Amy Spitzfaden, BA
Laura Yellin, MS
Leah Waller, BA
Josef Biechler, BS
Patricia Freeman Nesberg, MBA
Keith Levi, BS
Kate Vigmostad, BA
Emmanuel Titus, BA, MBA
Alex Cequea, BA, MBA
Heather Hartnett, BA
Benek Lisefski, BFA
Vincent Bataoel, BS
Nelina Loiselle, BS
Anna Bonshek, PhD
Lee Fergusson, PhD
Stuart Valentine, MBA
Ray Baptiste, BS, MBA
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Jim Bagnola, MA
Rene Hernandez, BS, PhD
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Amy Van Beek, BFA
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Alan Phillips, BA, MBA
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Shane Zisman, BA
Tom Morgan, MA
Chris Kein, MBA
Ned Roberts, MA
Mikaila Maidment, BFA, MFA
Gabriel Okong'o Akura, MA
Mehdi Pakfetrat, MS
Charlie Fritsch, BA
Tristan Webb, BS, MA
Eric Rusch, BA
Nabin Khanal, MS
Supriya Vidic, BA
Vikas Narula, BS
Tegan Perry, BS
Puki Freeberg, BA
Gary Saint Denis, BA
Home >  MUM Home >  About our Grads >  43 Alumni Profiles >  Puki Freeberg, BA > 
Puki Freeberg teaches TM to disadvantaged populations    
Name: Puki Freeberg
MUM Degree: BA, Media and Communications, 2009
Position: Certified Transcendental Meditation Teacher
Organization: David Lynch Foundation
Working at: New Village Charter School
For Fun: Kick boxing, hiking, creating art
Watch Puki Give the Commencement Address at Maharishi School Graduation 2014 New!

Puki Freeberg’s career as a full-time teacher of the Transcendental Meditation® technique may not have happened but for some gentle pressure applied from a quarter that proved impossible to resist.

“I was about to graduate from MUM and I had this vague plan I was going to South America to learn Spanish and volunteer and immerse myself in a different culture,” says Puki, 26.

Two months earlier, before graduation — and before that plan could jell — she received a phone call from filmmaker and TM advocate David Lynch, whom she’d met when she volunteered at the David Lynch Foundation as an MUM student. She recalls the life-altering conversation fondly: “He said, ‘Puki, you’re going to become a TM teacher and move to Los Angeles and run the show there.’ I said, 'Whatever, David, I’ll think about it.' He said, 'No, Puki, you’ll do more than think about it.’ I said, 'Okay, we’ll see.’”

The next day, while eating lunch in the MUM dining hall, Puki sat beside a friend who was about to travel to Bulgaria for a Transcendental Meditation teacher training course. Suddenly she knew what she had to do. “The universe was trying to tell me something,” she says. She signed up for the course, traveled to Bulgaria and became a certified TM teacher.

Waking up, 'Doing what I love'

Today, Puki works for the David Lynch Foundation in Los Angeles as its program director — just what David Lynch wanted — teaching TM to teenagers in schools like New Village Charter School, an all-girls public high school where Puki has worked for the past three years. Most of its students are Latina girls, age 15-18, many of whom are pregnant or parenting, or who for various reasons have not thrived in the traditional school setting.

“I can’t imagine anything I’d rather be doing more than this,” says Puki. “It’s fulfilling to share a tool and knowledge as profound as TM with these populations that so desperately need it. And at the same time, I’m growing and evolving, and waking up every morning doing something I love.”

Puki also spent years as a volunteer TM teacher at Children of the Night, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing children from prostitution. Her work there was profiled in Los Angeles Magazine.

“Seeing these girls engaged in a positive, creative, and healthy activity makes me so happy,” says Puki. “I leave behind any preconceived notions of who these kids are. They’re amazing, regular teenagers.”

On one of her more adventurous philanthropic activities, Puki takes part in an annual skydive as part of a fund-raising and awareness event held by 18for18, an organization benefiting the Somaly Mam Foundation, which aids women and children who have been victimized by sex trafficking.

Thriving at MUM

Puki’s experience at MUM taught her that the sky indeed is the limit for young people who are motivated and willing to work for what they believe in.

“At MUM, I gained the most important thing I could have gotten out of an education,” says Puki, who was president of her MUM class. “I felt a deep connection with myself and a knowingness that everything is working out as it should. When I go out into the world I feel that I can do just about anything — anything I’m passionate about. That's because of the knowledge about myself and my potential I gained at MUM. For me, that is more practical than anything I could have learned at any other university or educational setting.”

Puki and her puppy Harlen live in downtown Los Angeles (photo above, on the roof of her apartment building), a neighborhood she has come to love. "Downtown has more of a community vibe than anywhere in L.A. I’ve been," she says. "I'm friends with all my neighbors. We're like a family."

Going forward, Puki plans to continue working with the David Lynch Foundation. “I’m committed to making sure TM carries into the next generation,” she says.

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