CLASS OF 1987 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Rebecca here. Back again, and thankful to hear from so many of you. In the wind up for these notes, Elizabeth Kromelow and I had a compelling back and forth about this column. We decided that many of you might run a dialogue internally to vet your own experiences, asking the questions, Is this news? Does it sound good? Is it inspiring? Elizabeth argues that you should feel comfortable expressing what’s actually going on in your life and not just the Sunday’s best, social media version.

In that spirit, Elizabeth reports that she has been struggling through the American medical system as she recovers from a brain tumor. She writes, “It’s incredible to learn that doctors don’t realize they’re part of an orchestra, and that a conductor is essential. I’ve had to fight for all kinds of things to which I’m entitled and put things in context for the doctors that they should be able to do themselves. The irony is that doctors tell me to avoid stress and relax. A Wesleyan education is definitely required to get through this!” Elizabeth hopes to be back at the hockey rink in a couple of weeks. We’re pulling for you, Elizabeth!

Karen Humphries Sallick reports that after 23 years, she still enjoys work in her customer experience consulting company. In April, she soft-launched an app called Contacts 411, a contact updating tool based on the idea that people should have access to the same data companies do for their marketing without sacrificing the privacy of their contact list. Eileen Deignan provided awesome early feedback that Karen incorporated before the launch.

Andrew Hall regularly plays gigs in the NYC area with the instrumental rock trio, Big Lazy, and the Western swing band, Brain Cloud. He’s been learning the sousaphone, inspired by a twin love of New Orleans brass bands and old time jazz. He says it is fun, ridiculous, physically invigorating, and vastly different from his experience with the acoustic bass. Big Lazy toured the southeast this spring. Andrew was looking forward to seeing Annabel Conrad ’88 when the band hits Memphis. Check out both groups online—they’re great!

Nicholas Birns is teaching in China this summer and he and his wife Isabella are vacationing in California later in the year.

Ben Waxman probably speaks for many of us when he reports that when he and his wife Nicole McLaughlin became empty nesters last August, it was “totally devastating.” But don’t worry, by May, Ben was presenting on digital marketing micro-conversions at the NAFSA conference for international educators in D.C.

Hemanshu “Hemu” Nigam launched the Center for Online Justice to help victims of cyberstalking, online harassment, and other attacks to bring to justice those who use anonymity to engage in bad conduct. Hemu hopes to bring his work into a university setting as a clinic to help those who can’t afford services like these.

Lots of news from James Flynn, who became managing partner at Epstein Becker Green in January. James says he keeps in touch with Professor John Finn, “forcing him to endure” his eclectic articles about intellectual property. James and his wife Monica have three children, Justyna (bachelor’s and master’s from Loyola University), Michael (Boston College grad), and Anthony (Villanova University ’23).

Carla Yanni won the Rutgers University Scholar-Teacher Award, a university-wide prize for her work as a social historian of architecture. Carla was cited for her ability to inspire students to think about the ways people live with the built environment. Josh Bellin teaches writing and literature at La Roche University in Pittsburgh. He just published a novel titled House of Earth, House of Stone, the final book in a fantasy trilogy.

Joan Morgan published her second book, She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to great reviews. Joan took a national book tour with events at the Brooklyn Museum and The Kennedy Center. Her first book, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip Hop Feminist Breaks It Down, was optioned for screen rights by Academy-Award-nominated producer Mimi Valdés. Still, it was back to work this summer as Joan prepared to defend her American studies doctoral dissertation at NYU.

Rafael Semansky began his own business Nantasket Road Consulting, providing health analytics, writing, and grantwriting. Prior to this, Rafael was a scientific review officer for NIH, organizing expert review groups in health IT and nursing science.

After 50 years of East Coast living, Brooks Kraft and his wife Christine have moved  to California, where he now works at Apple. Their son Daniel ’23 will be attending Wesleyan!

For the record, Michael Bennet announced his run for the presidency. Lots of classmates are rallying around him, and as I finalize this column, he is preparing to do a CNN town hall. To me, we are all still 22, which makes the stories of our lives even more amazing. Keep us posted.

Rebecca Zimbler Graziano |