Katie Sagarin, Class of 2004 (Mr. Sblendorio)

Katie Sagarin in West Texas Spring 2012Katie Sagarin, Class of 2004 (Mr. Sblendorio), attended Miss Hall’s School after Steiner, where she realized her passion for science and played soccer and softball. She also interned at the Mead WestVaco paper mill (now Onyx papers) in the R&D lab. As high school graduation approached, Katie looked for a science program with a serious undergraduate research component, and settled on McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec.

In the school of science, which Canadians call the Faculty of Science, Katie focused on biology with a strong interest in geology, accompanying geological field expeditions to Chile (she was there for, although unaffected by, the earthquake in 2010), to Banff, and to west Texas. She developed a love of turtles, including assisting a graduate student from Williams College in banding bog turtles in Berkshire County during the summer of 2009, and sifting earth to find and reassemble fossilized turtle skeletons at McGill. She has worked in the evolutionary biology lab of Hans Larsson at McGill for the past two years, a lab in which researchers are attempting to create–or at least create proteins from–dinosaur DNA that may be found in modern chickens, lightly referred to as the “chickenosaurus.”

Katie enjoyed her time at McGill and in the city of Montreal, picking up what she calls “ingredient French,” which allows her to shop and to cook. She has a broad circle of international friends who gather to cook for each other and to watch “Doctor Who,” a British TV show about a time-traveling scientist.

Katie graduates from McGill this spring, and plans to take a year off from school while applying to graduate school. She will return to Berkshire County to teach life science and math part-time at the Great Barrington Waldorf High School. Although she attended Miss Hall’s, she also considers herself an “honorary graduate” of the Waldorf high school, and is looking forward to imparting her love of science to high school students, especially girls. “All students should love science and math,” she says, “but because the field is still dominated by men, it’s important that women know how beautiful and important this work can be”

Katie remembers her days at Steiner fondly, especially all the folk dancing with Mr. Sblendorio. “He showed us something that he really loves,” Katie remembers, “and I believe that made it easier for us to find what we really love and to pursue it with all our strength.”