Meet Indian Springs Alums from Around the World

This story appeared in the Fall 2021 issue of Indian Springs Magazine.

Indian Springs students have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to live with and learn from teachers and classmates from around the globe. They experience and share in each other's customs and traditions, broadening and shaping their views of the world. For many alumni, gaining this multinational perspective influences the paths they take after graduation. Steven Howard '83 and Jiri Mestecky '88, both residents of Japan, are two examples.

Steven says, “I attended Indian Springs for grades eight through twelve, and, during that time, my family hosted several international students in the days before the school year started, during holidays, and even for whole summers. We welcomed students from Germany, Spain, Mexico, and Japan, and some have become lifelong friends. Because of one of those friends, Kazuo Moriya '84, I chose to study and eventually live in Japan. I can say that my time at Indian Springs truly influenced my desire to explore and learn more about the people, cultures, beliefs, and interests across the very diverse Asia Pacific region. I constantly think about the school’s motto, Learning through Living, and live it every day.”

Jiri says, “One aspect of Indian Springs which was very influential for me was the international and diverse atmosphere. We had students from many different cultural backgrounds, including students from Japan, Sweden, and numerous other countries, and I greatly enjoyed interacting and creating friendships with them. This daily exposure to different languages, cultures, customs, and beliefs fostered a great curiosity in me about what it would be like to live abroad someday. It served as the basis for my studies at the university level, law school, and beyond. In short, Indian Springs shaped who I am both personally and professionally, including my life abroad, and I will always cherish the love of learning, friendships, and experiences I had while there.”


Nathan Shepura '98 is a senior political advisor for the European People’s Party. He studied at John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy, and has lived in Brussels, Belgium, for the past six years. 


Masahiko Kato '95 is the managing director and head of Japan, infrastructure at EQT, a global investment organization. He has lived in France, Japan, Singapore, and the United States. He is currently working in Munich, Germany with his wife and their eight-year-old son.

Hong Kong

Andrew Cohn '99 attended Vassar College and the University of Michigan School of Law. He began his legal career in New York City and, in 2012, moved to Hong Kong, where he works as a corporate lawyer focusing on international mergers and acquisitions.


Naomi Schuster Rivgin '06 is an English teacher at the Hebrew Reali School in Haifa, Israel.  She completed a bachelor’s degree in history and Judaic studies at Emory University and a master’s degree in Holocaust studies at the University of Haifa.


Steven Howard '83 moved to Japan after graduating college to teach English in Hitachi, the sister city of Birmingham, Alabama. He studied the Japanese language in Tokyo and economics in Fukuoka and became a lawyer in 1999. He previously worked for Sony and now serves as the sole legal counsel for the Asia-Pacific region for Fiskars, the oldest company in Finland.

Jiri Mestecky '88 is an attorney and partner in the Osaka office of Kitahama Partners, one of Japan’s most prominent international law firms. He was the first foreign partner of any Osaka law firm and head of the North American and European practice groups. He is an advisor to the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and an adjunct professor at several universities.

The Netherlands

Michael Payne '84 studied in Chile and France and has lived in England, the Netherlands, and Panama. He worked in wind energy before shifting his focus to the nonprofit sector in 2010. He currently serves as the board chair for the African Entrepreneur Collective based in Rwanda. His focus is on renewable energy, urban mobility, and human rights for displaced people.

Emily Bell '09 attended the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany. Since 2017, she has served as a policy expert at the Central Bank of the Netherlands, focusing on financial supervision and guidance for the global insurance sector. She also collaborates on special projects exploring the effects of climate change on the worldwide economy.


Joselyne Uwase Nsanza '13 studied government and world affairs at the University of Tampa, completing a Congressional Internship during her senior year. She then returned to her home country of Rwanda as a research fellow and consultant at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Since 2019, she has served as a social policy analyst for the prime minister.                            


Samuel Cohn '67 is a professor of medieval history at the University of Glasgow and an honorary fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has lived in Europe since 1992 and has worked in Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway. He has published 13 books and over 100 scholarly essays.

United States

Mark Gitenstein '64 was appointed by President Joe Biden as the U.S. ambassador to the European Union in July of 2021 after serving as the U.S. ambassador to Romania from 2009 to 2012. He also served on the advisory board of the Biden-Harris transition team. He is senior counsel in the international trade practice in the Washington, D.C. office of Mayer Brown.
190 Woodward Drive, Indian Springs, Alabama 35124
Phone: 205.988.3350
Indian Springs School, an independent school recognized nationally as a leader in boarding and day education for grades 8-12, serves a talented and diverse student body and offers admission to qualified students regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Located in Indian Springs, Alabama, just south of Birmingham, the school does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic and other school-administered programs.

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