Alumni Profile: Deron Simmons G’02, ’06

Deron Simmons G'02, '06 (1)Briefly describe your path after leaving St. Francis. 
After leaving St. Francis, I joined the school that the wonderful Kit Llewellyn recommended I visit as a junior in high school: Mercer University. I declared my major in computer engineering, and on the second day of my freshman year, a professor said “Look to your left, then look to your right. Two-thirds of your classmates won’t be here next year.” There were 375 people in that classroom that day. On graduation day, there were only four of us (including St. Francis’ own Brad Green G’02, ’06). 

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Alumni Profile: Akhtar Nawab G’86, ’90

akhtar-nawab-g86-90_1Akhtar Nawab G’86, ’90 is a chef and business owner in New York City and Washington D.C. He is currently the chef/owner of the fast-casual concept, Choza Taqueria and Indie Fresh – a health food delivery service – both in NYC. As well, he is the Chef Advisor at Table in Washington D.C. Akhtar’s newest venture “Alta Calidad” is a modern take on Mexican food and is slated to open in NYC this winter 2017. Akhtar studied at the California Culinary Academy and trained under chefs Loretta Keller, Roland Passot and Tom Colicchio. He has received many accolades in the restaurant industry, including the 2007 StarChefs.com NYC Rising Star Chef award and recognition as a top ten emerging culinary star by Mario Batali. He has appeared on numerous television shows, such as Iron Chef and as a judge in Worst Cooks in America.

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Alum Collin Smith presents “Bear With Us”

Come out and support fellow alum Collin Smith! Collin Smith

Collin’s film “Bear With Us” is part of the Louisville Film Society’s Flyover Film Festival and will screen at Baxter Theater on Tuesday, July 26th at 7:30 p.m. It will be followed by a Q&A with Collin and his director that J.P. Davis from the Fund for the Arts will MC.

For more information and a trailer, visit http://www.bearwithusfilm.com.

Click here to purchase tickets!

Alumni Profile: Trent Rosenbloom G’84, ’88

Trent Ellie Adena Micah Shayna Huber's Apples 2015

Briefly describe your career after leaving St. Francis.
I graduated St. Francis High in 1988 and went off to Northwestern University, just outside Chicago in Evanston, Illinois. I really loved Northwestern from the moment I first visited as a prospective student. I loved its deep winter snows, the proximity to downtown Chicago and its endless lake beaches, the diverse student body, and its course offerings. I ended up majoring in the History and Literature of Religions, but also focused on French and Pre-Medicine. In my junior year, I studied abroad in France, living in the towns of Tours and Paris. Also, in my very first months at Northwestern, I had a class conflict and had to take a class at an alternate time. There I met Ellie, the woman who would ultimately become my wife, now of over 20 years. Ellie and I now live in Nashville, with our three children, a dog, and a cat. 

After Northwestern, I moved to Nashville to attend medical school at Vanderbilt, and never left. At Vandy, I went through four years of medical school and four years of residency training in the fields of internal medicine and pediatrics. I then spent two years of postdoctoral studies to pursue a master’s degree in public health. In addition, over the course of my residency training, I nurtured a growing interest in a field called biomedical informatics. Biomedical informatics is the interdisciplinary academic field dedicated to the study of how biomedical information, data, and knowledge are created, used, and stored during clinical patient care. I was fortunate to be at Vanderbilt, which houses one of the largest and highest impact clinical and academic departments of biomedical informatics in the country, and many of the field’s leaders are on the faculty here. During my fellowship, I began to build a research portfolio evaluating different computerized informatics programs, including electronic medical records, computerized tools to help doctors write notes, and websites where patients can log in to interact with their medical records and doctors’ offices.

I am currently the Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs and an Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics with secondary appointments in Medicine, Pediatrics, and the School of Nursing at Vanderbilt. I am also the Medical Director for a community-based, federally-qualified health center in Nashville. On the side, I am also the long-time race director for the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon, one of the most notoriously hilly road marathons in the country.

Looking back at your time at St. Francis, what stands out?
I have a lot of memories from my time at St. Francis, and many stand out. I remember the freedom of the open downtown campus, allowing easy access to the grit, beauty, and culture of mid-1980s urban Louisville. I remember the varied personalities of the diverse students and faculty members. I remember taking the city bus to school until my classmates were old enough to drive, then hitching in with them. I remember the Dizzy Whizz, Ollie’s, the Galleria, and the little New York-style pizza place around the corner. I remember reinventing myself several times, trying to find the right fit, and I remember having the safety to do so. I remember photon club, and fencing club, and yearbook club. I remember taking pictures of everybody and everything to fill the yearbook pages. I remember loads of little details, far too many to name here, from the kitchen co-op listening to Paul Simon’s Graceland for the first time in the student rec room and finally getting a shadow painted on the wall to enjoying fine English teas while studying AP Chemistry and reading as many books as I could to get credits for English class.

What are you currently working on?
People are increasingly taking control of their own healthcare and health-related information. As a big part of this, they are increasingly capturing health, wellness and clinical data about themselves, using a growing palette of inexpensive and pervasive technologies. These technologies allow people to record, analyze and curate health data outside of settings where healthcare is traditionally delivered, and without consistently involving healthcare professionals. Examples include wrist-worn accelerometers with software that calculates daily footsteps and sleep, GPS-enabled devices that track miles run or biked, web-based health journaling tools, smart online food diaries, and networked weight scales or blood pressure machines. People also use online resources, including portals to their doctor’s electronic medical record systems and social networks to help them use and interpret data both from these technologies and from more traditional medical testing. In many cases, these technologies can complement—or even replace—specific relationships with healthcare professionals.

Interestingly, while these technologies are incredibly widespread and interest in them continues to grow, there is almost no scientific research studying them. Scientifically, it is important to understand how these technologies influence people’s health, their engagement with healthcare systems, and their motivations. Anecdotal information has indicated that these technologies do improve engagement, and may improve health in certain settings, but may not in others. As a result, this area is ripe for research to help guide policy-making, decision-making and resource use. This is an area where I have been focusing my research and policy work in recent years.

How do you define success?
roan-highlands-appalachian-trail-janes-bald-selfie-2Frankly, I don’t focus on success. I focus on spending time doing what I feel is important. Perhaps that, to me, is success. I value being able to go to work every day and find what I do interesting, to enjoy the people I work with, and to walk away with a sense that I am contributing. Sometimes, that may mean spending the days in meetings moving my research forward. Other days, it may mean spending energy via creative thought in writing, design or even statistical analysis. Sometimes it even means butting heads with colleagues as I fight for what I believe in, or work to an appropriate compromise.

However, my job and work do not define me. I find it equally important to spend time out hiking with my wife or kids, exploring Tennessee’s myriad state parks, waterfalls, bluffs and geologic features. I take great satisfaction in spending a couple of weeks each summer volunteering as the doctor at a summer camp in rural northern Wisconsin, and seeing my children’s successes attending and thriving at their own camps. I find it important to take the time to work on my personal fitness and health, trying to keep in shape enough to run a marathon or a trail race. I find it important to have the time and flexibility to take long road trips with my family, whether it be to camp or just down to Chattanooga for a weekend of exploring. I find it important to have diverse interests in reading, cooking, fermenting (breads, cheeses, beers, pickles), and photography. To me, being able to foster these foci and balancing them with a professional life is important to me. Perhaps that is success.

Alumni Profile- The Alwan Family

AlwanInterview

Alums Shahad ’11, Mais ’12, and Mohammed ’14 Alwan were recipients of the New American scholarships, which provides need-based scholarships to refugee families.

How did you all become a St. Francis family? Faten says, “We moved from Iraq in 2004 because of the war there, and spent four years in a refugee camp in Jordan until the UN was able to help us get to America. We picked Louisville because of all the universities here. When we came here the girls were in Shawnee High School, and then Ky Refugee Ministries helped get us to St. Francis.”

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Alumni Profile- Trent Apple ’92

Apple staff photo“I graduated from St. Francis High School in 1992 and made stops thereafter at the University of Chicago, New College, and the Tulane University Law School, where sadly I was not on the Huey P. Long Scholarship. While living in New Orleans, in addition to being a devotee of both shellfish and second lines, I worked for the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana and for the late civil liberties lawyer Prof. M. David Gelfand.

While later practicing in Louisville, I began teaching law-related courses at Bellarmine University. Over time, I came to prefer teaching to practicing law. In 2013, I hung up my powdered wig and began teaching in the History Department here at St. Francis. These days I conduct classes in Medieval global history, AP U.S. history, and American constitutional law.

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Alumni Updates

Marriage:

Cohen, K

Newlyweds Kenneth Cohen ’84 & Christopher Conway

Congratulations to Kenneth Cohen ‘84 on his marriage to Christopher Conway on January 23rd, 2016. After graduating from St. Francis, Kenneth went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and then to med school at the University of Louisville. Kenneth now resides in and works as a Psychiatrist in New York City. 

Davis Tyler ‘91 married Marquenia Ruiz on June 20th, 2015. Davis is now in his 10th year of practicing law. He has a solo practice specializing in immigration and criminal defense. [Read more…]

Alumni Profile: Robert Bonnie G’80

Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Enviornment, US Department of Agriculture. USDA photo by Robert Nichols.

Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, US Department of Agriculture. USDA photo by Robert Nichols.

Alumni Profile: Robert Bonnie G’80 

 

Briefly describe your career after leaving St. Francis.

I graduated from Harvard in 1990 with a major in history, and in soccer. Mostly soccer! I spent the next two years working for a small conservation group, then returned to school and completed two master’s degrees, in forestry and resource economics, from Duke University. Growing up on a farm in Oldham County, land issues, conservation issues, and forestry issues have always been of interest to me.

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Alumnus Napo Matsoso ’13 ranked No. 13 College Player in the country in 2015!

Congratulations to alumnus Napo Matsoso ’13 on the impressive write up in The Courier JNapoournal and for being ranked as the No. 13 college player in the country in 2015! We cannot wait to see what happens for you next season!

Imagine! — supporting artists and the St. Francis Scholarship Fund for 19 years

Imagine! — supporting artists and the St. Francis Scholarship Fund for 19 years

By Alexandra Thurstone G’80, ’84, Head of School

As most of you know, we had our second of two major fundraising galas, the Imagine Art Auction and Scholarship Fundraiser, on January 30th.  Next year will be a truly momentous year, as we will celebrate the 20th year of the event.  We are already working on how to make the 20th Imagine particularly special.  However, before we move on, I want to make sure the SFS community knows why Imagine is so special, because many of you may not realize how it works.

First of all, there are two important purposes of Imagine.  The first is the one with which you are all familiar:  to raise awareness about and funds for our Scholarship Fund. At St. Francis, we believe that any student who deserves a St. Francis education should be able to have one regardless of their family’s financial means. Throughout our history, we have had an unusual commitment to financial aid.  Today, nearly half of our student body receives some form of scholarship support, and these funds represent nearly a third of our operating budget — both of these figures are significantly higher than both the national and local average for Independent Schools.  We do this because we truly believe that an SFS education would not be nearly as powerful if we were not able to create this wonderful and diverse student body with the help of our Scholarship Fund, and we simply could not do it without the support of the Imagine Art Auction. Imagine15-038

The second major purpose of Imagine is to help promote and cultivate a vibrant art community in Louisville.  Since the inception of the auction, it was meant to support the artists as well as the school, and not just by exposing their work to the 400 or so guests at the event, and generating new buyers for their work.  What I realized that many people still do not know is that Imagine supports the artists financially, too — artists do not donate their work; they set the minimum bids, and they get half of the selling price garnered at Imagine.  Therefore, when guests purchase art, they are supporting artists in Louisville and the region, as well as the St. Francis Scholarship Fund.

I also want to mention that we had a Special Honoree at Imagine this year: Gaela Erwin, who has been our Artist-in-Residence at the High School for the last 10 years, and in that time, Gaela has been involved with Imagine – nearly half of its entire existence. After 10 years service at SFS, Gaela made the decision to retire this December.  We have been so lucky to have one of Kentucky’s best artists (and one of the best in the nation) at St. Francis for a decade, and we are very sorry to see her go.  However, Gaela hand-picked her successor in Julie Leidner, who started with us in January, so we know we are in good hands.

All in all, Imagine was a great success, meeting its fundraising goals and netting over $70,000 for the Scholarship Fund.  Just as importantly, though, the varied and eclectic crowd all learned something about St. Francis and supported the School as well as the Louisville art community.  If you haven’t been to Imagine yet, please make plans to join us next year for our exciting 20th Anniversary.