AB ’97 Special Concentration: Creativity in the Arts, cum laude in field
In College: Radcliffe crew coxswain; editor, The Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard ’96-’97; Let’s Go researcher/writer: California and Hawaii, London, Greece and Turkey; Crimson Key Society; First-Year Outdoor Program; Phillips Brooks House Association, started a program teaching ballet at Mission Grammar School in Roxbury; volunteer and coordinator, International Peace Games; Eliot House crew
Post College: Harvard 25th Reunion Subsidy Committee Chair, raising funds to make our 25th Reunion accessible and affordable for our entire class; Harvard College Fund volunteer; 1997 Gift Committee (10th–25th Reunions; Harvard College Fund President’s Associates Donor; marshal, Committee for the Happy Observance of Commencement, 15th, 20th Reunions; Harvard College Alumni interviewer; member, 1636 Loyalty Society; member, Harvard Club of Southern California; member, Harvard Alumni for Climate and the Environment. I love participating in as many Harvard Alumni Association events as I can—in person and on Zoom—and have especially benefited from and recommend the recent panels on climate change. My kids love them, too!
Achievements and Honors:
The greatest achievement and honor of my life is to parent our four children. When I was in college, I knew I wanted to be a mother and hoped I would be able to focus full time on that endeavor. It wasn’t a popular dream job stated by many of our classmates, and there certainly were no recruiters coming to OCS to talk to us about this option. I knew it would not bring the kind of recognition that many of us may have been seeking, but it was, for me, what I wanted most in life. I have always found children to be endlessly interesting, entertaining, capable, and inspiring. Children’s imagination and creativity are innate and limitless, and I believe we as a culture should do all we can—through education and parenting, and sometimes simply getting out of the way—to nurture and encourage the natural curiosity and wonder of our children. I am glad that I have found a way, with my husband, Al, to be a mother of four, and to give my energy to raising them. As a part of raising kids, I have also continued to learn about education. I was homeschooled until fifth grade, created my own concentration at Harvard, and have homeschooled some of our children. I mostly enjoy it, but it also causes the greatest heartache and struggle. It is rewarding and always daunting. And as you know, there is very little recognition for being a parent. So while it may not look like much of an achievement, for me, it has been.
At our graduation, I received the Edward H. Potter Prize in Eliot House. It is awarded every year to one or more students at Eliot House who best fulfill “the great enthusiasm and curiosity for truly eclectic learning exhibited in his lifetime by Edward H. Potter.” I guess because I didn’t think of myself as an award-winning type I always thought of it as “the slightly kooky person’s award.” However, it was an honor to receive the award mostly because I shared it with two people I admire deeply—my blockmate and dear friend Dan Goor and the wonderful Daniel Kim. Kooky, too, perhaps in their own ways, but deserving of any and every award, in my opinion.
I am honored (and amazed) to be nominated to serve as our 25th Reunion chief marshal.
Major Charitable/Other Activities:
For the past 16 years I have devoted my time and energy almost entirely to parenting our four children. The majority of the rest of my efforts go toward charitable work in the areas of environmental health, climate change, art, and education.
Much of my energy goes towards environmental efforts—working with and supporting the work of Natural Resources Defense Council, the Nature Conservancy, and the Center for Environmental Health (CEH).
I am currently working with Alice Waters, with whom we have opened a new restaurant, Lulu, at the Hammer Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles. Beyond sourcing our food from local regenerative farms, the larger mission of the restaurant is to persuade large institutions to source their food from regenerative agriculture as a way to help address the climate crisis and heal our planet. Additionally, our family recently purchased an empty lot next to our home and is in the process of creating an organic urban farm that will help to provide food for hungry people in our community.
Several years ago, with the help of the CEH, I worked hard to rid parks and playing fields in schools and other public places of crumb rubber (used rubber tires). This is a carcinogenic material—unhealthy for our children and the environment—and I was successful in leading teams of people in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, as well as other parts of the country, as we encouraged schools and cities to replace this material with nontoxic alternatives for playing fields.
The last time I was employed as a full-time artist was the year before we started College, when I was a dancer at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. Since retiring as a ballet dancer I have found other forms of artistic expression and delight, among them, filmmaking, writing, growing things, and cooking. Spending time close to things in the natural world sustains me. I take photographs of flowers, plants, and dead things, often very close up. And one fine week of my life, I choreographed a Mumford & Sons music video, “Hopeless Wanderer,” and had an absolute blast.
I also give time and resources to many schools and arts organizations.
Greatest Personal Rewards/Reflections on Harvard:
Being a member of our Harvard community has been both humbling and inspiring since the beginning of my relationship with this wonderful place. You people are amazing, and to be able to live amongst all of you from the fall of 1993 until June of 1997 will always be one of the very best parts of my life. I think often, and especially during this pandemic, about who we would be without one another. I believe we are who we are because we have each other. Like many of you, I count my relationships with our Harvard classmates as among the most formative and important in my life. You have elevated me with your presence and I hope I have done the same for some of you. To continue to know many of you over the years since we graduated means the world to me and I hope to see as many of you as possible at our Reunion in June.
I would be honored to serve as chief marshal for our 25th Reunion. I know I would enjoy it very much. But if you are wondering why in the world my name is on this list, amongst these extraordinary nominees to serve as our 25th Reunion chief marshal, you are not alone. I am wondering the same thing. Mostly, I just can’t wait to see you and your families in the Yard in June.
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