Profiles of Success: Marvelwood Alumni

Angela Eastwick '02

Angela Eastwick ’02 lives in Negril, Jamaica, where she owns and operates Juju Tours. Employing the tagline “Don’t Be Such a Tourist!”, Juju encourages visitors to “step off of their resorts and out of their comfort zones” by way of off-the-beaten-path exploration. More importantly, though, supporting local businesses on every excursion, showcasing Jamaican communities and giving back, is a primary mission of Angela’s company: “It’s a sobering disparity between Jamaica’s natural beauty and the never-ending hardships. Nestled in between the island’s lush greenery, buried deep underneath the sapphire waters of the Caribbean Sea, traveling silently between each sweet, tropical breeze, Jamaicans suffer a disturbing amount of oppression, poverty, illiteracy, hunger, crime and disease. While the country’s most lucrative industry, tourism, continues to thrive, Jamaicans continue to suffer. How is it that one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations can be plagued by such socioeconomic troubles? Tourism leaders have done a fine job of keeping visitors ignorant to the island’s truth.” In one of Juju’s most off-the-beaten-path excursions, The Countryside Tour, tourists visit a real Jamaican community, including a small nursery school which has been renovated with the financial help of Angela’s non-profit organization, the Good Juju Charity Project. Guests on this trip are encouraged to bring school supplies, shoes, clothing items, toiletries, games and/or toy donations to give away to the schools and Jamaican families in need. Introducing their guests to places like community nursery schools has opened the door to ongoing support of Juju’s scholarship fund, the “Send-a-Child-to-School-Program,” which provides full funding (fees, uniforms, lunch, taxi fare, etc.) to any local child in need. The only condition is that students attend school every day, barring illness or emergency. Currently, there are twenty-two children in the Send-a-Child-to-School- Program.

Angela attributes her risk-taking personality and strong work ethic to the confidence she gained while attending The Marvelwood School. She was featured in the 2014 Blue & White, and was the Commencement speaker in 2016.


Andrew Gombert ‘97

Andrew is an established photographer for the European Press Photo Agency, and covers sporting events around the world including the Olympic Games, US Open Golf, US Open Tennis, the Super Bowl, and World Series. He also covers major business, news, political, technology, and entertainment events such as the Academy Awards and the Emmy Awards.

Nicholas Benson '83

Nick is a third-generation stone carver, calligrapher, and designer. While almost all cut-stone lettering in the United States is done by machines today, Nick is a master of hand letter carving. His inscriptions and decorative reliefs can be seen on family memorials and buildings throughout the United States, including the National Gallery of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, the National World War II Memorial and the Dr. Martin Luther King National Memorial.

In addition to training with his father, John Everett Benson, Nick studied at the State University of New York, Purchase and the Schule für Gestaltung in Basel, Switzerland. Since 1993, he has been the owner and creative director of The John Stevens Shop in Newport, Rhode Island, which was established in 1705 and acquired by the Benson family in the 1920s. In 2007, Nick was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, and in 2010, he was named a MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He is committed to teaching young artisans, to help ensure that the legacy of this centuries-old artistic practice endures.

Nick was featured in the 2011 Blue & White, and was the commencement speaker in 2015.

Brian Bachmann ‘88

Brian is a chemical biologist at the Vanderbilt Laboratory for Biosynthetic Studies. In the eternally dark, cool and quiet environs of some the country’s 8,000 caves, Brian takes samples with the hope of finding sources of new medicines. With a staggering 90,000 deaths each year from antibiotic-resistant infections, Brian and other researchers have been looking for new ways to fight infection. Antibiotic resistance is a natural part of the Earth’s ecosystem. “Nature,” Brian explains, “is by any measure the most venerable and the most prolific synthetic chemist.” His research program is “concerned with problems in secondary metabolism, both natural and manmade. If primary metabolites are the structure and energy for the creation and maintenance of all cells, secondary metabolites (such as penicillin and steroids) give those cells something extra in terms of protection, weaponry and communication.” In his four years of collecting samples from the largely untouched cave world, Brian has collected 30 compounds, half of which are new to man.

A scientist by trade and a philosopher by nature, the questions that fuel Brian’s work have far-reaching implications for mankind; the answers emerge through truly appreciating and working to understand the natural processes. One question that has fueled Brian’s work: Can affordable treatments be developed to fight HIV/AIDS? To answer the HIV question, Brian is working to genetically engineer E. coli bacteria for a cost-effective, easily-manufactured product that would offset the financially toxic cost of AIDS drugs, especially in underdeveloped parts of the world where AIDS numbers continue to rise.

Brian was featured in the 2013 Blue & White and was the commencement speaker for his niece Bryn’s graduating class in 2014.


Emiliana Puyana '00

Emiliana is Project Manager at La Cocina, a non-profit kitchen incubator, which helps low-income women, primarily immigrants, enter the food business. At any given time, Emilia oversees 30+ food businesses, all in various stages of development and production. In addition to the commercial kitchen space, La Cocina helps participants with every aspect of starting and maintaining a food business, from business plans and bank loans to retail space and marketing. In 2015, La Cocina celebrated its 10th anniversary. In that time, it has created over 1800 market opportunities for its participants’ businesses. Emiliana was exposed to La Cocina when she herself was working to develop a food business: Jarred SF Brine, pickles made from a large variety of vegetables using only locally sourced organic ingredients, which were a Good Food Awards winner two years in a row. Jarred pickles were sold at markets and food stands around the city, as well as the yearly San Francisco Street Festival, which was organized by La Cocina to promote their businesses. A long-time resident of the Mission District, Emiliana remembers the very first Street Food Festival: “There were ten vendors in one block for the one-day festival. Each year, it grew and grew until finally it outgrew the Mission District.” Now a two-day festival, it was recently purchased by a major event planner and moved to Pier 70 along San Francisco’s popular waterfront section, which was a major victory for La Cocina: “Not only are they promoting their own businesses, but it is an opportunity for them to prepare and serve side-by-side with the highest end restaurants.” Emiliana gave up Jarred Pickles as her responsibilities at La Cocina grew, but she is now one of the co-chairs for the pickled category of the Good Foods Awards.


Blair Patterson '98

Blair's work for Estée Lauder has been featured on The View, The Today Show and TLC's iVillage, as well as in Nylon and O Magazines and on the covers of Time Out New York and Harper's Bazaar. A recent video, A Day in the Life of Hilary Rhoda , showcased his artistry and was featured on the online fashion blog, StyleCaster, .

Behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week, Blair worked with Tom Pecheux, Creative Makeup Director for Estée Lauder. Blair also worked with Mr. Pecheux in Paris for the global launch of Estée Lauder's Pure Color Collectionand has helped introduce the collection to Estée Lauder Makeup Artists around the world.

Throughout his career, Blair has been known for his beautifully detailed yet natural looks. His goal, he says, is to teach customers the same makeup techniques he develops for his fashion and celebrity clientele: “Knowing you have the ability to make anyone look their best and feel confident is what drives my passion to continually work with all women and the Estée Lauder brand. My philosophy of makeup is very similar to that of Estée Lauder's: natural, sophisticated and timeless."

Ann Wurzer Thomson '83

Ann is a Procurement and Contract Specialist with Putnam Investments in Boston. She is responsible for establishing and implementing a preferred supplier network, as well as to maintain a process, control expenses and related risk management issues with these suppliers which are utilized across all business units at Putnam.

Prior to her current role, Ann held other positions within the finance department, including Corporate Buyer and Purchasing assistant. Ann joined Putnam in 1994 following work with Atlantic Retail Properties and CB Commercial Real Estate. Ann attended Northeastern University and Mt. Vernon College.

Ann was elected to the Marvelwood Board of Trustees in 2012 and serves on the Admission Committee. Her father, Buzz Wurzer, was on the Board in the 1980s.

David Woods '71

David has always had an interest in a wide range of building types ever since he played with his first erector set at age 10. His experience now includes corporate office buildings, academic facilities, public institutions, museums, health/fitness centers and custom houses. He has practiced for over thirty years since completing his Masters Degree from Washington University with the highest design prize awarded by the School of Architecture.

Before forming an association with Harry Culpen, David was a Senior Design Associate with Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum in St. Louis and in New York. In those years, he designed numerous large scaled projects like; the restoration of Union Station in St. Louis, the World Bank in Washington, DC. and the Philadelphia Justice Center Courthouse.

As a principal at Culpen and Woods Architects , David holds a particular interest in historic restoration work. He directed the adaptive reuse of One Atlantic Street, Redman's Hall and the landmarked "Holly Houses" into an Environmental Education Center. David also directed the firm's interiors department for such projects as North Castle Partners, GE Capital, Babcock & Brown and Charkit Chemical. Many of these projects required restoration of older buildings. David has designed and managed the firm's work for The Country Club of Darien for the last ten years. He has won numerous awards from the AIA and in design competitions.

David's firm designed Marvelwood's spectacular Ann Davidson Scott Athletic Center, which was completed in 2007, and is working on the Performing Art Center.