online edition

The Student Newspaper of Hopkins School

    • Susan Watson

    • Lucas Asher

    • Hsuan-Hui Smith

    • Dawn Card

    • Erik Elligers

    • Shanti Madison

    • Brittany Soto

    • Dan Altano

Welcome to The Hill!

The Razor welcomes new faculty and staff to Hopkins. Here are some personal introductions and tidbits. Be sure to give them a warm welcome!
Susan Watson
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Jackson, Mississippi, where I lived until I left for college.

What is your academic background?
I attended a private day school in Mississippi (St. Andrew’s Episcopal School) for high school, then went to Yale University for college. I began as a pre-med English major but ended up loving Psychology and switched my major and career path. After graduating from college, I attended Harvard University for graduate school, where I initially engaged in research on developmental psychology.

What will you be teaching/coaching/advising this year?
I’m so excited to join the Hopkins community as the school’s psychologist. In that role, I’ll meet with students individually to provide counseling and will collaborate with Ms. Romanchok, students, families, faculty, and staff to support students’ emotional well-being. I’ll also be a ninth-grade adviser and will be teaching the Introduction to Psychology course.

What are your hobbies/things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love to hike and am looking forward to exploring the trails in this area (I just moved from western Massachusetts, where my family and I did a lot of hiking together). Reading is a favorite activity (I especially love historical fiction and YA novels), and I read every night before I go to sleep. My husband and I are both certified scuba divers but haven’t had a lot of opportunities to dive since we are kept really busy by our three kids (twin nine-year-old daughters and seven-year-old son) and three pets (two dogs and a cat).

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them!
Pets have always been a part of my life, and I consider them all family members. Currently, my (pet) family includes: 1. a tiny, five-pound, thirteen-year-old, tooth-less Yorkie named Bridget, 2. a medium-sized, eight-year-old rescue terrier mix named Baxter, and 3. a giant, one-year-old fluffball Ragdoll cat named Dash.

Lucas Asher
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, before going to college in Chicago. I moved back home after graduating in 2020, so I’ve spent the past year back in Louisville.

What is your academic background?
I double-majored in History (with a focus on Medieval Europe) and Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago.

What will you be teaching/coaching/advising this year?
I will be teaching two sections of Atlantic Communities II, and will be helping out with Model UN and Middle School Fencing.

What are your hobbies/what things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am an avid player of RPGs (Dungeons & Dragons and similar games). I also enjoy working behind-the-scenes with theater as a lighting designer and watching theater. I’m super excited to watch all the Hopkins productions and to be a lot closer to the NYC theater scene than I was in Kentucky.

What is your favorite book/movie/TV series/performance and why?
I have a lot of favorite books, so it’s difficult to pick just one. I love pretty much anything that Ursula LeGuin has written, especially The Word for World is Forest and Eye of the Heron. I’m also a fan of John Scalzi’s The Interdependency series. For history, one of the best books I’ve read recently is H.W. Brands’s Heirs of the Founders. I’m always looking for recommendations for good sci-fi/fantasy novels and history books.

Hsuan-Hui Smith
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan.

What is your academic background?
Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education

What will you be teaching/coaching/advising/etc. this year?
I will be teaching Chinese 2 and Chinese 3 this year.

What are your hobbies/what things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy going to New York and Boston to attend exhibitions and activities. They are my two favorite cities on the East Coast .

What is your favorite book/movie/TV series/performance and why?
I enjoy watching comedy TV shows such as Life in Pieces, The Good Place, Modern Family, etc.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Japanese food! Seafood is irresistible!

Dawn Card
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved back to the continental U.S. when I was in seventh grade.

What is your academic background?
After earning an undergraduate degree in Geology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, I joined the Peace Corps where I spent four years living and working as an agroforestry volunteer in El Salvador, Central America.

What will you be teaching this year?
I will be teaching seventh-grade Science and Biology, and will also be part of the seventh-grade advisory team.

What drew you to Hopkins?
I came to know Hopkins through my husband, Rodrigo Maltarollo, who teaches in the History Department and coaches here. Together we have two kiddos, Sophia 9, and Jojo 7.

What are your hobbies/interests?
Having grown up in the tropics, there is something so refreshing about the seasonality of things in New England, from apple cider donuts in the fall to perennial flower gardens sprouting in the spring, two things that I really enjoy. A couple other interests of mine include practicing yoga and coming up with creative ways to reuse wood pallets.

Erik Elligers
Where did you grow up?
Windsor, CT

What is your academic background?
I graduated from Windsor High School and received my Bachelor of Music in Studio and Jazz Performance from the University of Miami.

What will you be teaching/coaching/advising/etc. this year?
I will be teaching AP Music Theory, Jazz/Rock Ensemble, Concert Band, and Junior School Instrumental Band.
 
Do you have any pets? Tell us about them!
We have a twelve-year-old Himalayan cat named Batman. He loves laying in the sun, hiding in backpacks, eating parmigiana cheese, and has his own Instagram page.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
It would have to be my Grandma’s pasta sauce. It’s the best comfort food and could easily be eaten every day. However, no matter how many times I’ve tried recreating her recipe, it will never be as good as Grandma’s.

Shanti Madison
Where did you grow up?
I grew up here in New Haven, CT.

What is your academic background?
I graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a degree in Environmental Systems of Sustainability. My background is in Geography! I spent my undergrad reading Nature Literature in England, studying hypoxia in the Long Island Sound and researching soil profiles in Iceland.

What will you be teaching/coaching/advising/etc. this year?
I will be teaching English 10 and assistant coaching rowing.

What are your hobbies/what things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love painting and hiking. Currently, I am spending a lot of time walking around Maltby Lake and collecting interesting flowers like Birds-Foot Trefoil to paint.

What drew you to Hopkins?
I was amazed to discover that I had lived just around the corner from Hopkins my entire life! I was drawn to Hopkins’ love for knowledge and commitment to encouraging life-long learners. I am inspired by all the possibilities Hopkins has to pour into our city to motivate more to become passionate about education.

Brittany Soto
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Connecticut roughly three years ago.

What is your academic background?
I hold a BS in Chemistry, MS in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, MS in Actuarial Science, and a 6th Year in Secondary Education.

What will you be teaching/coaching/advising/etc. this year?
I will be teaching Algebra I Enriched and Geometry Enriched, coaching Varsity Girls Soccer, and advising seventh grade.

Do you have any pets? Tell us about them!
I have 4 cats, Booford, Neyland, Copa, and Emmett, who are the loves of my life. Booford is a grumpy, sarcastic, orange tabby who loves to hang out, Neyland is our silver-tipped, princess who was named after Neyland Stadium at the University of Tennessee, Emmett is a young, silver-tipped tabby who was named after Emmett street at UVA, and Copa is a young orange tabby who was named after the ADIDAS Copa cleats.

Are you a sports fan? If so, which sport and what teams?
I am a huge sports fan, especially soccer. I enjoy watching college sports and am a fan of The University of Tennessee.

Dan Altano
Where did you grow up?
Ridgewood, New Jersey.

What is your academic background?
I have an undergraduate degree in Communications from Quinnipiac University as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from the City College of New York.

What will you be teaching/coaching/advising/etc. this year?
I have stepped into the role of Director of Communications.

What are your hobbies/what things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Outside of school, I am a stand-up comedian and have toured the country doing comedy. I was recently named a 2021 Artist of the Year by Caroline’s on Broadway in New York City.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I would have to go with Rigatoni Bolognese! My mother was an Italian immigrant and we have a family recipe that has lasted generations. My mom made the sauce for our family every single Sunday throughout my entire childhood and now I cook it for my 4-year old son Luke every weekend. It’s certainly a special dish and holds a lot of meaning.
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Zach Williamson

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Anjali Subramanian

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The Razor's Edge reflects the opinion of 4/5 of the editorial board and will not be signed. The Razor welcomes letters to the editor but reserves the right to decide which letters to publish, and to edit letters for space reasons. Unsigned letters will not be published, but names may be withheld on request. Letters are subject to the same libel laws as articles. The views expressed in letters are not necessarily those of the editorial board.
     
The Razor,
 an open forum publication, is published monthly during the school year by students of: 
Hopkins School
986 Forest Road
New Haven, CT 06515

Phone: 203.397.1001 x271
Email: jnicolelli@hopkins.edu