Ruth Bell '84

In 1988, Ruth Bell ’84 set out to do something that had never been done before: sort the City of Seattle’s garbage as well as the State of Washington’s. Dressed in a Tyvek suit, hard hat safety glasses, and boots, she traveled with a crew to landfills and transfer stations in Seattle, Spokane, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and others, and spent all day sorting garbage into 50 different containers, as well as recording what and how much was found and then analyzing the data.

“Now we know how much waste you generate if you are a restaurant versus what you generate as a school,” says Ruth. “Sorting the waste stream was a critical first step to successful recycling in Seattle and throughout the state. It’s messy and tedious work but essential for setting recycling standards and best practices.

Her ability to see that recycling reams of garbage is not an impossible task came from The Northwest School. She credits the Environment Program and its strong message of empowerment. “It was a significant thing to start with your own micro-environment. You got the message that you are empowered to take action and that taking certain actions makes a difference.”

Patrick Campbell ’01

At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Patrick and his fellow chemists are busy creating the next generation of energy storage, new carbon-based materials that can potentially store electrical energy with much higher power and longer lifespan. “We call them supercapacitors,” confirms Patrick. These materials are going to mean you won’t ever have to replace your computer battery, and you’ll be able to charge your electric car in the same time it takes to fill your gas tank.” Patrick is a self-proclaimed “science-oriented kid”, but it was his NWS Upper School years that hooked him on chemistry. “Our classes at NWS tied chemistry into the world around us – it was about understanding everything in nature at a fundamental level.”

After graduating from Northwest, Patrick graduated from Macalester College in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, followed by earning a Ph.D. in 2012 from University of Oregon, Eugene, in Synthetic Organic/Inorganic Chemistry.

Emma Fuller '05

As a fulltime data scientist, Emma Fuller ’05 crunches data to help farmers become better farmers – in other words, more efficient in their operations, more precise with inventory, and ultimately, more profitable. According to Emma, this data-driven approach to farming should lead to better sustainability. She believes we cannot understand the tradeoffs between environmental sustainability and human well-being without more specific data.

Just a few years ago, Emma was at Princeton University, completing her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology, focusing on commercial fisheries. In her words, she was interested in “unpacking” sustainability. She now works at the software company Granular, which applies Silicon Valley technology expertise to the agriculture industry.

Emma’s insight in the farming industry is informed by her personal life. She and her husband, Peter Smuko, own a 15-acre farm on Vashon Island, called Northbourne Farm. Emma credits her years at The Northwest School for setting her on this career path. She says her education expanded her boundaries and pushed her to examine both sides of an issue.

“In Jeff Blair’s class in international affairs, I remember talking about water systems and it struck me how linked social problems are to environmental sustainability,” recalls Emma. “Jeff was so good at playing devil’s advocate and the conversation was much richer.”

Aaron Loux '05

Aaron Loux’s love for dance was born at a young age. He began dancing at the Creative Dance Center as a member of Kaleidoscope, a youth modern dance company, and began his classical training at the Cornish College Preparatory Dance Program. After graduating from Northwest, he studied dance at the Julliard School, in New York, where he earned his B.F.A. While he currently dances with Mark Morris Dance Group, he’s also had experience with The Metropolitan Opera and the Arc Dance Company. Aaron was recently recognized by the New York Times as one of the 10 best performances by a male dancer in 2014 for his work in Morris’s Acis and Galate.

“The Northwest School taught me to express myself clearly, to approach new information with a critical eye and to examine multiples sides of every situation. At Northwest, what made us different from each other was celebrated and enriched the community.”

Dylan Meconis '01

Dylan Meconis ’01 was only a sophomore at Wesleyan University’s College of Letters when a publisher first approached her. Her writing and illustration, which she had been sharing online with other comic artists, caught the attention of the online publisher In short order, her first graphic novel, Bite Me!, debuted to audiences around the world.

“It’s a story about a bunch of incompetent vampires trying to solve the French Revolution,” laughs Dylan. “I read Tale of Two Cities in class at Northwest and combined it with the satire of Ann Rice.”

Since Bite Me!’s release, Dylan has authored and illustrated several projects, including Family Man, a long-running, dramatic, historical fiction graphic novel for adults, published online and in print by Dylan herself; and Queen of the Sea, a middle-grade book aimed at 10-14 year olds, which will be published in print by Abrams’ Comicarts, available in bookstores in late 2018.

Dylan’s talent as a creative writer emerged in early adolescence and she remembers showing Northwest School Humanities teachers Tamara Bunnell and Jeff Blair her sci-fi novellas. In Upper School she took her first cartooning class and began work on Bite Me!, which she submitted as her senior project.

“As a graphic novelist, and you must constantly decide what is the more important visual and how to narrate it successfully, how to create something evocative in a limited space,” testifies Dylan, “I learned that at Northwest."

Maddie Meyers '12

When a crowd of runners is thundering toward the finish line, whether it’s in a state, regional or national race, Maddie Meyers ’12 is often out in front.

As a freshman at the University of Washington, she made the national qualifying team for cross country, was selected to run for the PAC 12 Championship meet in the 1500 meter, and also ran in the NCAA Championships. More recently, she captured her first big collegiate victory of her career, coming in first in the 6000 meter at the Sundodger Invitational cross country race in September 2014. Outdistancing 50 other athletes from across the nation, she crossed the finish line nine seconds ahead, crossing in 20 minutes, 21 seconds.

Maddie first caught the running bug in 6th grade when she was at The Northwest School. As a middle schooler she was required to choose between cross country, soccer, and a variety of other sports. She chose cross country. In addition to effective coaching, Maddie was constantly buoyed by the support of her NWS classmates and teachers. “Everyone at the school was encouraging. Kids would come up and say hi and congratulations—I saw that I had this whole population behind me.”

Youngbin Park '10

Youngbin’s fascination with biology began at a young age (he remembers being hooked at 12 years old) but his interest grew exponentially in high school. “Surgery and emergency medicine are the top two specialties that I feel most passionate about.” Says Youngbin, who is now in his third year at Younsei Medical School in Seoul, Korea. He will finish his degree in 2018.

After graduating from Northwest in 2010, Youngbin attended John Hopkins University, in Baltimore, where he majored in Biology, graduating two semesters early in 2013, with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology. While there, he was a member of a research team that studied neural stem cell migration during development and how it relates to schizophrenia. The research was published in the Cell Stem Cell journal in 2014.

As successful as his research experience was at Johns Hopkins, Youngbin decided his true passion lay with emergency room medicine. “I prefer working with my hands and body rather than sitting down, reading text and lab data,” confirm Youngbin, whose aspiration is to practice medicine at a university hospital in Korea. “Emergency medicine interests me because its goal is to treat patients with acute illnesses and effect immediate results.”

Emmett Shear '01

Emmett Shear ’01 is CEO of Twitch (, a San Francisco-based social network for gamers. Sixty million unique users visit the site every month to watch and interact with more than one million broadcasters who are streaming live video feeds of the games they are playing.

Twitch is actually Emmett’s third startup innovation. After graduating from Yale in 2005 with a degree in Computer Science, he immediately co-founded his first company, Kiko Software, which introduced the first Ajax-based online calendar. After auctioning Kiko on eBay in 2006, Emmett jumped into another startup. This time it was, a website created by Emmett and three colleagues that pioneered live video on the Internet. “We dug into it further and asked users questions about what they cared about and wanted. Then we built a platform that made it easy for them to share videogames – it was the key feature they needed,” says Emmett. Thus, Twitch was born, complete with unique streaming-video technology.

In college, Emmett soaked up computer science skills, but the development of his growth mindset and creative thinking skills began at The Northwest School. “The education I got at Northwest was personally enriching and mind-opening to the possibilities in the world,” recalls Emmett. “The atmosphere was very encouraging for intellectual and artistic development.”

Emmett credits Northwest for being a safe environment in which he could try new things. He was encouraged as a student to tackle independent projects, which challenged him to stretch himself. Not only did he try new things, he failed and tried again. “One of the key meta-skills I got from Northwest was to not beat myself up when I didn’t succeed on the first try, but to use it as a teachable moment.”

Eric Stegman '00

When it comes to getting things done in Washington D.C., Erik Stegman is a force. In 2011, Stegman took the lead on developing and passing into law the Stand Against Violence and Empower Native Women Act. While obtaining his master’s degree in American Indian Studies, and his law degree at UCLA, Erik assisted judges at the Hopi Tribal Appellate Court and saw cases of assault and domestic abuse on the reservation. “Most violence against native women on reservations was, and is, by non-native men,” confirms Erik, which makes for a complicated situation in a tribal courtroom. Erik was fueled to do something about it. Signed into law in 2013, in large part due to his efforts, the act gives tribal courts new jurisdiction to prosecute non-native men for domestic abuse against native women.

Kimberly Stratton ’86

As a Faculty Member at Carleton University, College of Humanities, in Ottawa, Canada, Kim spends much of her day steeped in ancient religions and cultures. “I teach the Hebrew Bible much of the time – how it ties into the historical development of the era.” She received her B.A. degree (1991) in English and Religion from Barnard College in New York City and completed a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard University (1995), concentrating on scripture and interpretation. In the middle of her master’s degree, Kim studied in Israel at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for a year and a half (1992-1994), where she passed the Hebrew Language Equivalency Exam (ptor). She returned to New York City to pursue doctoral studies at Columbia University, completing her Ph.D. (2002) in the History of Religions in Late Antiquity.

Kimberly’s research covers the fields of early Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, as well as Greco-Roman culture and religion. Current research interests include violence and collective identity in the ancient world, ancient magic, and gender. She is currently completing a special issue on violence and religious identity for History of Religions and is co-editor of a memorial volume for Alan Segal, a scholar of ancient religions, which will appear with Brill Publishers in the near future.

Lynda Turet '01

Lynda's unique career path has taken her from working on legislation at the NYC City Council to helping convene social justice leaders in post-Hurricane Katrina Gulf Coast, and now to launching her own company in home design and staging. Her move into entrepreneurship came after finishing a graduate degree in Human Geography where she studied the social impact of space. "Part of why I started the company was to put my creativity to work. It is grounding to help people find solutions in one of their most sacred spaces- their home," says Lynda. She is on a mission to give people the tools to transform their personal space into an environment of inspiration.

"What I learned at the NWS has stuck with me throughout all of my career moves. It helped to shape me both as a compassionate citizen and as a business woman." She added, "being entrepreneurial in anything you do takes creativity, independent thinking, and gall. The NWS helped me develop all of these qualities."


Rebecca Terry ’97

Rebecca is often found in the darkness of caves, sifting through carpets of bones. As a conservation paleontologist, she is researching the ancient remains of small animals, tracking biological changes over thousands of years through owl vomit, little pellets of undigested bones, hair and teeth. “These owl pellets provide a really spectacular fossil record that allows us to track biologic changes continuously through thousands of years,” said Rebecca, an assistant professor in the College of Science at Oregon State University. Her research is shedding light on how climate change has affected species survival and how human activities have disturbed ecosystem resilience. In addition, it has won her a National Science Foundation grant.

Rebecca holds a PhD in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago. In 2008, she won a NOAA Comate and Global Change Post-doctoral Fellowship and headed to Stanford University. There, she focused her post-doctoral study on species traits and how they might predict an animal’s chances of survival during climate change.