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Alumni Testimonials

PS1 has a history of sending balanced, resilient, successful students into the world. As our graduates move into secondary school (and beyond) they often become leaders. They think deeply about issues that matter and understand ideas from the inside out. They are empowered, motivated, engaged, confident, curious, and ready to take on new challenges. The ability to ask questions, express ideas, think critically, and maintain passion for learning distinguishes PS1 alumni. In honor of PS1, these are some highlights from our alumni.

I am where I am today because PS1 gave me the tools to believe in myself, speak up for myself, speak out against injustice, embrace my individuality, look at problems from multiple angles, and understand other perspectives. My career involves going to work every day to aim for a perfection I will never reach. Knowing that education is a journey and not a destination is exactly the mentality one needs to take the same ballet class for 25 years!
Nicole Haskins, Class of 1999

PS1 encouraged me to be myself and showed me that things can be done many different ways to still achieve the same end goal. There is no one way to get something done.
Maya Van Peebles, Class of 2005

Despite being in 300 person lectures I am always trying to build relationships, not only with my classmates but my professors as well, something that I did with all of my teachers at PS1. In doing so I create connections that make learning more interesting and furthermore present professional opportunities for the future.
Oliver Curry, Class of 2008

I loved the real life experiences I was able to have at PS1. Instead of doing the typical 4th grade California mission project, we went and visited missions and made our own adobe bricks. Instead of learning about animal life cycles from a textbook, we built a chicken coop and hatched and raised chickens. Instead of watching a video about nature, we went on camping trips. All of these experiences helped me understand my world in a way that made sense because I got to be part of it, rather than learning passively.
Kate Keeley (Rutkin), Class of 1997

I think that my years at PS1 were fundamental in my entire outlook on life and learning. More than anything else, I was taught to love learning at PS1, and that is something I am so grateful for and something that I still carry with me to this day as I'm constantly seeking out new skills and new experiences.
Defne Enc, Class of 1988

PS1 definitely instilled in me an interest in the world and an affection for learning, which allowed me to approach things with optimism and eagerness.
Witney Seibold, Class of 1990

PS1 gave me the tools to think critically across difference. I remember becoming particularly equipped to have difficult conversations about humanity. PS1 cultivated my unwavering curiosity.
Elle Brosh, Class of 2005

When it comes to innovative teaching, I always think back to PS1 and the various ways my teachers and classes taught me to learn in an individualized way. I believe this foundation equipped me with the necessary skills to succeed in my academic career, and I hope with time, this approach can be more accessible to our wider community.
Avery Miller, Class of 2001

PS1 taught me to think outside the box. Creativity has always been my strong suit and PS1 helped to nurture that quality in me.
Nick Maya, Class of 2002

I have always had an unconventional approach to problem solving and at PS1 not only was this honored, it was fostered.
Liam Stevens, Class of 2008

I feel I am comfortable walking into a room and speaking to anyone, or getting up in front of a group and presenting, because PS1 placed such an importance on sharing and learning as a group. I believe I was born a leader, but PS1 helped me to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to be a trusted authority.
Gina Rockenwagner, Class of 2000

In retrospect, I wonder if the philosophy/approach to learning impacted my general career direction. I am the global lead for my company's product and service offering in the career management space. This entails the design of programs, processes, etc. for large (and mid-market) organizations that support individual employees' growth and development in their careers through formal learning, mentorship, rotations, stretch assignments, enabling experiences, etc.
Renee Smith, Class of 1988


Although I only attended PS1 for a few years, it laid the foundation for my education and values as a small child through pluralistic learning. At a very early age, I was introduced to the concept of multiculturalism (which, coming from a mixed race Asian/black household) was critical to my understanding of self and others. I developed into a lifelong learner committed to helping others with a focus on my own community. From Princeton, I started my career at Google selling advertising products. I then received a Fulbright English Teaching Fellowship in 2013 to live and teach in Northern Vietnam. Upon my return to the U.S., I joined a tech start up called Jopwell that seeks to help companies diversify the U.S. job market. My work with assisting ethnic minorities (both in Vietnam, teaching mountainous ethnic minority Vietnamese and in the U.S. serving racial minorities) started with those 'global' potluck days at PS1 where the parents cooked various foods from around the world and exposed children to global perspectives and cultures.
Tani Brown, Class of 2000