2016 Alumni Pathfinder Award recipients share stories with MIHS students

On April 26th MIHS had the honor of meeting two of the 2016 Alumni Pathfinder Award Recipients, Dr. Warren Brown and Dr. Michelle Flowers. After being honored at the Breakfast of Champions, Dr. Brown and Dr. Flowers visited classes to talk and connect with students about experiences at MIHS, in college, and beyond.

The Pathfinder Awards were reworked from the original alumni recognition program to acknowledge the extraordinary accomplishments and impact MIHS alumni have made on society. These awards are given to graduates in a variety of fields, all of whom have contributed to making the world a better place. The program hopes to inspire and create a network of support for students after high school.

The process began in February when a number of people were nominated for this award.  The only requirement is that each candidate have graduated a minimum of 10 years ago. The Selection Committee made up of students, teachers, business leaders, alumni, residents, and school officials goes through 3 rounds of voting, eliminating 3 candidates each round. The school’s previous alumni award was only awarded to one person but this year, four remarkable alums have been chosen for the new award: Dr. Warren Brown, Earle Canfield, Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, and Dr. Michelle Flowers.

Dr. Flowers graduated in 1988 and is currently the director of the Institute of Engineering Community and Cultural Competence at USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering. Her primary goal is working towards eliminating the gender gap in STEM fields. During her visit, Dr. Flowers shared with students her passion for what she does as well as some life advice. “Have fun and make the most of all your experiences. This school puts a lot of pressure to excel and that’s great but at the same time you don’t want to do it at the expense of having a nice life. Focus on your quality of life first and what matters most to you” said Dr. Flowers.

Dr. Brown, also from the class of 1988, is the president of North Seattle College where he developed new degrees in health fields. In his meeting with students, Dr. Brown shared a tragic story where he was inspired by the perseverance and dedication of students to their studies. In a Ride-the-Ducks incident, many students were injured yet continued to work hard from their hospital beds. Brown was shocked that the students were still worried about school despite their condition. The experience showed him how people try to normalize their lives in the face of tragedy and that these students decided to focus on their studies because it is all they knew how to do.  “Your journeys as students are clear, but sometimes things out of your control can happen,” said Brown.

The Pathfinders hope to show students all the amazing opportunities they have to carve out their own path and make a difference. For more information on the 2016 Pathfinders, click here.

Thumbnail photo courtesy Mercer Island School District