"We prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be."
Alumni and Faculty Profiles
Bringing about a World that Ought to Be
At Friends Seminary, our mission is to "prepare students to engage in the world that is and to help bring about a world that ought to be." Each month, Friends will profile an alum or faculty member (current and former) who lets their life speak. Together these profiles tell the story of Friends Seminary's mission in action through the individuals who have spent time here.
Claire Brennan ’09 is passionate about making the streets of New York City safe for all road users, particularly pedestrians and cyclists. She currently works as Community Coordinator in the Bicycle Unit at the New York City Department of Transportation.
Claire had an unlikely entry into transportation advocacy. As a native New Yorker, Claire had never pursued a driver’s license. In her senior year at Connecticut College, she lived off campus with friends and would often hitch a ride to run errands. When her friends began teasing her, a stubborn determination arose. “My friends wouldn’t let me forget that I didn’t have a driver’s license, so I brought my dusty old bike from Manhattan to New London. You can go anywhere with a bike; you don’t need a car.” What began as fierce independence turned into a source of peace and pleasure. “I am never more at peace than when I am on my bicycle. A bike is an amazing tool that people of all ages and abilities can use. Once you see how liberating it can be, how healthy transporting your own body might feel, or how much cargo can actually be transported by bike, the possibilities become endless.”
“Mass incarceration is an illness. Most people who are incarcerated have ended up in prison because our community health systems have failed them.” Dr. Brie Williams ’90 is a Professor of Medicine in the UCSF Department of Medicine, Director of the Criminal Justice & Health Program at UCSF, and Director of Amend: Changing Correctional Culture. Dr. Williams’ work focuses on bringing a medical and public health lens to transforming the culture in US prison systems, improving them for people who are incarcerated, for officers, and the community as a whole. This comprehensive approach connects law with public health, human rights with medical care and requires deep partnerships with community activists, policymakers, and government officials in the effort to make change.
“I know I’m fighting for the right cause. I know I’m on the virtuous side of history. I think that discerning the truth and fighting for it is what makes a good leader.” Chi Ossé ’16 is a Gen Z candidate for City Council, running in District 36. Chi is a progressive political outsider who is seeking to create a NYC legislature that reflects the city he loves. “I never felt like someone like me would be able to run for public office. I am 22 years old, a college drop out, Black and queer. But I’ve always used my voice to speak up about what dissatisfied me and what I didn’t feel was right.”