PDS Portraits: Elisabeth Berman '19 and Joe Santamaria '19
PDS Portraits: Elisabeth Berman '19 and Joe Santamaria '19

Seniors Elisabeth Berman, Director General of the PDS Model UN team, and Joseph Santamaria, Under Secretary General, reflect on their work in Model UN and their time at PDS in the following "PDS Profiles." Berman and Santamaria each received their first "Best Delegate" accolades at the recent Dartmouth Model UN conference, the final competition of their high school careers.

Elisabeth Berman

Elisabeth Berman"A huge part of my PDS experience has been my involvement in Model UN. It has opened my eyes to how I can apply what I've learned in English and History classes to a broader scope, and has solidified my interest in studying policy and international relations in college. I think PDS does a really good job of connecting our coursework to what's happening in the world around us. In history class, we studied Women's Suffrage, but we also looked at that movement alongside current events like the Women's March. The faculty is always accessible, even if you have questions that have nothing to do with class. For example, while researching a Model UN topic on mental health recently, I ended up working with Dr. Shah and learning all about how medicine is delivered to rural areas around the world. Our MUN team is top 25 in the nation, which reflects all of the hard work that PDS students put in outside of class!"

Joe Santamaria

Joe Santamaria"Freshman year I was really shy and didn't feel confident speaking in public. A friend convinced me to join Model UN, and it has helped me to develop self-confidence and public speaking skills. This year I'm a co-head of the PDS club. At a Model UN conference, committees work on different resolutions and collaborate to get them passed. Delegates are judged on how well they speak, how much they contribute, whether their paper passes, and other factors. Last fall at the Princeton Model UN Conference, we placed 2nd among schools with large delegations. PDS hadn't won a school award at that conference in about 20 years. At the Yale conference, our delegation didn't quite make the cut-off in terms of size, so we won 1st place among small delegations. Throughout high school it feels like I've been building up, broadening my focus, becoming more open, making more friendships year after year. One of the best things about having a leadership role in Model UN is getting to teach younger students how it works and how to excel."