CRS Distinguished Alumni Award Winner: Clare Bernard Class of 2001

We are delighted to award the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award to Clare Bernard, Class of 2001. The Charles River School Distinguished Alumni Award honors an alumnus/a who has demonstrated excellence in personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service.

After nine years at CRS, Clare went on to attend Milton Academy where she spent her junior year in China becoming fluent in Mandarin and learned to play the guzheng, a Chinese zither. As an undergraduate at Johns Hopkins University, she was a double math and physics major. At Johns Hopkins, Clare was President of the Johns Hopkins Society of Physics Students and tutored undergraduate students in physics as an undergraduate.  She won a research grant from the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center for her study of magnetic colloids in liquid crystal.  CRS 7/8 teacher and advisor, Mary Walsh, recalls “Clare was jazzed by the challenges of non-routine problems, and when she was in college she told me that MathCounts had taught her to trust her own thinking. She said, "I don't want to be doing my physics just like everyone else, it's better to do it my own way."

Upon graduating with general and departmental honors, Clare attended Boston University where she earned her PhD in Experimental High-Energy Physics. Much of her research for her doctorate was done at CERN in Switzerland, home of the Hadron Supercollider.  Clare wrote software for the detector, and collected and analyzed resulting data to learn more about the fundamental particles that make up the universe. She shared her research at the International Conference for New Frontiers in Physics, the International Conference on Advanced Technology and Particle Physics, and the American Physics Society annual conference.
CRS science teacher, Pam Moor, recalls “the tenacity that Clare approached projects in my classroom, that determination to do her best, was only outdone by that beautiful smile in her achievements.  I'm not surprised by her accomplishments as an adult.  She was always outstanding!” 
As an early employee at Tamr, a successful tech start-up, Clare rose to the role of Head of Product and Engineering in just over three years. Currently, she serves as Senior Director and Head of the Data Sciences Platform at the Broad Institute. The Broad, a collaboration between MIT and Harvard, was launched in 2004 to improve human health by using genomics to understand disease and develop new therapies. It has been instrumental in COVID testing in colleges and schools, like CRS. Clare has continued her volunteerism in science and education, tutoring Boston high school students for Minds Matter.

As Mary Walsh relayed in her graduation remarks, “Clare, some describe you as smart and unusual, and others call you unusually smart; each of these conveys respect for your fresh ideas and the fact that you have a mind of your own.  You are a caring, forgiving person who is generous in sharing her abundant talent with others.  In short, you are an awesome friend who is sure to succeed in everything you do.”

Congratulations Clare for your extraordinary achievements - we could not be prouder to present you with the 2021 CRS Distinguished Alumni Award!
Charles River School is a PreKindergarten through Grade 8 independent school that honors the pursuit of academic excellence and the joy of childhood. We nurture each child by igniting curiosity, encouraging creativity, and cultivating intellectual engagement. Our graduates know themselves, understand others, and shape the future of our diverse world with confidence and compassion.

Charles River School admits students of any race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational or admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.