Alumni Guide to Living

A famous piece of writing by Robert Fulghum entitled “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” extols the lasting value of the basic wisdom we learned as children. For example: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Take a nap every afternoon. Clean up your own mess. These are indeed the lessons that Elmwood Franklin students learn here in Prep and carry with them their whole lives.

As important as these early years of education are throughout life, it turns out that our EFS alums have picked up a thing or two since they’ve left our nest. There is, apparently, more to learn. And so, with their expert guidance, we offer…

All You Need to Know, Part II
An Elmwood Franklin Alumni Guide to Living

Linsey Snyder Wachalter ’93
Brian Meegan ’73
Dayle Hodge '97

Amity Lippes Mann ’90

Linsey Snyder Wachalter ’93

“Confidence is important. When you feel that you look your best, then you carry yourself in a more confident manner. When you’re comfortable in your own skin, it’s contagious—you make the room light up!” So says Linsey Snyder, make-up artist extraordinaire and founder of Face Time Cosmetics and Face Time Beauty Concierge. Through both branches of her business—her product line and her service division—Linsey is dedicated to helping women look and feel their very best.

Face Time Beauty Concierge, which launched just this year following the successful start of Face Time Cosmetics in 2007, is a team of beauty professionals based out of New York City and Palm Beach that work with clients for any occasion on which “beauty calls.” “We mostly work with brides,” says Linsey, “but we are always adding to our client list. We work with celebrities occasionally. We just did a shoot with Jane Birkin, and recently we finished a project for General Mills for a Cheerio box! Basically, we will work on any project we find interesting.”

And beauty itself is interesting to Linsey, and always has been. “Many girls love beauty, but there was always something more to me about makeup then glitter,” she says. “When I was little, I would sit in front of a mirror for hours and mix colors on my hands and use lipstick for blush and blush for eye shadow. I love that there is no right or wrong. I also love people’s expressions when they look in the mirror after I have done their makeup. It must be like what a chef feels when a customer eats their food. It really is an art to me.”

It’s an art she perfected over a lifetime, but as far as a business venture, it’s something she jumped into rather suddenly. “I worked at Saturday Night Live for three seasons, and I made friends with the hair and makeup crew. I learned a lot and developed an interest by watching and helping them whenever I could. I left SNL and later decided I wanted to just jump right into the industry head first.” And beauty, ironically, isn’t always glamorous. Linsey admits that when she first started on her own, she would do anything to get her foot in the door. “There were many times when I would do makeup for a fashion show or a video shoot and find myself in a basement somewhere bent down for six hours straight. It wasn’t glamorous, but looking back, it was the best thing I ever did.”

Business-wise, it’s been a whirlwind for Linsey. “I never could sit still, even as a child, so this industry is perfect for me. I am never in one place for too long, and I am always right in the center of the excitement. Every day is another learning experience. I went on Fox’s “Good Day New York” a few months ago and it really forced me to step out of my comfort zone.” Beauty-wise, it’s an ongoing joy: “It’s amazing. It’s fun. It’s fulfilling. I love to create and use my imagination. I also really like to look at a face and highlight the person’s best features—everyone has a best feature.”

So in terms of looking your best, Linsey offers a few favorite tips: If you want to “pop” one feature, she says, make sure you play down the others. “For example, if you highlight the eyes, put a nude color or lightly hued gloss on the lips.” Linsey likes to use blue eyeliner, especially greenish blue, on models who have early morning shoots to make them look more awake and vibrant, as the color enhances the whiteness of the eyes. She suggests putting highlighter down the nose and on the apples of the cheeks to get an automatic glow. And for chapped lips, she recommends Aquaphor, a thick ointment usually used on skin.

But it’s not just about the products or the techniques. When it comes down to it, it’s about knowledge—and knowledge is power. “When I apply makeup to a face, it eventually comes off,” Linsey says. “But the experience teaches my clients how to get the look they want every day.”

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Brian Meegan ’73

The lesson gleaned from Brian Meegan’s example is simple: Don’t limit yourself. Explore other countries. Sail away to distant shores—and don’t feel compelled to come back. Let the world be your oyster.

Brian, who has been living “globally” for some time in locales such as Great Britain, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, now makes his home in a waterfront estate that faces the Red Sea in Jeddah., Saudi Arabia, about a quarter-mile down the street from the king’s grand palace—which, incidentally, is where he works, as educational advisor and private tutor to the Saudi royal family. His job offers him additional travel opportunities as well— in his first year alone, he traveled with “the family,” as he refers to his royal employers, to Los Angeles, Paris, Barcelona, and Beirut.

It’s a long way off from Elmwood Franklin, where Brian not only went as a student but also taught English in the early 1980’s. “I aspired to administration and so went off to Harvard for graduate school and later worked in the admissions office at Dartmouth.” He went overseas after learning about a new private school in Abu Dhabi that needed a college counselor; the school was graduating its first senior class and had no one to lead them through the college admissions process. The initial interview took place at an apt location: “I spoke to the director of the school and learned he was flying through O'Hare. I lived twenty minutes away from the airport, so I had my first interview at the bar in Terminal B. A few days later, I was flying over to Ankara, Turkey to interview with the Board and students at Bilkent University Prep School.” It was while working there that an American co-worker told him how years back she had enjoyed working for the Saudi royal family—who were now looking for a tutor. “I took the job because the boys and family were very welcoming and internationally-minded, and I believed I could make a difference in the lives of the kids,” says Brian.

On a typical day, Brian will work with his main pupil, a sixth grade boy, after school for two hours, helping him with homework and reading. He also works with the boy’s brother, a tenth grader, as he prepares for the IGCSE, a comprehensive series of exams he will complete at the end of this year at his British school. “The boys will attend college in the U.S., like their older relatives, so I am helping them to be prepared to apply to the universities of their choice,” Brian says. He also teaches introductory English daily to a group of adult men. “Some of them have received only five or six years of education, but they work hard and are reading Dr. Seuss, just like students at EFS!” And that’s not all: “Twice a day I walk six dogs, one of which is my 11-year-old border collie, Hinckley, who has traveled the world since he adopted me in Turkey.”

Brian describes Jeddah, his hometown for more than half a year now, as “similar to Las Vegas,” a relatively new conglomeration of housing developments and shopping establishments. “Every franchise and type of product is now for sale here—Starbucks is just down the road,” he says. It makes for a comfortable life: no winters, beautiful sunsets every evening, meals made for him daily, walking the beach, snorkeling in the sea, never needing to wear a coat—or socks, for that matter. And while he does visit the U.S. occasionally, he says he finds himself missing the intrigue of being abroad—not to mention the rewards of his job: being able to make a difference in the lives of his students, walking with the dogs each night, and, of course, the adventure of it all. “Now,” he says, “if I can just find a sailboat for sale here in Jeddah...”

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Dayle Hodge ’97

Two engineering degrees and a career as a medical design engineer: sounds like enough, doesn’t it? Not for Dayle Hodge ’97.

He recently uprooted himself from a job as a design engineer for NuVasive, a San Diego company that specializes in the design of orthopedic spinal implants and minimally invasive surgery, to enroll in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University Medical Scientist Training Program, a highly competitive—and highly coveted—MD/PhD degree program that comes with some very nice perks. Accepted students are given a tuition waiver for the duration of their enrollment, a yearly stipend, subsidized on-campus housing, and medical benefits.

“It’s still kind of hard to believe,” Dayle Hodge said of his acceptance. Of the seven-thousand-plus overall fellow applicants, less than two hundred were accepted, and only fifteen made it into this particular program. “The first feelings I had when I got in were just complete elation followed by relief. I think everyone in my office heard me yelling when I got the e-mail. Over time though, the magnitude of the commitment set in. I was a bit nervous because I hadn’t really taken a full load of classes in almost four years, but excited to start my career in medicine.”

Just what will that career entail? “I’m leaning towards some kind of surgery,” says Dayle. “Orthopedic, neurosurgery, and endovascular are my top three. Then just behind those is emergency medicine. I’d love to get into regenerative medicine/tissue engineering. We’ll see, though—that’s a long way down the road.”

A long way, indeed: Dayle says that the program typically takes seven or eight years to complete, which will make him a busy student until somewhere around the year 2018. But schooling isn’t anything new for Dayle, who already holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees. “Since high school, I’ve always had the idea of going to medical school in the back of my mind, but I didn’t commit to that path until late in the game,” Dayle explains. “It was late in my junior year of college when I decided to go down the medical pathway. Most of my peers already had their prerequisites finished and were taking the MCATs. Since I decided so late in the process, I had to complete my degrees in engineering, but also take the remaining pre-med classes, which meant I had to add an extra year to my undergraduate studies. When I was doing my master’s research, my advisor would always mention pursuing an MD/PhD would be the best way to harness of all of my talents. I was resistant for a while but eventually saw the advantages.”

Fortunately, education is not just a means to an end for him, not merely job training. Dayle looks to improve things, for himself and for others, through what he learns. “I wanted to help people through technology so I decided to go to school for engineering. And when that shifted to wanting to help people through medicine and research, I realized that going to medical school would probably be a good choice,” he says. “But overall, I like learning new things and challenging myself.”

His advice to younger students considering a career in medicine is to take the time to explore the field. “It’s important to understand what you’re getting into,” says Dayle. “Working as an intern for a summer or shadowing someone in that profession is probably the best way to obtain the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. Once you get exposure to the field, you’ll see if it’s what you really want to do. And always make sure to ask questions. The people in your area of interest were once in your shoes, and they probably have the best advice.”

And for succeeding with education overall, Dayle advises, “Make sure to study hard and put the appropriate amount of effort into whatever you pursue. And I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before but, here it is one more time: practice, practice, practice. It’s extremely rare for even the most talented students to succeed without consistently reviewing and studying. It’s pretty simple: you’ll get out of it only what you put into it.  And time management is probably one of the most important keys to success. You’ll be studying a lot, but make sure to take some time to have some fun. Finding a balance between the two is important.” ­­

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Amity Lippes Mann ’90

Marketing is an exciting field, especially when what you’re marketing is life itself. After working for a firm in New York City, Amity Lippes Mann ’90 recently found her way back to Buffalo, where she is now an account representative for Upstate New York Transplant Services, an organ and tissue donation organization that several years ago started a community blood bank. Amity’s role is to educate the Western New York community on the importance of blood donation and to recruit, plan, and promote community blood drives. It’s a job she believes in and just loves to talk about.

“It’s a great way to show children how to care for our community. Very often I’ll see donors come in with their kids, or hear stories of donors going as children with their parents as they were giving blood,” says Amity. “It’s a wonderful tradition to start. Blood donation helps people, it helps Buffalo, and it helps Western New York.”

The blood drives that Amity helps to orchestrate support UNYTS’s community blood bank, which means that all donated blood stays in Western New York, where area hospitals use 60,000 units of blood per year. In addition to emergencies and life-saving transplants, blood is needed on a regular basis for people with cancer, heart disease, and leukemia, and for premature babies and children needing surgery.

“Coming from the corporate world, I appreciate the sense of good that comes in working for a non-profit,” says Amity. “And I really love how open this community is, how much it cares. The best of Buffalo shines through to me in this job.” After living out of the area for several years, it makes Amity proud to be back in her hometown. She’ll be getting married this summer and is interested in bettering her community. “I love Buffalo. When I moved back, I promised myself to try to make this a city that I want to be in, one where others want to live and raise their families. We’re the next generation of citizens, and so we need to make it happen.”

That’s one of the things she appreciates most about her organization—its ability to move with the times and respond to the needs of its community. By distributing all the collected blood locally, the Upstate New York Transplant Services’ ­blood bank decreases the cost of blood to area hospitals by as much as 30 percent a year, which translates to millions of dollars in healthcare cost savings, a real boon to the local economy. Since 2007, the blood bank has been supported by 71,000 donors and 1,000 community sponors who host blood drives on behalf of UNYTS.

“We need a lot more, though,” Amity says. “We need every EFS alum to find out if your companies are having blood drives, and if not, we need you to have one. And we need you to consider becoming an organ donor and talk to your family about it. And should you choose to do any of these things, we thank you.” ­­

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We’d like to make this an ongoing feature, and we’re looking for EFS alumni of all ages who’d be willing to share their perspectives with our readers. All you’d need to do is answer a few questions about some aspect of your work, hobby, or pastime. Alumni from all class years, backgrounds, and professions are invited to respond. E-mail if you’d be willing to participate.

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