IACS Alumni Hawk

the college years and beyond

September 2021

Dear Alumni Community,

We look forward to sharing updates and celebrating your achievements as you have all played an important role in the success of IACS. Check out exciting IACS News and Alumni updates below!


Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

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Peace Pole Installation

Hope Coleman-Plourde ('21) used her Senior Project to bring the community (middle & high school student groups, staff and Rotary Club) together by designing, painting and installing peace poles at the front roundabout driveway. Learn more about this public art installation in this article, "There is Hope for Peace in Innovation Academy Senior Project" from The Lowell Sun.

Crocodile River Performance

In mid-September, Shantelle Castle, our new IACS Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, arranged for Crocodile River Music to come to campus to celebrate African music, art and dance.

Farm to School

The IACS Farm to School team continues to expand their program. Check out some of their recent projects below. Be sure to follow all of their great work on Instagram (@iacs_farm2school)!

Substitutes Needed

We are always looking for more substitute teachers to add to our roster! If you are interested in subbing with us, you will need to register, participate in background checks as required by law, and complete training. Ready to go? Please fill out the following form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17i2PgCvQxtjvQfl7U_-A07_gutpYnDVXEkp8L8fSvAU/edit?ts=60f5ba3c.

For more information reach out to Crystal McKiel (cmckiel@innovationcharter.org).

Internship Mentoring

We are always looking for mentors and welcome ideas for the 2021-2022 academic year. If you are interested in being a part of an IACS student's journey to finding their career path, reach out to Shannon Morocco (smorocco@innovationcharter.org).

Featured Alumni

Claudia Smith (Class of 2013)

After graduating from IACS, Claudia went on to get a Bachelor's Degree in Counseling Psychology from Lesley University. After spending two years working as an outreach therapist for homeless adults in Boston, she then earned her Master's Degree in Social Work from Salem State University. She is now employed full time doing psychiatric crisis work at a local Veterans Hospital.

Patty Lyna (2016)

I graduated from Framingham State University (FSU) in May 2020 and received my Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education and Spanish. I had to finish my final Student Teaching placement during the first wave of COVID shutdowns, so I taught virtually with first graders! After graduating, I began working in a public elementary school as a substitute and paraprofessional where I got to work with students in smaller group settings. I look forward to completing my Master's and having my own classroom, with kindergarten or first grade.

During my time at FSU, I was a part of three honor societies and helped develop a weekly Spanish Language Table, which gave students and faculty a chance to practice and speak Spanish in a casual setting while trying cuisine from different regions and hearing from a special guest. I also had the opportunity to be a research assistant in a study that examined the representation of Latinx identities in children’s books, and worked as a student caller in the Alumni Relations department to raise scholarship funds and got to interact with various alumni to see where life took them after graduation. Throughout my program of study, I taught in multiple elementary schools, which gave me insight on how I would want to set up my future classroom.

The IACS outcomes are still relevant to me as I navigate my future career. Problem solving was useful for crossing the gap between in person and virtual at the beginning of COVID. Self-direction and community membership were very useful for jumping into different positions within an elementary school and helping fit in where they needed the most help and support.

Katie Shapiro (2017)

I’m Katie Shapiro, a class of 2017 IACS alum and a recent grad from Simmons University. I got my B.S. in environmental science and minored in public health and biostatistics. In July, I will begin working at the Harvard Pilgrim Institute as a Research Assistant. I’ll be part of the Sentinel team, which works with the FDA to assess the risks and safety of medical products.

At Simmons, I worked as an RA for two years helping to build a community and make students feel welcome on my floor. I received a grant in 2019 to conduct research on food insecurity at my college. I worked with university administrators and the president to address the inequities occurring in the on-campus food system. I also had the opportunity to attend and present my research at a public health conference in Texas last year, and was featured on a podcast about college food insecurity (you can listen here: https://lnkd.in/dGQ8iQ8)!

Looking forward, I want to continue working to improve the health of my community. IACS taught me the value of being a good community member, and gave me the opportunity to look around and ask “how can we be better?” This mindset has continued while I was in college, through my food insecurity work, and has led me to my current career.

Jeffrey Taylor (Class of 2017)

After graduating IACS, I attended Ithaca College where I majored in music composition, graduating Magna Cum Laude in May of 2021. In college, I had the opportunity to have private composition lessons with two Contemporary Classical composers, and several master classes with composers from the Paris Conservatoire to the University of Notre Dame. My most prominent masterclass was with Pulitzer Prize nominated and two time Grammy nominated composer Fredrick Kaufman. Shortly after my Masterclass with Fredrick, he selected my orchestral work “Dreams Beyond Earth” as the winner of Ithaca College’s 2021 Orchestral Composition Competition. I felt honored to have had my work selected (especially as a Junior) in the college’s most prestigious composition competition for both undergraduate and graduate students. The prize is usually a world premiere of your orchestral piece on one of the orchestra’s main stage concerts, but unfortunately the piece’s performance was indefinitely canceled due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, you may listen to a highly edited virtual instrument realization of what could have been here: https://youtu.be/7p7cwDjelQ8.

During the pandemic, I’ve pivoted most of my composing to writing music for films and games. I was able to study film scoring in college, so going into this industry full time felt like a comfortable next step. The most recent film I scored is currently in a release embargo until festival season rolls around in the spring, but you may listen to the entire film score album here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2Euj4yOXSndCCzTZjbHa9ij1iIZc_dEi. The most recent game I scored “Iaijutsu” is still in Beta, but feel free to also listen to that along with all my other soundtracks on my Spotify artist page below: https://open.spotify.com/artist/4yhvlqQTushKzdPokoyE9m?si=U3RSHAQVRryDTfyw_miqog&dl_branch=1. In the future, I hope to continue working alongside great directors and collaborators of all kinds in all my future music.

Araceli Schmalz (Class of 2018)

This past summer, Araceli Schmalz co-taught reading to fifth graders for the Generation Teach Virtual Academy which served kids in Boston, Providence and Denver. She is currently in the Netherlands studying psychology and will be taking classes in social psychology, political decision-making, psychedelics, and computational neuroscience. Araceli is earning these credits through Maastricht University and will return to The Johns Hopkins University to finish up her degrees in psychology and cognitive science in 2022.

Alumni Updates & Announcements

Claude-Hendel Laurole (Class of 2014)

Claude-Hendel Laurole graduated from UMass Lowell in 2018. He is currently working at Enterprise as a Sales Development Representative at QuickBase.

Hannah Falewicz (Class of 2016)

Hannah Falewicz graduated with a Master's Degree from Merrimack College in 2021 and is excited to begin her new position as Special Education teacher at Tyngsboro Middle School.

Becca Kearns (Class of 2017)

Becca Kearns graduated Summa Cum Laude from Dickinson College with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 2021. She recently completed a graduate certificate program on publishing from the Denver Publishing Institute.

Ryan Roberge (Class of 2017)

Ryan Roberge played hockey at Bryant University where he recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a minor in Legal Studies. He is now working as an Associate with Standish Management, LLC in Boston, MA. In addition, Ryan runs a music production and entertainment company called King Robey Music.

Bianca Trujillo (Class of 2017)

Bianca Trujillo graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell with honors in the spring of 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and International Business. Bianca is currently working at a Family Law firm as the Operations Manager and hopes to soon go to law school.

We want to celebrate you!

Did you study abroad? Have you graduated? Do you have a new job,? Are you newly engaged, married, or a new parent? We are looking to share your news and celebrate along with you! Click this google form and we'll include you in the next edition.