LIFE AFTER THE WALDORF SCHOOL
OF SARATOGA SPRINGS
Waldorf education provides a well-rounded foundation as our students move out into the world to attend many of the top colleges and universities in the country, engage in meaningful service or work in many different professions. Click here for a history of college acceptances!
Waldorf Saratoga Alumni in the World:
Alumni give us some recent updates and answer the question: How did your Waldorf education prepare you for your current career path? Let us know what you’ve been up to by filling out our brief alumni survey!
Nora Alexandra-Young ‘12
Nora graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in business and photography. Since graduating from WSSS, she has traveled the world and is currently living in Louisville, CO where she is a manager trainee at Hertz. “(Waldorf) taught me to ask questions.”
Eryn Graham Amodeo ‘14
Eryn received her bachelors in global communications from The American University of Paris and plans to start a business of her own. Since graduating, she has traveled the globe, visiting many countries including (but not limited to) Greece, Italy, Germany, Morocco, and even lived in Egypt! “A Waldorf education prepared me for my career path by helping me to explore my personal limitations and boundaries. The hands on approach to the Waldorf curriculum helped instill in me a sense of creativity and ultimate love of learning!”
Grace Amodeo ‘07
Grace is living in Glendale, CA, and received her BA in Visual Media Arts (Film) from Emerson College in Boston. She works for a tech company -- SHIFT -- which offers online platforms for filmmakers, ad agencies, and production companies to manage their digital content. She manages a grant program for young filmmakers (the SHIFT Creative Fund). “Waldorf taught me to be a collaborator, to work well with a group -- a skill I use every day at my current job. I also learned to be curious, to ask questions, to engage in meaningful and substantive conversations with my team, to think critically about problems facing me.”
Wendy Beatty ‘05
Wendy is living in San Jose, CA, and works as an advanced manufacturing development engineer for Opto-Mechanical Systems at Waymo. She received her BS in mechanical engineering from Union College, Schenectady. At Waymo, the autonomous car company started by Google, where Wendy designs and manufactures Lidar systems for their autonomous vehicles. Specifically she bridges the gap between the engineering and operations teams, taking on designs still in development and creating new tools and processes to improve their manufacturability. She also reports that she is still knitting! “The Waldorf system gave me time and confidence to realize that I could succeed in a technical field if put in the time and effort. Going into 9th grade I looked at the public school system where I would have to choose a liberal arts or science track, and I would have probably chosen liberal arts at the time and never known what else I was capable of. Waldorf also gave me the space to deal with my learning disabilities without being isolated from the main student body, and let me display my strengths while working on my weaknesses. This would have been impossible in the public school system at the time, where they told my family to keep expectations for my success low and would not allow me into certain classes.”
Wyatt Erchak '08
Wyatt is a PhD student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he studies American history, culture, and literature. His research primarily focuses on manifestations of power, technology, and identity in American cities after the Civil War and into the early twentieth century. Wyatt graduated with a BA from Skidmore College in history and political science in May 2012, and was a cartoonist and columnist for Skidmore News. Wyatt earned his MA in history at the University at Albany, SUNY in May 2019, where he was active as a student leader in the graduate student body and served in the University Senate while working at Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA). Prior to graduate education, he worked at the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village historic site in various capacities from giving tours to managing educational programs and operations. Wyatt has traveled extensively and enjoys staying active, whether volunteering for a local food pantry, working on art projects, or running. Of his Waldorf education, he says: “It prepared me to tackle life in many ways, by giving me a capacity for creative thinking applied to conventional problems, and a sense of balance. I think about history dynamically, making unexpected connections and arguments, and my Waldorf experience is vital to my thought process.”
Victoria Frechette ‘17
Victoria is working on a degree in archaeology with a concentration in Egyptology from SUNY Potsdam. Her career goals are to become an Egyptologist and work either in the field, or in a museum, preferably the Museum of Cairo. She also plan to travel around the world, as well as write non-fiction books and/or historical fiction.
“Waldorf gave me the skills to not only talk to people on a more scholarly basis, but to also be more independent and learn trade skills that better prepared me for the real world. I took a gap year in between graduating from WSSS and going to SUNY Potsdam. I have been studying 3 languages; Arabic, French, and Polish. I have also been traveling around the world and meeting new people and making connections. I’ve been volunteering weekly at the NYS Museum in Albany, NY, and just focusing on garnering a better understanding of myself through, meditation, yoga teacher training, and lots of reading.”
Camille Grec '03
Camille lives locally with her wife, Naiya, and delightful daughter, Kaiden Wren. She is a licensed creative arts therapist and certified hypnotherapist, and serves the community from her psychotherapy and hypnosis practice in downtown Saratoga Springs. Upon graduating from WSSS, she attended Marlboro College in Vermont where she studied the intersection between phenomenology and mapmaking, completing her BA in Visual Arts in 2006. After spending some years traveling throughout the world, in 2014 she earned her MA in Art Therapy/Counseling from Southwestern College, a consciousness-based graduate school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She returned home and began her private practice in 2015, and in 2017 she co-founded C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting art-making and the creative process as a vehicle for personal growth, communication, and social change, with locations in Saratoga and Schenectady. She completed her clinical hypnotherapy training in 2018, and is passionate about weaving together the modalities of art therapy, sandtray therapy, past life regression, and hypnotherapy. She continues to make art and explores themes of alchemy, healing, and consciousness through map-making and sacred geometry.
Camille says her Waldorf education supported her self-confidence, resilience, and diligence: “Becoming a part of the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs (then Springhill Waldorf School) was a turning point in my life. It gave me structure and space to constructively express myself, and allowed me to recalibrate my sense of self in the world. With gratitude, I remain deeply rooted in the community.”
Talara Wait Hedgpeth ‘01
Talara received her bachelors in athletic training and kinesiology Kansas State university, an associates in nursing from Albany Memorial School of Nursing and her bachelors and masters in nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner from SUNY Polytechnical Institute. She is a family nurse practitioner at Saratoga Hospital. “(Waldorf) developed my ability to be a well-rounded individual who can take any situation and make something out of it.”
Katie C. Lewis, PhD ‘03
Katie attended Eugene Lang College and earned her BA in Liberal Arts from the New School in 2009. She earned an MA in Psychology from Long Island University-Brooklyn (LIU-Brooklyn) in 2010 and a PhD in Clinical Psychology from LIU-Brooklyn in 2014. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Albany Medical Center in 2015. She currently working as a Research Psychologist specializing in suicide prevention at the Austen Riggs Center, a small psychiatric residential hospital that is ranked in the top 10 hospitals for psychiatry in the United States. She also runs a small private psychotherapy and psychological assessment practice. In her researcher role she frequently presents her work nationally and publishes in peer-reviewed journals and her research has received grant funding support from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and other foundations. She also coordinates the hospital's Grand Rounds program, runs an undergraduate student research internship program, and often is invited to speak at school and parenting events about suicide prevention. “(Waldorf) inspired a lifelong love of learning, and the ability to think critically and creatively. The educational model prepared me for independent learning and collaboration with peers and faculty that I found particularly useful in graduate school and beyond. The education was useful and continues to be useful to me in countless ways. My husband and I are excited to have our daughter enrolled in the WSSS kindergarten program this year!”
Evan Mercier ‘13
Evan graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2017 with a BA in outdoor leadership. He is currently an arborist and plans to pursue adventure and wilderness photography in the future. Evan is currently working on a documentary combining cliff side ecology and rock climbing to bring awareness to cliff side ecology by highlighting two women doing the Linville Crusher in North Carolina. The film highlights these women who are both conservationists/ cliff side ecologists as the complete a six-rock climb connected by 15 miles of trail running in one day to bring awareness to these fragile ecosystems. "Waldorf set me up really well to go out in the world and make connections. It is amazing what just that skill has helped me achieve! It also taught me to seek what you are passionate about and solve the problems you find along the way one step at a time until you achieve your goals.
Michael Mina (attended 1999-2000)
Michael received a BA in bioengineering and global health from Dartmouth College and his MD and PhD in infectious disease dynamics and vaccine research from Emory University. He also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Princeton University in mathematical modeling of infectious diseases and a medical residency in clinical pathology at Harvard Medical School. In 2015, he was the lead author on a study on the association of measles vaccination with lower mortality from other childhood infections. He is currently a physician in clinical pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School & Asst. Professor, Dept. of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health (Starting July 2019). Michael started and ran an NGO in Nicaragua that was focused on getting clean water to communities by teaching them how to create chlorine out of table salt, water and solar power (via basic hydrolysis -- something he credits Michael D'Aleo for teaching him at WSSS!). Michael was at one point a Buddhist Monk in Sri Lanka and also started an infectious disease summer institute for high school students at Emory University and the CDC, which he recommends to current high school students; and enjoys many artistic hobbies, which he also credits to WSSS and former teacher Michael Klein. “Waldorf Education helped reinforce that I can question what is believed to be known. I was always curious, but for me, Waldorf Education offered a new window and vantage through which to approach asking questions... from the bottom up. It made being curious even more fun and exciting.”
Ruby Ostrow ‘17
Upon graduating from WSSS, Ruby traveled around southeast Asia and Eastern Europe for 5 months and is currently attending Bard College. “(Waldorf) gave me knowledge of my love of math and an ability to look at subjects in a holistic way.”
Galen (Tschannen) Passen ‘09
Galen received a Bachelors of Individualized Arts from Goddard College and is a musician and composer. He studied North Indian classical music in New Delhi for 8 years. How did Waldorf education prepare you for your current career path? “By nurturing my creativity.”
Carl Penk ‘09 and Alanna (Rice) Penk
Carl and Alanna live in New Zealand and run a charity based non-profit that studies psychology and anthropology. Carl also works in marketing and as a product specialist in the New Zealand marine industry. The couple has also lived and worked in Montana and Wisconsin. From Carl: “Waldorf education helped provide a foundation of critical thinking which has assisted me in expanding my world view (vision of what life can become), thus allowing for fewer imaginative limitations when in pursuit of happiness and purpose. We both decided independently to circumnavigate college unless absolutely necessary, and so far we've found no professional limitations in taking that route. We're two happy Waldorf kids.”
Darian Rodriguez (attended 2012-2014)
Darian is currently a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual and lives in Niskayuna, NY. Of her years at Waldorf, Darian says "Waldorf did a great job in preparing me to express my own thoughts. This has been a huge strength when working with clients." She has also traveled extensively overseas and across the country.
Soraya Sophia-Blaise ‘12
Soraya is living in Poughkeepsie and graduated from Stetson University in December 2018 with a Bachelor in Psychology. She plans to pursue her doctorate in clinical or forensic psychology. Soraya was one of the chartering members of a chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, the first greek letter fraternity for women and was the first Chief Panhellenic Officer for her chapter. She has also worked in her university's Office of Admissions as an Operations Assistant. She will present her undergraduate senior research titled "The Effects of Anime on Caucasian, Asian, and Black Women" at the CEPO undergraduate poster session in Jacksonville, FL in March 2019. "I would not have been as prepared for senior research if not for senior project at WSSS, especially since I did a body image project in 12th grade," says Soraya. "Waldorf education fostered my independence and my empathy for others. For psychologists, both independence and empathy are crucial elements in order to succeed in the field.”
Sierra received her BA from Clemson University, her MA from University of North Carolina, Wilmington and a PhD from University of New Orleans. She is currently in a post-doc position for psychology and am working towards being licensed as a psychologist. “(Waldorf) gave me a first-hand experience of how education can be sensitive to child development.”