Students and Alumni Connect for Research, Networking

Friday, November 1, 2019
Michaella Hoehn-Saric ’13 (left) with students

This fall, Mercersburg students have connected with alumni from various decades—both on campus and off—as part of field study, research projects, hands-on learning, and more.

In late October, the Entrepreneurship Springboard class taught by Todd McGuire traveled to the D.C. area to meet with Michaella Hoehn-Saric ’13 of 2U Inc., Lacy Rice ’79 and Dara Vaziri ’10 of Federal Capital Partners, and Alec Harris ’00 of Halo Privacy.

Documentary filmmaker David Ashton ’06 visited Kristen Pixler’s Digital Video class during Family and Alumni Weekend to talk about the craft of film and his work, including his new documentary “The Legacy Sessions.”

Jennifer Nelson ’13 choreographed a piece titled “My Control” for the Fall Dance Concert in early November; she was on campus in September to work with to work with the student dancers and crew; she is also scheduled to set a piece for the end-of-year Spring Dance Concert.

Students in the Parallel Histories course taught by John David Bennett are working on research projects connected to Mercersburg’s history as a school, and have spoken with a number of alumni (including Walter Burgin ’53, Paul Sommerville ’63, Alan Brody ’64, Charlie Guy ’65, John VerStandig ’66, and Clarence Youngs ’68) about their recollections of the 1960s at Mercersburg; this year marks the 55th anniversary of the enrollment of the school’s first African American students.

Parallel Histories students Audrey McGrory ’20, Aba Sankah ’20, Caroline Kranich ’20, and Julia Borger ’20 with John David Bennett (center)

"Usually, the students begin with sketches of stories from our 126-year history,” says Bennett, who also serves as the school’s dean of curricular innovation. “Having the opportunity to fill those in with the memories and perspectives of those who witnessed the chapel walkout or sat in class with Tom Leslie ’68 or live the life of a working boy gives our kids a view at least one degree closer to the key figures and events and times that we’ve yet to fully document. The students are able to weave these interviews into the growing tapestry of our known history, which is an invaluable gift for everyone.”

The connections between alumni and current students will continue throughout the year, including as part of a March 2020 trip to the San Francisco Bay Area offered through the school’s Office of Global Programs. Students on the trip will meet some of the many Mercersburg alumni working in the tech industry and experience behind-the-scenes access to some of the top tech companies in Silicon Valley and the region.