“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 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.”
“One of the greatest lessons I took from Friends was how to think critically, which has served me well throughout my educational journey and into the professional world. It’s truly a skill that is valuable regardless of what you do in life."
“I greatly appreciate WFS for giving me the opportunity to become an independent learner and teaching me how to write. Without these skills, I would not have had nearly as much confidence to go into research as I do now.”
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.
Peter Henderer ’89 attended Friends for three years for Pre-1st through 2nd grades, and then returned for 10th through 12th grades. On campus, he played football and lacrosse, played in the Concert Band and Jazz Band, served on the Service Committee, and was Clerk of the Business Meeting. After graduation, Peter studied at Bowdoin College, majoring in Economics and Environmental Studies, and serving as Co-President of the Bowdoin Outing Club. After Bowdoin he studied law at The George Washington University Law School and went on to the private practice of law in Richmond, Virginia. Peter’s practice is in commercial real estate, with a particular focus on tax-credit financed multifamily housing. On the side, Peter has grown a portfolio of his own residential rental properties. Outside of work, Peter has served on numerous non-profit boards, and is currently Chair of the Board of Trustees at Richmond Montessori School, a Toddler through 8th grade school in Richmond. Peter is married to Armistead Edmunds Henderer and they have two teenage children.
Laura Robelen ’78 was a 13-year veteran of Friends, following in the footsteps of her mother, Lois Moodey ’53. At Friends, Laura enjoyed participating in chorus and especially the annual Spring musicals. She served as Secretary of her senior class. The friendships made at WFS have stood the test of time, thanks to social media, and she regularly gathers with classmates living in the Wilmington area. Laura graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a major in Communication and Theatre and a minor in Psychology. Since 1988, Laura has been a licensed Realtor and is also an Associate Broker. She teaches the Pre-Licensing Sales class for her brokerage Long & Foster. Laura has been a fundraising volunteer for Delaware Hospice for the last 25 years. She has served as chair of The Festival of Trees for most of those years and also serves on the Board of Trustees and as Co-Chair of the Development Committee.
“My time as a WFS student built a foundation of curiosity, empathy, and determination that I will always carry with me, but the most important lesson I learned as a WFS student comes from the George Fox quote in the front entrance of school: ‘Let your life speak.’
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.
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.
2017 Hannah Kushner ’17 was a Lifer at Friends. On campus, Hannah ran on the cross country team and was involved with the FIRST Tech Challenge, Poetry Speaks, and Amnesty International clubs. After graduation, Hannah attended Lehigh University, where she studied environmental engineering and urban policy, with a focus on climate resilient cities. At Lehigh, Hannah was involved in political activities and stormwater management research. After graduating in January 2021, Hannah stayed on at Lehigh to pursue a master’s degree in environmental policy while serving as a Resilience Fellow with the City of Boston. Hannah intends to continue working in local government to develop climate resilient and socially equitable infrastructure. Connect with Hannah or learn more about her work on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/hannahkushner
After spending two decades as a private practice trial lawyer, Shirley shifted the focus of her career to public service. She credits WFS with instilling in her the many values needed to be an effective U.S. Magistrate Judge.
Joey Gutierrez '07 joined the WFS community in 3rd Grade. After graduation, he attended Bucknell University, where he majored in Comparative Humanities and founded a student group focused on philanthropy education. After college, Joey moved to the Bay Area where he has held various roles in education technology and impact investing. He most recently completed an MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business and started working at an edtech startup in San Francisco.