Alumni Updates: Jonathan Briffault ’11 and Hao-Tong Yan ’09

Jonathan Briffault 11

Jonathan Briffault ’11 is currently a senior at Dartmouth College, majoring in History and International Relations, preparing for graduation in June. Despite the pandemic, he has been able to live on campus this year, although attending classes exclusively on Zoom. Last year, Jonathan was elected Vice President of Dartmouth Student Assembly, the college’s student government. He credits MMS with instilling in him the courage to confront difficult subjects with a clear and analytic process. The pandemic and his experience working within structures of power has reaffirmed his interest in working in the public sector, “the pandemic experience has created a sense of grievance amongst people in my age group. We realize those in power don’t have all the answers any more than we do, so maybe we have just as much opportunity to lead and help solve problems.” Most recently Briffault has worked on several US Senate campaigns, including Steve Bullock’s (MT), Jeanne Shaheen’s (NH), and John Hickenlooper’s (CO).

Hao-Tong Yan ’09

Hao-Tong Yan ’09 is currently in his second year of a Mathematics PhD program at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, albeit virtually these days, so he is happy and healthy studying at home in NYC. The pandemic has also allowed him to reflect on his future, and although he had intended to pursue a career in academia, he is now exploring other possibilities. Zoom University will do that to anyone! Although computer science might be the obvious choice, he’ll soon begin focusing on applying to a wide variety of possible summer internships. Ms. Reveri, Ms. Jefferson, Ms. Burton, Mdm. Garnier, Ms. Callaghan, Ms. Gratz, and Ms. Ohmi were all fondly remembered teachers, many of whom he is still friendly with on social media. Ms. Zelbo played a particularly formative role when she affirmed his unique problem solving processes and hooked his interest in math by challenging him to disprove the Four Color Theorem as a fourth grader. That pivotal time possibly inspired his future career path!

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