Category Archives: Alumni Spotlight

IS BESS students talk ponds at conferences

Christian McIntosh, a BESS scholar and a Fall 15 Inland Ponds Research Class student, recently presented the group’s work at the Abaco Science Alliance Conference.  This conference is a biannual event hosted by Friends of the Environment, where Christian is currently interning.  The conference invites scientists to present their work and findings to fellow scientists, as well as the local community and school groups.  Christian talked with passion about the unique life he found in the ponds of Eleuthera during his research class.

Christian McIntosh presenting at the Abaco Science Alliance Conference

Exciting news just in – last week Andrieka Burrows, fellow BESS scholar and Fall 15 Island School student, had her abstract accepted to present more ponds research at the Bahamas Natural History Conference this March. The goal of the conference is to inspire new avenues of research and cooperation across disciplines while highlighting the benefits of research of the environment, economy and human society of The Bahamas.  We are sure Andrieka will do an excellent job and create more interest and support for the conservation of these understudied and fragile systems.

Andrieka Burrows at work collecting data on inland ponds

We are very proud of our young scientists, Christian and Andrieka, and hope this is the start of not only the protection of anchialine systems, but the beginning of long careers in the conservation of The Bahamas’ natural resources.

If you would like to find out more about the Island School research, check out the posters published online by the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.

Island School students in the field assessing a pond and the life within

Alumni Spotlight: Spencer Elliot (Sp’09)


Spencer Elliot (pictured right) has been busy since he attended the Spring 2009 semester of The Island School. Spencer enrolled at Michigan State University and played football there through the end of his sophomore year. After sustaining an injury, he went abroad to Cape Town during the fall of his junior year and interned with a non-profit organization called Sporting Chance. The goal of Sporting Chance was to “provide an opportunity for impoverished youth to have an option to play sports. They also hosted coaching clinics in more affluent areas, but their work in the Townships (or “shanty towns” as my high school text book referred to them) was the cornerstone of their mission”. Spencer is an advertising major so, he spent his time with Sporting Chance crisscrossing all over Cape Town documenting “everything I saw. I went to everything from coaching clinics, to charity events, to school gym classes. I would then turn my footage into promotional videos that Sporting Chance could use to show their sponsors what they were doing. My internship experience allowed me to see Cape Town in its entirety. I saw the beautiful, white beaches with pent house apartments, I saw the tin shacks families live in with no running water and everything in between”. As time passed Spencer realized that there was a true homelessness epidemic in Cape Town, particularly among the youth. After just one month on the job in Cape Town, “I sent a Facebook message to my mom telling her that I couldn’t come home for my spring semester, I had fallen in love with Cape Town and felt like there was more I was supposed to do while I was there. She told me that she supported my decision, but it was up to me to find a way to put a roof over my head and work. I started researching non-profits in the Cape Town area, but it didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to do to something with street children. I found The Homestead, contacted Paul and the rest is history. Bwatts and I stayed in a 1 bedroom studio apartment smaller than a dorm room and payed $200 dollars per month”.

Bwatts (pictured left above) and Spencer first met in the 8th grade as they played on the same football team together. Their relationship was cordial but certainly never a formal friendship until their senior year in high school. Spencer says he will never forget the moment their friendship began, he was “walking outside of our school and I heard someone digging around in a dumpster. All of a sudden Bwatts stuck his head up and I was shocked. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was searching for bottle caps for coke rewards. Gosh…I’ll never forget it. A couple weeks later, we had the first day of our Media Broadcasting class. The class which aired the school news every day. Our teacher Mrs. Hamersma told us we had to pick a partner to work with throughout the class. I didn’t really know why, but as soon as she said that I knew I wanted this kid who was searching for coke rewards in a dumpster to be my partner. I asked him and he was kinda caught off guard. I was too I guess. The whole thing came from left field really. But luckily he said yes and the rest is history. We’ve been working together ever since” but working for The Homestead is by far the largest project they have ever done together as a team. For a behind the scenes clip covering this moment, look here

In Spencer’s eyes, what makes Cape Town’s current situation so alarming is the number of homeless children on the streets. The Homestead is a non-profit organization based within the greater Cape Town area that provides a chance for homeless kids to receive an education, a team of supportive adults and most importantly a home to boys that would otherwise be homeless. Spencer and his friend Bwatts are currently attempting to raise $50,000 for the benefit of The Homestead. They arrived at that goal after “talking with Paul Hooper, the director of the Homestead. He told us that it cost them on average $1,000 dollars to support one kid for one year. That’s including their tuition fees, housing, food, everything”. They arrived at that number because it would provide total at The Homestead for 50 kids that were previously on the street. To raise this money, Spence and Bwatts have created a feature length documentary which launched yesterday here.  The documentary they have created “dives into the world of what life at the homestead is like, the work they are doing, the boys stories, the staff members and we tried to integrate some things that will allow people to get a feel for what it was like for two 20 year old best friends to be in Cape Town chasing a dream. We put a priority on trying to make the Documentary as upbeat and interactive as possible. We want the viewer to feel like they are standing there next to us experiencing The Homestead for themselves”.

cape town

Spencer’s decision to work in Cape Town was influenced by his time at The Island School back in 2009. It was his first time away from home for an extended period, and his first time experiencing the wonders of a completely different world. Immersing himself “in a new community where I didn’t know a soul at such a young age has helped form me into the man I am today”. As a future advertising major, Spencer loved “interviewing locals and hearing their perspectives. Island School remains a turning point in my life where I made a decision about the person I wanted to consciously try to be”.

To conclude, Spencer has a couple shout outs that he would like to make sure are heard. The first goes out to “my entire semester first off. I think about Spring ’09 and the legendary faculty we had regularly. I have the glass window tattooed on my left arm for a reason. Because Island School Spring 09 changed my life and I’m forever grateful”. More specifically, he would like to thank former faculty member Andrew “Fieldy” Fields and fellow student Latario “Tario” Moxey. Fieldy was inspirational to Spencer, he describes there as simply being “a goodness about him that was infectious. I trusted him and that was a big deal for me”. Then, Spencer refers to Tario as “one of the most important people I’ve met in my entire life. We had more important talks than I’ve probably had with anyone and I will always be thankful that we were able to meet”.

All of us at The Island School wish Spencer nothing but the best in his efforts to raise money for The Homestead. For additional information on what Spencer and Bwatts are up to, check out their Crowdrise campaign page here.

Alumni Spotlight Gap Year Edition: Phoebe Colvin-Oehmig (F’15)


A first for the Alumni Spotlight column, Phoebe Colvin-Oehmig recently returned home after attending the Fall 2015 Gap Year program at The Island School. She graduated from Waynflete in Portland, Maine and had been inspired to study plastics since she first read an inscribed copy of Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns at the age of 13. Her interests were only furthered during her studies at Waynflete and so when given the chance to study plastics during her nine weeks at The Island School, Phoebe jumped at the opportunity. Inspired by what she experienced and learned during her time on campus at The Island School, Phoebe returned home and wrote the following about what she has accomplished at home and what she will be up to in the near future:

With my new knowledge, I knew I needed to do something. I returned home to Maine with a mission to eliminate Styrofoam and plastic bags in Brunswick. I joined “Bring Your Own Bag Midcoast,” a local grassroots environmental advocacy group whose mission is to promote reusable bags and containers in Midcoast Maine. In an effort to raise awareness and to educate the public, I began writing letters to newspaper editors in which I highlighted the equally hazardous environmental effects of both paper and plastic bags, as well as the health risks involved with plastic. Not only are plastics harmful to Maine’s seafood industry by causing premature deaths of marine animals by clogging their digestive systems, they also poison our seafood. Plastics act like sponges, soaking up toxins in the ocean. These, toxins, called Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), enter marine animals when they ingest micro plastics. These toxins, including DDT, dioxins and other pesticides, reside in their tissues. When a fish swallows plastics, and a lobster eats that fish, and a lobster-man catches the lobster, and we consume the lobster, we eat not just the meat of the lobster, but all the toxins residing in the lobster’s tissue from the plastic the fish ate.plastic

Plastics picked up after a trawl

While people seem to better understand the hazards of plastic bags, paper bags seem environmentally benign. However, the reality is paper bags are just as environmentally damaging. Over its lifetime, one paper bag produces 70% more greenhouse gas emissions and 50 times more water pollutants than a plastic bag, increasing atmospheric acidification and ozone depletion. Paper bags also leave a greater carbon footprint than plastic; it takes the same amount of fuel to ship eight plastic bags as one paper bag. As a local grocery chain stated, “It takes us six deliveries of paper to bring the same number of bags to stores as when we use plastic, with all the fuel use and emissions that go along with that. The production of paper had 4 times the energy and global warming implications of plastic.”plastic 2Microplastics in a sieve

At a December Brunswick Town Council meeting, our group, Bring Your Own Bag Midcoast, proposed an ordinance to ban Styrofoam. The council room was overflowing with supporters for a Styrofoam ban as we presented the environmental and health issues caused by Styrofoam and showed the minimal cost difference between Styrofoam products and other alternatives. After several testimonies, the members of the Town Council unanimously voted to begin the process of banning Styrofoam. Next on our agenda is to implement a five-cent fee on paper and plastic bags in stores with greater than two percent food sales in order to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags. This plan would copy other bag ordinances, which have been deemed successful. However, with publicity come detractors. I have had to rebut press written in opposition to my efforts. But I was also contacted by the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM), which offered to fund our mission—further evidence that ripples spread. In addition to writing newspaper articles and blog pieces for my high school and NRCM, I have filmed a public service announcement promoting reusable bags, which will soon air on a local television channel. I plan to major in environmental studies and continue advocacy as I continue my education.

phoebe 2Phoebe speaking at her local town council meeting

I will be returning this spring to the Cape Eleuthera Institute as an intern for the Flats Conservation and Ecology team to continue researching marine plastics. I stepped away from comfort this year, from my familiar lifestyle and the expected path from high school into college. I learned to consider outside myself, to live sustainably for the future, to look globally but also to know that action at the local level can bring about real change.


Alumni Spotlight: Krissy Truesdale (F’13)

Wellesly High School Earth Day Table

Island School Alumna Krissy Truesdale (pictured right) from the F’13 Island School semester has been working tirelessly to bring solar power to the East Coast since before her time on campus. She is the founder and CEO of a novel charity called Solar for Our Superheroes or S4OS for short. The mission of S4OS, as can be found on their Facebook page, reads as follows: “Solar for Our Superheroes is a nonprofit organization  thanking local leaders such as veterans, teachers, firefighters, and police officers with solar energy for their homes. In doing so, we are able to thank our heroes, bring together communities, and educate about renewable energy options in our MA neighborhoods”. Krissy’s inspiration for her project goes back to her childhood. She has always “been passionate about wildlife and nature. My childhood consisted of me running around in the New England forests with my best friends, making up adventures with magic and dragons, adventures in which I would always be the hero coming in to save the day”. Krissy was hooked on the concept of heroes but also of the environment. She joined her high school’s Environmental Action Committee which encouraged her to believe that she could make a positive difference. At one of the meetings with her school’s program, Krissy met a girl from Arizona who was “chatting up about solar energy in her state. I made a comment about it was too bad that solar didn’t work in New England and she was taken aback; we have sunlight, why wouldn’t it work? We did some research and turns out it would work, and very well, but since no one had seen it around to prove that it worked here, most people assumed otherwise. It was a cycle of inaction.” Krissy set out to break that “cycle of inaction” and struck upon inspiration for her charity in her grandfather who was a firefighter, plumber, electrician and firehouse cook all at the same time simply to pay the bills. Other members of her family have served in the Navy, ROTC or as teachers in schools so Krissy always had a profound appreciation for her family and how they had found ways of dedicating themselves to service on behalf of the community.  To Krissy, “giving solar panels to these people seemed to be a perfect solution to thank them and save them money, while also creating the good examples of renewable energy that we need.”

2015 Board meeting

Krissy credits The Island School for teaching her how to manage a team, how to take criticism and most importantly how to move on from a failure. She learned not to give up when an idea or a presentation turned out poorly and instead how to adapt. For Krissy, attending The Island School “solidified my passion and direction for a life of activism”. She still keeps her letters from her kayak group taped to her mirror in her college dorm and uses them to motivate herself. She also has the guiding hand of our own Christian Henry on the Board of Directors for S4OS where he provides feedback and support.

Recently, S4OS achieved official 501c3 status meaning it is a recognized charity. This, along with the fact that Krissy has found the first hero she will be giving solar panels to, a partnership with The Boston Solar Company and the hiring of her first five interns means that she is well on her way to success. Krissy is now looking to provide solar panels to as many heroes as she can find with the eventual goal of spreading the transition to renewable energy throughout all of New England. Best of luck to you Krissy! All of us here at The Island School are rooting for you!



Alumni Spotlight Drew Ginsberg (Su’15)


Island School alum Drew Ginsberg (pictured left) of the recently graduated Summer 2015 semester has been working to make a difference in extraordinary ways in his community. Through his family’s involvement with a rehabilitation hospital, he found out that there were specialty tricycles being custom built for children who couldn’t otherwise ride bikes or trykes on their own. For these kids, normally restricted to motorized equipment to be mobile, having their own way of getting around is an important symbol of freedom and independence. One catch: each tryke was unusually expensive, and there was a waiting list of over 2 dozen young people in need. Drew stepped in, undeterred by the challenge, and got his friends, family, and community organized around this effort. Drew first formalized his efforts to help young people when he was 13 and decided to use his Bar Mitzvah project as his platform to raise the money for the first tryke he ever donated.


Island School founder Chris Maxey recently attended the presentation of the very last tryke that Drew’s fundraising efforts were able to secure for the final family on his waiting list.  The ceremony took place in Salem New Hampshire at the Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital. Drew is now reaching out to other families in need – and The Island School is proud to celebrate his dedication to making a real difference for his community. More information about Drew’s project can be found here including a list of his awards and recognitions relating to the project. Most recently on that list is a letter from the US House of Representatives recognizing his efforts! Congratulations Drew! We at The Island School look forward to seeing the progress you make in the future.


IM001Margaux Burnham, an alumna from the Fall 2010 semester is currently a junior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has recently completed a semester abroad with the SEA Semester program. Margaux’s program included five weeks spent on the Woods Hole campus in Cape Cod. She then spent the rest of her term sailing from Barcelona to Majorca, the Straits of Gibraltar, Madeira the Canary Islands and Cadiz, Spain. Participants in her program included herself and 13 other college students. Every student on the program takes three core classes plus two electives. One of Margaux’s classes was focused on the concept of sense of place, very similar to some of the learning conducted at The Island School.

IM002The actual sailing aspect of SEA Semester turned out to be very similar to The Island School’s new sailing program. Margaux and the other students were expected to take turns manning watches at night as well as various duties during the day doing everything up to and including navigating and steering. The program constantly pushed Margaux outside of her mental and physical comfort zones, especially while at sea and battling the effects of seasickness while still needing to be a productive and effective member of the team. Margaux wants to give a shoutout to her Fall 2010 semester and encourages anyone in college who is interested in a non-traditional semester abroad program to consider taking a look at SEA semester


Abby Gordon S’14 Returns as a Communications Intern

Looking back on my time as an Island School student, the question everyone asked was “will it be hard to leave this place and go back home?”  Although I met some of the most interesting people, grew immensely as an individual and became part of such a powerful community, I wasn’t sad to leave. I never understood why that was until I came back two years later.

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I’ve learned that once you’ve been part of the Island School in one capacity or another, it never leaves you. The elements of this place have a subtle way of weaving into your life in everything you do. Inside I knew I’d always be back and two years later I am back as part of my gap year!

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For the first four months of my gap year (August-December) I am working at the Island School as a communications intern.  Working along with the communications team, I take photos of students and the various CEI research teams, as well as make videos to promote the goals of the School. I’m gaining incredible experience from this position and it’s fantastic being part of this community once again. Everyday I’m energized by the work I do and the people I’m around, which is sometimes a rare thing to find in a job.

Following my departure from the Island School in December, I am heading to Kauai, Hawaii for two weeks to travel and pursue photography opportunities. I am hoping the two weeks can be extended depending on what opportunities emerge.

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In early February I travel to Oxford, England to begin my internship with the Children’s Radio Foundation, which promotes radio programming by and for youth in many different African countries.  I will spend 3 months with the Foundation and I will be photographing local projects and working as a member of their communications team.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Once summer comes, I’ll be doing some solo backpacking around the UK for a few weeks before heading to Western Europe to backpack various countries from Norway to Greece. Come fall 2016 my adventures will head to the United States where I will be attending Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Undecided on my major, I’m keeping it broad and looking into anthropology, photography and journalism.

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Needing a break from traditional schooling, I am fortunate to have time to work on my own growth within the greater world. I’m taking a gap year because I believe in the power of travel, the value of interacting with humans outside of one’s bubble, and the importance of supporting a community that is making the world better.  I know that for myself to grow as a person, I need to delve deeper into new places and experiences. Every day is a happy adventure and I truly have found my passion back here!

IS Alumni Back on the Cape this Summer

We want to welcome back all of The Island School alumni who have returned to Cape Eleuthera and giving back this summer!



Griffin Hunt & Tori Suslovitch, Fall 2011
Griffin Hunt & Tori Suslovitch, Fall 2011

This summer, Griffin Hunt (F’11) is working as a Summer Term Alumni Mentor at The Island School. He is co–leading the Tourism and Development unit, a course which explores the history of Eleuthera and the underlying socio–economic factors that have impacted its development through two–night down–island trips and participation in relevant CEI research. Specifically, students will be exposed to political philosophy, ethnography, and tourism practices, along with two conservation–oriented field days with CEI researchers. In college, Griffin is pursuing a double major in Public Policy & Law and Philosophy. In addition to teaching the T&D unit, Griffin serves as an advisor to a group of students and an EMT and is co–head of the Boys Dorm. This is Griffin’s third summer at The Island School and he is psyched to spend the term with a remarkable faculty team and 50 passionate students.  

Summer Term alumni Maggie Winchester (Su'11) and Kristin Treat (Su'10)
Summer Term alumni Maggie Winchester (Su’11) and Kristin Treat (Su’10)

Kristin Treat (Su’10) is going to be a senior majoring in Marine Biology at Florida Institute of Technology. She is a shark conservation and research intern this summer at CEI. She is so excited to learn and get field experience during my time here.  Kristin loves traveling, scuba diving, and trying new things. Maggie Winchester (Su’11) is a shark intern from Vermont. She studied abroad in Morocco, and in the spring Maggie will be graduating from the University of New England. She is really excited to be back in Eleuthera and be working with sharks again. Christian Daniell (F’10) is back as an intern with the Shark Research and Conservation program at CEI. He mostly lives in the UK, and I is currently going into his fourth year at Connecticut College. This is Christian’s third time on the island, his first being in 2010 as a student, then in 2012 as an intern. Christian is looking forward to getting out there and tagging some fish and help out in any way he can. Chase Goldston (Su’13) is interning with the Flats team this summer. He is going into his sophomore year at Colby College. Chase is from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland. He is a big Cleveland sports fan and loves dogs and being outdoors. Emilie Geissinger (S’08) is  a summer intern with the Flats Ecology Team.  She graduated from Bates College in 2014.  This past year she taught high school Biology at the Noble and Greenough School. She is very excited to be back in Eleuthera and participating in the awesome research going on here! Emilie plays  water polo with a team in Boston and participates in sprint triathlons for fun. Anna Jenkins (S’12) is in her third year at UC Berkeley and grew up in San Francisco. Anna is back at IS working with the Reef Ecology and Conservation research team and am very passionate about conservation regarding marine life and energy.  Anna’s hobbies include soccer, dance, and generally being outdoors. James Boyce (F’12) is back on Eleuthera and working as an intern in the Boathouse. He spent the first part of the summer on the 5 Gyres sailing expedition from Bermuda to the east coast of the US and is psyched to be back and helping out. Dana Biddle (S’13) is very excited to be back this summer. During her semester, she worked with Jocelyn on the lionfish and lobster research project. She is back working for Jocelyn on the Sustainable Fisheries team. Dana will be a sophomore at the University of Miami next year and is studying Marine Science. Dana Colihan (S’12) is a Reef Ecology and Conservation Research Intern this summer.  She was born and raised in New York City although Dana is currently attending Oberlin College in Ohio. She is an Environmental Studies major and a rising junior. Dana like bagels, fixing/riding bikes, and works at a Living Machine at Oberlin. She is super excited to be be back and to be doing work on sustainable fisheries this summer! 

A big crew of Fall 2010 alumni!
A big crew of Fall 2010 alumni!

Aly Boyce (F’10) is working with the Sea Turtle team for the summer. She is originally from Abaco- just one island north of Eleuthera! Currently, she is a rising senior at UC Berkeley double majoring in Political Science and Environmental Science. She is looking forward to getting to spend time with old friends and getting to meet many more! She also hopes to be able to explore Eleuthera and freedive as much as possible. Brandon Gell (F’10) is currently a rising senior at Middlebury College in Vermont. This summer he is working at CSD working on creating a the framework for a sustainable design competition to be held at The Island School. Brandon is psyched to be back here and is looking forward to catching up with old friends and making many new ones.

Fall 2012 alumni James Boyce and Ryan Schendel
Fall 2012 alumni James Boyce and Ryan Schendel

 Ryan Schendel (F’12) is working as a general systems intern at CSD. He is studying Sustainable Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. His project this summer is to connect the water cisterns underneath CSD with the pipe system throughout Island School Campus and CEI. Tamara Pletzer (S’12) is the aquaponics intern this summer. She is a second year at University of Edinburgh and is studying economics and math but originally hails from Colorado. Tamara loves scuba diving, swimming, among other activities and is looking forward to learning more about the aquaponics system as well as how to create the beds, grow tilapia and try growing different plants in the system! Whit Powel (S’09) is back for her third summer  teaching, advising, and shaping the young minds of Summer Term students.  This summer, she will be teaching the Sustainable Systems unit, advising, co-heading the Girls Dorm, and fulfilling the role of Dean of Students.  Her hometown is Shaker Heights, Ohio and she graduated this spring from Denison University. Catharine Pirie (F’10) will be returning for her second summer working as a Tourism and Development teacher, advisor, and co-head of Girls Dorm for the Summer Term students. She is from Hamilton, Massachusetts and is currently a senior at Hobart and William Smith colleges. Catharine is so excited for yet another amazing and exciting summer here! Tori Suslovitch (F’11) is a rising Senior at the University of Tampa where she studies Biology with minors in Chemistry and Education. This is her first time back on Eleuthera since her semester and she is excited to help teach Marine Ecology for the Summer TermMeaghan Kachadoorian (F’10) is from Connecticut and goes to school in North Carolina. She is really happy to be back and teaching Summer Term for the Tourism & Development and Sustainable Systems units. Katie Gougelet (S’08) is from Hanover, New Hampshire and a recent alumna of Dartmouth College. This is her first summer back to Eleuthera since Spring ’08 and she is excited to be here helping to teach and and get involved with all aspects of the students’ summer experience. Max Maloberti (S’10) is a Biology major and Junior at Dickinson College, PA. He is back teaching the Marine Ecology unit.  Ever since his semester, he has been wanting to come back so he is really excited for this summer.  Liam Macartney (F’13) is back and excited to be working with the Educational Programs team. George Giannos (F’10) is back for his 5th time since his semester working in CSD and helping oversee all of the interns at CEI and CSD this summer. Meagan Gary (F’07) is a Masters student at Florida Atlantic University and this summer/fall she will be comparing the home range and habitat use of different sized immature green turtles at CEI. After graduating from Colorado College where she majored in Biology, Meagan returned to CEI and was the sea turtle research assistant. Mike Cortina (F’02) has been working at CSD for 1.5 years as a Sustainability Teacher. Stanley Burnside (F’07) is a lead educator with CEI’s Educational Programs.

Alumni Spotlight: Katie Romanov (F’05) and Emma Payne (S’10)

Island School connections are everywhere! We recently heard from Fall 2005 IS alumna Katie Romanov and Spring 2010 alumna Emma Payne who are working together on an incredible project–to bring a nonverbal boy a voice!

Emma recently began working for VocaliD which is a start-up that creates personalized synthetic voices for people who can’t speak, so they don’t have to rely on the same limited set of generic, robotic-sounding voices. It’s very common that kids who rely on communication devices to talk often end up having around 5 other kids in their class using the same exact voice as them– it’s not only confusing, but communicating with such a generic, robotic voice hides a huge part of one’s identity.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetKatie emailed the central VocaliD email account, which Emma is in charge of answering, and her story about her student Simon, a nonverbal 5th grade boy from San Francisco immediately made Emma want to do whatever she could to join Katie in helping Simon get his own communication device, communication software, and his own voice. Katie and Emma exchanged many, many emails as they brainstormed how to set up Simon’s Indiegogo Life fundraising campaign, and when Katie connected with VocaliD’s page on Facebook, Emma noticed that they had a mutual friend–The Island School–and they soon we realized that we were both IS alumnae, 5 years apart!

To learn more about Simon and his journey to get a voice, visit Katie’s Indiegogo page and watch this video of Simon in action!

Island School Alumni Class Notes 2015

Our Island School alumni have gone on to do some incredible things since their time with us on Eleuthera. Read below to hear about what some of them are up to now! To submit your own class note, email


Class Agent: Joshua Lichtman

FALL 1999

Class Agent: Lee Taylor


Class Agent: Monique Johnson

Monique Johnson is training for the Spartan Sprint race in a few weeks. It’s an obstacle course race that involves 5+ kilometers and 15+ obstacles.  It’s the closest thing to an Island School run, bike, swim morning workout. Monique says to all her S’00′ers changing the world one day at a time… keep up the good work and she hopes you are enjoying the liberty of life wherever you are in the world! 

FALL 2000

Class Agent: Richard Woodhull


Class Agent: Nina Kumar

FALL 2001

Class Agent: Mary Coleman Farrell

Meg Bunn will be starting an executive MBA program at UVA’s Darden School of Business this coming fall. She met up with Mary Coleman Farrell in NYC in May. Mary Coleman Farrell recently moved to Richmond, VA with her husband and two children. 

SPRING 2002 Continue reading