Bard College at Simon's Rock: the Early College
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5 Questions with Jacob Gerstein ’01

MAY 2023

Jacob Gerstein

Jacob received his AA from Simon’s Rock in 2003. He went on to attend the University of Tulsa for his BS and MS and later received a second MS from Northeastern University. He serves as a Principal Cyber Capacity Engineer at MITRE and is a Region Director of Recruiting for Civil Air Patrol. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife (who appears on a Simon’s Rock trifold!) and son.

What is your favorite region or landscape in America?

It’s hard to pick just one. I quite like the Adirondacks. My wife and I have started volksmarching, a non-competitive walking program. We walk and get to meet others along the way. The program in the US includes the ability to earn a patch if you complete a walk in every state. We have no idea how long it will take us to walk them all.

What was your first impression of Simon’s Rock?

Unique and very intriguing. I ended up taking the pre-ACT, and I got a piece of mail from Simon’s Rock. I was flipping through other colleges’ material without being particularly impressed, and I saw something from Simon’s Rock — it was unlike the others. As I recall, I later told my parents about it by informing them over dinner that I was applying. We then made a campus visit. I thought: I have a pretty good idea of what the next two years will be like if I stay in high school; Simon’s Rock looks really interesting — let’s see what happens if I go there instead.

Which is the best Smithsonian museum and why?

The National Air and Space Museum, absolutely! We went to the newly-renovated half of their facility on the National Mall as a family, but the second half is still under construction. My wife also curated a historical display at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Plus, it’s full of cool aircraft!

Are you currently studying anything?

I am chipping away at an additional degree, working toward my AAS degree in Emergency Management through FEMA at a college in Maryland.

Why do you give to Simon's Rock?

To get my name on a toilet! We were on the lawn during a previous reunion with former provost Ian Bickford. We knew the Mods needed to be renovated. So we all started talking about the possibility of endowing or making a donation to a particular part of a building. Now, instead of naming a seat at the DAC, I am naming a toilet in a nearby restroom. If I can give and make it really funny, why not?!