Tag Archives: faculty


Name: Olivia Gell

Where are you from? New York

Where were you before this? I was studying at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

What brought you to The Island School? A passion for Literature and belief in the impact of experiential education. When I learned about this school I had an immediate desire to become a part of this community composed of individuals with a hunger to both inspire and be inspired by others, as well as grow, be adventurous and expand creativity.

What is your favorite dining hall meal? Soup!

Name one thing that not many people know about you: One of my biggest pet peeves is bad hugs

What is your favorite word? It is a Spanish word- we still need one to capture this moment in English: “Sobremesa”- That moment once a delicious meal shared by wonderful company is finished but the conversation is still flowing endlessly.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Editing is a somewhat similar field, but also Psychology.

What are your top three movies of all time? Caddy Shack, Good Will Hunting & The Kids Are Alright

What songs and/or bands have you been listening to lately? Nujabes, Miles Bonny, Susan Tedeschi, Maxwell– all over the spectrum, I know.

The End of an Era

Yesterday marked an end of an era at The Island School with the departure of the one and only David Miller.  David came to The Island School three years ago with a ton of energy, some quirky expressions and a passion to change young people’s lives.  There is no doubt that every student of David Miller has at least one (if not 20) story that brings a smile and recalls how he helped make their time at Island School invaluable.  David, we cannot thank you enough for all your hard work and dedication over the years and we are sad to see you go!  We wish you the best of luck and expect you to stay in touch and continue to make us all smile and do good work!

–The Island School

Diving In

If you distill all the rules and protocols of scuba diving, there is one fundamental principle: breathe.

Perhaps this seems redundant. On land, the physiological process of taking air into one’s lungs and then expelling it is also pretty essential. Yet when PADI, the Professional Association of Dive Instructors, declares, “always breathe slowly and deeply and continuously,” in their Open Water Manuel, they aren’t kidding around. Even several meters below the surface, divers should never hold their breath. The physical effects of changing depths, caused by tremendous fluctuations in pressure, must be regulated by a continuous cycle of inhalation, exhalation. Failure to do so could lead to arterial air embolism, pneumothorax, mediastinal emphysima, subcutaneous emphysima—conditions whose names alone are enough to scare most divers.

Luckily, I am not scared. Or at least, I am not as nervous as expected. I am a first time diver, but I am learning from a Divemaster who is patient, thorough, and reassuring. I came to The Island School this fall as a Teaching Fellow for the Continue reading

Free-diving with a Loggerhead

I wrote this when we got back from an early morning free-dive last Wednesday. A rare pleasure.

“This morning I dived with a loggerhead. The turtle was missing a chunk of its shell. On its right hand side a shark, I assume, had taken a bite out of its shell and left its flipper intact but withered. We had been diving at Tunnel. I had taken three dives and was concentrating on relaxing under water, minimizing effort without concern for depth, and finding the point at which my buoyancy would become neutral and I would hover in the water column while excerting no effort. I had not yet found that depth. My buddy Continue reading

Ritual, Community and Coming of Age

In his cacique update last night, Peter elegantly described our end of orientation commencement ceremony.  And the poesy he employed for the day could not have been more apt.

To me, last night’s ceremony was an important ritual at a critical point in the semester–the students have just spent the past two weeks getting to know this place and each other.  They kayaked in the Continue reading

What is Education for?

“The truth is that many things on which our future health and prosperity depend are in dire jeapordy: climate stability, the resilience and productivity of natural sustems, the beauty of the natural world, and biological diversity.

It is worth noting that this is not the work of ignorant people. Rather, it is largely the results of work by people with BA’s, BS’s, LLB’s, MBA’s, and PhD’s. Elie Wiesel once made Continue reading

K1 and K2 have returned!

K1 stops on day 1 to learn about red mangroves

Sunday night, as we (K1) sat under the stars, Remo pointed out constellations.  The stars were shining brightly and with a laser pointer, Remo directed us to Orion, Canus Major, Taurus, Ursa Major, and several others.  I’ve lived here for over seven months, but I’ve never spent that much time looking up at the sky.  The students leaned back in their Continue reading