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Speaker Series Welcomes Ellis Community Professionals

From seeing the technique and talent of a florist firsthand to hearing what it takes to make it as an NCAA referee, the Class of 2025 has learned about a variety of different professions from Ellis families and friends this year as part of the grade 5 speaker series. Throughout the year, parents and friends of Ellis have been welcomed into the fifth grade classroom to share their own paths and expertise with students as they begin to consider the age-old question, “what do I want to be when I grow up?”
“The speaker series is something outside of our curriculum that really extends students’ understanding of the outside world,” said Grade 5 Dean and Teacher Amy Sidari. “This year, the girls have learned about a diverse array of fields—from eCommerce and sustainability, to floral design and botany. They love to hear how the speakers got started and always ask a ton of great questions.”

Because students build and develop key skills in Middle School that will set them on the path toward college and career success, this early exposure is invaluable to students as they consider their own futures. The guest speakers serve as positive professional role models and encourage students to envision themselves as scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs while they are at that crucial age of discovering their own passions and potential. A community-driven way of exposing students to traditional and nontraditional careers, the speaker series enriches students’ understanding of the professional world, so they can chase their dreams without fear of failure once they graduate.

2017–2018 Guest Speakers:

Cristian Apetrei
Parent to Anna, Class of 2025
Philip Bauerle
Friend of Ellis faculty member, Kelly Gleason
Dr. Anita Courcoulas
Doctor & Professor of Surgery
Parent of Tessa Gumberg, Class of 2025
Macon Finley
Head of School
Head of The Ellis School
Dr. Ellen Gawalt
Chemistry Department Chair
Parent to Abby, Class of 2023
Dr. Crystal Fortwangler
Film director & former professor
Parent to Ruby, Class of 2025
Zaheen Hussain
Sustainability Coordinator
Friend of Ellis faculty member, Kelly Gleason
Dr. Patrick Koeppl
Parent to Katie, Class of 2022
Allison McGeary
Parent to Reese, Class of 2025, and Mae, Class of 2029
Amanda SWANK Sauer ’94
NCAA Official
Parent to Cate, Class of 2023; Charlotte, Class of 2024; and Cate, Class of 2026
Dr. Ivan Tarkin
Orthopedic Surgeon & Professor
Parent of Lily Tarkin, Class of 2025
Berry Wanless
Parent to Maryella, Class of 2025