IACS Alumni Hawk

the college years and beyond

December 2020

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Campus Note

Dear Alumni Community,

While 2020 has been a challenging year to say the least, we are all looking forward to brighter times ahead in 2021. As this year comes to a close, we wanted to send an update with uplifting stories about alumni to spread some good cheer.

If you haven't already, follow our social media accounts for regular updates and photos to reminisce about your years at IACS. We'd like to hear about your adventures, experiences and what you've been up to. Share your contact information so we can keep in touch!

Kind regards,

Shannon Morocco

Director of Community Development

Alumni Updates

Gregory Dion (Class of '11)

After graduating from IACS in 2011, I went on to attend New England College. I graduated for there in 2015 with a degree in Sport and Recreation Management. While I was there I was part of the Men’s Basketball Team as the Student Manager, working all the way up to Student Assistant Coach as a senior.

Once I graduated in 2015 I went on to intern for the Nashua Silver Knights of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League as a food and beverage intern. There I managed a concession stand for the summer. After the summer was over I got a job at Melmark New England, as an ABA Classroom Counselor, where I have been for the last five years. At Melmark, I have worked with students all over the Autism Spectrum.

While at Melmark, I met my fiancée. In 2020, we welcomed our daughter Bailey into the world, just before this crazy world got taken over by COVID.

Becca Keenan (Class of '12)

Post graduation from IACS, I attended Fitchburg State initially intending to study early childhood education. I have always had a passion for working with kids but truthfully, I realized that a teaching path wasn’t for me. Then, having no idea what else I wanted to study and as nerve wracking as it was, I made the tough decision to leave school and focus solely on a different career path.

Well, here I am, some odd years later managing a company on my own without a college degree. When this company first opened, Altitude Trampoline Park went from 1 park in MA and 3 locations in the US, to now having over 100 parks globally! This incredible opportunity has allowed me to travel annually and assist with the opening of various locations throughout the North East as well as still being able to work with kids daily. Each day I work a bit with marketing, human resources, public relations, and of course business management. I have been able to gain knowledge in many different skills I’m not sure I would have if I stayed on the college path with one specific major.

Without the direction and support of IACS teachers, I don’t think I would be as successful as I am today. Since our owner resides in the south, I am able to take initiative and have a lot of innovative freedom to create new ideas to bring to the business. Contrary to that, being the General Manager also means I am constantly needing to be quick on my feet and use problem solving skills I was able to gain throughout high school when any kind of problem arises. During the years in-between high school and today, I have traveled throughout the country completing 2 road trips, seen a few islands, picked up a passion for photography, and became very involved in my church. If there is any advice I could give to upcoming graduates, its to not stress about your future and if the opportunity allows, travel. Work hard for what you want and it will happen! This world is much too big to not see its natural beauty and appreciate it for what it is.

Tracy (McTiernan) Barbieri ('13)

After IACS, I got my bachelor’s degree in sociology, psychology, and disability studies. Straight out of graduation, I began working as a case manager for an early intervention program in New Hampshire, where I spend my days working with families and children under the age of three who have various delays, disabilities, or challenging circumstances. So much development happens in these first few years of life, and I get to help equip families with the knowledge and resources to support their children!

More recently, I’ve obtained my credentials through the state as an early intervention specialist, which allows me to work even more closely with these families and children. It’s been great following my passion of working with families and children, and I’ve been really fortunate to grow my own little family in this time. I got married in 2018, and since then, we have rescued a cat and a dog, and have moved to New Hampshire where we just purchased our first home! It’s hard to believe that so much has changed in just 7 years since graduating from IACS. Some things haven’t changed though- I still enjoy singing and making music, and I still look at every circumstance as an opportunity for an art project!

Maggie Loiselle (Class of '16)

After graduating from IACS in 2016, I attended Emmanuel College in Boston, MA where I studied Biology with a concentration in Health Sciences. During college, I was involved in the volunteer program Habitat for Humanity where I volunteered in both Texas and Florida to help build homes during spring break. During my senior year, I was given the opportunity to be the president of the Habitat for Humanity chapter at my school. In college, I was also able to intern in a research lab at Mass General Hospital which was a benefit of attending a school in Boston near so many great hospitals and research institutions. During this internship, I completed an independent research project studying a gastrointestinal pathogen for my undergraduate senior thesis, which earned me the honor of Distinction in the Field of Biology. Throughout completing my thesis, I discovered how fascinating research is and wanted to continue gaining experience in the research field after graduation.

I graduated this past May, and I started a full time job in June, working as a research technician in a pediatric pulmonology lab. While working, I am also studying to take the Medical College Admission Test as I plan to apply to medical school in a few years. I am thankful for the 8 years that I spent at IACS and all of the skills that I gained, which have helped guide me through college and now the start of my career. I most often use the effective communication skills that I learned as they have been useful for obtaining internships, job opportunities, and for presentations like my senior thesis.

Will Estrella (Class of '16)

Since graduating from IACS in 2016, I have been studying at Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in upstate New York. I’m currently in my fifth year, and after the spring semester of 2021 I’ll be embarking on a full year of rotations before receiving my Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree in 2022! I admit that pharmacy school has been quite challenging at times, but I know that my experiences at IACS have served as a solid foundation for me to succeed as well as I have here.

Over the last year, I have been fortunate to be a part of a newly formed organization on campus – the compounding club – which focuses on introducing students to the skills necessary to create customized dosage forms for patients who cannot use those that are commercially available. It has been a very rewarding experience for me as my time at ACPHS draws to a close.

During the past 2 summers, I have completed my introductory rotations at Hannaford in Saco, ME and Elliot Hospital in Manchester, NH. I also work as a pharmacy intern for Hannaford, and enjoy the opportunity to work with a supportive and fun staff, as well as with other healthcare professionals to provide our patients with the care they need. After graduating and completing my board exams, I plan to continue working in the community pharmacy setting, as I enjoy the ability to have more personal, face-to-face interactions with patients!

Sonali Gurjar (Class of '17)

My name is Sonali Gurjar and I graduated from IACS in 2017. I'm currently a fourth year nursing student at Simmons University. I've been a part of Sigma Theta Tau, an honors nursing society and work as a patient care assistant at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Through my courses, I've had clinicals at many Boston hospitals such as Tufts Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital. I'm really grateful we completed POLs at the end of the year, since it helped me with my presentation skills. IACS also helped me build my interpersonal skills and I am much better at effective communication (which is essential for nursing!). Remember to always have fun with whatever you do!

Jenny Matthew (Class of '19)

I am halfway through my sophomore year of college at Umass Lowell, where I am studying biology. I am also working at Lahey, a level 1 trauma hospital, as an operating room technician. I hope to carry on my passion for medicine and obtain a profession in healthcare. Along with that, I am an AmeriCorps member where I work for Umass Lowell’s Jumpstart program. Jumpstart is a national early education organization that provides language, literacy, and social-emotional programming for preschool children from under-resourced communities. I am looking forward to what the future has in store for me!

Alumni Announcements

Women Empowering Women

Check out a resource created by Carrie Nagle ('12) this fall. The Facebook group aims to build community amongst women by sharing empowering stories of famous and everyday women. Click to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1572127852973332/.
Have news or updates you'd like to share with the IACS alumni community? Send them our way!

Become a Substitute Teacher!

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/e/1FAIpQLSdIOnlEMDvRdweuA7gD0-_0ifpX9y6spQ49Zl0fEuwBwBCc5g/viewform?usp=sf_link.

For more information reach out:

Crystal McKiel (cmckiel@innovationcharter.org), High School

& Ning Sisouvanh (nsisouvanh@innovationcharter.org ), Middle School

Internship Mentoring

Are you interested in mentoring an IACS intern in a certain field for a few hours a week? Would your organization like some help, a motivated learner, one who has the same core momentum that you were taught: community membership, self direction, problem solving and effective communication?

We are looking for mentors and welcome ideas for the 2021 spring semester. Please let us know if you can help! If interested in being a part of an IACS student's journey to finding his/her career path by way of an internship, reach out to Shannon Morocco (smorocco@innovationcharter.org).

Re-Connecting with IACS Staff

We are unable to allow alumni visits due to state guidelines at this time. If you would like to reconnect with IACS teachers or staff, feel free to reach out by email. Conversations can be had by email or zoom. Feel free to reach out and we can assist with reconnecting you.