Meet Tom Hooven ’97

Tom Hooven and his familyWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

I’m an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Newborn Medicine in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics. I run a research laboratory that uses molecular genetics and bioinformatic techniques to better understand the interactions between bacteria, pregnant mothers, and newborn babies. The goal of this work is to develop better preventative and treatment approaches to avoid the worst complications of bacterial infections in pregnancy and early newborn life. I also serve as an attending physician in the neonatal intensive care units at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC, where our teams care for newborns and infants with complications of prematurity, congenital malformations, and other neonatal illnesses. I teach medical students, residents, neonatology fellows, and research scientists training at the University of Pittsburgh and affiliated institutions.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?

I attended college at Yale University, where I benefitted from a true liberal arts education that let me study broadly, with very few constraints. I did not enter college planning a career in medicine or science. (I thought I’d be an English major!) I think having the freedom to explore many topics allowed me to find a calling in medicine that I hadn’t expected. It was a result of realizing that I wanted a career that combined reason and science with humanitarian goals. Read More


Meet Micah Hudock ’24

Micah dribbling the basketball vs. Hill MurrayWhat do you love about MPA?
I love the friends that I have here at MPA. I also love how unique of a learning environment we have here. I talk to friends who go to other schools and they all seem kind of the same, MPA is really unique.

How are you encouraged to dream big and do right at MPA?
My teachers challenge me to think deeply and creatively, and to always, always dream big and do right.

Why do you believe your teachers teach the way they do?
My teachers are amazing. I think they teach the way they do because they too, are encouraged to dream big and do right by everyone in our community. Read More


Meet Laura McPherson ’04

Laura McPherson What are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

I am an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Dartmouth College, where my research focuses on documenting understudied languages (primarily of West Africa) and studying the relationship between language and music in “talking drum” traditions.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?

I always loved languages (as faculty at MPA could attest to!). In college at Scripps College, I discovered the field of linguistics—the scientific study of how languages work—and knew it was exactly what I had been looking for. My wonderful undergraduate advisor did research with African languages, and after a class where we spent the term working with a speaker from Uganda, I was inspired to do fieldwork of my own. I received a Fulbright and spent eleven months in Mali after graduation documenting a Dogon language called Tommo So. Throughout my PhD program at UCLA, I continued taking trips, first to Mali, and later to neighboring Burkina Faso. I was lucky enough to get the job at Dartmouth in 2014 when I finished my PhD and I’ve been there ever since!

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA inspire you to dream big and do right?

I was a lifer at MPA, and so I was fortunate to grow up always having meaningful and personalized relationships with teachers. The teachers at MPA saw each of us as individuals and encouraged our dreams and our interests. I had taken French since kindergarten, but the school allowed me the flexibility to take Japanese 4 my freshman year of high school, and to take Spanish later on, which required some moving things around in the schedule! Having received that kind of encouragement and mentorship throughout school made me seek out those kinds of relationships with faculty in college, and now it is one of my greatest professional pleasures to pay it forward to my students here at Dartmouth.

What’s next? Do you have any aspirations–personal or professional–that you’d like to share?

A year of being home and unable to travel in New Hampshire has led me to take up gardening, and chickens may be next (if I can find “chicken sitters” for when I’m in the field)! I have a new project on talking drums (and flutes and fiddles and trumpets….) that will hopefully take me all over the world to document these endangered traditions, when we can finally travel again.

 


Meet Katherine Garvey ’11

Katherine Garvey on a bicycleWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

After working in D.C. for three years in with different education-focused nonprofits, I was offered a position with Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Presidential campaign and moved back to Minnesota.  Currently, I am the Campaign Manager for Judge Pat Diamond for Ramsey County and entering my first year of graduate school at Hamline University.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?

After graduating from Montana State University, I was offered an internship with the Tanadana Foundation as the ESL teaching intern in Otavalo, Ecuador. After that ended, I moved to Washington, D.C. to work with the educational nonprofit City Year AmeriCorps. With City Year, I worked in classrooms in Southeast D.C. helping bridge the gap between what schools were built to do and what students needed from their school. Wanting to stay in D.C., I found myself as an advisor for foreign Fulbright Scholars and working with Department of State contracts at the Institute of International Education. While I enjoyed learning about the visa process and advising, I realized I missed the personal connections I got to have in the classroom. Read More


Meet Katie Ditmore Sinaikin ’97

Katie and her sonsWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?

Professionally I lead a team of global market researchers and forecasters focused in Oncology, for a Bay Area biotech/Pharma company.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college?

I attended Wellesley College and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

How did your MPA experience prepare you for your life today? How did MPA inspire you to dream big and do right?

I had the good fortune to spend 13 years at MPA. I was afforded the opportunity to do pretty much anything I wanted – cross country and track despite not being the fastest person out there, Nordic skiing despite having never been on skis, choir, band, Quiz Bowl, speech, and debate. At MPA the world truly was my oyster.

Is there anyone or anything you are particularly thankful for?

I owe so much to Mrs. Heinze for fostering my critical thinking skills in debate and instilling in me the confidence to speak on pretty much any topic to a large audience via speech competitions. Coach Bev Docherty taught me the value of just committing, trying, and finding joy in the act of running. And, of course, the academics prepared me for success in college and business school (and of course I know my genes from my jeans and my Kings from my kings).


Meet Connor Magee ’21

Connor Magee Senior Picture HeadshotI am looking out the window of a school bus while riding home from preschool. As I look at the houses going by, I am imagining dinosaurs running along the sidewalk and jumping clear over the traffic coming the other way. These dinosaurs were coming in all shapes and sizes. Some were round, some were blue, and some had multiple heads. Some could fly, and some couldn’t even walk. This is from one of my earliest memories, from a time when my family lived near Philadelphia. At a young age, my imagination was never ending.

On another drive to see family in Pittsburgh, the dinosaurs returned. Throughout the drive, I saw an orange Tyrannosaurus running through the countryside. It would fall in ditches, crash into hills, and bounce off cars. My imagination ran wild like this T. Rex on the Pennsylvania turnpike.

My imagination defined me early in my life. Not only did it play a large role in my daily activities, but also formed the basis of my character as I grew up, and helped me adapt to the life changes that came as I got older. Read More


Meet Jenny Portis ’16

Jenny Portis HeadshotWhat are you currently doing, professionally and/or personally?
Right now, I’m on a gap year after graduating from Carleton College in June 2020 and attending Stanford Law School in August 2021. During this time, I’ve been working for Panther Club at MPA, volunteering for the ACLU-MN, and clerking for Judge Edward T. Wahl, Fourth Judicial District.

How did you get there? Where did you attend college? Are there some career moves or other key experiences or relationships that have inspired you?
Honestly, I’m still having trouble figuring out how and why everything ended up falling together so nicely for me this year. It’s probably some mix of networking (with both MPA and Carleton contacts), persistence, and a healthy dose of good luck. Being able to intern at legal advocacy organizations and firms was a big help for not just making contacts but also getting some real-world confirmation that this career path is a good fit for me. Read More


Boeder Risner Family Featured in Lake Elmo Magazine

Check out this wonderful feature on the Boeder Risner Family in the December 2020 edition of Lake Elmo Living Magazine! Adi Boeder Risner graduated from MPA in 2002, and after meeting her husband Kyle in Colorado, returned to Minnesota so that her children could attend MPA! “We wanted Luke and Levi to attend the same K-12 (now Pre-K-12) that I attended during my childhood. We chose Lake Elmo because of the unique homes, the privacy, history, and South Lake Elmo is located right between Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul and my parents’ place in Hudson,” she says.  Article by Allison Lund-Zalewski, photos by Hilda Berdie Photography. Read More


Meet Assistant Director of Admission for Middle and Upper School Alli Capasso

Alli HeadshotHow long have you been at MPA?
I have been at MPA for just under one year.

What do you love about MPA?
I love everything about MPA. I love that we are a community that looks out for each other and takes care of one another. I love that I hear conversations every day about how to best teach children. I love that our definition of success includes being a kind and decent human being who thinks critically about their role in the world.

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
MPA inspires students to dream big and do right by teaching them problem solving and allowing them to encounter failure. We give them the skills to look critically at the world around them and have the confidence to know that they can change it. I think one of the most impressive examples I have seen of our mission in practice was within our Social Conscience Club and Racial Justice and Equity Club this past spring and summer. After the murder of George Floyd, these two clubs came together hosting meetings and organizing guest speakers for the community. They then moved beyond talk into action by helping register voters within the community surrounding MPA. I was incredibly moved and inspired by their passion, tenacity and, frankly, their guts. Read More


Meet Assistant Director of Admission for Lower School Robyn Hare

Robyn HeadshotHow long have you been at MPA?
I have been at MPA for 10 months.

What do you love about MPA?
I love seeing how my son Charlie’s perspective on school has changed. To say it has been transformational would not be an exaggeration. He loves coming to MPA every single day!

How does MPA inspire students who dream big and do right?
I think there are so many ways that we do this. My son comes home and wants to research interesting topics he learned in school. He’s so curious and interested in everything, whether it is learning new ball handling skills in PE, humming new songs he’s learning in music, or researching more about science topics he has been introduced to. It’s so fun to see his eyes opened to all the possibilities ahead of him! Read More