A Hundred Paths: The Class of 1999

by Ted Jou '99

The Magnet Class of 1999 made many headlines while they were at Blair, with 6 Intel Finalists featured on NBC Nightly News and leading a U.S. News writer to call Blair one of America's best high schools. In the ten years since they left the Magnet, the Class of '99 has built on those achievements in many different ways. They are doctors and lawyers, academics and entrepreneurs, students, teachers, husbands, and mothers. They all came from the same place, but they pursued a hundred different paths.

Ten years ago, the Class of '99 was the first class to graduate from a brand new building at 51 University Blvd. This month, they returned to Silver Spring for their ten year reunion. On June 6, 2009, a group of magnet alumni joined Ms. Dyas, Ms. Steinkraus, Mr. Walstein, Mr. Donaldson, and Mr. Bunday for an afternoon of food and drink and catching up on old times. Many alumni still live in the DC area. Deanna Zhang, Erin Piateski and Preston Mason all live in Northern Virginia and work for different government agencies. Paul Yu and Richard Lee work for the federal government in Maryland. Scott Safranek is in Washington, DC working for the Democratic National Committee. Nora Achrati, Alex Berengaut, Omar Bruce, Julia Beurgler, Alex Chen, Epson Chiang, Craig Erdrich, David Feuer, Lilly Goldman, Allie Herr, Noah Himberger, Ted Jou, Chris Kelley, Chris Lindsay, Joe Lott, Vincent Nguyen, Kyle Retterer, Will Tung, and Juan Vaca all live and work in the DC area. Other alumni have spread throughout the United States. Brian Han is working in finance in New York. Ruth Lin is in New Jersey. Alyssa Hughes is in Atlanta. Nick Duarte is a photographer in Pittsburgh. Ravi Gaddipati works for a software company in Boston. Greg Novick works for Apple in California and helped develop the iPhone software development kit. Leonid Velikovich works for Google in New York working on something called sentiment analysis. David Moore works for Dreamworks Animation in Los Angeles developing 3D animation software tools. Kitty Leung and Krister Fardig both work for Microsoft in Seattle. Some alumni have traveled even further. Diana Ekelman is teaching English in South Korea. Elgen Strait is in London working in finance. Michael Curran lives in Australia. Many alumni are still in school. Susan Beatty and Ioana Stoica are at the University of Maryland; Susan is studying materials science and engineering and Ioana is studying history and phenomenology. Mark Lundquist is a pharmacology student at Cornell. Jean Lee is studying economics at the Harvard. Robyn Sanderson is a Physics graduate student at MIT. Tyke Nunez is a philosophy graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. Maggie Hejtmancik is studying philosophy at Vanderbilt. Elinor Lichtenberg is a Biology student at the University of California, San Diego. Anna Browne is an Anthropology student at the University of California, Berkeley. Joseph Lee is at UCSF studying pharmacogenomics. Andy Mills is a computer science student at the University of Texas. Adam Vela is a mechanical engineering student at Georgia Tech. Jeremy Nagorka is finishing his degree in mechanical engineering at Florida State University. Bella Agustin is earning her Master's in Public Health at Metro State in Minneapolis. Gabe Ehrlich is an economics student at the University of Michigan. Anne Sutkoff is studying econometrics and statistics at the University of Chicago. Derrick Chou is completing his PhD in biomedical engineering at Duke. James Hansen just received his PhD in Physics from UCLA. Jonathan Needleman just finished his PhD in mathematics at Cornell, and he will be an assistant professor at Oberlin in the fall. Kaushik Roy earned a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford a few years ago. Michael Maire received his PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Brad Buran just earned his PhD at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and he is currently a postdoc at NYU. Ani Manichaikul received her PhD in Biostatistics from Johns Hopkins and is a postdoc at the University of Virginia.

A number of alumni are pursuing medical careers. Rishard Banks is studying dentistry at UMBC. Rahul Data is an MD/PhD student at Tulane. Wei-Li Deng just graduated from medical school at the University of Connecticut and is an intern in New York. Vivian Lee received her M.D. from Vanderbilt and is a resident in Chicago. Manish Gala graduated from Harvard Medical School and is completing his residency at Stanford. Shekar Devarya earned her medical degree at Yale and is an OBGYN resident in Pittsburgh. Nidhi Gupta graduated from George Washington and is a resident in Milwaukee. Wendy Chang received her M.D. from Penn State and is a resident in Cincinnati. Claire Cunningham is also completing her residency in Cincinnati. Claire received her M.D. from the Universtiy of Maryland in 2007, graduating in the same class as Connie Chan and David Lam, who are in Atlanta and Philadelphia, respectively.

A few alumni are MBA's. Tenay Guvendiren is in business school at William & Mary. Jennifer Song received her MBA from Michigan. Chris Li just received his MBA from Northwestern and will be moving to Seoul.

The Class of '99 also has several lawyers. Alex Berengaut graduated from Harvard Law School, and after completing a clerkship on the Ninth Circuit, he is working at a law firm in Washington, DC. Jacob Paul graduated from Georgetown Law School and is completing a judicial clerkship in Michigan. Grace Lin also went to Georgetown Law and is working for a law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. She lives and works just a few miles from Elaine Kim, who graduated from NYU Law School. Reena Arora also went to NYU and is working in Thailand after being awarded the 2008-09 Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellowship. Ted Jou earned his J.D. from UVA and is working for a law firm in Washington, DC. Ray Anthracite graduated the same year from UVA and is working in criminal defense in DC. Bernice Mireku graduated from Howard and is completing a judicial clerkship in Maryland. So-Ching Chen earned her J.D. from the University of Maryland and has moved to Hawaii. Eunice Lee is currently a law student at Fordham.

Niels Hoven may be the most famous alumnus from the Class of '99, appearing as a geek in Season 3 of Beauty and the Geek. Many other alumni have found their own beauties and/or geeks: Deanna Zhang married a magnet alumnus, Jonah Pezeshki '97. She and several other alumni attended Claire Cunningham's wedding last year. Wei-Li Deng was also married last year. Julia Beurgler, Chris Kelley, Ruth Lin, David Moore, Marc Pulupa, Kaushik Roy, Chi Su, Elgen Strait, and Wei-Lin Yang are also married. Just last month, on Memorial Day Weekend, Derrick Chou was married in Durham, NC. That same weekend, halfway around the world, Grace Nieh was married in Hawaii. Those weddings were mini-reunions in themselves, with several alumni in attendance.

The past year has blessed a few alumni with smaller additions to their families. Ani Manichaikul welcomed her son Raffi into the world last August. In December, Shekar Davarya's daughter Karolina was born.

It should be no surprise that much of the Class of '99 has spent most of the past ten years in school. They have taken their Magnet educations and applied them to a wide range of different fields. Many are just starting out in their careers, and a few are starting new families. The class is scattered throughout the country and the world, but they still share many common bonds. Ten years seems to have come and gone very quickly, but the Class of '99 has piled up no shortage of milestones and achievements in that time. Nothing less would have been expected from this impressive group of magnet alumni.