I arrived at Lewis & Clark knowing that there were many graduates of SFWHS waiting for me. I also knew that I wanted to pursue my love of technical theater and design, and explore another area of study. I took an intro level computer science class, and was instantly sold -- I quickly declared a double major in computer science and theatre (concentration: design/tech), and under the watchful eye of both departments, have been making my way up through the classes since that first month on campus.
The computer science classes rely heavily on practice and implementation. A lecture is almost always followed by a project. Classes are kept small so that everyone has access to the labs when they need them, and so that strong in-class group dynamics can be cultivated. The classes are demanding. The project turnaround time is short, and those projects often require a significant amount of research, resourcefulness, and ingenuity. We are encouraged to practice skills on personal projects outside of class.
To help facilitate this, I was a founding member of the LC Programming Club which is going strong. There are regular 'hackathons' on campus and people are always looking for opportunities to practice.
How did your high school experience prepare you for college?
I was surprised at the similarities in my college and high school classes. In high school, I invested hours into each and every one of the things I loved, and worked very hard not to let any of those endeavors fall flat. I took the Honors Physics Course and AP Calculus while working on design for the Drama Club production of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." I joined the Eurythmy Troupe and took Algebra II in my lunch period sophomore year to maintain the balance of subjects important to me.
When I got to Lewis & Clark, I realized how well the SF Waldorf High School math program had prepared me. Specifically, I was delighted and confused when I seemed to have a very firm grasp on concepts like infinity and imaginary numbers while my classmates were tangled up in 'sigma's and 'i's. I was able to recall the beautiful, simple, and direct explanations offered both in my track classes and the Main Lesson blocks that helped launch my work in Calc II second semester and bypass several math requirements.
Having respect for the beauty and simplicity of Calculus (both Main Lesson and AP), the dynamic movement and flexibility of space provided by the Projective Geometry block, and even the ground-up, geometrical, and concrete approach to Trigonometry have helped me reason through problems, even when the endless sets of numbers that I have been asked to memorize mysteriously leave my head.
This problem-solving approach was greatly enhanced by the high school's Exeter method (specifically in AP Calculus). My participation in that course, exposure to the rigor of that structure, and my consequential score on the AP test allowed me to excel in the mathematical sciences in college, leaving time (both in the short and long term) for all my other pursuits.
What are your plans after college?
I don't have any specific post-graduation plans as of yet, but thankfully that is still more than a year away. I plan to stay in Portland, for a while then move to find a job that merges technical theater and computer science. What will that be? I have no idea. And will I have to create it for myself? Quite possibly, but I'm ready for that challenge.
What else would you like to share about your high school or college experience?
I am always very forthcoming with my educational history, and often people have many questions. I get to dispel many Waldorf myths, and I may have even steered a couple of people towards the teacher training program. I'm pleased to be able to be an ambassador for the school, and do not plan on retiring that role anytime soon.