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Alumni and Student Stories

Katie Swimm ’02, Ph.D. 

Katie Swimm ’02, Ph.D., is a theatre director and educator who lives in Boston, Mass.  She’s currently directing Witch by Jen Silverman at Hovey Players in Waltham, Mass., running November 18 – December 3, 2022.  Silverman’s play is the first of three productions that Katie will direct this season, as she will begin rehearsals for The Bridges of Madison County in December, and Little Women, The Musical in March, at The Concord Players, which was founded by Louisa May Alcott.

Katie received a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Niagara University, an M.A. in Literature at Northwestern, and a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at Tufts University.  Her areas of expertise include theatre and mental illness, the performance of faith, politics as performance, and community-based theatre practice, and she’s presented work on these topics at the American Society for Theatre Research, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and at the Mid-America Theatre Conference. At Tufts she has taught introductory and advanced acting classes, assisted in voice and speech courses, and courses on theatre history, theatre pedagogy, and professional development.

As a practitioner, Katie has directed, produced, and performed in numerous productions in Boston and Chicago, in regional, community, and academic settings.  Directing credits in Boston include Into the Woods and Rent at Tufts University.  At The Footlight Club: Big: The Musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Our Town, Legally Blonde, a digital adaptation of The Woman in White (DASH Award, Excellence in Adaptation and Direction), and her own adaptation of The Doll’s House.  At Vokes Players, she has directed Peter and the Starcatcher (DASH Nomination, Best Director, Best Ensemble, Best Production) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.  She is also a vocalist in the Nasty Women Sing ensemble, and has appeared locally in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Bat Boy at The Footlight ClubIn Chicago, she was Managing Director for Greasy Joan &Co., and produced numerous productions with the company including the Jeff Award Nominated The Misanthrope.

When not involved in theatre making, Katie is the Associate Director of Academic Support at the Tufts University Student Accessibility and Academic Resource Center, where she oversees the Academic Coaching and Subject Tutoring Programs.

Parmees Fazeli ’22

For Parmees Fazeli, ’22, the journey from Pre-K at MPH all the way through the Upper School to Yale University this fall was made possible by lessons learned in MPH’s tight-knit community. With a plan to study biology and Spanish on a pre-med track with the intention of pursuing a career in medicine with a focus on clinical research and public health, Parmees certainly learned those lessons well.

A few of her fondest memories from her “lifer” career at MPH include:

  • Recess periods in Grades 3 and 4 during which many negotiations and trades were exchanged in fort building;
  • Related and unrelated conversations that took place in a book club that she and a few other students began in Mrs. Bentley Hoke’s Grade 8 English class; and
  • The joyous moments of school spirit expressed during Red and White Day, the holiday program during which students boisterously cheer for their grade in the School’s rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas,” and during Winter Carnival, when students of many ages were seen scurrying through the halls in a congregation of colors, hoping to get a glimpse at the scoreboard in the Phoenix.

All of these memories were moments that showed her what it truly meant to be a member of MPH’s tight-knit community. One of the best lessons she said she learned at MPH was from Spanish Teacher Silviana Medina-Dooher, who helped show her the importance of having resilience, confidence, optimism and to not shy away from your passions.

Parmees also shared that the Grade 9 field trip Bryn Mawr was another of her most memorable experiences at MPH. Not only was it a time for outdoor fun, including sports in the pouring rain and advisory competitions, but it was also the time when letters to their “senior selves” were written and sealed away. It hadn’t dawned on her that they would receive those letters again until Senior Brunch, when she noticed the teachers coming around the room with stacks of white envelopes. Parmees said, “Suddenly, it was as if we were exactly where we were before, gathered together around tables. Only this time we were opening up the letters, along with all the memories that came with them from that rainy fall afternoon at Bryn Mawr.”

This summer – besides planning and packing for college – Parmees is working as an assistant tennis coach at MPH’s summer camp. She also takes part in the refugee and immigrant outreach organizations in the greater Syracuse area by serving as an interpreter and volunteer to organize essential item collections that help with resettlement. In her last few days at home, she spends as much time as she can with her family. She also plays an occasional tennis match with her sister, Amitees ’25, and enjoys trading tournament strategies with her. The sisters played as a doubles team this past year and made it to the NY State Tennis Championship tournament.