GR2When DreamWorks announced the shutdown of its Northern California studio and the layoff of 500 people, one of the few employees chosen to stay on and help close the doors was Nueva alumna Gemma Ross ’00, who was a technical resource supervisor in the IT department. Gemma was selected for her leadership skills and knack for uniting a team to work effectively for a common goal.

Though she studied computer science and animation in college, Gemma credits her Nueva education for developing her soft skills.

“It is one thing to study computer science or to be an engineer and something else entirely to learn how to manage people,” said Gemma. “Nueva always encouraged us to work together and listen to each other.”

The success of Gemma’s leadership was poignantly visible after receiving the news of the shutdown as her team came together in loving support of one another while many other teams scattered or went straight home. On their last day, Gemma’s team had a final goodbye with some of their L.A. counterparts and former team members to commemorate everything they had achieved and built.

JSAlumnus Jeremy Shar ’06 received a Fulbright research grant to Chile where he’s currently working to demonstrate that a network of cellphones can be harnessed to detect earthquakes and give early warning — perhaps 10 or 20 seconds — enough that people could stop trains, pause surgeries, take cover, or evacuate a building.

“I've always had a very abstract fascination with Chile, especially its landscape,” said Jeremy. “I tried to design a research project proposal based around my experience with geology, math, and programming that suited Chile as well.”

Earthquake detection networks and early warning systems are being developed all over the world with dedicated seismic stations, but Jeremy sees the sheer ubiquity of cellphones as a huge advantage to using cellphones because they create a vast network of earthquake sensors that far outnumber seismic stations. Furthermore, most smartphones are built with the necessary equipment for a seismometer — GPS and an accelerometer that tracks the phone’s motion.

CV2You’ve probably read Huffington Post’s listicles before, but did you know that Nueva’s very own Colton Valentine ’08 wrote some this summer? Colton interned for HuffPost’s Arts & Culture section writing artist interviews and reviews of newly released novels, movies, and exhibits. He also managed social media and participated in writing workshops and staff meetings.

Though his overall HuffPost internship experience was terrific, Colton did have a rough start to the summer. During his first artist interview, Colton forgot to turn on the recorder to capture his conversation with Olafur Eliasson, the Danish-Icelandic artist.

“Eliasson was absolutely brilliant, so earnest and kind-hearted,” said Colton. “I was beaming by the time I got off the phone and just couldn't believe I'd been given the chance to talk to him, for so long, as an intern.”

Colton had been given only 15 minutes to talk to Eliasson and so had practiced the interview several times beforehand. When the interview time arrived, however, technical difficulties arose with the international call, and recording slipped his mind as he began what turned into a 30-minute interview.

“I came really close to crying in the office and felt just so awful, like I had betrayed this gift of an interview and the trust that had been invested in me,” Colton remembers.

Summer Camp for webEvery summer, Nueva receives an influx of alumni who come to work the summer camps, which were held at both the Hillsborough and Bay Meadows campuses this year. At the end of the summer, alumni camp counselors enjoyed an ice cream party together as a small thank you from Nueva for their work.

While savoring their ice cream, alumni discussed their favorite memories of the many hours they spent exploring Nueva’s grounds and trails. They also remembered pursuing their unique passions for niche interests — such as plants, circus performing, cake decorating, Balinese masks, canyon swings, and fencing — and how much it meant to them that their Nueva peers unquestioningly accepted them and their passions.

Nueva Summer Camp wouldn’t be the same without them, so major thanks to these rock-star alumni camp counselors:

Nikolas Strubbe ’99, Zubin Mobedshahi ’03, Hugo Pegley ’11, Jacob Winick ’11, Dominic Willoughby ’11, Sarah Donato ’14, Kalian Matossian ’14, Melody McTeigue ’14, and Lydia Villa ’14

sistersNueva alumnae and sisters Chrystle ’97 and Cat Cu ’01 have been building a business for almost a year now. Their product—Cocofloss—is a microfiber dental floss that is 40 percent more effective at removing plaque than the average floss. Customers say now that they’ve used Cocofloss they can’t imagine using other brands or going a day without flossing.

This is exactly what the Cu sisters teamed up to do — change the way people floss their teeth by reimagining flossing from the thread itself to the entire flossing experience.

“We want to make floss delightful. Less like a chore, and more like a treat. We want to make flossing like a vacation,” said Chrystle.



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