Alumni Profiles and News
- Alumni Succeed at Harvard Medical School
- AHS Alumnus Featured in "In Weston Magazine"
- Alumni Corner: Marc Shaw, ‘88, Living Large in London
- Heritage Alumni at Georgetown Pursue Careers in Law
- Alumni Profile Mateus Falci, '07
- Alumni Profile Keith Spencer, '07 and Michael Zhao, '07
- Alumni Profile Kyle Robinson, '07
- Alumni Profile Gustavo Trujilo, '88 and Jason Haffizulla, '92
- ‘08 Alumnus on His Way to an M.D
An athlete and National Honor Society member at Heritage, Marc Shaw, class of 88, continues to enjoy his friends from the Heritage football team and remains in contact with several of them. He entered college after high school and then began his journey on a “road less traveled” to eventually meet with success. You could say that Marc was a “late bloomer.” Marc decided to join the work force in 1993, twelve credits short of graduation from UF. He first worked in the restaurant industry in Savannah, Georgia, and then New York. Marc moved back to Florida in early 1995 and was an assistant general manager of an indoor flea market in Miami. In 1996, he moved back to New York City without a job, but landed one as a temporary administrative assistant in the US Equity team at JPMorgan Asset Management. Eventually, he found a permanent job there. Over time, he moved up the ladder, but was told that to get farther up, he needed to complete his degree. He was able to finish his B.S. Degree at the University of Florida and his ascension up the corporate ladder gained speed.
Marc is currently a client portfolio manager in the Global Multi Asset Group at JPMorgan Asset Management. He works from their office in London and is responsible for supporting JPMorgan’s multi- asset portfolios that sell throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. This includes helping their sales team sell the strategies and keep existing clients.
Marc is married to wife,Elizabeth (Lizzy) and has three beautiful children, son Wylie (6 years old), daughter Liliana (5 years old) and son Quinn (2 years old).JP Morgan moved Marc and his family to London in 2008. Marc states, “We love London; it is a great city to live in. Plus I have had meetings in 20 countries in three years, which is pretty cool! We plan to stay here in the immediate future, but would one day like to move back to the states as my kids get older. Who knows? Maybe one day they will attend Heritage.” He admits to having two hobbies, “ My primary hobby has been to support my son as he has become a huge soccer fan. My other hobby is traveling the world and eating great local food and wine during my journey.”
In addition to enjoying European cuisine, Marc has developed a real appreciation for the continent’s history. He was amazed that his neighbor’s cottage is 600 years old! His family and he stayed there for a time. Marc and his youngest son stayed in the newer part of the house, which was added (only) 400 years ago.
Apparently, Marc’s journey on “the road less traveled” landed him in a good place.
Three Heritage grads are currently in attendance at Georgetown University in D.C. and are in various stages of pursuing a law degree.
David Robles, Heritage ‘05, is a second year law student at Georgetown University Law Center. He is an alumnus of Vanderbilt, 09, who, after his graduation, worked at Goldman Sachs in N.Y.C.. It was there that he became very interested in the financial services industry and this influenced him to go to law school. He plans on pursuing a career as a corporate lawyer working primarily in mergers and acquisitions and capital markets.
Interestingly, when David was at Heritage, he was committed to a career in medicine and participated in the Pre-med Program, not Legal Studies. In a recent e-mail David credited Heritage for helping him with an important part of the legal profession to which he now aspires. He writes, “I thought that my education at American Heritage gave me a solid foundation to succeed academically at the undergraduate and graduate level. As a law student and attorney, you spend a great amount of time writing. I think that Heritage definitely placed a great deal of emphasis on developing writing skills, which has helped me tremendously with what I am doing now.”
David’s roommate at Georgetown is a fellow Heritage grad. Manny Fragata, Heritage ‘07, is in his first year of law school at Georgetown, having graduated from UF last summer. At UF, Manny received his B.S. in Economics with a minor in sports management. Manny has had an interest in law since his days at Heritage where he participated in the Pre-law Program and was part of the Mock Trial team for two years. Manny states, “My interest in the law was further developed and stimulated in mock trial and through various course offerings through the Pre-law program. In college I learned essential business skills and concepts that could be relevant in my goals of working in corporate law.” Manny sees his future profession as a corporate lawyer for a “Big Law” firm.
James Pickens, Heritage ‘08, is not quite so far along in his legal career but has a bright future. James has spent his undergraduate years at Georgetown and will receive a degree in English in May, 2012. As a junior, he has already been accepted to the Georgetown Law Center, but is not fully determined that he will attend next fall. He is applying to a number of law schools that include Columbia, Harvard, Yale and Stanford.
While at Heritage, James was Vice-President of the Pre-law Society and President of National Honor Society. James writes, “ ...The unparalleled access to Pre-law education and practice that American Heritage offers greatly reinforced my desire to attend law school... I have maintained the passion I acquired for law in the Pre-law program at American Heritage, and it has been the primary factor in my decision to apply to law school.”
As an undergrad at Georgetown, James drew on his high school experiences with pre-law. “At Georgetown, I founded a Student Advocacy Office that represents and advises students who are accused of disciplinary violations. We train our advocates to defend students’ rights and create a safe, confidential environment for helping students with a variety of questions about student life. I have thoroughly enjoyed founding a student organization centered around defending students’ rights, and I happily cite my background in high school of learning about law and practicing on the Mock Trial team for many of the skills that helped me make the idea of a Student Advocacy Office at Georgetown a reality.”
We thank these three attorneys-to-be for keeping us informed about their career progress. We wish them every success as they pursue their goals!
American Heritage students were treated to a presentation on Wednesday, January 4, by alum and Harvard freshman Mateus Falci. Students listened attentively as Mateus discussed his transition to college and the wonderful experiences and opportunities at Harvard.
Students learned about the admissions process, the housing system and “shopping” for classes, a system of attending classes in which a student has an interest in order to find the class most suited to his/her aptitude and needs. It was a pleasure having him back on campus and we look forward to seeing all that he accomplishes in the future.
Keith Spencer, ‘07, has received acceptance to Michigan State University College of Law with a 75% tuition Trustee Scholarship, for the Fall of 2011.He promises to stop by AHS before he leaves Florida for East Lansing, Michigan, the capitol of Michigan and location of Michigan State University.
Michael Zhao, ‘07, has been accepted to medical school on a full scholarship. He was one of 500 applicants chosen for Texas Tech’s very selective MD/MBA program. It’s the only four-year joint program in the entire country where a student can earn both a business and medical degree. Michael is still waiting to hear back from the other seven Texas schools (and Dartmouth) where he interviewed.
Kyle Robinson, class of ‘07, was the invited guest speaker to a recent Pre-med Society meeting. Kyle will graduate from Columbia University with a major in biochemistry and complete his pre-med education. He has been accepted at the University of Florida School of Medicine.
During his presentation to students, Kyle cited the advantages he had in college as a result of the pre-med classes he took at American Heritage. Kyle expressed, “I had a great advantage over the other students because I had seen at Heritage many of the same things presented in college. During my internship, I benefitted from learning experiences with Dr. Suite, Dr. Laurie, Dr. Silverman and Dr. Pulido.”
Kyle explained that while other students felt overwhelmed with the academic load, and that they were busy all the time, he said that it was no comparison to how busy he was in school at Heritage. Kyle credits Heritage for his excellent education in preparation for his success at Columbia.
He also gave advice to the students that will help in the selection process for college; the MCAT exams; the application process to medical school; and all that lies ahead for the medical students. Kyle also touched on the process of financing education and the importance of becoming a well-rounded student.
Imagine you were the valedictorian of your high school senior class. What do you do for an encore? Heritage valedictorians from 1988 and 1992 have demonstrated that being the best at what they do became part of their lifestyle. While following two very different career paths, Gustavo Trujillo, ‘88, and Jason Haffizulla, ‘92, both have met with success in their chosen fields, as well as their personal lives. And both have entrusted Heritage to provide an education for their children.
Upon graduation, Gustavo attended the University of Miami where he earned B.S. degrees in both Civil Engineering (once again, as valedictorian) and Architectural Engineering (cum laude). He then received an MBA in Finance and International Business. Jason Haffizulla also attended the University of Miami, entering the school of Medicine in 1996. He met his wife, Dr. Farzanna Haffizulla, at UM, and they were married in their first year at school. Both he and his wife earned their MD degrees in 2000 and both obtained their Internal Medicine Certification from Cleveland Clinic Florida. They have four children (three at Heritage), Zarina, grade six; Anisa, grade two; Nadia, Kindergarten and Adam, five months old.
Jason has developed his medical practice in Tamarac and resides in Coral Springs. He is a real enthusiast of what South Florida offers. “It is my home. The weather, the energy, the diverse cultures, the people, everything. I hope never to leave.” While Gustavo and his family have settled down in Weston, he and his wife of 15 years, Dominique Bastos, did some wandering after college. From 1996 to 2004, they lived and worked in Europe, Central and South America, Hong Kong and Boston and New York. When their daughter Chloe was born, they decided to come back “home.” Gustavo is an Independent Consultant-Systems Integration and Telecommunications Program Manager for American Express and FPL. Of his hobbies and interests, Jason explains, “I am interested in soccer.
I exercise regularly. I love traveling with my wife and children. We are currently exploring National Parks. I would also consider medicine ‘my hobby’ in addition to my work. I enjoy taking care of my patients, and it gives me a deep sense of joy and satisfaction to see them. I am humbled by their trust and faith in me, I truly appreciate it...there are no words.” Thanks to Mr. Usher, Jason also developed an appreciation for theatre while at Heritage and mentions that he was one of only two light/sound men for Heritage plays. Those were the days when a portable stage in the gym or a makeshift theatre-in-the-round in the old “quad” served as staging areas.
Gustavo states, “One of the great things of AHS...we all had opportunities to pursue any interest we wanted (be it academic or athletic). Teachers and coaches always encouraged me to sign up for additional classes and try out for different teams. Because of this, not only did I go very well prepared to college, but now, as an adult, I very much enjoy pursuing new opportunities at work or learning a new hobby.”
Gustavo established a family tradition about 10 years ago, when he was determined to try running the New York City Marathon. He ran in costume and has every year since, running as Elvis, a horse, a grandma, a gecko and a Santa, to name a few of his “ running suits.”
Andrew Golden is a 2008 alumnus of Heritage who is well on his way to a career in medicine. He is currently enrolled as a freshman at Florida State University College of Medicine following a 2012 degree in Biological Sciences from the same school.
Andrew credits his work in the Heritage Pre-med Program as the inspiration for his career choice. He states, “The Pre-med Club helped me determine my career path; it solidified my desire to practice medicine.”
In high school, he was a National Honor Society member and an excellent student. Consequently, he was the beneficiary of a 100% Bright Futures Scholarship and freshman honors scholarship. In his time at Tallahassee, Andrew has found time to pursue interests in golf and Ultimate Frisbie.
We look forward to the day when we can call him Dr. Andrew Golden!
James says his investments at American Heritage and on the Mock Trial team have benefited every step of his journey in law, including his federal jury trial wins against LG Electronics and Apple.
Carine Ghannoum, AHS ’16, has always been attracted to the extraordinary, and she is now in her third year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.