2021 Alumni Announcements

Eric Kraus ’10 Helps Design Spacesuits for SpaceX Launch

When NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken blasted into space en route to the International Space Station on May 30, 2020, they did so in the first-ever commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft, which was also the first crewed vehicle to fly from U.S. soil since 2011. And they did it wearing spacesuits designed with the help of Durham Academy alumnus Eric Kraus ’10.

Kraus has worked as a spacesuit design engineer with SpaceX, which built the Crew Dragon spacecraft, since 2014. Space.com describes the spacesuits as a “cool, one-piece white design, and much sleeker than the bulky space shuttle launch suits, which were also known as the Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES).”

Watch for Kraus, wearing a black jumpsuit with the No. 6, in this video from a launch day dry rehearsal.

Claire Kremen ’78 Wins Volvo Environment Prize

Durham Academy alumna Claire Kremen ’78, a conservation biologist at the University of British Columbia, is the winner of the 2020 Volvo Environment Prize — described as one of the scientific world’s most respected environmental prizes — in recognition of her “world-class research on how humanity can feed itself while protecting biodiversity.”

Kremen, an expert on wild bees, has focused much of her research on how working lands can be made more diverse — and, thus, more hospitable to bees, which are “at the base of the food chain for many organisms,” she said.

First Black Alumni Reunion Brings 40 Cavs Together Virtually

Forty Durham Academy alumni spanning the decades gathered virtually in July 2020 for the school’s first official Black Alumni Reunion. The Zoom event was designed and hosted by DA Alumni Board members Joia Freeman ’14, Katye Proctor Freelon ’03, Bradley Hardy ’98 and Torsie Judkins ’91.

The group is planning another virtual event featuring a speaker in spring 2021. If you are interested in attending, please contact Director of Alumni Philanthropy & Engagement Tim McKenna.


Brad Hodgin ’15 Publishes Book of Photography

DA alumnus Brad Hodgin ’15 — a photographer based in Eugene, Oregon — recently published Watchmen Keep on Waiting, a book of his photography. The book consists of images Hodgin made from 2016 to 2020. He began to sequence the images for a book in spring 2019 and spent that summer traveling around the western United States alone to finish making images for the work.

Watchmen Keep on Waiting comes from an image in my mind of men in a watchtower at night,” Hodgin explains on his website, where a limited run of the book is available for purchase. “They are waiting for the first deep blue streak in the sky that signals the day approaching. For me, so much of life feels like that image, like when I left a church, couldn’t get a job and when I broke my hand. Over the course of the making of this book I became familiar with waiting for the new day to come, though it hasn’t gotten easier.

“During times of disappointment and loss I would drive to the Oregon coast or climb Spencer Butte just outside of Eugene. I made photographs trying to describe the experience of being a watchman. I made this book to remind myself and others to keep on waiting for that deep blue streak of dawn.”

Anthony Roth Costanzo ’00 Keeps Music Going Through Pandemic

Among the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic is the out-of-the-box ideas it has inspired — such as the "NY Phil Bandwagon," a mobile series of pop-up pickup concerts put on by players from the New York Philharmonic. It was the brainchild of DA alumnus Anthony Roth Costanzo '00, one of the brightest and most innovative stars of opera.

Costanzo, a countertenor who earned rave reviews for his performance in Phillip Glass’ Akhnaten prior to the pandemic, has since focused on finding ways to continue bringing music to the masses. The NY Phil Bandwagon brought small ensembles from the New York Philharmonic to unannounced locations around New York City over the course of eight weeks in summer 2020 (read more in the New York Times). 

And in December, Costanzo was one of the famed musicians who joined with medical professionals/musicians to perform in “Live with Carnegie Hall: Music as Medicine” — an online performance to honor healthcare workers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic.

Hannah Lang ’16 Earns Wall Street Journal Internship

DA alumna Hannah Lang ’16 began a 10-week internship with the Wall Street Journal’s economics team in Washington, D.C., in January. A 2020 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media, Lang previously interned with the Triangle Business Journal and the Charlotte Observer

She served as online managing editor of The Daily Tar Heel in summer 2020 and wrote about the experience of “leaving college amid a global crisis” for the UNC Media Hub (reprinted in DA Magazine) in summer 2020. 

Becca North ’94 Hosts Virtual Book Club Discussion of Her Book Your Hidden Superpowers

Alumni from around the country gathered in December for the first-ever virtual meeting of the DA Alumni Book Club. The discussion of the featured book, Your Hidden Superpowers: How the Whole Truth of Failure Can Change Our Lives, was led by Dr. Becca North, the book’s author and a 1994 graduate of DA.

North has an interdisciplinary background — with a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Texas, a master’s degree in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs and an A.B. in history from Princeton University. Her research is in the area of happiness and well-being. A big question in her research is: How can negative experiences foster positive psychological change? She has taught at several colleges and universities, including Southwestern University, the University of Texas and Huston-Tillotson University. 

In Your Hidden Superpowers: How the Whole Truth of Failure Can Change Our Lives, North rewrites the story we tell ourselves about failure. She puts forth a vision of how shifting our view of failure would shift how we lead our lives, yielding profound benefits for us as individuals and as a society by exposing hidden resources within us — innovations, breakthroughs, joy, meaning and magic yet to be discovered.

Interested in attending a future meeting of the book club? Contact Director of Alumni Philanthropy & Engagement Tim McKenna.