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DAVID ABERNATHY

Graduating Class: 1999
Current Position: Vice President of Data & Government Affairs at The Arcview Group
Current Location: Oakland, CA
Education / School 1: Clark University
What did you enjoy most about your time at EB and why?

I’m most grateful for having had the opportunity to learn another language at such a young age. My parents are native English speakers, and neither of them speaks French. I think they were just excited for me to learn a language, and expand my cultural horizons. I don’t think they ever could have imagined the far-reaching benefits of being bilingual. It’s shaped my world-view, the way I interact with others, and the way I think.

Please describe your current work.

I currently work at a biotechnology company in the Bay Area that focuses on developing medicines for serious diseases with unmet medical needs, like cancer, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

My job is to understand what is most important to doctors and patients, and to make sure we integrate those insights into how we develop new drugs, and how we educate people about our medicines.

Do you feel that EB adequately prepared you for life after EB? Do you feel you are a citizen of the world?

Ever since that glorious summer in college where I worked at a wine bar in Paris, I’ve spent most of my career working in science and healthcare businesses. Even though I’ve been in US companies, I’ve used my language skills in almost every job I’ve had. My current company has offices all over the globe, with headquarters in Switzerland. I get to use my French when I travel there, but it’s not just about the practical benefits of being bilingual. My early cross-cultural experiences at EB have helped me more easily connect with colleagues around the world.

What would you say to parents just starting out at EB?

That they are joining a wonderful community, and that their child is about to embark on a great adventure. And if you don’t speak French at home, you’ll be amazed how easily your child picks up the language!

Describe your favorite memory from EB.

I loved the exchange programs to France and Washington DC. We even had a Minitel machine to chat with our pen pals in France—EB was really on the cutting edge of internet technology! And with my EB classmates, we shared a unique bi-cultural experience that bonded us together. To this day, I still slip into “Franglais” idioms with lifelong friends I have from EB.

Would you consider sending your children to EB? Why?

Absolutely! I’m so grateful for my EB education, for the friendships I made there, and for the lasting gift of being bilingual. I can only hope to be able to give my child that same experience.
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