Montessori Alums Changing the World

Some are well-known thanks to a 2012 article in the Christian Science Monitor naming ten highly respected leaders in diverse fields who give credit to Montessori education for their success.  On the list were Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Dakota Fanning, Will Wright, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Julia Child, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jimmy Wales, and Anne Frank. that is the short list.  There are so many many former Montessori students who are now leading the way in every field—science, technology, literature, entertainment, art, and education.

With a PhD from Dartmouth, Molly Carpenter is headed for post-doc work at the Bio Frontiers Institute in Boulder.  She’ll join the team there investigating how the cell modulates zinc levels when infected with a bacteria, cancer or diabetes. Zinc seems to be important in all these conditions, but no one know why, and Molly anticipates challenging research ahead. Recently she remarked how often she can identify friends and students who spent time in a Montessori classroom, as she did.

Carissa Marsh is at Colorado University in Boulder where she began working in the biology lab after her freshman year.  Now a junior, Carissa is focused on Secondary Science Teaching with a specialty in Health education. She has continued her research on HIV/AIDS, a project she began when she was 11 in a Montessori class, making an HIV model from a tennis ball. In High School she started an HIV/AIDS awareness club.  At CU Boulder Carissa is also involved in developing the Learning Assistant Program. It supports undergraduates in teaching roles aimed at helping their peers, an approach that has proven to increase learning gains for both the Learning Assistants and those they tutor. Her interest in how people learn continues.

Without a doubt, there are many many more stories to tell of former Montessori students leading the way in diverse fields.  When will we start documenting them?  How shall we collectively do it?  Along with finding out about careers and contributions of our former students, we would be wise to solicit their reflections about the influence of Montessori education on their lives.

In a recent article about C2 Education, a highly successful network of tutoring centers, founder David Kim emphasized the importance of testimonials by former customers.  “You’ve got to show the voice of the customer constantly,” he said. “We solicit testimonials maniacally.”

Let’s get started.