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Alumni Profiles

DeeAnne Hunstein H‘57


Was there a particular class that influenced your career choice?

 I didn’t have a class that influenced me, but I loved learning chemistry, so much so that at one point I planned on becoming a chemist. I am very thankful for my background in science, because it helped me approach the arts and teaching with a different perspective.

How has your involvement in the arts been influenced by your experiences at Hillsdale? 

Hillsdale advanced my appreciation and love of music by the opportunities I had there. I loved singing in the Miracle Play. When I was in high school, I was in charge of a small vocal group that sang at assemblies. That opportunity boosted my confidence in my abilities to pursue the arts, and was my first taste of managing singers.

What made you decide to open your country home in Connecticut as a retreat for artists?

I was at a concert at Carnegie Hall and met a coach with Classic Lyric Arts, an organization that trains and mentors aspiring opera singers. He invited me to observe a working session, attend a fundraiser in NYC, and a workshop performance in the Berkshires. I was astounded by the quality of the artists. They were not only wonderful singers, but amazing actors. I love being around the vocalists and listening to them work. Classic Lyric Arts helps singers get the training they need to leap into the professional world.

If you could give current Upper Schoolers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t think you’re only going to have one profession in life. One of the great things about my career path was that I morphed from one position to another, not because I didn’t like what I was doing, but because I had new opportunities, and could build on the skills I had attained from the previous opportunity. The most important thing is to love what you are doing.

Benjamin van der Horst ‘05


Have you always been interested in the airline industry? Was there a particular class or teacher that influenced your career path?

I’ve been interested in the airline industry since I was a kid; I even wrote my thesis in college on airline deregulation. I’m not sure I had a favorite subject until I had John Thompson for history in eighth and ninth grade. He instilled in me a love of history and if it weren’t for him, I would not have studied it in college. History, and how Seven Hills approaches education, teaches you how to think, not what to think. Being able to organize thoughts and facts in a logical and compelling way is an invaluable skill I learned in history class and participating in debates at Seven Hills, and now use in my job today.

What is one of your favorite experiences from your time at Seven Hills? 

An experience at Seven Hills that greatly influenced me was the Lotspeich Washington, D.C. trip. I remember it so well; it jumpstarted my interest in politics and Washington, D.C. My interest in politics that began on that trip lead me to start a Seven Hills chapter of the Junior State of America, a nonpartisan debate club. That trip helped shape my school experience and created an incomparable impact on my life.

If you could give current Upper Schoolers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Explore! Different subjects, places — learn different things. Seven Hills allows people to learn and focus where they want, but doesn’t force them to specialize. You have a great opportunity at Seven Hills and in college to explore and have all these opportunities, it’s so important to take advantage of that. You never know where life is going to take you.

Elisabeth (Lisa) Barret ‘98


What is your current career?

In April of 2020, I joined, a company focused on creating a diverse group of future leaders through an alternative path to college, by training individuals through professional apprenticeships. I currently serve as Vice President of Learning.

In what way did your time at Seven Hills influence your career path?

I have always been a unique personality. Seven Hills gave me room to be creative, mischievous, high-achieving, insatiably curious, and incredibly community-oriented. My teachers allowed me to channel my personality into true exploration and a love of every subject. For instance, a group of us made the most absurd video for a Middle School French class assignment and, though it was undeniably silly, it absolutely demonstrated our knowledge of the subject material, culture, and language. And, we got an A! To dear Bob Turansky we brought endless questions about life, philosophy, politics, culture, and power (and his Volvo and why he lived in Hyde Park) — and discussed things that really mattered. At Seven Hills, I was seen as a meaningful person who mattered. My opinions counted. I took it seriously to know my stuff and to speak based on facts and logic.

I couldn’t possibly list everything that Seven Hills gave me. I credit Seven Hills entirely with being able to attend Yale. It was there, building on my strong foundations from Seven Hills, that I deepened my understanding of who I am, how the world works, who human beings are, and what is possible.

How did Seven Hills help you understand the value of education?

For the rest of my life, I want people to have the kind of opportunities, space, love, support, challenge, and responsibility that Seven Hills gave me. I did Teach for America so that kids born in under-resourced neighborhoods could have something akin to what I had. I am Vice President at Multiverse because I know that learning is so much more than skill-building. It is how you are challenged, listened to, held accountable, and seen. I probably always had an optimism and belief in people, but Seven Hills taught me that I wasn’t naive for believing that. And that where we put our attention, we get results. Kids can experience that being smart is cool. Communities can find ways to be kind and empathetic, as well as high- performing. People can and should be able to express themselves through different talents. I want to live in a world like that.

The reid Siblings: Ramsey Reid ‘05



How did Seven Hills help you prepare to meet and understand a wide variety of people and viewpoints and influence your career path? 

Seven Hills was such an important part of creating and shaping my worldview and building appreciation for different perspectives. The teachers, classes, and community at Seven Hills were incredibly influential in making me feel like I could pursue anything that I wanted to. 

One of the most important aspects of my work is communication, written and oral. At Seven Hills, part of the educational experience is based on creating different ways of understanding, learning, and listening and those pillars of learning have played an integral role in how I communicate professionally today.  

If you could give your high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t sign up for 8 a.m. classes in college! 

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Seven Hills? 

When you’re in school and growing up, many times you focus on the outcomes and the big moments. The moments I remember most are the ones in between the big moments. Riding in the car with friends on the way to a basketball game at Miami Valley, or studying for a physics test at my friend’s house. Seven Hills has amazing people, really kind, smart teachers, and parents who are involved in the community and their kids’ lives; that sense of community is what I remember the most.

In seventh grade during a basketball practice, Coach (Ed) Wiseman lined us up and went down the line, one by one, and made us shake hands; then he taught us how to shake hands properly. That is a life skill you’re not going to get in a class. He cared about making sure that we were able to communicate and present ourselves well, both on and off the court.

The Reid Siblings: Asia Reid Narayan ’05


In what way did your time at Seven Hills influence your choice of career in market research? 

Seven Hills taught me to have an interest in the world outside of our immediate bubble and have the desire to understand how other people work. French teachers Madame Curry and Madame Griep were both huge influences on me and encouraged me to go out into the world and experience it. I heeded their advice and studied abroad in France for a year in college. I wasn’t afraid of new opportunities thanks to what my teachers at Seven Hills instilled in me. My year abroad was a big part of why I wanted to work in research since a large part of research is thinking outside your perspective.

A Seven Hills education is a shared experience in your family. What role has the school played in your family’s life?

I think I can speak for everyone in my family and say that the friendships that we have made at Seven Hills and Hillsdale have been constants in all of our lives. The people you associate yourself with at Seven Hills at such a young age become so influential in the type of life you decide to lead. We all had a shared opportunity to push ourselves, pursue our passions, and try to live the lives we wanted to live. I had my 15-year reunion virtually because of COVID and it was crazy how fun it was. It’s so nice that we’ve kept the connection alive.

What is one of your favorite memories from Seven Hills, or one of your favorite memories with your siblings at Seven Hills? 

I will always remember hanging out next to our lockers, chatting with friends, and teachers would walk by and join in the conversations. That’s what I miss the most, that sense of community, I haven’t found that anywhere else. 

In terms of memories with my siblings, I remember when Ramsey got his license, cruising up to the junior lot in his Jeep Wrangler and we felt so cool getting out and walking into school!

The Reid Siblings: Jessalyn Reid ’08


Was there a particular class or teacher that eventually influenced or prepared you for your career?

Patty Flanagan’s Theatre Workshop senior year prepared me for politics more than anything else ever could have. In the course, you and your classmates work together to create a play from start to finish. It’s incredibly difficult to sit down with a group of 12 fellow 17-year-olds and write a play; write out the dialogue, figure out the blocking, direct it, and do every single piece of it. You have to learn how to manage personalities and work together as a team, even if you may not agree on everything. It was a unique experience that wasn’t actually that different from a career in politics!

A Seven Hills education is a shared experience in your family. What role has the school played in your family’s life?

I am the fourth generation of my family to go to the Seven Hills family of schools, so we knew from a young age that we would be a part of the Seven Hills family and community. What I love about Seven Hills is that it’s more than just a school, it’s a welcoming collective of people — not only in Cincinnati but across the world — and makes you feel a part of something bigger than yourself. You could lose touch with the school for a decade and come right back in and connect with another alumni or faculty member and feel like you have a real shared piece of history. It’s very grounding to have that sense of community as you move through the world.

What is one of your favorite memories from Seven Hills, or one of your favorite memories with your siblings at Seven Hills? 

My favorite Seven Hills memory is the Homecoming bonfire. I started going to the bonfire in kindergarten and continued to attend through 12th grade. It was something that I looked forward to every year — experiencing it at all those different ages was almost a mark of growing up.

In terms of a memory with my siblings, it was really interesting to be the youngest, following after Ramsey and Asia. By the time I was going to the Middle and Upper Schools and meeting teachers, I was a bit of a known quantity and there was something kind of fun about that; being called “Little Reid” in the hallways might have annoyed me, but it also reminded me that I was in a home away from home whenever I was at Seven Hills. 

All three of the siblings fondly mentioned that having so many members of their family attend the same school has created a familial bond of shared experiences and love for the school between the generations. Another common thread through the family is how much they value the connections and friendships they made at school, those that played an integral role during their time at Seven Hills and have maintained those friendships throughout their adult lives. Another prime example of how the connections one makes at Seven Hills truly last a lifetime.