From West Harrison, NY, Annie Rubinson is a 15-year-old sophomore who leads a busy life that includes an interesting combination of rigorous academics and musical theater. She has developed a keen interest in history and international politics, as she demonstrates through her Model United Nations membership, and also serves as a blogger and contributing writer for her school newspaper. Annie also takes part in several theatrical productions per year, in addition to competing in national a cappella competitions. After discovering the immense impact of singing and acting on the quality of her work ethic, Annie became passionate about studying the relationship between creativity and logic, as she will explore in her TEDx talk.
Drew Schott is a junior whose interests include United States history, classical studies and journalism. He participates in various academic and extracurricular activities, such as Model United Nations, working as a features and arts editor for Tower, the School newspaper; and giving families tours of campus as a member of Gold Key. Because of his active academic schedule, Drew wanted to explore solutions to the stress he experienced, and discovered a solution that he has followed ever since: living in the moment. Living in the moment has not only allowed Drew to become less stressed, but also has allowed him to be able to recognize the present moment and enjoy his surroundings, no matter the situation.
A longtime resident of Yonkers, NY, Elijah Emery is the co-chair-elect of student government at Masters. A noted activist and leader of his community, Eli has organized various campaigns for social change and has worked on several campaigns. He has a strong interest in American history and politics, particularly the presidential campaigns of the 20th century.
A 15-year-old sophomore, Emanuel Adamiak was born in Germany, but never really felt fully German. His dad is from Poland and his mom is from Germany, making him half Polish and half German. While growing up, he was lucky to live in both countries, to learn both languages and to experience the two very different cultures. Living in between these two cultures was an amazing experience for him, but at the same time it was also a challenge. He remembers never really identifying with one country (but with both), never knowing whom to root for if there was a soccer game between the two national teams, and never being recognized as either German or Polish. As a result of being different from his peers, he was stereotyped his entire life. At first this was a humiliating experience for him, but as time passed, he started realizing the profundity of prejudices. It made him more interested in humans, coming from different backgrounds, living in today’s world. His curiosity and ability to overcome his own prejudices have made it possible for him to step into the unknown and present a TEDx talk.
Reflecting on her journey through school and the world as a woman, Evelyn Sabety, a 15-year-old sophomore, has been involved in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) since she was in elementary school, when she joined an all-girls robotics team. Since then, she has moved on to compete as a member of Masters’ robotics team, while also focusing on the sciences in her studies. In her talk, Evelyn broaches the subject of how everyday sexism affects women and girls everywhere — from school, to home, to the world as a whole. She focuses on her experiences and other women’s experiences in the STEM field, as well as the female empowerment movement itself.
Grace Rosner is a senior who enjoys learning, challenging herself, playing lacrosse, doing ceramics, and writing poetry. Most of Grace’s academic interests center on science and math, but she is also very passionate about social equality, specifically women’s rights and feminist culture. Combining both interests, Grace wrote a senior thesis questioning the origins of gender stereotypes. Her thesis focused on exploring, questioning and debating the arguments of evolutionary psychology relevant to gender/sex roles. Evolutionary psychology is a field of science that applies Darwin’s theories of evolution to human behavior. As such, when exploring gender/sex roles, evolutionary psychology attempts to explain and validate the patriarchy through biology. After completing a 30-page research paper and giving a presentation on her findings, Grace has decided to take this project to the next level.
A 17-year-old senior from New York, Henry Williams is one of the editors-in-chief of Tower, the School newspaper; a co-president of the Model United Nations club, and is currently working on a senior thesis to analyze social patterns through machine learning. Henry will be attending Columbia University in the fall to study computer science, math and physics, and he hopes to help contribute to the field of artificial intelligence and social transformation through technology.
Lizzy Forman is a donor-conceived person born and raised in New York City; she was raised in a single-parent household by her mother and an army of au pairs. While growing up, she had knowledge of diverse family standards in a liberal city like New York, with the addition of her own experience — the challenges of growing up with no idea whose DNA lived within her. She would explain her family dynamics to anyone who asked about her dad in this way: “I have a mommy, a babysitter, and a dog named Rusty, but I don’t have a dad.” In her freshman year of high school, Lizzy became more interested in her genetics. She was able to find a biological half-brother from the same donor through a donor-conceived sibling registry. They met in December 2016 and have been close ever since. In 2017, Lizzy took an ancestry DNA test and found a half-sibling and her donor. After her recent connection with her biological father, Lizzy has been slowly piecing together traits shared between the two.
Rachel Aideyan is a junior who is very interested in medicine and social justice. Rachel recently began thinking about ignorance and how it is prevalent in many aspects of society: entertainment, music, fashion and politics. She thought about being Nigerian-American and the ignorance she saw regarding Africa. As she grew up, people she met automatically assumed that her family in Nigeria was living in poverty and that when she went to Nigeria she was living on the set of The Lion King. But then Rachel looked into the adage “ignorance is bliss” and the idea that ignorance is a good thing because it is an escape from the harsh realities that life throws at you. She wondered why ignorance was ever thought of as a good thing. She realized that there has to be different perspectives regarding ignorance. There has to be a reason why everyone did not think of ignorance in the same way. Rachel then discovered that ignorance is very complex.
As a child, Sophie Cohen was infatuated with animals. She had an animal encyclopedia that she read every night before bed. She memorized random facts, such as how large an average octopus was, or how fast a cheetah could run. She also had a book about dogs, which listed all dog breeds and their characteristics. To this day, she’s very confident in her ability to identify any breed of dog she sees. Throughout her adolescence and throughout school, her passions changed, her perspectives widened and narrowed, but her love for animals remained. She was able, through this growth and learning, to look at this love in a different way. She began to look at herself in comparison to animals, and began to question her cognitive functions compared to theirs. In the future, she plans to engage in wildlife studies and marine biology, so she can potentially develop this lasting interest into a career.