Alumni answer questions about their LWS Experience…..
KATIE SPILLANE 2001
B.A. Asian Studies and International Development, McGill, 2005
Paralegal, Law Office of Yee Ling Poo (NYC)
Current passion/Plans: Training to become a doctor of traditional Chinese Medicine
Most influential educators: Jim Linville, Margi Missling Root and Joanne “Doc” Lasko
Favorite memory: “Tricking Margi (Director of Experiential Education) into hurrying to help someone with a sprained ankle and then creaming her in the face with a chocolate pie.”
LWS INFLUENCE: “The feeling of the bonds that I shared with the people I worked, lived and ate with at LWS is something I strive to build with the people I’ve lived, worked and eaten with since I left LWS. Also, the Foreign Travel Program left its mark on me. Since leaving LWS, I have lived in three foreign countries and traveled in six. I work in a bilingual environment (Note: Katie is fluent in Mandarin) in which I am the only Caucasian and the only native-born American. Of course, the strong academic foundation is something I lean on everyday, especially the ability to think critically and express myself convincingly.”
LIANA GREGORY 2002
B.A. Sociology and Psychology, CU Boulder, 2005
JD, University of Utah,
SJ Quinney College of Law Bar license, Utah State Bar 2009
Owner, Defiant Sports Management
Current passion/Plans: "Founding and operating my own company and building it into a career that combines my love of the outdoors and my legal training.”
Most influential educator: “There were many at LWS, but Mitch Globe had a profound effect on my writing.”
Favorite memory: Riding horseback through the picturesque Utah desert, when we were cowgirls for a week!
LWS INFLUENCE: “Besides the tremendous educational foundation LWS provided, the outdoor program forever shaped my life. I make my living in the outdoor industry and am frequently in the backcountry on skis or on my mountain bike. After college I hiked the entire Appalachian Trail—a four-month backpacking adventure, much of it solo.”
ADAM SMITH 2000
(Middle, With Students in Sikkim)
B.A. History, The Colorado College 2004
M.A. International Educational Development, International Educational Policy, Teachers College,
Columbia University 2010
Current passion/Plan: “Serving students who have been traditionally underserved, whether in an urban setting or in a developing country. I want to establish a nonprofit partnership with an organization to bring an LWS kind of foreign travel to urban students who otherwise would not have an opportunity for that international experience.”
Most influential educators: Joanne “Doc” Lasko, Joe Roberts, Brick Root, Jim Dingle—“to name four of LWS’s amazing educators.”
Favorite memory: “My four foreign trips. They have been a tremendous influence on my career path. The trip to the Maldives was an amazing living and learning experience.”
LWS INFLUENCE: “The experience of knowing my teachers as individuals, not only authority figures, gave me the confidence to deal with people who might otherwise have intimidated me. Most recently, I have noticed that I am no longer nervous during interviews, regardless of the circumstances.”
LEIGH COHEN 2002
B.A. Brandeis University, 2006
London School of Economics, 2004-05
Irving Place Capital
Current passion/Plan: MBA in entrepreneurship so that I can start my own business.
Most influential educators: “Joe Roberts. I recall sitting in on Mr. Roberts' class when I was a prospective student. It gave me comfort to know that LWS faculty interacted with students in a friendly, respectful and engaging manner.”
Favorite memory: “Moving into the dorms my second year and feeling like I was returning home after spending a summer at my parents’ house.”
LWS INFLUENCE: “Living in the dorms helped me learn to be independent. Also, learning how to balance skiing and academics helped me develop valuable time management and organizational skills. The diverse student body taught me how to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures. The entire experience was instrumental in preparing me for college.”
GATES GOODING 2000
University of Vermont
Graduate School, MIT, 2010
Documentary Filmmaker/Urban Planning
What has been your focus so far in life after graduating from LWS?
“After LWS, I enrolled at the University of Vermont, attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts my sophomore year, returned to UVM to earn a B.S. in Geography, made two documentaries about genocide, in Bosnia and in Ecuador, volunteered for Steamboat’s Vision 2030, and this fall, headed to Boston and MIT for a Master’s program in City Planning. Shortly after arriving in Boston, I traveled to Japan with one of my classes to consult with the Japanese regarding that country’s most significant challenge — planning sustainable communities.
"At NYU, I built substantially on my LWS film experience, resulting in two grants, one to make a documentary in Bosnia about Bosnian youth growing up in a post-war society, and a second in Ecuador about the semi-autonomous regions where the country’s indigenous people live. My latest project will premiere in Las Vegas this spring. It depicts the current experience of cross-border communities, caught between the Canadian and U.S. governments as they impose nationalization on those towns as a result of 9/11. They have been militarized in many ways. Each town now has a divisive and troublesome border running through it.
“Rather than urban planning as traditionally conceived, my current course of study is more about environmental issues and sustainability from an international perspective. It is planning with a global focus. It’s like taking the problems presented in Mr. Linville’s class (Advanced Geography) at LWS and coming up with solutions or strategies. I’m most interested in the entrepreneurial angle -- in short, how to save the world and make money!”
How did LWS prepare you for the next stages of life?
“LWS put me on the path I’m on. LWS changed my life forever. The place was small enough, and the nature of the place teaches you that you can go wherever you want to. It inculcates a certain set of values and a sense of the world and our place in it. The LWS experience gives you a healthy world perspective. Others whom I met at UVM and NYU were respectful, even envious, of my high school experience.”