Read about what some of our alums are doing in academics and education. Please submit your own nominations and submissions to the alumni office.

John Beshears '00, Ph.D. - Economist, Business School Professor

John received a Ph.D. in business economics from Harvard University in 2009. He spent three years on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is now a professor at Harvard Business School. He specializes in behavioral economics, combining insights from economics and psychology to understand how people make financial decisions. Website.

Mark Burford '85, Ph. D. - Music History Professor

After being deeply involved in music at UHS--I sang for Doc Lamott in Camerata--I got by BA in Music from U.C. Santa Barbara and went on to receive my Ph.D in Historical Musicology from Columbia University. I currently am Associate Professor of Music at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. My scholarship and teaching focuses on late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Austro-German repertory (my dissertation focused on Brahms) and on twentieth-century African American popular musics (I'm writing a book on postwar gospel music). I've recently rediscovered my itch to direct ensembles, and am scratching it through coaching a chamber vocal group at Reed.

Cecily Burrill '00, Ph.D. - Chemistry Teacher

Currently teaching chemistry at Jewish Community High School of the Bay here in San Francisco. From UHS I went to the UK for college (M. Bioch., University of Oxford, 2004). Then I spent a year living in DC and working at the NIH, before returning to SF for grad school (Ph.D. Genetics, UCSF, 2012). I've been teaching at JCHS since 2013. See also: Medicine, Science, and Research

Anthony Cheung '00, Ph.D. - Teacher, Composer, Pianist

I am an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Chicago, where I teach everything from music appreciation in the Core (skills I learned from the master, Doc Lamott) and graduate seminars to individual composition lessons. I curate concerts and still occasionally perform with the Talea Ensemble, a new music group I co-founded in New York in 2007. I also continue to write new works for various soloists, ensembles, and orchestras. Prior to moving to Chicago, I lived with my wife at the American Academy in Rome, Cambridge, MA (where I was a Junior Fellow at Harvard), and New York, where we were graduate students at Columbia. Website. See also: Arts - Music

Justin Christensen '99 - Teacher

Justin has been a teacher (AP US Gov and World History) and coach (Baseball) at St. Ignatius College Preparatory since 2004. He has earned his Masters in Education (Harvard '04) and Doctorate in Education (University of San Francisco '13), and he was named as a local Educator of the Year in 2013 by the California League of High Schools. Follow him on Twitter at @justinchristen. Website.

Eric Fischer '99 - Doctoral Student in Economics

Economics Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz and specializing in international macroeconomics, monetary economics, and financial stability. Received BSFS International Economics from Georgetown and an MA from University of San Francisco. John Humes Junior Fellow, David L. Boren Graduate Fellow, and Regents Fellow. Work experience includes US Department of State, US Department of Treasury, Millennium Challenge Corporation, HSBC, and teaching assistant for various economics courses. 

Njema Frazier '88, Ph.D - Physicist, National Nuclear Security Adminstration

Visiting professor at National Defense University as well as a physicist in the US Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration. Former Professional Staff Member, US House of Representatives, Committee on Science. CEO, Diversity Science, LLC. PhD Nuclear Physics from Michigan State; BS in Physics from Carnegie Mellon.

Why she chose this profession: I chose Physics because I love math, and physics was the science with the most math in it! I enjoy understanding science and value I add to any program or project by having the ability to "think" and "solve" like a scientist. Website.

See also: Law & Government

Barbara Keys '82, Ph.D. - Professor of History

Historian at the University of Melbourne, teaching and writing about U.S. and international history. Having developed an interest in history in AP classes at UHS, Barbara went on to earn a Ph.D. in History at Harvard University. She is the author most recently of Reclaiming American Virtue: The Human Rights Revolution of the 1970s (Harvard University Press, 2014).

Why she chose this profession: Being a historian is like being a detective. My work involves piecing together fragmentary and sometimes conflicting evidence to tell stories about the past. History is fundamentally about unraveling the mysteries of human behavior and hence is endlessly fascinating. Website.


Mark Kushner '79, CEO/SVP and University Instructor

After graduating from the first four-year class of UHS, I went to Wesleyan University, Oxford, USF and Harvard for degrees in literature, law and education. I loved teaching English and coaching soccer and tennis for a few years at the Webb Schools, became a lawyer and practiced law at big firms in San Francisco for a few years and then found my calling creating cutting-edge charter schools first in SF, then the Bay Area and now nationally, as well as teaching about how to create schools at Stanford. The most recent iteration of schools are called Flex Academies and which are among the country's most disruptive blended schools (combining the best of online and personalized onsite instruction with class sizes of 5-10 students). I have also had the pleasure of serving on the board of UHS for 13 years as well as a number of other local institutions. I love hiring UHS alums.

Why he chose this profession: After following the path my family encouraged, I decided to follow my dreams. I strongly suggest that people do what they love. No regrets here.

Arik Levinson '82, Ph.D. - Economics Professor

I teach and do research on Environmental Economics at Georgetown University, where I occasionally encounter UHS alums who are surprised the school existed long enough ago for me to be a fellow graduate. Want to read some papers, take a sample Economics exam, or read some hilarious course evaluations? See my website.

Duncan Lyon '87 - Head of School

Thanks to the encouragement of UHS teachers such as Sudie Sides and Bruce Lamott, I entered the teaching profession soon after graduation from UC Berkeley. My teaching career took me from UHS to administrative work in New York and, most recently, to being Head of School in San Mateo where I live with my wife and two girls.Website.

Josh Sides '90, Ph.D. - University Professor

Whitsett Professor of California History at CSU Northridge and author of multiple books and articles. Website.

Christopher Sokolov '96 - Technology Director, Educator

Director of Technology & 21st Century Learning as well as Assistant Head of Upper School for Administration at SF Day School; Earned an M.Div. and served as Archdeacon in the Orthodox Church in America; Writing my dissertation for an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine. Website. See also: Religion & Philosophy
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