January 2021 Alumni and Faculty Notes

Catch up on news from the SYA alumni and faculty community

Do you have milestone news to share?

Submit yours for consideration in the next issue.








Lake Bell FR’96 will be on the big screen at Sundance Film Festival at one of the satellite locations: Atlanta.  The animated Cryptozoo will be making its world premiere on January 29. Lake is the voice of Lauren, one of the cryptozookeepers trying to capture a Baku, a dream-eating hybrid creature of legend. Here’s the schedule.

Jason Blum FR’86’s Best Picture Oscar-nominated Get Out named one of the most influential films for this century (so far). Read more

Daphne Flores FR’17 has been named a 2021 Pickering Fellow, one of the U.S. Department of State’s flagship programs for attracting outstanding students from all ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds who have an interest in pursuing a Foreign Service career dedicated to representing America’s interests abroad.

Celia Imrey FR’81’s firm was the lead designer on The Renaissance Project at the Harlem School of the Arts/The Herb Alpert Center. The project was recently profiled in the The New York Times. Read more.

Wanda Mann ES’89, moderator of our Fermenting Change webinar (January 13, 2021), is the first wine writer featured in the Sunday Spotlight feature on the Wine 365 website. Learn where the most magical place her wine writing has brought her.  

Roger McNamee FR’74 appeared on BBC World TV discussing Twitter’s recent action following the protest at the Capitol. Watch here.

Ngoc Nguyen ES’11’s book Weird Culture Kids is a memoir about growing up in and between different cultures and experiencing the world through international lenses. Born in Moscow, raised in Vietnam with Soviet-educated parents and French-educated grandparents, attended boarding school in Connecticut, and a year in Spain with SYA, and now living in France, the question “Where are you from?” was never a simple one to answer. Learn more.

Angela Russo IT’15F hosts virtual tours around Florence, Italy. Follow our former xx teacher to learn more about the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. Watch here.

Jason Wu FR’01 is one of the fashion designers adding hints of sunshine to his Summer 2021 line following Pantone’s Color of the Year selection: Illuminating, a bright yellow shade to signify hopefulness. Read more.


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A key priority of The Campaign for SYA was curricular innovation. One component of SYA’s curriculum that has been developed and implemented in recent years — fieldwork — helps SYA take advantage of our unique locations to create a quality intercultural, place-based, and experiential educational environment abroad. 

School trips

These are the moments that make the SYA experience so magical. When the lessons students have learned in the classroom are brought to life before their eyes. When the student becomes the teacher, introducing people, places and concepts using the knowledge they have gained. When students debate a relevant issue, learning how to engage in perspective taking and critical thinking.

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Giving to the SYA Fund supports SYA’s operational budget each and every year and helps to provide immediate use funds to deliver the SYA experience we know and love. Through The Campaign for SYA, over $7 million dollars were raised for the SYA Fund. We are grateful to these donors for creating a strong foundation of support for our students and educators.