Featured Alumni

Shady Side Academy alumni have built successful careers and made an impact in their communities around the world. Read some of the profiles of SSA alumni that have appeared in recent issues of Shady Side Academy Magazine. Or, visit our Notable Alumni page.

SSA Magazine Alumni Profiles

Kali Arnold '94: Teaching Mindfulness and Meditation in a Stressful World

As an orthopedic surgeon, Kali Arnold '94 liked helping people walk or dance or play sports again, but she was disillusioned by a medical system that she felt was driven more by financial considerations than patient care. In 2019, she co-founded The Namaste Project, teaching meditation, mindfulness and yoga techniques to corporations and to students and staff in public schools.

Read more about Kali Arnold '94: Teaching Mindfulness and Meditation in a Stressful World
Alumni Pandemic Perspectives

Around the world, COVID-19 has impacted nearly every aspect of daily life, including how and where we work. Many SSA alumni work on the front lines in hospitals and research labs, while others have seen COVID-19 drastically transform their jobs and organizations. Read about SSA alumni and how they continue to make a difference during a global pandemic.

Read more about Alumni Pandemic Perspectives
Joyce Fu '99: With An Unmatched Passion For Sports, Law and Family, There Is No Off-Season

Fu has promoted baseball all over the world, traveling to places like Australia, China and Latin America. The outreach work is just one way she has combined her legal and business background with her love of sports -- a passion that was nurtured during her years as a standout athlete at Shady Side Academy.

Read more about Joyce Fu '99: With An Unmatched Passion For Sports, Law and Family, There Is No Off-Season
Jordan '07 and Grant '11 Foley: How Sibling Rivalry Fueled Success on Land, Sea and in the Sky

Like many brothers, Jordan and Grant Foley grew up as equal parts good friends and fierce competitors. The boys would go head-to-head in basketball, football and baseball — each win or loss was another round in their never-ending game of one-upmanship. Jordan, the more serious one, was four years older, but Grant was determined to keep up and scrappy enough to hold his own.

Read more about Jordan '07 and Grant '11 Foley: How Sibling Rivalry Fueled Success on Land, Sea and in the Sky
Ben Portman '03: Bringing It All to The Table

One evening in fall 2012, Ben Portman came home from his job as a financial manager, took off his tie, rolled up his sleeves and let his culinary imagination fly. He whipped up a dish of pureed parsnip, sautéed kale and pan-seared scallops. For his finishing touch, he sculpted a candle out of bacon fat. When his dinner party guests took their seats, he lit the candle and the bacon fat drizzled over the dish, setting off a chorus of ooohs and ahhs from his friends.

Read more about Ben Portman '03: Bringing It All to The Table
Lance Labun '66: Piloting Innovative Ways to Make Airplane Crashes Survivable

When Lance Labun boards a plane, he wears a wool jacket, cotton socks and a long-sleeved cotton shirt. He believes a person should dress up for flying, but his wardrobe is more than a sartorial choice. He wears natural fabrics because he knows that synthetic ones melt in the event of a fire, which would decrease his odds of surviving a crash.

Read more about Lance Labun '66: Piloting Innovative Ways to Make Airplane Crashes Survivable
Reid Van Lehn '05: Molecular Research Leads to Forbes 30 Under 30 Honor

At age 14, Reid Van Lehn '05 played a sci-fi video game, but he wasn't content to just zone out and rack up points. Using his self-taught computer programming skills, he created code to change the game into a Special Forces combat adventure, the type of modification the manufacturer encouraged its gamers to create and share with each other.

Read more about Reid Van Lehn '05: Molecular Research Leads to Forbes 30 Under 30 Honor

SSA Magazine Alumni Profiles

Woman standing next to man

Molly (Loughney) Melius '01 is committed to helping provide environmental startups with the legal advice they need to be successful. A 2010 Stanford University Law School graduate, Molly is now a lawyer and lecturer at the School of Law, helps run the Environmental and Natural Resources Law and Policy Program, and directs Stanford’s Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy pro-bono initiative.

Read More about Molly (Loughney) Melius '01 Co-founds Experiential Course about Startup Law and Sustainability
Eliyah Roberts '20

A double-major in Theatre and Music, Eliyah Roberts ’20 has authored research papers on music theory with her advisor, performed in campus stage productions, and over the past year, worked closely with her Honors project advisor to develop a deeply researched foundation for a passion project: a full-length Afrofuturist musical.

Read More about A Crescendo in Exploration: Eliyah Roberts ’20 is Taking Her Love of Music, Theatre and Storytelling to New Worlds
Elizabeth Patterson ’93: Going All In by Coming Home

When Elizabeth Patterson ’93  walks across the quad to her classroom in Croft House, faculty and students encounter a friendly face with a vibrant energy and the determination to make a difference. Finding herself drawn to SSA’s focus on relational teaching, she knew it was time to make a transition. So this alumna returned home to Shady Side Academy as a Wellness Teacher and Varsity Field Hockey Coach 30 years after graduating.

Read More about Elizabeth Patterson ’93: Going All In by Coming Home
Kali Arnold '94: Teaching Mindfulness and Meditation in a Stressful World

As an orthopedic surgeon, Kali Arnold '94 liked helping people walk or dance or play sports again, but she was disillusioned by a medical system that she felt was driven more by financial considerations than patient care. In 2019, she co-founded The Namaste Project, teaching meditation, mindfulness and yoga techniques to corporations and to students and staff in public schools.

Read More about Kali Arnold '94: Teaching Mindfulness and Meditation in a Stressful World
Laura Shapira Karet ’86: Managing an Essential Business Through A Crisis 

As the pandemic hit in March 2020, her top priority was safety, and she quickly instituted CDC guidelines for social distancing, mandatory mask-wearing and sanitation practices. As restaurants closed and more shoppers poured in, she pitched in at the stores. Some days, she was a cashier and other days she helped stock the shelves.

Read More about Laura Shapira Karet ’86: Managing an Essential Business Through A Crisis