Beaver alumni return to campus to share experiences, advice for parents and students

The Parent Association hosted a panel on January 23 with Beaver alumni to discuss what they were most proud of achieving, how their education at Beaver played a role, and advice for current students and parents.

The panel featured:

  • Joevrose Bourdeau ’07, a legal intern at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers and student at Suffolk Law
  • Janaya Hart ’09, an architectural Designer at Elkus Manfredi Architects
  • Chris Rush ’08, a global education consultant at Education First
  • George Williams ’06, a graduate student at the University of Colorado Boulder

The panelists said they were impressed by the positive changes and educational innovations that are continuing to happen at Beaver.

“Beaver is invested in developing the whole student,” said George Williams ’06. “Students leave Beaver knowing who they are and with a good understanding of what their passions are.”

While at the Beaver, the panelists said they were encouraged to listen, communicate/articulate, and learn how to collaborate with others at — an approach that has well equipped them to deal with today’s ever-changing world. In addition they said successful leaders know how to be patient, persistent, and how to be comfortable outside of their comfort zones, all skills the panelists honed at Beaver.

“I was very involved when I was a student at Beaver,” said Joevrose Bourdeau ’07. “Eventually I had to learn how to be more focused and how to manage my time, which has been a huge benefit to me in the legal/professional world.”

Parents can help prepare their students by encouraging them to explore all of their interests and trying new things – like studying abroad or taking an elective course that’s not required. In addition, the alumni said they felt more prepared than their peers when entering college, especially in the areas of writing and problem solving.

“Having transferred to Beaver as a junior, I did not think of myself as a great student, but I had the opportunity to define what environment determines my success,” said Chris Rush’08. “By the time I went to college I felt much more prepared and was able to translate this knowledge into the work environment.”

Beaver has been the most supportive, encouraging, and safe environment they have experienced, the panelist said, and current students should not take it for granted. They also encouraged current students to pursue their passions early on.

“When [Head of School] Peter Hutton reached out to me to help work with HMFH Architects on the foyer project, I was able to get my first professional experience – which lead to more internships,” said Janaya Hart ’09. “Beaver takes an interest in each student’s individual interests and cultivates it as such.”

Panelists’ bio:

Joevrose Bourdeau ’07 works as a legal intern at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, a Boston-based personal injury law firm, and is a law student at Suffolk University. She graduated from Bates College in 2011 where she majored in anthropology and minored in Chinese and chemistry. Previously, Joevrose worked as a paralegal at the Law Office of Deborah Nowell and at Guerrier & Associates.

Janaya Hart ’09 began her career as an Architectural Designer this past fall at Elkus Manfredi Architects, a full-service design firm providing architecture, master planning, urban design, interior architecture, and workplace consulting. Janaya earned her degree in architecture from Cornell University last spring and previously interned at HMFH Architects, Architecture Research Office, and Kennedy & Violich Architecture, where she assisted in the construction of the iconic wooden archway in Beaver’s main foyer.

Chris Rush ’08 is a global education consultant at Education First, an international organization providing language learning, cultural exchange, academic programs and educational travel around the globe. He graduated from Union College in 2012 with a degree in history and previously worked at Smart Lunches, a venture capital funded food-service startup leveraging electronic commerce to upgrade nutrition at schools in New England.

George Williams ’06 is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. George’s dissertation work argues that pervasive sex-negative culture in the U.S. is a major contributor to the array of negative reproductive health outcomes and associated racial and socioeconomic disparities that have stumped public health efforts in these areas. While at Beaver George served as president of his class for three years, All-School President, and organized students of color at independent schools throughout New England. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta where he majored in Sociology and was Editor-in-Chief of the campus newspaper. His sister, Kasjah, also graduated from Beaver in 2011 and his brother, Kevin, is a current junior.

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