Speakers & Visitors: 2014-15

MAY 2015


Who: Dori Oskowitz ’97
Where: All School Meeting and classes, 5/7
About: Grammy-nominated director Dori Oskowitz ’97 showed some of the music videos and ads he directed at today’s All School Meeting. Dori came back to Beaver as the winner of the 2015 Outstanding Young Alumni Award and to see what Beaver is like today.
Skype Who: Michael Everdell ’09
Where: MS/US classes, 5/5
About: Michael Everdell ’09 pictured teaching Ms. Langwieder’s 6th graders about linguistics. Students got to watch videos on speech, and even got to create their own language.

APRIL 2015

Who: Ryan Villaneuva
Where: US Meeting, 4/28
About: Ryan Villaneuva, co-founder of Best Delegate , which helps people around the world learn more about Model UN. He spoke about his career path and what choices he made to leave the high profile finance world he was in to start his own company built on his passion for Model UN. Presidents of Model UN introduced him at US Meeting.

Who: Skype with Talia Gruber’s ’17 grandmother
Where: Mr. Gould’s class, 4/23
About: Mr. Gould’s History class Skyped with Talia Gruber’s ’17 grandmother about her experience as a Holocaust survivor. Her family was able to escape from Poland to Russia and then resided in Canada.

Who: Skype with Jordan Tucker ’12
Where: Ms. Bergholz’s Advanced Spanish elective, 4/22
About: Students in Ms. Bergholz’s Advanced Spanish Elective, Gender & Society, Skyped with BVR alumna Jordan Tucker ’12. Tucker is currently studying abroad in Spain and the class asked questions about her experience and observations around gender in the country.



Who: Daniel Perruzzi
Where: Ms. Anderson’s Class, 4/14
About: Daniel Perruzzi, principal architect at MPA, talks to Ms. Anderson’s students about his work as well as sustainable development and environmentally-friendly designs. Students are in the process of designing their own homes in class.

Who: Project Bread
Where: US Meeting, 4/14
About: Beaver US students are participating in the Walk for Hunger on May 3. Representatives from Project Bread came to campus to discuss their work to end hunger in Massachusetts and how Beaver raising money will help.

Who: Alex Myers
Where: GSA Summit, 4/11
About: Beaver hosted its 4th annual GSA Summit in which schools from New England attended for a day of workshops and community building around LGBTQ issues, identity, and alliances. The keynote address was given by Alex Myers and set the tone for a truly fantastic event.
Who: Arn Chorn Pond
Where: MS/US Meetings, classes, and workshops, 4/7
About: Arn Chorn-Pond is an internationally-renowned human rights activist, community organizer, and musician. He inspires change through his incredible stories of surviving the Cambodian Khmer Rouge genocide. The Hiatt Center invited him to come speak at MS and US meetings, run workshops, and visit classes in April.


MARCH 2015

Who: Azure Antoinette
Where: MS/US Meetings, classes, and workshops, 3/10-11
About: Beaver had the privilege of having Azure Antoinette on campus presented by the Parent Association and the Hiatt Center. Antoinette called “the Maya Angelou of the Millennial generation”, she is a renowned poet, spoken word artist, and millennial and arts education advocate who explores the ways social media is reshaping humanity.


Who: David Aronson P’18
Where: All School Meeting, 3/5
About: Isabelle Aronson’s ’18 dad came to the All School Meeting to discuss his professional career in design, race cars, and marketing.


Who: BVR Alumni, Alan Bortman ’79 P ’16
Where: Art of Boston class, 2/26
About: Beaver students in the Art of Boston class talked with Alan Bortman ’79 P’16 and his wife, Linda, collectors and sellers of graffiti art, about how the perception of Graffiti have changed over generations. Listen to the podcast of their discussion here.


Who: BVR Alumni, Joevrose Bourdeau ’07, Janaya Hart ’09, Christopher Rush ’08, and George Williams ’06 
Where: Parent Association Assembly, 1/23
About: The panelists discussed how they were impressed by the positive changes and educational innovations happening at Beaver while it remains committed to the principles that make Beaver such a unique learning community. They offered their thoughts on how Beaver prepared them for their work lives, skills needed to compete in today’s marketplace, and advice for current students and families.

Who: Adam Freedman
Where: 6th grade science class, 1/23
About: Adam Freedman, a civil and environmental engineer at MIT, talked to students about his work as a scientist and helped them investigate the bacteria found on their hands before and after washing with hand sanitizer, soap, and plain warm water. Students will watch the bacteria grow in petri dishes throughout the week.
Who: Skype with Tim Wise
Where: Race, Class, and Identity elective, 1/20
About: Beaver students talked with Tim Wise, anti-racism activist and writer. Students asked questions about why certain stories are not publicized, about terminologies, religious symbolism, and if he thinks that since he is a white anti- racism activist if people listened to him more. He discussed how we can’t let presidents and senators lead the way, we have to do the work.

Skype Who: Skype with students in Egypt
Where: 9th grade History class, 1/15
About: Beaver students talked to Egyptian students about democracy and the media. An interesting discussion arose after Egyptian students asked why America protects Israel and then also about the protests in Ferguson. Beaver students asked a lot of questions about the Egyptian government, if the students felt safe, and about former and current Egyptian presidents.


Skype Who: Skype with students in Afghanistan
Where: 6th grade Humanities classes, 11/18
About: 6th grade Humanities classes read the book “The Breadwinner” which takes place in Afghanistan and centers on Taliban oppressive control and restriction of rights of women in Afghanistan. After studying historical, geographical, cultural, and social issues in Afghanistan, students wrote questions to ask other students about life in Afghanistan. The Skype session was a Q & A with students who attend school in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.


Maura Mendoza Who: Maura Mendoza
Title: Salvadorian musician
Where: Boston Latino elective, 10/29
About: Maura performed songs for the class, and also talked to students about her music and how she uses music in her work with immigrant families in Somerville Public Schools.
Liam Donohue Who: Liam Donohue P’20
Title: Co-founder and managing director, .406 Ventures
Where: Entrepreneurship elective, 10/29
About:  When it comes to backing a startup, Donohue says his first step is determining if the idea addresses a critical pain point, i.e., “Is this company really doing something that’s going to help solve a big problem.” Then, it’s about the people and their passion. “The trick of building a really good company is having 3 or 4 really good people.” To that extent, he encourages students to pursue being entrepreneurs. “I don’t think [the venture side] is where the magic is. The really exciting career path is being on the entrepreneurship side of the equation.” He also shared advice on pitching, including asking the investors about themselves first.
Stephen Ready '97 Who: Stephen Ready ’97
Title: Founder, VCT, INSPIRED
Where: Entrepreneurship elective, 10/23
About: In the late 90s, Ready – along with two Beaver classmates – created a “social network for wealthy people” called VCT. The company experienced several ups and downs (and the dotcom bubble burst) but it ultimately succeeded. However, Ready admits it wasn’t his passion. As a result, in recent years, he’s slowly been phasing himself out of VCT and focusing his energy on a new venture, INSPIRED, whose mission is to “charitize the world”. His advice to students: “You don’t have to figure it all out, but you do have to go all in.”
Raúl Gonzalez III Who: Raúl Gonzalez III
Title: Artist
Where: All School Meeting, 10/23
About: Gonzalez talked to students about his upcoming graphic novel, Lowriders in Space, and shared how he developed his love of art. Born in El Paso, Texas, Gonzalez drew inspiration for the book from his heritage and childhood, which included weekly trips to Mexico to visit his grandparents and cousins. Currently a Somerville resident, Gonzalez is committed to introducing youth to the visual arts.
Related: Nancy Lincoln Gallery Hosts Artist Raul Gonzalez III (2012)
David Gerzof Richard Who: David Gerzof Richard
Title: Founder and President of BIGfish Communications
Where: Entrepreneurship elective, 10/22
About: Richard discussed his different experiences with start-ups and his work at BIGfish Communications. Throughout his career, Richard has focused himself on entrepreneurial marketing, bridging relationships with consumer communities and positioning companies to maximize market and mindshare. Richard is passionate about great design, tech, social media, sports, marketing campaigns, and science. He believes one of the best qualities of an entrepreneur is they “don’t see challenges, they see opportunities.”
John Tirman Who: John Tirman P’17 (@JohnTirman)
Title: Executive Director, Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for International Studies 
Where: Multidisciplinary, Rogers Room, 10/22
About: Tirman, an American political theorist, public intellectual, and foreign policy expert talked to students about US foreign policy in Latin America – past and present – focusing on US-Cuba relations. Students asked questions about the Cuba embargo, the political system in Cuba, drug cartels, Tirman’s personal background and opinions, and more.
Anita Kim Who: Anita Kim
Title: Lobster researchers, New England Aquarium 
Where: MS Science, 10/21
About: Kim joined Ms. McCabe’s science class for the day to talk about lobsters. She talked about the life cycle of the crustacean, how diet impacts the colors of lobsters, her experiments and research work at the NEA, and more. In addition, she brought live juvenile lobsters for students to look at as well as lobster molts.
Michael-Bronner Who: Michael Bronner P’12
Title: Founder, DigitasUpromiseUNREAL
Where: Entrepreneurship elective, 10/15
About: Bronner started his career selling ad space in coupon books as a sophomore in college. Today, he has launched two successful businesses and is re-launching his third. Bronner believes to be a successful entrepreneur you first you need to get real market feedback, second make sure it can make money, and third make sure you have the personal passion and the drive. “You don’t have to have the ‘Big Idea’ [to get started], you just need to have an idea you’re passionate about.”
Who: Michael Hirshland P’15 (@VCMike)
Title: Founder, Resolute Ventures
Where: Entrepreneurship elective, 10/8
About: Hirshland discussed different venture capital investments and how startups can use venture capital money. “The whole point of venture capital is to back great entrepreneurs.” Hirshland got his start in the VC world in a non-traditional way. In the late 90s, Hirshland, a lawyer, worked on the Microsoft Anti-Trust Case, which exposed him to the world of the internet and VCs, and inspired him to change careers. The company he founded in 2011, Resolute Ventures, focuses on seed-stage investments.
Who: William Tucker ’10
Title: Campaign Intern, Coakley for Governor
Where: Upper School Tuesday meeting, 10/7
About: Tucker ’10 talked to US students about the importance of being an actively engaged citizen, discussing his current work on Martha Coakley’s gubernatorial campaign and answering students’ questions. While at Beaver, Tucker was president of the science and engineering club, co-captain of the robotics team, a 7-year member of the jazz band, and senior class president. He graduated from Bowdoin College this past May.
Who: Sonja Spears ’82 P’12, ’10
Title: Adjunct Faculty, Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School; Retired Judge, First City Court of New Orleans
Where: Theories of Justice elective, 10/2
About: Using her experience and her background as a lawyer and judge, Spears (an alumna and former Beaver parents) discussed the practical aspects of the justice system. She explained to students the differences between the civil and the criminal system and shared her personal story. In addition, she led a fascinating debate amongst students about “what makes a criminal”.
Who: Brij Patel
Title: Founder, RentAnAC and Fetch
Where: Entrepreneurship elective, 10/1
About: Patel shared the pitfalls and successes he’s experienced as a young entrepreneur. Out of college, Patel bought an appliance rental company for $2,000 and some free labor. He transformed that company into a successful air conditioner rental business. Then, wanting to move beyond the seasonal, him and his business partner purchased a failing storage company, which they turned into full-service moving and storage business. Fetch participated in the MassChallenge two years in a row.


Who: Cassandria Campbell
Title: Co-founder, Fresh Food Generation
Where: Entrepreneurship elective, 9/24
About: With Fresh Food Generation, Campbell set out to improve access to healthy, affordable, cooked foods in low-income neighborhoods. Her advice to students wanting to start a business? “Pay close attention to the naysayers. They give really good advice. Ask them why you can’t do it and then fix that problem.” She also said she believes it’s the age of entrepreneurship in Boston. “Now is the time to be an entrepreneur. Boston is changing – people want to support your ideas.”
Video call with Daniel Ponton in El Narco Who: Daniel Pontón
Title: Professor of Political Science in Ecuador
Where: Video call in the Spanish elective, El Narco, 9/16
About: Pontón talked to students about the globalization and diversification of criminal activity related to the drug trade, as well as about the shifting power dynamics between Colombian and Mexican cartels. Students asked Pontón questions in Spanish and the conversation ranged from the changing global demand for cocaine to the US foreign policy in Latin America. Read more about Daniel Pontón.
David A. Cort, associate professor of sociology at UMass Amherst Who: David A. Cort
Title: Associate Professor of Sociology at UMass, Amherst
Where: Skype with 9th Grade History class, 9/12
About: Ninth grade history students Skyped with Cort about immigration issues and policies. They will use the interview in a class project. Read more about David A. Cort 
Justin Burke Samson, co-founder Party of Two / Trademark Tarts Who: Justin Burke Samson
Title Co-founder Party of Two, Trademark Tarts, Stacked Donuts
Where: Entrepreneurship elective, 9/10
About: Burke Samson talked to students in the entrepreneurship elective about the roller-coaster ride of starting a business. Although still in its infancy, his company Trademark Tarts has seen significant growth in the past six months – so much so Burke Samson recently left his full-time job to commit himself fully to the endeavor, along with his business partner and professional chef, Stephanie Cmar. The two have combined forces to create the restaurant group, Party of Two. Follow their journey: Party of Two | Trademark Tarts | Stacked Donuts