Taft Voices

Tafties come from all walks of life, each with a story that fascinates and inspires. Meet some of our students, faculty, and alumni here.

Olympic Mettle

Craig Reistad ’80

At the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, Craig Reistad served as Olympic security coordinator for the U.S. contingent of athletes, staff, media, and dignitaries. Reistad was there for a nearly two-year assignment with the Diplomatic Security Service.

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From On the Ice to On Air

AJ Mleczko ’93

Former Olympic gold medalist AJ Mleczko had her fifth assignment as NBC’s women’s hockey analyst at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics for her post-playing broadcasting career, which started in 2006. In May 2018, she also became the first female broadcaster to call an NHL playoff game from the booth.

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A Business in Bloom

Evelyn Barata Lee ’75

Evelyn Barata Lee transformed her Southport, CT, property into a fresh-cut flower garden that produces about 45,000 flowers a year. Since 2011, her business has grown to include a small retail cottage, wholesale accounts, weddings and events, workshops and presentations, and a local flower delivery subscription service.

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The Digital Architect

Clarence Kwei ’91

Clarence Kwei is VP of product and engineering at Univision Communications Inc., where he oversees product and technical strategy across the company’s digital platforms for web, mobile, and television. If you’ve been on websites owned by the media brands Meredith, Time Inc., Condé Nast, or Univision, you’ve seen Kwei’s website development work.

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Big IT, Big Impact

Marina Martin '03

After serving as the chief technology officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Marina Martin moved to a digital services company that restores complex systems to service. Her true passion, though, is finding ways to make the nation's complex foster care system function safely and efficiently to minimize the time children spend in foster care.

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Coming to Netflix

Dennis Liu '02

Netflix has ordered a 10-episode series of the sci-fi family drama called Raising Dion, based on Dennis Liu's short film and comic book of the same name. A graduate of NYU's Tisch School for the Arts, Liu has spent much of the last 10 years directing commercials and music videos for a variety of artists.

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Teaching with a Worldview

Adam Yonkers '89

Adam Yonkers '89 says that making a huge career change in his early-30s freed him to take on a career that feeds his soul. He went from corporate communications—marketing and public relations at a big corporate law firm—to teaching U.S. history and foreign policy to high schoolers at Palo Alto Unified in California.

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Go Think...About Retail

Katie Maxey Sorrentino ’85

Ever wonder how retailers seem to know what you want to buy before you do? Mining data about our likes and dislikes to help perfect the relationship with consumers is what Go Think!, the company of Katie Maxey Sorrentino ’85, is doing to help guide retailers across the nation.

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Being the Change

Mihir Nayar '19

Mihir Nayar '19 witnessed the effects of poor nutrition on learning during his summer in India. His recent win at a pitch competition will help him do something about it.

  • Admissions
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Pumped Up By Renewables

Harrison Clay ’92

Early in his career, Harrison Clay ’92 began thinking about methane as a solution to the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and a way to reduce greenhouse gases. Read about Clay’s role as BP’s vice president of strategic development, global environmental products, and his work in biogas and biomethane project development.

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Following the Money

Simone Foxman ’07

As an investing reporter for Bloomberg, Simone Foxman’s beat specific to the finance industry allows her to “uncover stories that the public deserves to hear,” she says. Read about her role as a journalist that allows her to be part of conversations happening at the highest level in the world of finance.

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On Modern Slavery

Klara Skrivankova ’96

In her role at Anti-Slavery International, Klara Skrivankova ’96 works with businesses on tackling forced labor in supply chains. Read more about her efforts to eradicate the modern slavery that reaches, often invisibly, into many aspects of our lives.

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Serving in the Skies

Doug Ellis ’54

After a long career in the textile industry, Doug Ellis ’54 decided it was an ideal time to return to his passion of flying. Ellis is a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, which offers free transportation to patients in need of medical treatment.

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Tap. Book. Dock.

Tyler Kneisel '99

Dockwa, cofounded by Tyler Kneisel ’99, makes reserving boat slips a snap. Since its launch in 2015, tens of thousands of boaters now find, reserve, and pay for moorings in real time, using the award-winning Dockwa platform on their computers or the free mobile app.

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A Slice of Italy in Oyster Bay

Peter Van Der Mije ’98

After working for notable chefs in New York City, Peter Van Der Mije ’98 opened Osteria Leana, a chic, casual Italian restaurant in Oyster Bay on Long Island. He’s established a place that is small, local, and accessible for diners craving a city experience along the North Shore coastline, with easy access to excellent fresh produce and seafood.

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A Healing Counselor

Liila “Lee” Hass ’77

A trained naturopath, yoga instructor, and counselor, Hass works as a high-needs support counselor at Risdon, and her role is to focus on inmates with mental health issues and other disabilities.

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Wineries Counsel

Luisa Bonachea ’00

Luisa Bonachea ’00 combines her legal training with her love of wine in a fulfilling career. Read about her work as an intellectual property attorney based in Napa Valley and serving the wine industry.

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A Q&A with Max Sandvoss ’98 of First Light Farm & Creamery

Max Sandvoss '98

Read about the goat farm and creamery owned by Max Sandvoss ’98 in upstate New York and his transition from actor to experienced farmer and cheesemaker. He and his brother, Trystan, are committed to the entire natural process with grass-fed animals and organic pastures. First Light sells its cheeses at farmers’ markets and to stores and restaurants across six states.

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Four-Wheeled Love Affair

Nick Firestone ’84

Nick Firestone ’84 has loved racing since age 3. At 51, he’s a professional race car driver who has raced among the most acclaimed drivers in the world and has been racing since the late 1980s. Firestone’s niche is go-karts, and he regularly races in the U.S. and internationally.

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A Baker Who Serves

Billy Himmelrich ’82

Since 1999, owner Billy Himmelrich ’82 has been running Old School Bakery in Delray Beach, Florida, and providing bread to top restaurants, hotels, and country clubs in Southeast Florida, along with donating unsold bread to the Palm Beach County Food Bank and helping raise money for hunger relief through events.

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Finding Balance

Andrew Farrier '17
Hockey Captain, Student Leader

 

Andrew Farrier came to Taft from a much larger school near his home in Canada. What he found is that the strength of a community does not lie in its numbers.

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Rocket Woman

Jane Kinney '06 
Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineer


When Jane Kinney ’06 was five she knew she wanted to be involved in aerospace. Today, her aspirations have become a reality.

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