IDEAS Alumni Panel

Marvelwood is dedicated to the challenge of educating our students to understand their role as leaders in making the world a more accepting place.  IDEAS -- the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity Action Seminars -- is a new initiative designed to highlight and demystify issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  Working in small groups, participants will listen, discuss, write, debate, think critically, consider and evaluate historical perspectives, and broaden their understanding of what it means to be a member of a diverse and global community.

Students in the Cultural and Social Awareness (CASA) community service group have been working and training with faculty advisors throughout the fall term to develop the two-week IDEAS curriculum, including identifying group norms, specific topics, and discussion questions.  As part of the program, a speaker series and an alumni panel will offer a variety of perspectives and experiences. 

The fundamental work of IDEAS will continue throughout the year, reflecting our dedication to improving our school culture and community through education and action.  It is our goal that IDEAS will give our students valuable tools and training to be able to successfully join and navigate the broader and more challenging world that awaits them outside of Marvelwood School.

We're very grateful to our alumni panelists for their participation.  As a school community, we are extremely proud of their work in the areas of inclusion, diversity, and equity. 

Josiah Bates ‘11

Josiah is a multimedia journalist, currently working as a reporter at TIME Magazine. He covers national news with a focus on social issues, criminal justice and politics. Before joining TIME, Josiah worked at ABC News in a variety of roles. He wrote and reported on national news stories, produced video content for and news programs like Nightline and 20/20. Josiah's first job out of school was as a News Associate at NBC News, where he gained experience in producing, video shooting, editing, and writing. He is a graduate of Penn State University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. 


Jade Brown ‘08

Jade is a leader in the sports and events entertainment industry. She works with a diverse range of like-minded individuals interested in developing and growing their professional and personal leadership brand. Having started in the retail industry, she subsequently transitioned into sales, hospitality as well as social media marketing.

“I believe”, says Jade, “that what has aided in my success isn’t simply the mastery of management,  marketing, and sales skills, but how well I have been able to connect, learn, and grow in working in conjunction with a diverse range of both clients and teammates. My personal commitment to self-growth and accountability has reflected in my personal and professional development as an excellent communicator with a deftness for strategic analysis utilizing creative problem solving and solutions by way of innovation.” Jade is practiced in leading the planning and coordination of event and project execution in collaboration with colleagues for team projects. She also has experienced in leading team training in orientations, operations, and sales, as well as driving team excellence by taking advantage of a leadership skill often underutilized: humility. Jade recently launched Solo Nation, a mental health podcast about healing, culture, and the relationship we have with ourselves and others. 


Toni Bullock ‘04

Toni is an Emmy Award-winning producer and the director of development at BSTV Entertainment (Food Network’s “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen”, “The Kitchen”) where she develops new series concepts and assists in identifying and developing unique and marketable talent.

She has spent the last 10 years developing and producing high-quality content for broadcast, cable, and online streaming networks such as Netflix, Bravo, CBS, Facebook, OWN, Buzzfeed, and others. Her extensive expertise in unscripted TV development, casting, and field production led to her producing on the Emmy-winning show, “Black Women Own the Conversation” for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). She has also produced on other Emmy-nominated shows including, “Red Table Talk” (Facebook), “The Amazing Race” (CBS) and “Top Chef” (Bravo). Earlier this year, Toni virtually produced two timely television specials: "Black Women Own the Conversation: COVID-19" for OWN, and "Time is Now: Race and Resolution," a national series that aired simultaneously on the six A&E networks. Toni is also the founder of Callsheets to Cocktails (C2C), a professional networking organization she established in 2017 to connect, educate and empower women in the media industry through events, panel discussions, and educational brunches. She is based in Los Angeles and in her spare time enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Tavia LaFollette ‘88

Tavia LaFollette Ph.D. is the director/curator of CoLab, based out of The College of Fine Arts at Towson University, where she teaches in both the graduate and undergraduate programs.  CoLab is a space where fields of study are porous; the objective is to build new knowledge for an ever-evolving world.  As founder/director of the non-profit ArtUp, La Follette also runs Sites of Passage, global interchanges for the migration of ideas across political/cultural borders, via the non-profit.  Previous exchanges have been between Egypt and the US (revolving around the Egyptian Revolution and the Occupy Movement); Israel, Palestine and the US (revolving around Borders, Walls and Citizenship); and South Africa and the US (revolving around Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs: legal vs economically driven apartheid).  An exchange between Russia and the US is currently underway.  Like the previous Sites of Passage projects, this cultural/collaborative dialogue (revolving around Pop-Agenda, Revolution & Iconography) will include women-identifying voices from a variety of artistic practices.  LaFollette is based out of Baltimore, Maryland, where she lives with the political cartoonist, Gary Huck. Her most impressive and experimental work ever is their twin-boys, Maxwell and Calder.


Thalia Longchamp ‘10

Thalia is a CBT practitioner and Shamanic Reiki Master. Using mind, body, and spiritual techniques, she helps to align clients to function at their best. With a background in spirituality, as well as being highly empathetic, everything that Thalia practices is on a very intense level. “I am able,” she says, “to connect with clients multidimensionally. My approach is not only to listen to what they are saying, but to really listen to how they say it, what they don’t say, and intuit into their energy. My work is highly intuitve.” The goal of the co-collaborative experience is for clients to function at their highest potential.


Lori Pelech ‘99

Lori began her Marvelwood journey as a summer school student on the Cornwall campus and then four full years on the Kent campus. She has Masters degrees in environmental conservation and geography from UMass Amherst and King’s College London, respectively, and did her undergraduate degree at Skidmore. As a Marvelwood student, Lori doubled up on science in her senior year, and credits Ms. Doss with laying the groundwork for her passion for conservation science. Lori kicked off her career in conservation with two terms in Americorps/SCA, and has since been a consultant, adjunct faculty members at Skidmore and SUNY, a geographer at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the global conservation account manager at Esri. She now leads business development and strategy for conservation customers at Upstream Tech. Lori was the Alumni Commencement speaker in 2011 and featured in the 2011 Blue&White magazine.

Lori Pelech '99 at Reunion 2013 with Science Department Chair Laurie Doss