QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, OR SUGGESTIONS?
Mrs. Julie Goldston
At Independence, we take great pride in the accomplishments of our alumni and the strong connection between our school and former students. Bonds don't end with graduation - you are a Patriot for life!
If you are an Indy alum, please be sure to update your contact information and let us know about your achievements, activities and interests. We also love to see Indy alumni getting together, whether local or internationally. Be sure to submit a class note so we can share your Indy connections. Please join our Alumni Facebook Group to keep up with news about your former classmates, fellow Indy alumni, and exciting things happening today at Independence.
Wondering how else you can stay connected? Consider attending any of our special events throughout the year, including athletics contests, the annual Auction & Gala (21 and older) and Cornhole tournament. Be sure to check our calendar for all opportunities to come back and say hello! Another great way to show your support is by making a tax-deductible gift to our Annual Fund, which ensures that we can continue to remain one of the premier pre-school through eighth-grade schools in the region.
We look forward to connecting with you. Come visit campus and take a ride in our campus golf cart. We hope to see you soon... Go Indy!
DESIGNING FOR HOLLYWOOD
Alison is a designer, artist, and storyteller whose creative work has spanned television, plays, musicals, opera, film, themed entertainment, and board and video games. Living in California, she has worked in the art department on TV productions, including "Life in Pieces," "The Conners," "The Floor is Lava," and "Never Have I Ever." Alison's interest in the performing arts was evident at the Tatnall School, which she attended after Independence and where she was involved in 11 theatre productions, received the Lovell Bowl Award for Theatre, and was head of the Improv Club. She went on to earn her BA from the College of William and Mary in English and theatre, spending a semester in Scotland at the University of St. Andrews where she studied creative writing and Shakespeare in film. Alison then completed her MFA in scenic design at Carnegie Mellon University, where she was a TA for theatrical drafting summer programs and a national high school game academy. She also designed sets for Shakespeare and Pittsburgh Opera productions and worked on a web series.
Congratulations to Charter School of Wilmington Senior, Arjan Singh Kahlon '18, who was honored as a 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Arjan is one of only 161 high school seniors nationally selected for this prestigious award from a field of more than 5000 initial Presidential Scholar candidates. Students are selected based on their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields. According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was created in 1964 and has honored over 7,900 of the nation's top-performing students. Arjan is the sixth Independence alumnus to be named a U.S. Presidential Scholar since 2016. Previous recipients of the award are Umar Aulia '16, Grace Gong '14, Olivia O'Dwyer '13, Rahul Subbaraya '12, and Christina Stiebris '11.
A PASSION FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Having graduated from Salesianum and Penn State and since working at Oracle and Allbirds, Ben is now making his mark as an entrepreneur. He and a partner have launched SLCKR, a business that makes and sells a specially designed, productivity-boosting tool belt (actually “chest harness”) for barbers. Business is brisk, and Ben is thrilled. “I’m loving every second of it,” he says. “There’s a new problem to solve every day, and that variety is perfect for me.” The entrepreneurial bug may have first bitten Ben during Economics & Entrepreneurial Education (E3) in fourth grade, fondly referred to as Mini Society by former students. “I really enjoyed that,” he remembers, “and I was definitely intrigued.”
SHARING SCIENCE WITH THE PUBLIC
A 1999 Independence graduate, Cathy received her bachelor's degree in biology from Franklin and Marshall College and her MA in zoology from Miami University. Since 2013, she has worked at the Delaware Museum of Nature and Science in Wilmington, where she is currently senior interpretation manager and the public engagement manager, with oversight for the department. Cathy was a member of the team that managed the museum's 17-month, $10 million renovation projects, which opened in May 2023. She now assists the exhibits director in selecting future traveling exhibits to welcome to the museum. Cathy also oversees the care and handling of the museum's live animal collection, work that includes designing and building custom enclosures and focusing on continuous improvement in the care and handling of animals as well as training and professional development for staff. Cathy is active in local robotics clubs and coordinates community events at the museum to showcase area teams. Her goal is for children of all ages and backgrounds to be exposed to robotics and to see an opportunity for themselves in this growing field.
MED SCHOOL AND MORE
After earning degrees in biochemistry and theology from Boston College, Chris was awarded a 2018 Fulbright research grand, which allowed him to travel extensively through Latin America, exploring interests related to global health equity. Now in his third year at the University of Michigan Medical School on a Dean's Scholarship, he is working toward both his M.D. and a master's degree focused on implementing change in health care systems - a credential he hopes will prove useful as he looks forward to a career focused on serving vulnerable and underserved groups. Chris says that Independence taught him lessons that have served him well ever since: "The work ethic, the time management and organizational skills, and the value they clearly placed on education."
MAKING HER MARK AT NASA
Today, Christine is a research engineer at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, an outcome hard to imagine when she graduated from Independence in 2005. After attending The Charter School of Wilmington, Christine majored in mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware, graduating with a 4.0. While there, she secured an internship at NASA and fell in love with the work. With a Chancellor Fellowship at the University of California-Berkeley, she then earned her master's and Ph.D in mechanical engineering. While at Berkeley, Christine was awarded the NASA Space Technologies Research Fellowship and co-authored a paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society titled, "The roles of impact and inertia in the failure of a shoelace knot" -- an analysis of how shoelaces come untied that went viral in days. Christine says that the emphasis on gramma at Independence gave her a strong command of writing and language, important in communicating scientific ideas, and that her study of Latin at Independence continues to be helpful in her scientific career.
INSPIRED TO HEAL
A physician board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular diseases, and interventional cardiology, Erin is working in private practice with a cardiology group in Denver. A political science major at Middlebury College originally planning on a career in law, she explains that she found a new perspective working on HIV education during a trip to Malawi in college. She went on to complete her medical degree at Northwestern University and gravitated to cardiology. "I just find the heart fascinating and appreciate the chance to provide good care to people who are really sick." What has stayed with her from her middle school days nearly 25 years ago? "All the teachers who fostered excellence and curiosity. I've brought that spirit with me through my years of education and into my career."
LEARNING AND LEADING
“It all started at Independence,” says Jess, explaining her love of the sciences—a love that started her on a path to a future career in occupational therapy. After Independence, Jess attended Tatnall, where she excelled in field hockey, lacrosse, and leadership as a Delaware Youth Leader Network member. Next came Elizabethtown College. Meanwhile, she spent summers back at Independence as a counselor on the school’s camps, loving the chance to connect with the kids. It was great experience as she prepared for a career focusing on pediatric occupational therapy in a hospital setting.
A 2022 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, with a major in English and a minor in East Asian languages, Kennedy was named a Marshall Scholar and is pursuing a master's degree in Black Humanities at the University of Bristol in the UK. A person with "many branching interest," from creative writing to community service to a possible career in academia, Kennedy sees her studies as a change to explore whether she wants to earn a Ph.D. Whatever her future holds, there's little doubt it will involve some form of storytelling, a lifelong interest. "I came into middle school with a burning love of reading, and my teachers nurtured and sustained that," she says. "That taught me the value of staying true to my passions."
MUSICAL AND MEDICAL
A graduate of Princeton University, Kerith studied medicine at Thomas Jefferson University. She is also a violinist in the Penn Med Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble of doctors, students, and staff from area hospitals. “I had an itch to play, and it’s really nice to be part of that big symphony sound,” says Kerith, who started violin at three and continued through her years at Independence and after. “Looking back, the highlight of those years would have to be the teachers,” she says, “how dedicated they were and how much they cared for us.” Kerith is not sure where her career will lead but is enjoying the journey. “Anytime I’m learning something new, I’m happy, and these days, I’m learning constantly.”
An honors graduate of Howard University, Michaella has received a prestigious Marshall Scholarship, which allowed her to pursue her master’s degree in the field of medical anthropology at the University of London. Afterwards, she returned to the United States to enter medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. Michaella’s ultimate goal is to practice medicine while also working in the areas of health policy and advocacy to reduce global disparities in health and healthcare. She notes that Independence helped her become “a versatile and creative learner,” and she still fondly remembers experiences including Science Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind, and Mini-Society
FITTING IT ALL IN
For Rohit, the biggest challenge is balancing all his interests—from the Yale Alternative Investments Club to taking a swing at squash. But multitasking is nothing new. At Independence and then at Archmere, Rohit was highly active in student government, serving as president for five consecutive years. He also ran his own necktie company, NovelTie, through which he created the Independence ties for sale in the Indy Spirit Store. He found his way onto the board of an impactful nonprofit, the Friends of Hockessin Colored School #107—an organization dedicated to preserving the history of Delaware’s role in ending school segregation with the goal of creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive tomorrow. In between, he excelled academically, as he did at Independence, and he says, “I gained the foundation in reading, writing, and analysis still with me now.”
LIFE ON THE FAST TRACK
A North Carolina State University graduate, Sam is a professional distance runner under contract with Adidas and the co-founder of the Tinman Elite professional running team, based in Boulder, Colorado. Sam recently became the first runner ever to record a sub-4-minute mile on Delaware soil. He is now competing professionally in cross-country in addition to track, and has his sights set on the upcoming World Championships in Budapest and the 2024 Paris Olympics, where he will compete for Germany, his mother's birth country. Sam remembers his days at Independence clearly. "The seeds of my running career were planted on that gravel track," he says. "Running those cross-country races is where I really found my fire."
No matter where our graduates go on to high school, they make tremendous contributions to those schools in academics, the arts, and athletics. They carry forward their abilities to inspire others, chase their dreams, and achieve what they set out do.
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