News From The Parents Of Alumni

Amanda Campbell and Quinn, class of 2018Amanda Campbell is joining the Alumni Association this year as the Parents Of Alumni Liaison. Amanda served on the MPA Parents Association from 2010–2018 when her daughter Quinn [first child of an alum (Ryan Campbell ’90) to attend MPA and 13 Year Club member] graduated. Since 2018, she has been an active member of the POA. It has been a great organization to maintain the connections and friendships made over the course of 13 years as a parent at MPA. Amanda has been the POA Executive Board Secretary and will serve as the Alumni Board POA Liaison for the 2020-2021 school year. She feels fortunate to remain tethered to MPA and its faculty and staff through the POA.

The MPA POA Executive Board consists of Mary Jo Thrane, Amanda Campbell, Jeanne Danaher, Linda Goodno, Carey Ide, Chris Levesque, and Karla Myers. Each are members of the POA with alumni from the graduating classes 2009–2020.

The POA looks forward to hearing from you & catching up at one of our virtual social activities throughout the coming year. For more information, please reach out to the POA directly via email at

A Message From Alumni Board Member Amanda Magistad ’12

Amanda Magistad '12What advice do you wish you had been told your senior year of high school? I can think of a few things I wish I had known. Like not to rush through the year, to enjoy your last summer in Minnesota and don’t overload yourself on difficult courses your first semester of college. While life has moved very quickly and senior year seems like a lifetime ago, I’ll never forget the people who gave me valuable advice and helped me pave the path to where I am today.

Now, I have the opportunity to share advice with an MPA senior through the 2020-2021 mentorship program. This will be my first year joining the mentorship program and I am looking forward to offering my perspective on senior year, preparing for college and more. The program requires a small-time commitment, that results in a positive impact on an MPA senior. Behind every successful person is a mentor who took the time to listen, offer advice, and most of all who cared. I encourage you to be that person. Make an impact and join this year’s mentorship program to help a senior navigate their final year of high school and prepare for their next adventure. To learn more about the mentorship program, please email Ashley Goetzke, Assistant Director of Development at

MPA Talks Features Garseng Wong ’11

MPA Talks speaker Garseng Wong '11Meet MPA Talks speaker Garseng Wong ’11! Garseng attended MPA from grades 4-12 and went on to study Human Biology at Stanford University. He concentrated on nutrition and chronic disease management and initially thought about working as a primary care physician to continue this interest, but during his time in medical school at NYU, pivoted to psychiatry because the field afforded him more time to get to know patients deeply and personally. He is currently a resident psychiatrist at NYU and hopes to specialize in child-adolescent psychiatry, focusing his work with queer youth and young adults long-term. Get to know more about Garseng before MPA Talks on September 30 with the Q&A below!

What will we learn from your MPA Talk?
In my MPA talk, I would like to compare and contrast mental health as it is portrayed in the media and discussed in the lay public versus our conceptualizations as a profession. I hope to offer a space to discuss and de-stigmatize mental health, and introduce skills and ideas for maintaining mental health as students progress through school and develop as young, independent adults.

What do you believe will be the greatest challenge our current students will face in their lifetimes and how do you see MPA equipping them to face that challenge?
Our society has become extremely polarized to the point where communication between people of opposing ideologies often become shouting matches without any exchange of ideas. This is worsened by the growing sentiment against evidence and the blurring of “truth.” Our students will have to become effective communicators with those who do not share their point of view in order to advance in their lives and careers, especially for those who hope to tackle our nation’s (or world’s) great challenges. I see MPA equipping students for this future by introducing them to big, controversial ideas early and asking them to consider issues from multiple perspectives. Read More

Save The Date For MPA Talks

MPA Talks 2018This year’s MPA Talks is going virtual! MPA Community members, specifically alumni will be given the platform to share their stories and knowledge through an MPA Talks series this fall. MPA Talks this year will be a platform devoted to the voices of people of color and take place virtually. Save the date for September 30, 2020 to join us at 6 PM live on Facebook.

Looking Forward To Homecoming 2021

cheering on the soccer team during homecomingOne of the annual traditions our community has enjoyed celebrating is the MPA Homecoming festivities, which had been scheduled for Saturday, October 3, 2020. Due to our ongoing focus on health and safety given the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as limits on social gatherings and visitors on campus, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s activities. We will miss the joy, laughter, and sense of community shared by all during Homecoming, but look forward for new ways in the coming weeks and months for current families and alumni to celebrate our Panther Pride. Look for our chance to celebrate together again during Homecoming 2021!

Meet Alumni Board Member Kethan Dahlberg ’14

Kethan Dahlberg '14During his time at MPA, Kethan Dahlberg found his home-away-from-home. From early morning jazz band rehearsals and Nordic ski practices to late night track meets and study sessions for group projects, MPA taught him the importance of teamwork, perseverance, grit, and, importantly, the value and benefit of being an active and engaged member of the community. “Now, reflecting as an alumnus, and especially given the past few months of lock-down orders and quarantines, I feel it’s important for me to become further involved with my fellow alumni and the school to make sure the same strong sense of family and opportunities that I had during my time on campus remain in place for current students,” he said.

After MPA, he attended Harvard and graduated in 2018 with a concentration in government, secondary in music and citation in Spanish. He also pursued a variety of internship opportunities in various levels and branches of government. While he ultimately hopes to end up back in public service someday, he applied for his job with a private law firm before law school to see the other side of the coin and gain some insight into how businesses operate from a legal perspective. Read More

Meet Alumni Board Member Amanda Magistad ’12

Amanda Magistad '12Class of 2012 alum and 13-Year Club member Amanda Magistad joins the Alumni Association Board this year to serve, participate in, and grow with the MPA Alumni community. “I can confidently say that I would not be where I am today without the education and support I received from MPA. The opportunity to be a member of this board, and to hopefully ensure positive experiences for current and future students is a privilege,” she said.

Amanda has continued to stay connected with MPA after graduating. Her sister currently attends MPA, and Amanda loves attending Homecoming and staying up to date with current events through email newsletters and social media. “I continue to support MPA’s mission in everyday life by, ‘Dreaming Big and Doing Right.’ In both my personal and professional life I stand up for what is right, what I believe in and treat everyone with kindness. I am innovative, I am not afraid to speak up and I push myself to thrive and improve every day.” Read More

A Message From MPA Alumni Board Member Annie Stewart ’11

Annie stewart '11As many MPA Alumni are choosing a gap year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alumni Board Member, Annie Stewart ’11 shares her thoughts and experiences. We want to hear your story! Contact to let us know your plans for the upcoming school year and to share your insights on gap years, navigating a new school during these challenging times, or other topics.

I started my St. Olaf career as a double major in biology and environmental studies with the intent of going to medical school. This past spring I completed a master’s degree in elementary education. Looking back, I wish I would have gotten a fine arts degree.

You know what I would have benefitted from? A gap year.

There are lots of reasons why students take a gap year between high school and college. I never knew that was actual option for me, and I didn’t know anyone else who was taking one. Once I got to St. Olaf I met dozens of people who had taken gap years. All of them seemed to know what they wanted out of their college experience, they were confident in themselves, and they had a strong sense of purpose. I changed my major 3 times as a undergraduate, now I wonder what I could have figured out about my goals and interests had I taken a gap year–before paying for 16 credits of pre-med classes. There is no guarantee that a gap year will give you clarity or all of the answers, but if your gut is telling you that a gap year could be right for you, listen. Read More

Characteristics Of A Resilient School And Resilient Children

lower school student arriving on campusby Dr. Bill Hudson, Head of School

With the beginning of the school year less than two weeks away, I find myself increasingly excited to greet our returning students and ever so eager to welcome our outstanding new students. No matter how many years as an educator, the start of a new school year is as exhilarating to me as it is to a new teacher. This year is no different. And yet, the year ahead will be different and will present challenges that we will collectively need to overcome.

As I reflected on a guiding theme for this year, I kept coming back to the importance of resiliency. Perhaps I was influenced by the life and death of U.S. Representative and Civil Rights hero John Lewis several weeks ago. Like many, the depth of my sadness in his passing was buoyed by reflecting on the impact he had over the course of his life. Mr. Lewis suffered life-threatening setbacks and faced hardship that many of us cannot imagine. However, he developed the resiliency necessary to persevere and succeed. Read More

The MPA Alumni Mentorship Program Experience

alumni networking event 2019The MPA Alumni Mentorship Program completed its second year full of meaningful connections and a successful networking event to conclude the year. The program is designed to enhance personal and professional development experiences for our senior class students, while also providing alumni with an opportunity to reconnect to MPA and share their own experiences and knowledge with the next generation of graduates.

The program connected alumni like Dorothy (Schilling) Tiernan ’02 and Grace Holloway, senior from the Class of 2020, with their common interests of literature and travel. Read more about their experience here.

Lyndon Lyu ’20 had dreams and aspirations of becoming a pilot, and through the MPA Alumni Mentorship Program he was able to create a connection with Matthew Navarro ’04 who is currently a professional airline pilot. Read more about their involvement in the program here. Read More