Seniors Share Experience from Senior Encounters

Beginning in late May, members of the Class of 2019 engaged in a workplace internship with an adult mentor called a Senior Encounter. For two weeks, each student worked alongside this mentor, who agreed to supervise and teach him more about the industry and/or profession. 

Read below to learn about some of the Senior Encounter experiences. 

Tronster Hartley '94 hosted a special alumni reunion at Andy Nelson's in Hunt Valley, MD this week. Max Sobkov ’18 and Luigi Mangione ’16 both did their Senior Encounter at Firaxis Games, where Tronster is a Technical Team Leader & Senior Software Engineer, and where Lucas Yim ’19 recently completed his Encounter. Max is on summer break from Carnegie Mellon and will be teaching “Tensor Flow,” an advanced machine learning system, at Towson University this summer. Luigi will start his senior year at Penn this fall and this summer will be a residential counselor at Stanford Pre-Collegiate Summer Institutes, where he will teach Machine Learning or Game Design. Lucas will begin his freshman year at the University of Maryland this fall. Note: Spencer Perry '15 also did his Encounter at Firaxis, but was unable to join the reunion.

Michael Brittingham and Andy Andrews  joined for their Encounter. ​​​​​​Both seniors shared their experiences: 

"’s involvement in protecting Masonboro Island and keeping it available to the people, free of cost or restriction, is an issue that really hits home for me. The ready accessibility of our countries land for free use is something that I am personally invested in, as an outdoorsman and someone who loves spending time in nature. Through the encounter experience, I have learned problem solving and toughness. We took Andy’s boat to our encounter and experienced adversity every step of our journey. Between the inability to steer at one point and huge swells in open water, it’s been a battle and I’ve loved every second of it. It has brought me closer to my friends and has lead to some pretty incredible stories. Beyond that, the importance of pursuing your passions, even if that means sacrificing your free time. Personally, I’m surprised by the community's passion for a common goal that lies in protecting Masonboro Island. I can only hope to be part of a cause that is meaningful in my life." – Michael Brittingham '19

"Through organizations like, residents of the area can work to keep the island clean and open to the public without restriction. They also help to educate students in the area about the importance of the island and why it needs to be kept clean. For me, I have been going to Masonboro with my uncles for my whole life and it is a place I cherish. Keeping it clean and keeping access open is important to me as it is a big part of my family. In my senior encounter, I am learning the importance of doing service that actually matters to you. My uncle works at a nuclear power plant and is also the president of on the side. He loves the island and the organization and through my work, I get to see what giving back to the community can do. At the fundraising banquet, it was incredible to see the hundreds of people that showed up to enjoy the cause and donate to everything the organizing does. I think later in my life I would love to find some service organizing that I can be passionate about. Working the fundraiser was incredible. The support this organization has is truly something special. I was surprised at the extent of the support and the passion of the people there. Donations were fluid throughout the night and it showed that people really do care about the environment in which they live. It is really rewarding to know that my efforts are having an impact on the community as a whole, including all of the New Hanover County 5th graders and everyone else that enjoys the island." – Andy Andrews '19

Two generations of Senior Encounters: Arsene Ngongang and Evan Gilbert joined Chris Bendann '03 for a crash course in becoming an educator. Back in 2003, Chris Downs, pictured above, was a mentor to Chris Bendann '03.  

Ben Levinson joined Dr. Rodney Glasgow '97 for an Encounter focused on diversity and inclusion. 

"I did my Senior Encounter with Dr. Rodney Glasgow at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, MD, shadowing him in his role as Chief Diversity Officer and as an independent consultant with the Glasgow Group. I was heavily involved in Diversity and Inclusion work over the course of my high school career, from my leadership of the Diversity Council to the co-founding of The Day of Dialogue and discovered that I found the work really enjoyable and rewarding. In light of that, I am considering a career in education, specifically diversity practicing in education, and chose to shadow Rodney to gain insight into that job in the context of another school. The Encounter was amazing! I had the opportunity to chat one-on-one with many different individuals involved in diversity work at the school, as well as work on projects for Rodney, like compiling resources on white identity and privilege. Perhaps the most affirming thing about my Encounter was how at-home I felt in school. While SAES is plenty different than Gilman, it is a school filled with dynamic energy and light and joy, and my two weeks here have all but solidified my plan to pursue a career in schools! " Ben Levinson '19

Duncan Dietrick shadowed U.S. Marshals as part of his Senior Encounter. The U.S. Marshals are the oldest federal law enforcement agency in America. During his Encounter, Duncan met members of the Federal Bar, attended Court trials, toured jails, took USFM fitness training, shadowed security tests, and watched a swearing in of new citizens. He is pictured here with Assistant Chief Deputy Steven Akers and U.S. Marshal John Hughes. 

Keyshon Jones shadowed Gilman archivist Johanna Schein, working on an initiative to preserve Gilman's athletic legacy. 

Nichi Pandey connected with Tony Foreman ‘83 to pursue his interest in the restaurant industry. Tony, who, with Chef Cindy Wolf, runs several prominent restaurants in the Baltimore area, met with Nichi and determined the best fit for him would be to work in the kitchen at Cinghiale, a celebrated and sophisticated downtown Italian eatery. Nichi got a two-week crash course in food preparation and restaurant management. “The plating is the hardest part,” he said. “It not only has to taste great but each plate has to be a work of art too.” Aside from a few cuts and burns – an occupational hazard, he said – he survived unscathed. He did so well that he was offered a job to stay on with the kitchen staff this summer. Nichi will attend Johns Hopkins University starting this fall, and Tony has offered him a part-time position during the upcoming school year. A career in the culinary arts may now be in his future!

Want to share your senior encounter experience? Email your picture and a brief description of your senior encounter to