CLASS OF 2001 | 2017 | ISSUE 3

Hey there, 2001. Whoa! Our inbox was inundated with responses to the Class Notes Volunteer Edition. A fine problem to have. So many good works—so little space on this page to fit it all in. Let’s get crackin’.

Sonya Abrams writes that with three kids under six, she’s fully immersed in Mom World but still finds time to volunteer as editor-in-chief of the nonprofit Golden Gate Mothers Group Magazine in San Francisco, which often feels like a full-time job. Sonya has been taking tiny steps to resist the current administration, help organize fundraisers, and connect Democratic speakers with high-visibility forums to spread the word and fight the power. Go, Sonya, go!

After wrapping up 10-plus years in the production department at Simon & Schuster, Mike Homolka now teaches critical reading and writing at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO Scholars) in NYC. This organization works with the Department of Education to serve low-income, high-achieving, first-generation American students, and it is always looking for mentors and part-time instructors. SEO Scholars received a perfect score on Charity Navigator (

Rachel Stevens tells us about her hometown’s grassroots organization, Northampton Center for the Arts (NCFA). As volunteer board president for NCFA, Rachel has learned a ton about everything from lease negotiations to recycling contracts, and press releases to multi-board relationships. If Rachel wasn’t busy enough, she also welcomed her second child into the world, Eliza Merrill Stevens, on August 13. Congratulations to Rachel and family!

For the last 18 months, Heather Tseng has been volunteering with Paws on the Ground Colorado—an animal rescue organization that pulls dogs out of high-kill shelters and works to find them their “furever homes.” To date, Heather has personally fostered 32 dogs! Bad for Heather’s vacuum cleaner, great for dogs everywhere.

Joshua Kagan is involved with the Buddhist Pathways Prison Project (BPPP)—a nonprofit whose mission is to bring Buddhist teachings of no harm, meditation, and mindfulness into prisons and jails. Joshua spent time inside Solano State Prison with 16 inmates, co-facilitating a daylong retreat that encompassed meditation, yoga, and tai chi. He was struck by how committed participants were to mindfulness practice, as it serves as a refuge from the difficulty of day-to-day prison living. The BPPP is expanding its work and could use all the support it can get. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Joshua at

Jesse Pietroniro works with Footsteps (, the only organization in North America that assists ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and women as they attempt to explore the world beyond their insular communities. Footsteps offers former ultra-Orthodox Jews a safe, supportive, and flourishing community to turn to as they work to define their own identities, build new connections, and lead productive lives on their own terms.

Eli Sheridan Wise has been living in Oakland, Calif., performing, composing songs, and teaching music to children. This October, Eli will join the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) on its Lavender Pen Tour; an event that takes place across the South that shares SFGMC’s mission of community, activism, and compassion. All funds raised benefit local LGBT programs. Eli will be co-leading a panel on transactivism at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In other news, Eli has several albums out on cdbaby and bandcamp. Visit to listen for free.

Dan Firger is hard at work at Bloomberg Philanthropies in NYC, leading Mike Bloomberg’s philanthropic efforts on climate change and clean energy. After the Trump Administration announced it would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Dan helped launch America’s Pledge, a new effort encompassing U.S. cities, states, businesses, colleges, and universities (including Wesleyan) that remain committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement (

John Keith just finished his fourth year as a tenure-track assistant professor in chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. John and his wife, Rose, have two small boys (Bill, 3, likes re-enacting action scenes from Moana, and Danny, 1, likes eating). Between work and family commitments, John managed to get to NYC and SF this past spring to catch up with Will Gladstone, Nikesh Dalal, Alex Su, and V. Hoffman. If anyone is stopping over in Pittsburgh, let John know!

Keep up the great work 2001. We are a pretty impressive bunch—not that you needed any reminding. Thanks for your submissions. Until next time, do-gooders.

Mara Voukydis |

Aryn Sperando |