGESPAN
Calder, who joined Waterford in Class I, says she developed her a passion for inquiry and intellectual curiosity that she has carried with her through her college and professional life. Not only was she exposed to many different disciplines, but Waterford encouraged her to always explore and challenge herself. Although, she admits that she is not a natural musician, she felt a keen sense of community in the orchestra, and attributes her passion for classical music to her time in Orchestra. Liz was also particularly drawn to History and German—fondly remembering her Class V teacher, Mrs. Goodson, and her infectious enthusiasm for American History.
Liz attended Brigham Young University where she majored in Economics and German. Liz credits her time at Waterford, which challenged her at every grade level, for preparing her for the rigor of college and for the reality that life would be full of opportunities, and she was prepared with the skills to overcome and succeed.
After graduating from BYU, Liz worked for Sears Holdings in Chicago in a business strategy role, then moved to Boston where she currently works as a Senior Associate Consultant for Bridgespan, a global nonprofit organization. Bridgespan collaborates with mission-driven leaders, organizations, philanthropists, and investors to break cycles of poverty and dramatically improve the quality of life for those in need.
In reflecting on her favorite memories of Waterford, Liz identified graduation, “I remember Nancy Heuston giving me a hug and telling me that I was a good person and that she was proud of me.” Three words Liz uses to describe Waterford are: supportive, rigorous, and beautiful. She considers Waterford beautiful—for both the physical beauty of the campus and surrounding mountains as well as in belonging to a community with a rich variety of disciplines. It’s no wonder that Liz’s words to live by are, “treat everyone that you come in contact with respect and take an interest in the people around you, all the people around you.”
ROBOTICS ENGINEER, NASA JET PROPULSION LAB
Sawyer credits his experience on Waterford’s first Robotics team as a critical influence on his career path to becoming a Robotics Engineer for NASA in the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL). More generally, Waterford provided a great environment for him to study Math and Science, as well as touch on engineering in Physics class. He remembers Waterford faculty as subject-matter experts who pursued teaching in order to share their passion with their students. The depth and enthusiasm faculty brought to their disciplines gave students an appreciation for not only the subject matter, but also for the value of embracing intellectual challenges.
Sawyer went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Robotic Engineering. Following graduation, he immediately joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he has been a robotics and systems engineer for three years. At JPL, Sawyer develops arm software for the Mars 2020 rover and for the Mars Sample Return campaign. He also led the development of Limbi, a self-mobile robotic limb for in-space assembly.
Sawyer credits Dr. Dusty Heuston (Waterford Institute Founder) for two particularly influential experiences while he was a Waterford. The first, where Sawyer gained his first exposure to computer programming, was being offered an internship at the Waterford Institute for two summers. Dr. Heuston provided the real-world opportunity and hands-on experience to work on his computer programming. The second moment for Sawyer was when Dr. Heuston provided the seed money for him and a friend to enter a Robotics competition. It was this initial support that evolved into Waterford’s FIRST robotics team. Sawyer notes how, “Dusty’s vision and willingness to contribute had a huge impact.”
In reflecting on his experience of his 14 years at Waterford starting in PreK-3, Sawyer emphasizes how the School’s comprehensive academic experience, enriched by passionate faculty and enhanced by innovation, shaped his academic passions and helped him land his dream job.
Director of Impact, Cotopaxi
Describing herself as as a bookish, shy, child, Annie remembers researching Waterford on her own prior to entering Class II. After touring the school, she remembers declaring, “Yes! This is my school.” In 1997, Annie started at Waterford, and she says the most meaningful impact of her Waterford experience has been her development of a love of learning for its own sake, and that she feels the school put her on a lifelong pursuit of knowledge. During her time at Waterford, Annie enjoyed being behind the camera for AP Photography, joining every birding trip offered, falling in love with rowing, and playing her violin. She says that Waterford helped create intellectual balance in her life by stressing the importance of not just academics, but poetry, art, and music. Annie writes, “Those creative pursuits have been crucial to me personally, as I have weathered moments of self-doubt and disappointment.”
Annie was the president of the Community Service Club while at Waterford which exposed her to programs, events, and the importance of being an active member of the community. After going on Waterford’s annual community service trip to the Navajo Reservation, she had absolute clarity of purpose. Annie attended Barnard College in New York City and then interned for two years with the Phyllis Chesler Organization, a leading women’s rights NGO addressing honor killings, human trafficking, gender violence, and forced marriage. After graduating from Barnard, Annie stepped into the role of Deputy Director at the Phyllis Chesler Organization.
Annie spent time on the front lines of international development and gaining valuable field experience. After years of field work, she joined Development Three, a NYC-based international consultancy firm focused on increasing programmatic and organization effectiveness in the aid sector. Annie credits Waterford for giving her incredible writing skills as well as a love of the math and sciences, both of which have been invaluable in her career. During her field experience, Annie found there was a need to use a more scientific approach to non-profit work. Quantifying inputs and outcomes to make operations leaner and more effective is something she first learned at Waterford. Annie says Waterford also gave her the writing skills she has used in creating affidavits, case work, and legal pressings in legislation in Pakistan that ended child marriages, and prosecution laws to end honor violence. She says being able to articulate issues is not just a matter of conviction, but also an opportunity to express yourself. Annie insists that writing “is one of the most critical skill sets you have even if you end up in a quantitative field. Being able to communicate with others, argue effectively, listen to others, these are learned and practiced skills as much as they are a matter of personality.”
Currently, Annie resides in Park City and New York City and she works at Cotopaxi as the Director of Impact. She champions and steers corporate social responsibility from reviewing grantees and overseeing programming, to ensuring the company’s supply chain is sustainable. She directs the company make good on its "Gear for Good" promise, knowing that quantifying that promise will ensure its success.
Director of Orchestras and Choirs, The Knox School
Lauren campaigned to attend Waterford as early as the 7th grade, having been drawn to the School for its community of excellence, as well as the beauty of the campus. She was thrilled when circumstances aligned for her in 2001 to join Class X. Lauren says that her time at Waterford prepared her for a life of self-reliance—providing a student-focused academic environment that pushed her to discover her passions and interests.
As a budding young musician, Lauren felt that Waterford not only accommodated her needs, but also encouraged her talents. The School’s arts and academic programs helped her develop the discipline and self-motivation needed to be both a musician and a strong student. Kathy Morris, Music Department Chair, was an extremely important mentor, encouraging Lauren to balance her academic work and her musical talents. Under Kathy’s mentorship, Lauren was able to participate in established string ensembles, and together, they created new ensembles such Piano Quartets and Quintets for advanced chamber music opportunities. Lauren fondly recalls “coaching” the Brahms F Minor Quintet along with Mrs. Morris, a challenging piece for piano and string quartet and an amazing experience for a high school student, usually offered only at conservatories.
Lauren is equally enthusiastic about many of her other educational experiences at Waterford—studying ballet, learning French, auditing a German class, solving complex math problems, performing in the jazz band, and discovering a love of literature. She notes she maintains her friendship with English teacher, Charles Rosett, to this day. In reflecting on her Waterford experience, Lauren describes school life as a “haven for Ravens” and, at the same time, an invigorating intellectual environment.
Lauren continued her musical education at California State University-Fullerton in Los Angeles and then at the University of Michigan. She received a Master of Music in Conducting at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
As a young musician, Lauren’s ambition was to become a concert pianist, though she eventually decided to pursue a career as a conductor. Conducting, for Lauren, is the confluence of many different skill sets and gives her the opportunity to lead. She has served as the Assistant Conductor for the University of Michigan Arts Chorale, the Assistant Conductor of the RIT Orchestra, the Assistant Conductor of the University of Buffalo Orchestra, the Music Director of the Eastman Opera Collective and the Director of Community Concerts for the Singing City Choir.
She currently serves as the Music Director of Ensemble Id and maintains an active schedule with her piano duo, Duo Sarteano. In the Fall of 2018, Lauren began her first full-time job as the Director of Orchestra and Choirs at the Knox School, an independent school in St. James, New York. She is excited to go back to an independent school after her own formative experience at Waterford.
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
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:
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
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.”
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
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.”
Education: 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
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."
Education: Harvard University ‘09
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Currently: Ph.D. candidate at MIT
Lives in: Cambridge, MA
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."