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Poly People

Nnamdi Orakwue ’91

Nnamdi Orakwue ’91

Nnamdi Orakwue ’91 was selected as a recipient of Poly’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 2021. Nnamdi came to Poly through Prep for Prep for Grades 7-12 and credits the unwavering support from his parents and teachers for his education. After graduating from Harvard University he worked in investment banking and private equity for a couple of years before attending The Wharton Business School where he earned his MBA. Nnamdi spent 15 years honing his business acumen and climbing the corporate ladder at Dell and IBM. He began his career at Dell as Chief of Staff to Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell and was most recently Vice President of Dell Software Group and leader of Dell’s Cloud business globally.

In 2015, Nnamdi left Dell to found his own company, Cocolevio, of which he is CEO, on the belief that the next generation of technology investments (Cloud, Big Data, IoT) will require unprecedented coordination of business, financial, and technical competencies. The company’s  name is a homage to a ringolevio-type game he played with his friends when he was growing up in Brooklyn. According to the company’s website, the name reflects, “a playful nod to our belief that business choices made in this spirit of flexibility and attention to detail will lead the next wave of modern technology investments.”

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Alumni

Akili Tommasino ’05

Akili Tommasino ’05 studied art history at Harvard and founded the Prep for Prep/Sotheby’s Art Academy in 2017 “to give high school students of color an earlier window into the art world.”

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Alumni

Alexandra Fried ’20

“The teachers are the best part of going to school at Poly Prep. They are excited to teach their subjects, which makes it easier for students to be enthusiastic about learning.”

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Alumni

Alexandra Nava-Baltimore ’20

“Being a student at Poly has allowed me to live what I learned. Poly has been my home, my studio, my classroom, and my inspiration.”

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Alumni

Chris Davenport ’91

Chris Davenport ’91 has been a reporter for The Washington Post since 2000 and covers the defense and space industries for the Post‘s financial desk.

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Alumni

Diahann Billings Burford ’90, P’20

Diahann Billings Burford ’90, P’20 was the second girl to serve as president of Poly’s Student Government. “Diahann was a force of nature,” recalled Paul Raso, retired science teacher and former Student Government advisor.

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Alumni

Dr. Neil Schluger ’77

“…I developed a love of learning, even for its own sake, and Paul Raso was one of the teachers who helped to instill that in me.”

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Alumni

Jared Banner ’03

Jared Banner ’03 played four seasons of varsity baseball at Poly. He was named Executive Director, Player Development for the New York Mets in 2018.

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Alumni

Jeanine Smartt Liburd ’88, P’21, ‘24

“I honed my ability to craft my ideas and utilize language to be persuasive and share my perspective.”

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Alumni

Emily Giurleo ’13

“I certainly wouldn’t be a software engineer if Ms. Turkenkopf and Ms. Licata hadn’t encouraged my love of math and science.”

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Alumni

Eugenia Xiao ’14

Multi-talented Eugenia Xiao ‘14 earned a BA from Cornell and then a MS in Nursing from Columbia University School of Nursing.

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Alumni

Fiona Greig ’97

“Athletics gave me a natural home.”

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Alumni

Gigi Georges ’84

Gigi Georges ‘84, a recipient of Poly’s Distinguished Achievement Award, has had an extensive career in politics, public service, and academia.

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Alumni

Hallie Stephenson ’20

“My favorite part about going to Poly Prep was that I was able to find such an incredible group of people who wanted to see me succeed and cared about my future. The mentors I’ve found at Poly have given me confidence and have inspired me to pursue things that I was at first unsure about.”

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Alumni

Leslie Grinage ’99

“Being in an educational environment such as Poly prepared me well to live in and value a pluralistic society.”

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Alumni

Max Rose ’04

Alum Max Rose ’04 was elected to represent NY District 11 in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018.

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Alumni

Nyla Welch ’20

With an exceptional talent for language, Nyla has traveled abroad through Poly’s Academic Travel program twice, to Martinique and France.

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Alumni

Rowan McAllister ’15

“Art was always my favorite class, but I’ve found I use my math and engineering skills almost as much…to really connect all the dots of my education.”

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Alumni

Sonja Lindberg ’16

“I worked more and harder than I ever had in English classes. After a few weeks, I came to love it.

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Alumni

Wendy Haft ’84

Wendy has coached every sport from basketball to tennis, but focused on softball. In 2015, she returned to Poly to present the Yale Cup at our end-of-year Athletics Awards Ceremony.

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Alumni

Will Hochman ’10

“I felt like maybe I could become who I imagined myself to be.”

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Alumni

Channing Austin ’20

All-American athlete Channing Austin, who played on Team NY at the National High School Baseball Championship in Houston in 2019, committed to play for the University of Virginia Cavaliers.

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Alumni

Nick Storz ’17

Poly Blue Devils pitcher Nick Storz ’17, who was listed among the Baseball America 2017 Top 100 Draft Prospects, chose to play for LSU, where he is an imposing presence on the mound.

Alumni

Ira Feldman ’75

Sustainability must encompass environmental protection, economic development, and social justice. Educating the next generation of environmental advocates is a priority for Feldman.

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Alumni

Peter Taubman ’65

Esteemed educator, Dr. Peter Taubman has dedicated his life to teaching. During his tenure at Poly, he helped launch the Anti-Bias Coalition and served as coordinator for the Center for the Study of Diversity and Teaching.

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Alumni

Michael Terrin ’66

Eminent physician Dr. Michael Terrin ’66, MDCM, MPH is an internist with subspecialty certification in pulmonary medicine, and an MPH in epidemiology.

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Alumni

Elizabeth Somers ’91

With an extensive background in biology and drug development, Elizabeth Somers ’91 heads the Infectious Disease, Global Project and Alliance Management area at Merck.

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