WOODROW WILSON HIGH SCHOOL Alumni
CIRCUITOUS ROUTE BUT SENSE OF PURPOSE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
Today, Colin Reese from the Class of 1996 is a Research Scientist. After Wilson he spent a few years off and on at Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus and worked in Operations management at Fred Meyers to pay for living expenses. Colin eventually received his high school diploma from PCC. He finished taking the majority of his math, chemistry, and writing requirements at PCC and then transferred to the University of Washington where he received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (minoring in Chemistry) in 2003. He graduated magna cum laude for remarkable academic distinction and was first in his Chemical Engineering class. Colin spent one summer doing research at the University of Florida and continued that research for the following summer in Bordeaux, France. He picked up graduate studies in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University the following fall, receiving his M.S. in 2006 and his Ph.D. in 2008.
"Since October 2008, I've worked for a solar cell startup that spun off from Intel," states Colin. "I'm one of about ten senior research scientists, working to design more efficient solar panels in a laboratory setting. It's a dream job, and I genuinely enjoy going to work every day."
Colin moved back to Portland in April, 2009 with his fiancee Nicole and dog Olive. "I live in NW Portland, renting a house I'd like to own before too long," adds Colin. Colin tells us that chemistry and physics classes were always his favorites at Wilson. "Although I did really like Mr. Theissen for English and my math teacher, Walt Looney," remembers Colin. "Melnichuk and Penk were my favorites overall, with Penk's passion inevitably fueling my own in my pursuit of higher education. Strangely enough, my neighbor is the new Wilson physics teacher, Amy Feller. I haven't seen Mr. Penk since I've been back." Colin plans to speak with Amy Feller's physics class at Wilson, so he hopes to run into George Penk on campus.
When asked about any words of wisdom for the students at Wilson, Colin says that it's important to find your own way, to live life on your terms, and understand why you do the things you do in the context of what you want out of life, rather than what is traditionally valued by your peers and/or society. "I took paths that were far from average (or straight, for that matter), but at every step of the way I had a sense of purpose that was borne of deliberate decision-making and a dedication to my goals. I may have taken a more circuitous route, but I think I'm better off for it."