Alumni Awards

The Alumni Association presents three Alumni Awards every fall at Reunion: the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Thomas Shaw Award, and the Lion's Pride Award. The purpose of these awards is to recognize individuals and classes for their dedication and service to St. Andrew's and beyond. 

The Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a St. Andrew's Episcopal School alumnus/a who has demonstrated unique or significant accomplishments through professional achievement or social impact.

2023 Winner: Amy Helms

Amy Helms '03 is the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award. After beginning her career in education, Amy spent three years as an elementary teacher at St. Andrew’s in what was then the Intermediate School before earning a Master’s in school leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Since then, Amy has risen from Assistant Principal at D.C. Prep to her current role as Head of School at D.C. Scholars Public Charter School. Read more about Amy’s accomplishments by clicking here.

Past recipients

List of 6 items.

  • 2022: Fikile Brushett '02

    Fikile Brushett ‘02 is an associate professor of chemical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he leads a research program focused on advancing the science and engineering of electro-chemical technologies. Because of his work as a researcher in trying to solve some of the world’s energy problems and preparing scientists of the future as an educator, Brushett was selected as the 2022 recipient of St. Andrew’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Click here to read more.
  • 2021: Whitney Cummings '00

    Whitney Cummings is a stand-up comedian, writer, producer, and director, whose credits include four television comedy specials for Netflix, HBO, and Comedy Central. She is the executive producer for three TV sitcoms including “2 Broke Girls” and “Roseanne.” She has a memoir entitled “I'm Fine...And Other Lies,” and her original podcast “Good For You.” Whitney is currently performing stand-up as part of her nationwide tour.
  • 2019: Adele Waugaman ‘94

    Throughout her career in international development, Adele Waugaman ‘94 has played a central role in systems transformation, from the formation of the International Criminal Court to the United States Agency for International Development’s forthcoming guidance for investing in digital health technologies in developing nations.
    In her role as a Senior Advisor in Digital Health with USAID Global Health’s Center for Innovation and Impact, Waugaman is bridging the gap between technology and development to better serve health systems and health workers across the globe.
    “A lot of what I have learned in this position is that you have to meet people where they are,” she said. “You have to talk to them about how they are trying to overcome the entrenched global health challenges where they work. You have to listen to their pain points and understand the broader context of what they’re trying to achieve.”
    Waugaman will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award Oct. 19 during the Reunion Celebration Brunch. The award recognizes a St. Andrew's alumnus/a who has demonstrated unique or significant accomplishments through professional achievement or social impact.
    Waugaman was only at St. Andrew’s for two years, but they were eventful ones. The summer after her junior year, Waugaman went on a school-led trip to Honduras, where she stayed with a host family, practiced Spanish, and volunteered. It was her first time in a developing country and an experience that motivated her to see more of the world.
    “It was absolutely mind-opening,” Waugaman said. “That experience helped give me the confidence and inspired me to take on an experience in college where I studied at an historically non-white university in newly post-apartheid South Africa.”
    Waugaman was part of the first group of students to participate in a direct exchange program between Bard College and the University of the Western Cape, near Cape Town. She spent a semester in South Africa shortly after the election of Nelson Mandela. Waugaman was struck by the “incredible spirit of student activism” and inspired by the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a court-like restorative justice initiative designed to give voice to the victims of apartheid.  
    “I came back to the States and I felt like something was wrong. It took a few months before it dawned on me that this experience changed me,” she said. “I am not the same person who I was before this experience.”  
    After graduating from Bard College in 1998, Waugaman joined Human Rights Watch as a development and outreach associate. She briefly worked on strategic communications for technology start-ups before returning to human rights work in 2001, when she became a media liaison for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court. In that role, she was part of a movement that accelerated the establishment of the ICC through communications, advocacy and capacity building strategies that motivated nations to ratify the treaty that created the court.
    “Enough governments said, ‘Okay, let’s do this,’” Waugaman said. “It was a really exciting time to be there, when that catalytic moment happens and the needle moves and things change.”
    Waugaman went back to school to earn her Master’s in International Affairs (International Law) with the goal of transitioning to programmatic work. After two years as the communications director for the United Nations Foundation & Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership, the partnership’s senior director position opened up; she applied and got the job.
    The Vodafone partnership was her first touch with technology and development, setting her up for her role with USAID, where she is writing policy to guide the agency’s investments in digital technology for the health sector, such as text-messaging programs to enhance information exchange during health emergencies.
    “The increasing reach of digital technology has been really transformational because a lot of global health programming is built on health data, and it’s hard to get access to quality health data in a timely way without access to digital technology,” she said.
    “Even in difficult and hard-to-reach environments, change is coming. How can we think about adapting programs we have now, where there is digital connectivity, or preparing for it if you’re in an area that is not yet digitized? That’s part of our forthcoming guidance, making sure we’re partnering with country governments to understand and help support their health sector digitization plan.”
    Collaborating with governments, and working to ensure donor investments align to country-identified priorities and plans, is a value that Waugaman and others were able to put into writing by creating a set of investment principles to guide how funders, like USAID and Germany’s GiZ, invest in digital systems in the health sector. To date more than 30 funders have endorsed those principles. She cites this work as one of her proudest accomplishments.
    “The creation of those principles, it was a moment in time, when the donors came together and said, ‘We hear you, governments. We want to do things the right way, and this is what we’re going to do differently,’” Waugaman said. “Anytime you’re trying to create systemic change, it’s hard. You’re asking people to lose something, so you have to show them what the benefit is.”
    For Waugaman, it’s the people she works with, in Washington, D.C., and on the ground around the world, who motivate her to make change.
    “The most fulfilling aspect of my work is the caliber of the people I work with, seeing a willingness to embrace new ways of tackling really difficult challenges, and that combination of commitment and perseverance but also flexibility and resilience.”
  • 2018: Katie Barthelme '88

    Katie Barthelme '88 is the Manager of Operations Engineering at Omitron, where she has dedicated her career to supporting critical aerospace missions and operations. Among other missions, her work has led to successful manned space flights that have returned research that significantly improved our society's understanding of outer space.

    She joined Omitron in 1993 as a technical secretary, but her colleagues saw her potential to work on missions, and within two years she was an Operations Director for the Hitchhiker Project at the Goddard Space Flight Center. In this role she provided simulation and mission operations support for 17 Hitchhiker payloads, which carried experiments into outer space via space shuttles, over the course of 10 years.

    She has spent the past 15 years providing senior systems engineering and operations support for a variety of projects, including the 2006 Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory mission, the 2008 Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission, the 2013 Landsat Data Continuity Mission, the 2015 Deep Space Climate Observatory, and the yet-to-launch Restore-L Robotic Satellite Servicing Mission.

    In 2016 Barthelme received an award from NASA, the Robert H. Goddard Individual Award for Exceptional Achievement for Engineering, for her support of the Deep Space Climate Observatory.

    She is currently working on the development of the STPSat-6 Satellite Operation Center (SSOC), a full-scale satellite control center based in New Mexico.  
  • 2017: Steven Levenson '02

    Steven Levenson was awarded the 2017 Tony award for Best Book of a Musical for Dear Evan Hansen.

    His other plays include If I ForgetThe Unavoidable Disappearance Of Tom DurninCore ValuesThe Language of Trees, and Seven Minutes In Heaven. A former Artist in Residence at Ars Nova and a member of the Roundabout Leadership Council, he worked for three seasons as a writer and producer on Showtime’s Masters of Sex and is a founding member of Colt Coeur and an alumnus of MCC’s Playwrights Coalition and Ars Nova’s Play Group. Honors include the Tony Award, Obie Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League Award, Drama Desk Nomination, Lucille Lortel Nomination, and the Helen Hayes Award. His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service and Playscripts. A graduate of Brown University, he is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. and the WGA.
  • 2016: Melissa (Donovan) d'Arabian '86

    Melissa, a graduate of Georgetown University (MA) and University of Vermont (BA) is a celebrity chef, television host, best-selling author, and mom of four. 

    She is a go-to expert on affordable and healthy family home cooking. Melissa enjoyed a successful career in corporate finance and strategy before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Passionate about sharing her tried-and-true recipes and money-saving tactics, Melissa then competed on and won season five of "Food Network Star." She soon became well known for "Ten Dollar Dinners" - her popular Food Network show and New York Times bestselling cookbook. Available now, Melissa's highly anticipated second cookbook, "Supermarket Healthy," proves healthy eating can be easy, affordable, and achievable with ingredients from the neighborhood grocery store. 

    Today Melissa can also be found serving as a regular judge on the hit Food Network primetime series "Guy's Grocery Games;" writing the nationally syndicated weekly "Healthy Plate" column for The Associated Press; and hosting multiple series, including "The Picky Eaters Project" and "Smart Carts." A sought-after expert regularly featured in national media, Melissa shares her diverse life experiences and wide-ranging expertise on topics including food and cooking, money-saving strategies, family and parenting, healthy lifestyle, business and leadership, faith, and causes close to her heart including suicide prevention and childhood hunger.

The Thomas Shaw Award

The Thomas Shaw Award recognizes someone whose deeds and actions reflect his or her pride in their alma mater and loyalty to the school, as demonstrated through their support of the school, the Alumni Association and its programs.

2023 Winner: Edie Demas '83

Edie Demas ‘83 has been a part of the St. Andrew’s community even before there was a St. Andrew’s. Now, 40 years after she graduated, she was selected to receive the 2023 Thomas Shaw Award for Service at the Alumni Awards Brunch. After her time as a student, Edie remained connected to the school as a Lions Fund volunteer, reunion chair, Alumni Council member, Chair of the Diversity Advisory Committee and Vice President, and most recently, a member of the Board of Trustees. Click here to read about her service to St. Andrew's and what receiving this award means.

Past recipients

List of 6 items.

  • 2022: The Black Alumni Collective

    The Black Alumni Collective (BAC) was formed in 2020 during the summer of racial reckoning in the United States. Since then, the BAC has created internships for BIPOC St. Andrew’s students and alumni, awarded scholarships to Black St. Andrew’s graduates, hosted community-building gatherings like the BAC-2-School Bash, and organized two nationwide social justice student hackathons (HackBAC). Click here to read more.
  • 2021: Larissa Levine '06

    Larissa Levine has given back to St. Andrew's by working in every volunteer role in the 15 years since her graduation. For six years she has served on the Alumni Council, leading it for two years as president. She was instrumental in organizing the largest alumni reunion in school history during St. Andrew's 40th anniversary celebration. Now in her fifth year on St. Andrew's Board of Trustees, she has provided strategic advice and sound governance during a period of great challenge and transformative growth.
  • 2019: Alex (Sasa) Portner ’89

    Alex (Sasa) Portner ’89, the recipient of the 2019 Thomas Shaw Award, still remembers Gabe Hodziewich’s enthusiasm in science class and the joy of throwing clay in Tracey Goodrich’s ceramics class. Her middle and high school experience motivated her to do more for her alma mater in the 30 years since she graduated.

    “I think that St. Andrew’s really just gave me a great foundation for school and life,” Portner said. “I have been inspired to go back and stay in touch with (St. Andrew’s) just to provide the same opportunity for other people.”

    Alex will receive the Thomas Shaw Award Oct. 19 during the Reunion Celebration Brunch. The Thomas Shaw Award recognizes someone whose deeds and actions reflect his or her pride in their alma mater and loyalty to the school, as demonstrated through their support of the school, the Alumni Association and its programs. 
    Portner started at St. Andrew’s in seventh grade, sold on the small-school environment but also excited about the physical scale of the Bradmoor campus. “The whole feel was comfortable – a perfect fit for me,” she said.
    After graduation, Portner studied at Hood College and the University of Maryland, where she studied psychology. After an internship at the National Institutes of Health, she returned to school to follow a different passion, earning her master’s degree from The George Washington University’s Interior Architecture & Design program. She married fellow St. Andrew’s alumnus Mark Portner ‘88 and moved to New York, where she worked for an office design firm until she had her first child, daughter Devin.
    While raising her family, Alex has made time to give back to St. Andrew’s by volunteering as a class agent and reunion chair. She has returned to St. Andrew’s – this time, to the Postoak campus – to provide an alumna voice on committees and task forces.
    “(Mark and I) both really had such a great experience and want to be a part of it going forward,” Alex said. “It’s been so great to see it grow, from when we started there on a different campus. The kids are so fortunate to be in an amazing academic space and a beautiful space as well. When I go back, I’m slightly jealous - I wouldn’t mind going back myself.”
  • 2018: Michael DiPaula-Coyle '98

    Michael DiPaula-Coyle first volunteered with St. Andrew’s as a Lion’s Fund Volunteer, later serving as the Alumni Co-Chair of the Lion’s Fund. He is currently a class agent and was chaired the Class of 1998’s 20th reunion. In 2010 he was tapped for the Board of Trustees and served two terms.
    “It seemed like a way to give back,” DiPaula-Coyle said of his time on the board. “I found it fulfilling. I really got to better understand what it takes to run a school like St. Andrew’s and gained an appreciation for what the leadership has to do every day.”

    Outside of alumni and board commitments, DiPaula-Coyle said he enjoys sharing his St. Andrew’s experience with prospective students and parents and mentoring new alumni. “If you’re a member of St. Andrew’s, you help other alumni as they get started in life,” he said.
    DiPaula-Coyle attended St. Andrew’s from 1992 to 1998 and participated in several activities, including Model UN and the service trip to Honduras, which reinforced his interest in politics and international affairs. He went to the University of St Andrews, Scotland for his undergraduate studies, then King’s College, London for his master’s.
    After graduate school, DiPaula-Coyle worked in the Bush administration and as a speech writer before segueing to the private sector, where he now works in international government affairs. Through all these experiences, lessons he learned at St. Andrew’s have stayed with him.
  • 2017: Tammy Stone '87

    Since graduating in 1987, Tammy Stone has supported St. Andrew's in vital volunteer roles. She was a member of the 30th Anniversary Steering Committee and served as an alumni co-chair of the annual fund. She has also volunteered as a class agent, class reunion chair, admissions volunteer and Senior Banquet speaker.

    Her company, Synergistics, offers full service human resource solutions, from assisting her client companies in locating and recruiting top talent, to helping them create and administer exit interviews when there is turnover.

    Tammy, her husband Steve, and kids Lucy and Zack live in the Atlanta area.  
  • 2016: Erin Wright-Gandhi '96

    Erin, a graduate of American University (MA) and Georgetown University (BA), has been a member of the St. Andrew's Board of Trustees since 2008 serving on the mission statement task force and budget and sustainability task force and the Student Center Campaign Committee. 

    Erin has served St. Andrew's diligently and tirelessly throughout the years sharing her passion for education and the advancement of St. Andrew's. Recently, Erin participated in the Strategic Planning Advisory Council and accepted the role of Alumni Council President. 

    Erin is currently the Director of Advancement at San Francisco Day School in California and was previously the Director of Development at the Philips Brooks School in Menlo Park, California since 2011. Erin and her husband, Koonal, live in San Francisco with their 2 daughters, Renna (3) and Annika (1).

Lion's Pride Award

The Lion's Pride Award recognizes the class with the highest percentage of participation in the Lion's Fund. 

2023 Winner: Class of 1993

Congratulations to the class of 1993, this year’s Lions Pride Award winner, for reaching 26% participation during the Alumni Class Cup challenge! The annual Class Cup competition is a fun and friendly way for alumni to give back to St. Andrew’s. This year, the total raised from all reunion year alumni was nearly $20,000. The Class Cup trophy will be engraved with the winning class’s name for all to admire!

Past recipients

List of 5 items.

  • 2022: Class of 1987

    Congratulations to the class of 1987, the winner of the 2022 Lions Pride Award, for reaching 30% participation during the Alumni Class Cup challenge!
  • 2021: Class of 1996 and Class of 2005

    The 2005 class had 19.75% participation in the annual fund in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

    The 1996 class topped 20% participation in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Their efforts were led by Paige Shirk.
  • 2018: Class of 1987

     The Class of 1987 achieved more than 50% participation during the 2017-19 Fiscal Year.
  • 2017: Class of 1996

     The Class of 1996 achieved 55% participation during the 2016-17 Fiscal Year. Their efforts were led by Reunion chair Paige Shirk.
  • 2016: Class of 1995

    The Class of 1995 achieved 60% participation - a school record - during the 2015-16 Fiscal Year. The Class dedicated their support to fellow classmates, Erin Foster and John Greene, who have passed away. Their efforts were led by Reunion co-chairs Alex George and Sam Speier.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.