Kegan Fisher graduated from Whitfield in 2003 and went on to earn a Bachelors of Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute (New York, NY). An artist turned serial entrepreneur, Kegan spent 11 years in mass-customization and 3D printing at Shapeways and SOLS. Now on her third venture, Kegan founded Frank Darling, which makes ethically sourced and sustainably-grown diamond jewelry. In 2015 Kegan was recognized in both Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30’ list and Inc. Magazine's ’30 Under 30’ list. She has also been featured in Business Insider's ‘30 Most Important Women under 30 in Tech’ list. She returned to Whitfield in 2016 to give the commencement address.
“Unlike more traditional school systems, I always felt that Whitfield had a broad and open-minded approach to education. The topics we discussed, books we read, and projects we worked on were all out of the ordinary in exciting ways. In retrospect, the focus on project-based learning serves me in my professional career every day and is probably one of the reasons I was so drawn to the idea of entrepreneurship, an arena in which I can flex different skill sets.”
How did Whitfield prepare you for college and beyond?
Whitfield fostered my love of the arts. Thanks to my high school art teacher, I fell in love with design, color theory, and painting. My teacher helped me understand that I could actually make a career out of something I loved and that there was a world out there beyond fine art that I could pursue. I remember thinking at the time — who knew you could be a furniture designer?! If it wasn’t for her words of encouragement, I wouldn’t have discovered Pratt, my alma mater, and gone on to use all of those skills professionally.
What unique opportunities did Whitfield provide you?
At Whitfield, we read a wide range of materials. This put me ahead of my peers when I got to college. In addition, I think the project-based approach to learning is more modern than a traditional, strictly test-based approach, and it has helped me succeed in my professional life. The practical approach to problem-solving and learning helps me every day.
Why did you and your family choose Whitfield?
It was a no-brainer. The curriculum was so much more advanced than other schools my family looked at. Coming out of an international IBS program, this was really important. We liked the focus on applied learning. It was a better fit for me given my background at Montessori. We also felt the curriculum was more well-rounded and placed a greater emphasis on the liberal arts. Plus, I had friends there!
What skills do you use in your career that you began forming at Whitfield?
More than anything I utilize the ability to think outside the box and creative problem-solving. As we build our startup, every day we’re faced with seemingly insurmountable tasks and asked to think of new solutions rather than existing ones. So many schools and educational systems focus on eliminating problems to reach the solution. Whitfield taught us to invent our own solutions when faced with a problem.