CLASS OF 1991 | 2016 | ISSUE 2

What a fabulous 25th Reunion! Congratulations to the co-chairs, Jeremy Sacks and Christine Pina, as well as all the members of the committee. And hats off to the phenomenal, spontaneous memory explosion on Facebook. The photos and the videos…whew. I’m serious when I say we need a class archivist to collect, collate and preserve!

I also want to pick up on Sam Schneider’s lovely thoughts from the Class Memorial, and Sam, forgive me if I butcher the words, but the sentiment is to start new memories, new conversations, with people you might not have known on campus, but might want to know now. Our classmates are doing amazing things, from teaching GED courses to pushing the Senate to action, to writing the book you want to read this summer. So take a gander at what we’re up to, and reach out to that person!

Debby Popkin’s midwifery group, Birth & Beyond, won first place for Best Midwives in Hartford County in the CTNow readers’ poll this year.

Joshua Samuels is a pediatric nephrologist and hypertension specialist at University of Texas McGovern Medical School at Houston. In 2015, he was promoted to professor of pediatrics and medicine, elected to the Academy of Master Educators, and received the Dean’s Teaching Award.

Jenny Tucker is the second in command at the National Organic Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, overseeing the use of the USDA organic seal on food across the U.S. and around the world: “it is a wonderfully complex job that I love.” On the side, Jenny volunteers as the executive director of the nonprofit FOSS Institute, which Jenny’s father, Allen Brown Tucker ’63, and she founded in 2013. FOSS, or Free and Open Source Software, seeks to bring together computer science students, nonprofits, and software professionals to build sustainable software tools that support the nonprofit’s mission, while also giving the students real-world software development experience.

Todd Denmark, who has lived in Kansas for eight years, just bought a house with his partner in Shawnee. Todd worked for the Department of Homeland Security for six years and then switched to the National Benefit Center in June 2014. He moved to the Records Division in March 2016.

Suki Hawley announces her production company’s new film, Who Took Johnny, a documentary about the first missing child pictured on a milk carton, Johnny Gosch, and his mother’s relentless search for what happened to him. Catch it on Amazon, iTunes, and Netflix. John Waters called it “an amazing, lunatic documentary that will leave you creeped out, excited, and surprised.”

Brett Hardin lives in Atlanta with his family, (kids ages 8, 10, and 15) and will be the new Head of High School at Paideia, a progressive pre-K through 12th-grade school. “We tend to send at least one student a year to Wesleyan.”

Kristin Sandvik Lush reports from The Land of the Long White Cloud, where her couch awaits visits from Wesleyan friends. Last year she had lunch with Bobbito aka Cool Bob Love aka Bobby Nice aka Robert Garcia ’88, who was performing in Auckland. Kristin teaches ESOL, and stays busy with projects and family responsibilities (husband’s elderly parents and home-educated kids ages 9 and 11). She’s looking forward to a visit to the Pacific NW at the end of 2016 and a PDX Wes mini-union.

In January 2016, Tara Magner was named the director of the Chicago program at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. Since 1978, MacArthur has invested nearly $1.1 billion in Chicago. Grants have supported more than 1,300 organizations and individuals in the region, including awards to arts and culture groups, and programs in housing, community economic development, immigration, anti-violence, and education, among others. Prior to this new role, she was a senior program officer at MacArthur, making grants related to immigration and refugee policy. Tara joined MacArthur in 2012 after many years with the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary in D.C. She lives in the Chicago with her husband, Scott Hibbard, a political science professor.

Michael and Sarah Lewis Chaskes are in Los Angeles, where they continue to edit reality TV and teach sixth grade, respectively. They and their two teenage daughters try not to miss any opportunities to visit with the family of Ben and Liz Beckenbach Leavy in Sacramento.

George Irvine is the relatively new director of corporate programs and partnerships at the University of Delaware’s Lerner College of Business and Economics. He builds knowledge partnerships with companies, organizations, and the state to help them meet hiring, employee development and business research needs. He’s also working toward a PhD in urban affairs and public policy with a research focus on the past, present, and future publicness of American research universities.

Wendy Bellion, associate professor of American art history at the University of Delaware, is finishing her second art history book, exploring iconoclasm in New York City before and during the American Revolution. George and Wendy have two sons: Luke, 12 is approaching a Tang Soo Do black belt, and Griffin, 7, excels at baseball.

Lizandra Vega lives in Westchester and is an executive recruiter in Manhattan, placing VP-C-Suite executives in the beauty, fashion, luxury sectors. She was “thrilled to see friends on campus and share her experience with son, Christian (7), daughter Julianna (15), and husband Steve Brown.“

Michael Reinke serves as the executive director of the Inter-Faith Council and works towards ending hunger in Orange County. On the side, he’s trying to master the banjo. He lives in Durham, N.C.,

Rory Kerber Bernstein is a project manager at the Simons Foundation, a nonprofit providing funding for basic math and science research. Rory oversees the process of redesigning two websites.

After many years as a classroom teacher, Cameron Gearen has become an essay coach, working for Partners for Achievement in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., helping kids get into the colleges of their dreams. She also posts a twice-yearly reading list of favorite books, just in time for summer.

Renée K. Carl |