NestED Speaker Jessica Livingston ’89 Shares Advice For Girls In The Startup Industry

Female students gathered in The Nest on Wednesday evening to engage in a Skype session with Jessica Livingston ’89, the co-founder of Y Combinator, a company that works to help startups launch new projects, gain more users and raise more money. Since its launch in 2005, Y Combinator has funded over 1,000 early startup companies including Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit.

During the event, Livingston shared her personal experience getting involved in startups and empowered more girls to study in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

“Just expose yourself… if you want to start a startup, it is super advantageous to know how to build the product yourself… We have a lot of female founders that we fund and a lot of them are not technical… They have so much trouble finding a technical co-founder… so they’re really at a disadvantage,” said Livingston during her presentation.

According to Flavia Vidal, Instructor in English and Co-Director of the Brace Center for Gender Studies, the purpose of the all-female Girls’ Night Out event was to encourage more girls to occupy spaces related to STEM fields, such as The Nest.

“Equity and inclusion [are two] big parts of our strategic plan. So we became aware that [The Nest] was once such space… [Michael Barker, Director of Academy Research, Information and Library Services] in fact thought about this event as an opportunity to bring girls together to occupy that space… so he really wanted to make sure that girls would know very deliberately that this is a place that they should go to, participate in the activities there and feel welcome,” said Vidal during an interview with The Phillipian.

“I think [the event] really was a time and place for girls only to really talk about these issues of [gender inequality in STEM fields]…” but I think it was really a good space, where we can [learn from Livingston’s experience] and later talk about issues that pertain to us and how we can promote change,” said Rosa Morona ’16, an attendee of the event.

After graduating from Andover, Livingston attended Bucknell University and majored in English. At Bucknell, Livingston recalled specifically avoiding to take STEM courses due to the crippling grades she had received from her math and science classes at Andover.
“I sort of hid from my problems back then… I hid from these things rather than [trying] to solve my problems and… [working] a little bit harder,” said Livingston.

Livingston, after having worked in an investment bank and then in public relations, was introduced to the startup industry. Her passion for startup grew when, in 2003, she met her husband, Paul Graham, a programmer who built a startup company and sold it to Yahoo.
According to Livingston, options for funding and information about startups at the time were limited, so she and her husband decided to start their firm, Y Combinator.

“We thought there was [a] real missing piece, the funding world was just broken… So we thought, [that] there’s a lot of people that should be starting startups that aren’t. They are going to get a job at Google because there’s no really other options than that. So [my husband] said, ‘Okay, let’s just launch something [of our own]’, ” said Livingston.

Livingston hopes her presentation encouraged more girls to consider pursuing startup industries and STEM fields.

“I hope that [students] will consider starting a startup one day as an option for their own careers. There is so much innovation happening in the tech world and to be part of that is a wonderful and rewarding thing. It’s also an amazing feeling to pursue an idea and build your own company around it,” said Livingston in an interview with The Phillipian.

The event was an extension of the Brace Fellow Presentation by Sadie Holmes ’16, “Women in STEM: Why So Few?” In her presentation, Holmes discussed the impact of gender roles and minimal involvement of girls in STEM fields.

“We merged the [event with Holmes’s presentation with] the desire to continue that conversation. We heard after [Holmes’s] presentation from a lot of different people that people wanted opportunities to take the topics that Sadie presented and to try to be deliberate in acting about them and to try to make our community more gender-inclusive… So the two ideas sort of merged together into this event,” said Vidal.

Jocelyn Shen ’18, an event attendee, said, “I think [this event] was just really interesting hearing about startups because I hear people talk about them all the time, but no one ever takes a second to actually sit down, have a discussion, understand why they are important and [how] they can make a big impact.”

Darius Lam ’17 Brings Virtual Library Browsing to Andover with Stack Life

In response to the declining utilization of physical libraries, Stack Life, a web application aimed to promote the usage of libraries, was launched at Andover this week in a joint effort between Darius Lam ’17 and North Of Boston Library Exchange (NOBLE).

Inspired by the Stack Life program currently implemented at Harvard Law School, Stack Life at Andover aims to assist students in the research process and allow users to virtually organize books and browse the stacks of the OWHL.

Lam was the lead developer and task manager of Stack Life. He wrote the code and organized resources from NOBLE.

Lam said in an interview with The Phillipian, “In general, people can use [Stack Life] if they have free time to browse books and find new books they’re interested in. For me, I know I found a lot of books about artificial intelligence, something that I’m really interested in, through the software.”

Stack Life aims to make the stacks of the library more interactive and engaging. Users can “tag” books and create their own stacks of books based on subjects, or merge all of the stacks together into a single bookshelf.

Michael Barker, Director of Academy Research, Information and Library Services, said in a phone interview with The Phillipian, “[With Stack Life, students] can just search the stacks from their dorm room or [the] day student lounge without actually having to go to the library.”

“If we look at, say, the stacks, we have different shelves of books,” said Lam. “Stack Life can [combine] all those shelves together to make this really big stack that you can browse all of the books from. It can also create new stacks as well, like all the books that are related to brains or artificial intelligence.”

“It’s supposed to be more intuitive and help people discover more books because you can visualize hundreds of books on a single stack,” Lam continued.

Stack Life not only looks to promote the continuation of libraries, but it also allows users to browse libraries with more ease.
“I feel like one turnaround for students using the library is that [they’ll say], ‘Where do I get started?’ [and] ‘How do I use this?,’” said Lam. “Stack Life gives students access to the same information, but gives it in a way that’s much more intuitive to use and [in a way] they already know how to use.”

Barker initially contacted Lam to help bring Stack Life from Harvard to Andover.

Lam said, “We all know that libraries are… kind of dying out because of lack of funding and [the thought of], ‘Why do people need to go to the stacks if they have information online?’ One of the ways Stack Life tries to help [with the continuation of libraries] is by bringing back the idea of serendipitous discovery.”

“We called it Stack Life because we wanted to represent the library stacks in a way that didn’t seem so dead… Through the application, you can create new stacks and you can visualize the library in different ways, which is why we called it ‘life.’ So we made it a little more alive, hopefully,” he continued.

Lam hopes Stack Life will allow students to explore their interests and help engage their research process.

Marcello Rossi ’16 Connects Students and Alumni with Web Application

Marcello Rossi ’16 launched an online platform to connect students with Andover Alumni for mentorship and internship opportunities this week.

After witnessing widespread stress over post-graduation internship opportunities, Rossi created Andover Mentorship Internship Network (AMIN) during his co-president campaign last year, to better connect current students with Andover alumni.

“In Upper year, when I was running for the co-presidency, I saw that a lot of my classmates were going through this [internship opportunity] anxiety, and I thought to myself, what’s a practical avenue that can help alleviate stress and help students gain a broader perspective?” said Rossi.

“I thought this anxiety was due to being enclosed in the Andover bubble and not being able to see beyond where our academics led to,” Rossi continued.

Rossi found that increasing the availability of alumni connections would allow students more internship opportunities.
“I wanted to be able to offer a resource that connected students with internships and mentorship opportunities outside of Andover, so students can gain a broader perspective on where to apply the knowledge that we are learning here,” said Rossi.

Employing a first-come, first-serve method via an email to all Uppers, AMIN welcomed 33 students into the network.

“You acquire internships through connections, and so therefore I thought creating a resource, or being able to give equal access to the Andover Alumni Network to promote internships, would be more fair and equitable for students to get mentors and internships,” Rossi continued.

Reflecting on his own experience with internships, Rossi recognized the value in having the opportunity to use his knowledge from Andover in scenarios off-campus.

“I had worked on a couple of internships during the summer before my Upper year, and I knew, I just realized how valuable they were to me in helping me see where my knowledge can be applied from Andover. So, I thought, ‘Why not create a resource that helps all Andover students gain access to internships?’” Rossi continued.

Rossi hopes that AMIN will provide equal access to internships and alumni mentors for all Andover students.

“I think that alumni are also willing to volunteer [at Andover] in ways other than monetarily – just donating. I think this is a very hands-on way for alumni to make an impact on the student life,” said Rossi.

One alum connected on AMIN, Nathaniel Fowler ’99, offers internship opportunities at real estate private equity company, Lauderhill Partners.

“[I’m] always looking to help Andover alumni trying to figure out their career plans. I would have really enjoyed connecting with our alumni throughout the world [when I was a student at Andover],” wrote Fowler in an email to The Phillipian.

While AMIN helps connect students to alumni, Rossi hopes students can be proactive in taking advantage of these connections.
“I think the biggest challenge will be for students to really take the bull by the horns and contact alumni. Because while they are in contact, I think students need to be proactive in reaching out to these alumni and seeking out the mentorship from [themselves],” said Rossi.

Rossi believes connecting alumni to AMIN will prove easier if students are eager.

“Another challenge is also definitely getting alumni on board, but I think it’s easier to get alumni on board when the students are enthusiastic. The main thing I’m looking for is hopefully that the students take on the initiative and are enthusiastic about it, and it’s shown we could get more alumni on the network and make it a lot more valuable,” said Rossi.

Although he came up with the idea of AMIN on his own, Rossi received help from an outside computer contractor in London to build the website after obtaining funds from an Abbot Grant. Rossi also received help from Jacques Hugon, Senior Technology Partner for the Tang Institute, and from the Alumni Relations Office.

Through the help of his own contacts, Rossi was able to expand AMIN’s list of alumni connections.

“I started off with a list that I acquired from my own personal connections. And from there, I asked [the Alumni Engagement Office] to spread the work of the internship website. Basically it was kind of just like a blow-out effect, where the first ring would reach out to their connections in their grade. It grew [in] that way,” said Rossi.

Rossi will be on the lookout for younger students to take over AMIN once he graduates if the site proves successful this year.

“I’ll be looking for people to maintain it… But yeah it depends, if it’s successful, it will continue over to next year. Hopefully, as long as it grows, the more it grows, the more potential we’ll have to keep it going in the future,” said Rossi.

Robert Pinsky, 3-Time U.S. Poet Laureate, Reflects on Jewish Influences in Poetry

Robert Pinsky, a three-term U.S. Poet Laureate and award-winning author, attracted crowds of student and faculty to Tang Theatre on Friday night to hear him speak and recite three of his poems. Invited by the Jewish Student Union (JSU), Pinsky came to Andover and launched this year’s Jewish Cultural Weekend with his presentation titled “Jewish Imagination.”

“I’ll begin by confessing to you that the title [of the presentation,] ‘Jewish Imagination,’ [is something] I always wanted to put it in quotation marks, but that seemed a little fussy. It’s partly a rather nasty history joke. Some of you know that in the history of the fascist, anti-Semitic regimes, Jewish art and Jewish psychology is a term of contempt and hatred from others, and I don’t believe there is a Jewish imagination,” said Pinsky during his presentation.

Pinsky read three of his poems: “Samurai Song,” “Poem With Refrains” and “Impossible to Tell.”
Instead of a formal and routinely presentation, Pinsky engaged his audience in conversation as his talk went on. After each poem, audience members had the chance to ask Pinsky questions. Topics of the questions ranged from his word choices to his belief on how his identity have affected his poetic career and his sources of inspiration.

“It’s hard to pick one [source of inspiration], but Emily Dickinson is important to me, Gerard Manley Hopkins is important to me. I like 16th or 17th century poets. What could be better than that? Fulke Greville, Ben Johnson, Emily Dickinson. I tend to like poetry by dead people,” said Pinsky in response to a question asking him about poetic styles that influence his writing.

Pinsky also shared advice to burgeoning young poets in attendance.

“Create your own anthology. Type it up with your own fingers. It is the most personal piece of work you can do, in certain ways, while in school. It is yours. It is a self-portrait in taste,” said Pinsky.

One of the key points that Pinsky emphasized in “Jewish Imagination” was that an artist does not have to be defined by labels related to their identity. He presented the idea that no matter who you are or what you believe in, your concept of the world is always being changed by those you are close to, said Pinsky.

“I tend to be very skeptical of all forms of purity. I don’t think there is any ‘pure’ American, there’s no pure black sensibility… we use these generalities like Asian, or Native American or Hispanic. [These terms] apply to multiple cultures. There was not one culture on this continent before the Europeans came here. And none of us is purely one particular thing,” said Pinsky.

Pinsky believes that the idea of sharing and adopting one another’s faith and identity influences the creation of his poems.

Jewish Cultural Weekend is an event hosted by JSU, that explores the various facets of Judaism on our campus and beyond.

“We kind of brainstormed last year about what we wanted to do with this weekend,” said Chaya Holch ’17, a board member of JSU who helped plan Pinsky’s lecture. “The board decided that we wanted to do something different, so over the summer I looked into the different options, local options mostly, of famous Jewish writers, and Dr. Pinsky came up as one of the prominent ones on the list, and he lives relatively nearby, and obviously he’s a very important poet, and so we as a group decided to bring him to campus this weekend.”

Rabbi Michael Swarttz, faculty advisor to JSU, said, “Jewish Cultural Weekend is an annual opportunity to share various aspects of Jewish culture with the larger Andover community. I believe I have records in my files of the event going back about 12 or 13 years, but it may be [even] older than that.”

Editor’s Note: Chaya Holch is a Managing Editor for The Phillipian.

After 30 Issues, CXXXVIII Bids Farewell to the Newsroom

Members of The Phillipian vol. CXXXVIII played their ritual song, “Come On Eileen” last Thursday as they waited to send their final paper to the publisher. As the guitar chords echoed around the newsroom, the editors solidified a legacy filled with countless late nights of arguing over editorials and early mornings spent salvaging leftover chips and smuggling Capri Sun pouches.

This week signals the last paper for the 138th board and the beginning of The Phillipian vol. CXXXIX, a board featuring a seven-person Upper Management consisting of Editorial, Digital and Business Upper Managements.

Under the leadership of CXXXVIII, The Phillipian established Staff Writer positions, launched a redesigned website, advanced the digitalization of the paper and operated a pay-free subscription for all members on campus.

Sara Luzuriaga ’16, former Editor in Chief of The Phillipian, said, “[The newsroom is] a really special place. You meet really special people and you are doing a really incredible thing – making a paper each week. I think it is so important to make the most of it because it goes so quickly. Thirty weeks seems like a long time, but standing on the other end of it and looking back at all the time I spent here, I think sometimes I didn’t do as much with that time as I could have.”

Juju Lane ’17, former Features Editor, will replace Luzuriaga as Editor in Chief, as well as assuming the role of President of The Phillipian.

Lane said, “I learned from Sara that even if you don’t know someone, it’s important to be open and friendly and [to] get to know everyone, even if it’s kind of hard at first, because I was really scared of her for quite a while. I’m in her dorm and I would see her in the bathroom and I would be so scared, like ‘Am I brushing my teeth right?’ But she always treated me with so much respect, and she treats everyone with so much respect, and that’s something that I’m striving to be like.”

Luzuriaga said, “I think Juju is above all very, very smart. Coming from Features, she has taken a lot of the lessons she learned about writing a humor section in the community newspaper and used those lessons to learn more about journalism and the paper as a whole. I think she has really great instincts, instincts that are really unique in someone of her age. I have 100 percent faith in her.”

A re-established editorial Upper Management position in CXXXIX is the role of Executive Editor, which will be fulfilled by Alexa Tsay ’17, former Associate Sports Editor.

“We wanted to add the Executive Editor position so that the Editor in Chief could have more freedom to do larger scale projects and work more with the other boards. So the Executive Editor, now Alexa, will be doing a lot of editing and she will be taking a lot of the burden off of Juju so that [Juju] can do these different projects,” said Luzuriaga.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know [CXXXIX] and I think we’re all going to work together really well. I’m looking forward to everything we can accomplish,” said Tsay.

Chaya Holch ’17, former Associate Commentary Editor, and Jack Twomey ’17, former Associate Copy Editor, will succeed Avery Jonas ’16, Erica Shin ’16 and Skylar-Bree Takyi ’16 as Managing Editors.

“I think that Managing Editors are there to create the environment that you want for the newsroom,” said Takyi. “In my opinion, they’re there to be accessible. Whoever the newsroom needs them to be, they need to be that person. If they [need] to be stern, then that. Whoever the newsroom requires them to be.”

Shin said, “I think [CXXXIX is] going to be bold, which was something we weren’t. We were pretty careful as a paper but… I think they’re going to push boundaries.”

When asked about her favorite memory with CXXXVIII, Takyi replied, “To be honest, most of [my favorite memories] are too inappropriate for this paper. Bathrooms.”

The 139th board includes two Executive Digital Editors (EDE) in place of one. Both Ally Klionsky ’17, former Associate Layout Editor, and Rudd Fawcett ’18, former Associate Online Editor, will take over responsibilities previously held by Pranav Tadikonda ’16.

“I picked Ally and Rudd together because I think they compliment each other very well. They both bring two unique skill sets. Rudd is a little more technically focused, and Ally is a little bit more visually focused, but I also chose them because I see in both of them the capacity to grow and improve, and really develop into the kind of person that has to cover the multi-faceted EDE role,” said Tadikonda.

Sabrina Lu ’17, former Business Associate, will replace Haley Avery ’16 as Chief Financial Officer. Alongside Lu, Kristy Lam ’17 and Wendy Zhang ’17 are now Advertising Managers, and Connor Haugh ’17 is Subscriptions Manager. Lam, Zhang and Haugh were all former Associate Business Editors and will replace Riku Fukumori ’16 in Advertisements, Lara Danovitch ’16 and Christopher Kralik ’16 in Business and Ryan Simard ’16 in Customer Relations.

“Sabrina is incredibly hardworking, and she’s very dedicated, in a very technical and skills-based way, but more than that, she is personable, she is friendly, she knows how to connect with people, and you need that, you need the skills, and you also need the ability to connect with people, and the ability to make people feel heard. I really saw that in her from day one,” said Avery.

“Connor, Wendy and Kristy are incredibly strong members of this board. Connor is so friendly and so down to do anything. Wendy and Kristy sold more ads than I ever did as an Associate, than most people ever do. They are like machines – they are so good and so organized. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do as a team,” she continued.

Candy Chan ’17, Annie Lee ’17 and Susan Yun ’17, Former Associate News Editors, will “lede” the News section in place of Roshan Benefo ’16, Bennett Michaels ’16 and Haley Suh ’16.

“[I will miss] working with the associates. That was pretty awesome. And it’s honestly the best part of The Phillipian, working with [a] group of people that are motivated and really bring new life to the section,” said Benefo. Nancy Kim ’17 and Sewon Park ’17, former Associate Commentary Editors, will succeed Alessa Cross ’16 and Tyler Lian ’16 as Commentary Editors.

“I think that Commentary will continue this momentum of just great personal articles that really show to the community who its members really are and what they’re thinking,” said Cross. “I think that Commentary will just continue to be an important springboard for discussion, and allow members of this community to get to know each other more and be more empathetic.” Lian said, “I think Nancy has a good sense of writing style, I think she’s definitely picked up a lot of what we’ve been telling her over the past few years. More specifically, I think she’ll be a calming presence in the newsroom that will secure the Commentary section. I think Sewon has a good rapport with the writers, and she’ll be able to chat with them and really motivate them when necessary.” Taking over positions held by former Arts & Leisure Editors, Tiffany Bauman ’16 and Sharan Gill ’16, are Kalina Ko ’17 and Morgan Kuin ’17, former Associate Arts & Leisure Editors.

Gill said, “As a pair, [Kalina and Morgan] are just so, so nice [and] they are both just so hard working… I think with Arts, it is sort of hard to cover events like music concerts [or] theater productions that happen every single year [and not make] them sound like the same article. Being able to write about topics that can kind of blend in sometimes can be a challenge, but knowing Kalina and Morgan, I really think that they can rise to that challenge.”

Former Associate Sports Editors Laura Bilal ’17, Cassie Chin ’17, Howard Johnson ’17 and Andrew Zhang ’17 will replace Victoria Bergeron ’16, Isabella Haegg ’16 and Peter Hahn ’16 as Sports Editors.

Bergeron said, “Because sports is going from eight people working on the section to four, that means [the workload] is doubling per person. That’s definitely the biggest challenge – readjusting to that and also getting used to working with [CXXXIX], but I think that’s also one of the best parts, is when you get the newsroom alone for the first time because you realize how much emptier and easier to maneuver it is.”

Peter Rossano ’17, Jair Suazo ’17 and Emma Wong ’18, former Associate Copy Editors, will replace Sayer Devlin ’16, Kyle Kingston ’16 and Olivia Michaels ’16 as Copy Editors.

“Trust nobody because you never know who is going to make a mistake. The only section that knows what they are doing is Copy,” said Devlin.

“I think that [the Copy Editors] will really push the paper forward instead of falling back on old habits and relying on old style guides. They’ll really go out there and make it their own,” said Olivia Michaels.

Former Associate Photo Editors Leah Hamann ’17 and James Wolfe ’17 will succeed Lauren Luo ’16 and Jessie Schmitt ’16 as Photo Editors. Both previous Photo Editors trust that Hamann and Wolfe will be able to capture the importance of teamwork in their new positions.

“I think the two of them get along really well, and it’s definitely going to be a challenge to groom the next generation of photographers, but I really think that communicating with them and making them feel comfortable, giving them constructive criticism, is what they’re going to do best at,” said Luo.

With the 139th board, Video is looking to play a bigger part in the digitalization of the paper. Former Associate Video Editors, Mika Curran ’17, Josh Lee ’17 and Charlotte Suan ’17 along with Skyler Sallick ’17, will replace former Video Editors Kastan Day ’16, Jeff Lee ’16, Ian Tan ’16 and Olivia Xiong ’16.

Taking over the role of Features Editor from Emily Anderson ’16 are Emma Rosz Kelley ’17 and John Wu ’17, former Associate Features Editors.

Former Associate Layout & Design Editor, Niko Skrivanos ’17 will succeed Julia Donovan ’16 and Jessica Lee ’16 as Layout & Design Editor. Former Associate Illustration Editors, Sarah Al-Mayahi ’17 and Alice Lu ’17 will follow Nathaniel Redding ’16 as Illustration Editors. Former Online Associate Editors, Lior Hirschfield ’17, Moe Sunami ’17 and Jerry Yang ’17 will replace former Online Editors Annette Bell ’16 and Thomas Cherukuri ’16.

To The Phillipian Volume CXXXVIII, Lane said “I have the utmost respect for you, and I can’t really imagine this paper without you guys, but I know you’ll always be here and your legacy will truly live on, because you’ve taught us all so much. I couldn’t thank you more.”