“I learned to enjoy school, challenge myself, and develop in an environment where all of my teachers cared about my success and supported me.”
A recent graduate of Haverford College with his degree in Physics, Nathaniel Ruhl ’18 certainly spent the last four years challenging himself both inside and outside of the classroom. After his Sophomore year of college, Nathaniel began to explore and started to conduct astrophysics research at Haverford. While working on this research, he invented a novel navigational method for satellites that are equipped with an X-ray telescope and are in orbit around any planet with a significant atmosphere! Earlier this year, Nathaniel was able to present his research at an American Astronautical Society conference and published a paper in the conference’s proceedings.
When he was not busy inventing a novel navigational method for satellites, you could find Nathaniel on the lacrosse field where he was named an Ambler Scholar Athlete for having one of the 15 highest GPAs amongst Haverford student-athletes. A French minor, he also participated in the Summer study abroad program in Avignon, France.
As a member of Haverford's 4+1 accelerated Master’s program with the University of Pennsylvania, Nathaniel is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Penn. His hope is to apply the fundamental physics concepts to real-life mechanical systems. Prior to his time at Haverford and Penn, Nathaniel attended WFS where he was a four-year captain of the swim team and was twice named All-State for his work on the lacrosse field. Additionally, he was a member of Jazz Band, Link Crew, and worked as a Summer Camp counselor for five years.
His advice to current WFS students? “Start networking with (WFS and College) alumni, both to learn from others’ experiences and to become comfortable in talking about their skills, interests, and passions. I would also recommend that they explore interesting academic topics in their free time, which will help them to identify what they want to study in college and better define their career path.”
“I think the best thing that Friends prepared me for was being able to see the bigger picture. But for all that I learned within the walls of WFS, I learned that much more by participating in athletics and going on the ‘Dream Project’ service trip in the Dominican Republic. Seeing life through multiple lenses allowed me to tackle new situations much more confidently.”
“I can’t stress enough how much I felt prepared, honestly, academically or otherwise for college. So many of my friends and classmates at Penn State really struggled academically, and I felt so overwhelmingly lucky for my WFS education.”
“WFS provided me with a broad range of experiences and points-of-view to learn about and learn from. I have rarely felt like I could not contribute to a conversation or that I was uncomfortable in a different environment in large part because of the people I met and the perspectives we considered while I was a student at WFS.”
“Be comfortable with silence. Weekly meetings for worship, surrounded by my classmates and teachers, taught me the importance of not only embracing silence, but finding confidence in it. I try to replicate that sentiment in my daily life whether it's by practicing mediation or taking a few breaths before responding to opposing counsel in a law school competition.”
“If I did not attend WFS for high school, I do not think I would be where I am now - I was a shy freshman when I started at WFS and I had zero confidence in myself, especially academically. All the faculty at WFS taught me to believe in myself and to not give it up. I find myself teaching my students the same things some of my teachers taught me at WFS, and it is a full circle moment for me. I think the teachers at WFS do a great job of fostering an inclusive environment and allowing for discussion to happen, and that helped me (especially during graduate school) to not be afraid to speak during class discussions or having tough conversations with friends or classmates.”
"WFS prepared me by teaching and encouraging me to think for myself, form my own opinions, and problem solve. I also grew as both a student and as an individual during my time at Friends due to the immense amount of support from my teachers, coaches, and peers."
“As a WFS lifer, one of the most important lessons I learned was to be patient and listen. After graduating college in the height of the pandemic, the future felt unstable and unknown—especially when it came to following my dream of working in the music industry. While I don’t regularly have Meeting for Worship anymore, the practice of reflecting, taking time to sit with my thoughts, and remaining patient, is something that has served me during these last couple of years. Being able to ‘just listen’ to others, or even your own thoughts instead of immediately reacting to any work/life situation, is one of the most powerful tools.”
“My time at Wilmington Friends helped me develop my creativity and leadership. It allowed me to be myself, and realize there are no limits to potential. There is value not only in education, but the relationships formed.”
I attended Wilmington Friends School for 14 years, and by all accounts, I consider myself a “lifer.” WFS provided the bulk of my educational experience, which was the basis for my development as an artist and an activist. Throughout my attendance at Friends, certain core values such as integrity, community, equality, peace, stewardship, and simplicity were foundational.
2018 At Friends since Kindergarten, Cecilia ’18 has interspersed her Humanities studies in California with experiential learning in Germany. After a gap year in Berlin teaching children cooking on a kitchen bus, she entered an intensive program in Classics & Philosophy and designed costumes for the repertory Shakespeare Company during her freshman year at Stanford. When the pandemic moved classes online, she joined a Berlin social enterprise as a Marketing Manager.
“WFS taught me about teamwork and compassion when working on assignments and projects with multiple students. This was helpful in college and continues to be in the design world as it’s all about negotiation and teamwork!”
1978 A big fan of the Stoic philosophers, David's mantra is: Strive, not arrive. Winner of both the Mendenhall and Bush awards, David played sports, sang in musicals, and acted at Friends. He finds the faculty to be the School's core asset. Harry Hammond and Rick Reynolds in particular influenced his development.
“Make yourself known in everything that you do. It’s very easy to get ‘lost in the numbers’ at a large university, so it is important that your professors are able to put a face to the name and that you make an honest impression. These connections that you make with professors, advisors, and coaches can last a lifetime and can open up new opportunities that you never knew existed or help you achieve experiences that you have always dreamed of . . . I am able to do what I love in a way that I never thought was possible because of these professors, advisors and coaches.”
“I believe that the concept of active listening and learning was cultivated at WFS, and this included being open to feedback. Being willing (and knowing it’s okay!) to change your mind, and constructively disagreeing helped prepare me for post HS life. On the topic of seeing something differently, it was here that I learned that it is perfectly fine to disagree with someone or not see eye to eye, but it’s imperative for everyone’s personal growth and development to do so in a kind, respectful, and gracious way. I think this is the most powerful lesson I took away from Friends and one that I see necessary to practice daily in our world, now more than ever.”
Elizabeth L. Haven ’72 was a “sandwich” Friends student, between brother Ken Haven ’70 and sister Julie Haven Malloy ’80. At Friends, Liz was active in student government and was Senior Class President. She received the Bush Award and was a National Merit Scholar. After majoring in Geology at Harvard University, Liz graduated in 1976 and left for California, becoming the first female oilfield engineer for the Schlumberger Company. In 1980, Liz completed her M.S. degree in Engineering Geology from Stanford University. Also in 1980, she married fellow geologist Rick Humphreys, with whom she raised two daughters, now grown. Liz led a variety of water quality programs for California’s state government, culminating in the Deputy Director position charged with transferring the Safe Drinking Water Program in order to address the need for safe and affordable drinking water for disadvantaged communities. Now retired, Liz and her husband live in Windsor, California and enjoy hiking and camping with their dog in the beautiful countryside and beaches of Sonoma County.