18th Annual Bissell Grogan Symposium

On January 17, the Brimmer community came together for our annual Bissell Grogan Humanities Symposium. While our Virtual Speaker Series over the past two years was a wonderful and engaging way to reimagine the Symposium during the pandemic, we were thrilled to join grades 8-12 once again in the Corkin Theatre for a keynote address on Balancing School, Self, and Life
Later in the afternoon, Upper School students participated in related workshops across diverse fields of interest, including nutrition, hiking, brain science, and the art of ikebana, to name a few. Symposium namesake Kennie Grogan ’76 remarked “Every year, I continue to be impressed by the relevance of the topic and the quality of the speakers and workshops selected by the Symposium committee members. This year's superb keynote address was particularly relevant to this year's school theme, Finding Balance, Finding Joy. It was engaging, uplifting, and such a positive way to kick off 2023.”


Rebecca Pacheco P '35
Meeting the Moment: A Talk & Meditation for Balance & Joy 
Rebecca is the author of Still Life: The Myths and Magic of Mindful Living and Do Your Om Thing: Bending Yoga Tradition to Fit Your Modern Life. She has more than 20 years of experience practicing and teaching yoga and meditation and has helped people of all kinds find steadiness and joy, including: Olympians, NBA players, firefighters before running into burning buildings, pop stars and ballerinas before going onstage, healthcare workers on the frontlines of the Covid crisis, and educators and students of all ages, from pre-K to college. She is a graduate of the Loomis Chaffee School and the University of Richmond, where she studied English Literature, Eastern Philosophy, and Gender Studies. She lives in Boston with her husband and daughter—a student in Brimmer’s Lower School. 


Aliza Berger 
So You Want to Make A Difference?: How to be a Balanced Change Agent 
Rav Hazzan Aliza Berger was ordained by Hebrew College as both a cantor and a rabbi in the spring of 2017. She loves working with young people to help them connect to Judaism and to their own potential to be positive change agents in the world. She loves building community, volunteering/community organizing to support refugees, spontaneous jam sessions (she loves to sing and plays piano and guitar), and board games. 

Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D. 
Fueling for School, Sports & a Busy Life: How to make a good athlete great
Sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., has a private practice in Newton, where she has helped many student-athletes, casual exercisers, and competitive athletes excel from being good athletes to being great. She is a popular speaker, both nationally and internationally. She has been Team Nutritionist for the Boston Red Sox. Her best-selling Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook has sold over 800,000 copies and is now available in its sixth edition. For more information, visit www.NancyClarkRD.com. 

Dr. Garth Coombs 
Brainzzz: Why (and a little bit how) to Get Better Sleep
Garth Coombs received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University in 2020. He is now a Preceptor in Psychology, running the Honors Thesis Program and teaching skills-based tutorials on research methods and effectively communicating science to various audiences. Garth's research focuses on how sleep quality and experiences of stress interact and may put us at risk for anxiety or depression, particularly during major life transitions such as adolescence or starting college. Outside of work, he enjoys weekend trips down to NYC with Mr. R-V to see theater. 
Dr. Matt Gallon
Exploring Our Community through Digital Mapping 
Matt Gallon has taught Middle and Upper School science at Brimmer and May since 2015. He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Anthropology from Bowdoin College. He has conducted archaeological field work in multiple regions of the world, including the Arctic, Mongolia, Mexico, China, India, and the Southwestern U.S. His doctoral research focused on the archaeology of the earliest cities in Thailand and included surveys, excavations, and GIS mapping at the 5th to 9th century CE city of Kamphaeng Saen. 

Dr. Elizabeth Kensinger P ’31
Brain Matters: Understanding Yourself Through Neuroscience
Elizabeth Kensinger graduated summa cum laude from Harvard University and received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from MIT.  After additional training in magnetic resonance imaging via the Department of Radiology at MGH, she began her faculty position at Boston College. She is now a Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, where she directs the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience laboratory. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed publications and co-authored the just-released book Why We Forget and How to Remember Better: The Science Behind Memory (Oxford University Press, 2023). Her current research is supported by the National Institute on Aging and the National Science Foundation. She collaborates with the Innocence Program clinic at the Boston College Law School, conducting seminars on the science of memory, and she is a faculty lead of the Boston College Consortium for Translational Research on Learning and Memory. 

Megan R. Mays, DNP, WHNP-BC, ANP-BC 
Body and Soul
Megan received her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Physiology from Boston University and both her Master of Science and Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees from the MGH Institute of Health Professions. She is dedicated to providing high-quality compassionate care with a mission for reproductive equity. Megan’s nursing career started at the bedside, taking care of surgical and trauma patients. She spent her first five years as an N.P. at Planned Parenthood where she solidified her passion for sexual and reproductive health. She then worked at Atrius Health for eleven years seeing patients and serving in various leadership roles. She has enjoyed serving as adjunct faculty at the MGH Institute of Health Professions and has more recently transitioned her full-time work into medical director roles at pharmaceutical companies. 

Karen Norgaard P ‘34
The Hidden Power of Your Mind
Karen’s mission is to raise consciousness through therapeutic tools that allow individuals to understand the power of the mind. Furthermore, she helps eliminate mental and emotional blocks that prevent individuals from achieving their goals, while maintaining balance and enjoying life. In 2007, she graduated from college, obtaining a degree in Corporative and Organizational Communications. Then, she worked on the radio for five years, hosting a life coaching radio program. She is certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) from SRI University, Oregon, USA. Karen is also the author of the book "EVEN STRONGER" and completed a Professional Certification in Hypnotherapy at HMI College (California, USA) the only accredited Hypnotherapy college in the United States.

Francisco Pérez-Landaeta P ’34 
Energy Leadership for Success 
Francisco Pérez-Landaeta is a business executive with an impeccable 22-year track record managing businesses and adding value as a business coach and consultant. He has an M.B.A. from Babson College and is currently studying Business Analytics at Harvard Business School. He was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. In 1995, he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and International Business from the American University in Washington, D.C., and then moved to Caracas, Venezuela. He worked in the banking industry until 1998. In 2002, he transitioned into the Agro Business, becoming the CEO of the second-largest sugar cane group producer in Venezuela. Later, he worked for Anthony Robbins as a peak performance coach and trainer. He is a Master Practitioner in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), a Certified Professional Coach from the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching IPEC, and a Master Practitioner in Energy Leadership coaching. 

Kenley Smith, Jared Smith, Ted Barker-Hook
Loose Toenails and Majestic Vistas: Long Distance Hikes and Local Walks
Mr. Barker-Hook, Mr. Smith, and Ms. Smith have collectively been working at Brimmer and May for more than 30 years. They represent the Science, History, and English departments and are all very interested in hiking, the outdoors, and adventures. Between the three of them they have day-hiked, section-hiked, and through-hiked the Appalachian Trail as well as many other local and national trails. Mr. Barker-Hook is also the faculty member who organizes the trips for Outdoor Education, which include zip-lining, snow showing, hiking, and climbing.  

Dr. Tatyana Souza P '26, '30
Just Breathe 
As a Ph.D. of Immunology and an E-RYT 500, Tatyana Souza seamlessly weaves together her health and body knowledge from eastern and western traditions. Tatyana founded Coolidge Yoga in 2013 and has been leading yoga, breathwork and meditation classes for over 10 years. She believes that yoga is the catalyst for personal and global change and hopes to make an impact in her community by creating a nurturing and sacred space where students can experience much needed stillness in their daily life.
Lisa Summergrad and Dona Rehm-Robles 
Envisioning a Future with Balance & Joy
As the Director of College Counseling, Lisa Summergrad finds professional joy in connecting with students and other members of the Brimmer community. Her experience working for an academic enrichment program and for the Wellesley College Admission Office, as well as her degree in creative writing, informs her work as she guides students towards futures that will make them happy. She balances her work with time spent cooking new recipes with her family, traveling (Covid-permitting), and finding small moments of joy and wonder with her one-year-old daughter. 

Dona Rehm-Robles finds joy and balance in connecting with others, both at Brimmer and in the greater Boston Community. Ms. Rehm-Robles has loved having the opportunity to connect with students as part of the Cross Country Team, the Gator-Aide Mentor Program, Student Life Activities, and her role as the Associate Director of College Counseling. Outside of school, Ms. Rehm-Robles maintains balance and joy through her volunteer work with the Junior League of Boston, workouts at the Title Boxing Gym, and spending time with her husband and close friends.

Kaye B. Vosburgh 
Ikebana: The Creative Zone - Japanese Flower Arranging 
Kaye began work as a research technician, then a high school biology teacher. She then stayed home to raise her children before taking up the hobby of Ikebana, Japanese Flower Arranging. Kaye is now an Ikebana teacher of the highest rank. She teaches at home in Newton and at New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill as well as in Schenectady, New York and on Zoom. She is also a judge in the National Garden Clubs and instructs courses in Design and Procedure for Flower Shows to the incoming judges. Kaye has just published a book entitled “Creations from the Garden – Growing Plants for the Art of Flower Arranging.” Kaye delights in sharing creative moments with others. 
As an inclusive private school community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.