Magnet Alumni News: Fall 2017

  • Amir Caspi '96 led a NASA-funded aerial observation of the solar eclipse
  • Grace Brannigan '97 is a professor at Rutgers in biophysics
  • Mikey Cohen '10 passed away suddenly in September, and his classmates and teachers share their memories
Ignatz Award for Johnny Wander
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Matias Duarte reminisces about Blair

From Surface Magazine's interview of Matias Duarte '92

In 1988, Duarte enrolled at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He had been selected as part of a “magnet” program for math, science, and computer science students that was, as he puts it, “intended to do two things: one was to better serve students who were high potential for these fields; the other was to increase the ethnic diversity at the area’s schools. At least that’s how I understood it.”

“The chance for me to go to this school was like Harry Potter going to Hogwarts, almost literally,” he says. “The school itself was this fascinating rabbit warren of old, interconnected buildings. It was a maze—there were places faculty didn’t know how to get to. It really had this character of taking you to another world that was Baroque, fantastical, half-functioning.” The school, at the same time, provided access to computers, robotics, and other cutting-edge tools. A lab there was outfitted with Macintoshes, some of them with hard drives—a rarity at the time. There was also a VAX computer. It was there that Duarte had his first interaction with the internet, and during his sophomore year he even got an email address, which he admits he “never did anything with.”
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