These class notes originally appeared in the summer 2019 issue of Harker Magazine.
It is with the deepest sadness that we report on the deaths of two of our young alumni.
Jason Yu ’12 passed away in a traffic accident in Seattle on May 6. Jason was involved in swimming, water polo, robotics and more during his three years at the upper school. A celebration of his life was held in Seattle on May 10.
Sandip Nirmel ’17 passed away on May 23 after an extended illness. At Harker Sandip was involved in student council, Model UN, DECA, research, golf, Challenge Success and more. He was attending Harvard University. A memorial was held at Harker’s upper school campus June 22. For complete biographies of Jason and Sandip please visit news.harker.org. Cards may be sent to Kristina Alaniz, alumni director, at The Harker School, 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA, 95129.
Since leaving big law, Tiffany Tuong Vi Duong, has traveled the world to better understand her true passion: advocating for the oceans. She has honed her policy and advocacy skills, immersed herself in field experience (Amazon rainforest, shark tagging, coral restoration), and now is focused on creating real change for the wild places she loves most. See the feature on Tiffany on page 48.
Shabnam Aggarwal was interviewed for a Q&A in The Swadle, a “media platform with a strong feminist lens” from India. Shabnam discusses her book, “Freedom to Fail: Lessons from My Quest for Startup Success.” Some great questions were asked, and some great answers given, about women in technology, first efforts at entrepreneurship and dealing with discrimination in business. Check it out! https:// theswaddle.com/a-chat-with-shabnam- aggarwal-author-of-freedom-tofail- lessons-from-my-quest-for-startupsuccess/
Gabrielle DeMers married Eric Snyder on the beaches of Mexico on April 27, 2019. The couple met in Baltimore, where Gabby is an opera singer. Guests at the wedding included Julia Gitis ’03, Angela (Pullen) Halusic ’03, and Lisa Schwebke ’04. Then, on May 17, Gabby and D.J. Blickenstaff ’09 were given Harker’s inaugural Life in the Arts award. See the box on page 61 for details.
Kristen (Hulberg) Hunsbedt and husband, Mark, welcomed a second baby boy, Cameron Hunsbedt, on October 18, 2018. He joins big brother Andrew, age 2. Kristen and family reside in the Santa Cruz mountains.
Anna Huang married Gergely Svigruha in Budapest, Hungary. Albert Wu ’04 and Siobhan Stevenson ’07 were members of the bridal party, and Natalie Torban ’07 was also in attendance.
Tiffany Liou was awarded the 2019 Radio Television Digital News Foundation Michele Clark Fellowship. This award goes to a young, promising minority professional in television or radio news. Tiffany is currently a news reporter for WFAA in Dallas, Texas.
On May 17, 2019, D.J. Blickenstaff, along with Gabrielle DeMers ’03, was given Harker’s inaugural Life in the Arts award. See the box above for details.
In 2016, Barrett Glasauer co-founded WanderJaunt, which partners with property owners to maximize value for short-term rentals. While working on his electrical engineering/computer science degree at the University of California, Berkeley, he met friends who would later join him at WanderJaunt. He has worked for Palantir Technologies, and also worked at DoorDash with other Harker alumni, including co-founder Andy Fang ’10, David Kastelman ’09, Rohan Chopra ’10 and Kevin Fu ’10. While there, he met his future partners. The team finds properties to update and rent out by searching Trulia, Zillow, Craigslist and Redfin for properties available for rent. The company is growing rapidly and WanderJaunt, like so many companies, is seeking good workers. “We would love to talk to software engineers and data scientists located in SF,” said Barrett. Read all about the company and Barrett’s journey at Harker News:https://wp.me/pOeLQ-9G8.
Candace Silva-Martin reports, “Over the course of this past year, I have experienced many difficult and amazing life changes. Last May I started a new position as a senior consultant data scientist at Deloitte, specializing in machine learning solutions for government clients. In January, I bought a beautiful home in Northern Virginia, and less than a month ago, I got engaged in Portugal to my longtime boyfriend, Matt Stagg. We look forward to starting this next chapter of our lives together!”
Nicole Woods got engaged to Jon Mattox.
Justin Iso won $10,000 for his Christmas cookies on Food Network’s Christmas Cookie Challenge! Justin, a software engineer working on computer imaging, beat out professional bakers. He noted he would love to be a fulltime baker, and it looks like he is off to a great start! Justin, who works in New York City, also has been a sculptor and painter, which he said contributes to his cookie designs. In 2017, he won Best Baking Blog in the World awarded by Saveur Magazine. Check out his baking blog at http://chefiso.com.
Adi Parige reports, “I recently released my debut album under the moniker Dothead. The record is a fusion of psychedelic rock with lyrical contemplations on South Asian identity. While some songs are a reflection of my views on Indian politics and history, others tackle more universal themes of mental health and love through the unique lens of the Hindu mythology. If you’d like to listen, the album is available on Spotify and iTunes!” You can keep up to date on Adi’s journey as Dothead by following him on Instagram at @dothead_tunes.
Zina Jawadi visited the upper school campus in April to address students at a National Honor Society event. Zina is a former president of the Hearing Loss Association of America — California and was recently elected a member of the HLAA national board of directors. She was diagnosed with a hearing impairment at age 8 and, as a middle school student at Harker, began to advocate for the hearing impaired. She continued her advocacy through high school, college and grad school at Stanford. Zina spoke about Harker’s ongoing quest to promote diversity. Read more about her amazing efforts here: http://www.hearinglossca.org/zina-jawadi.
Agata Sorotokin was named a 2019 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for her drive, creativity, intellectual spirit and commitment to the values at the heart of the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. The fellowships support outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants who are pursuing a graduate education in the United States. Agata will be using her fellowship to pursue a master’s degree in music at SUNY Stony Brook. Read her bio here: https://www.pdso-ros.org/meet-the-fellows/agata-sorotokin
Hannah Bollar was recently interviewed by Siggraph, a prestigious international computer graphics organization. Hannah worked at both Cesium and Nvidia as a computer graphics software engineering intern in 2018 and is working on a master’s degree in science, engineering, computer graphics and game technology at the University of Pennsylvania. Read all about her unique path! https://www.siggraph.org/discover/inspiration/member-profiles/hannah-bollar
Cindy Liu received the FrederickEmmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award, which is given to the top 5 percent of engineering seniors at Stanford. After graduating from Stanford with a degree in biomedical computation, she will be pursuing a master’s in advanced computer science at Cambridge University as a Churchill scholar.
Savi Joshi recently led a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $3,000 so she could publish a cookbook, “Keeping it Hot: An Unofficial Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Cookbook.” This epic feat was accomplished from recipes Savi had concocted all in her college dorm kitchenette including classics like mac and cheese, and sugar cookies to more innovative dishes, such as Cheetos bagels and Cheetos-filled macarons.
Nitya Mani was awarded the J. E. Wallace Sterling Award for Scholastic Achievement from Stanford University and was also given an honorable mention for the 2019 Alice T. Schafer Prize for excellence in mathematics by an undergraduate woman.
Mishi Vachev was one of 25 students worldwide chosen as a 2018 American Society of Plant Biologists Conviron Scholar. She received her bachelor’s degree this spring and said, “I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in plant breeding and to specifically work on breeding crops for Third World countries or populations in need of improved agriculture.” You can check out more about Mishi and this wonderful honor in an article from Eckerd College at https://www.eckerd.edu/news/blog/eckerd-senior-accepted-into-plant-biologists-program/
Zarek Drozda recently co-authored an environmental impact report that helped prompt the city of Chicago to pass a resolution committing to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Zarek founded a student-run nonprofit last year at the University of Chicago that focuses on public policy research, named the Paul Douglas Institute. If you have project ideas or want to support its work, please reach out!
Harker’s college counselors visited a series of colleges in New York City and the surrounding area and met up with a trio of Harker alumni, Divya Rajasekharan, Kshithija (KJ) Mulam and Sanjana Marcé, all currently sophomores at Columbia.
Katherine Zhu has been tearing it up in women’s golf at the University of California, Berkeley. She’s been named to the All-Pac 12 team with an honorable mention as a freshman! https://www. instagram.com/p/BwZ88_YFllT/
The annual Grand Reunion was held on Oct. 6, 2018. This gathering honored the 5-, 10- and 15-year reunion markers for the classes of ’03, ’08 and ’13 but was open to and attended by multiple years in between and beyond. Alumni enjoyed music, food, a photo booth, epic time-capsule openings and tours of the newest building additions to campus.
The Class of 2008 held an additional celebration in a December gathering at Doppio Zero in Cupertino, where more than 40 alumni caught up over pizza and laughs!
125th Anniversary Alumni Regional Tours
More than 100 Harker alumni from the classes of 1979-2015 attended events held in New York City and Los Angeles.The last leg of the special anniversary tour will be celebrated in August in San Francisco.
While visiting New York City for the “Harker in New York,” event, Joe Rosenthal, Harker’s executive director of strategic initiatives, enjoyed visits with Howard Tsao ’91 and brothers Dennis Wang ’80 and Alexander Wang ’98. Mr. Rosenthal’s travels continued onto Asia where he attended several different receptions with boarding alumni who had attended the Harker English Language Institute.
This year’s final leg of the annual Keller tour took Butch and Jane Keller back to Southern California and then on to Colorado where they visited alumni from both UCLA and the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Visual arts teacher Pilar Agüero-Esparzaspent the spring break visiting some of her former students currently attending college arts programs or already working in the field on the East Coast. Alumni included Kelsey Chung ’10, Alisa Su ’18, Matthew Ho ‘15, Matt Gehm ‘09, Alexandra Gross ’17, Jeffrey Hsu ’15 and Juhi Gupta ’15.