Gerard J. Putz, MALS ’69

Gerard J. Putz, MALS ’69 passed away on Dec. 3, 2019. An obituary will be posted when it becomes available.

Graduate | 2020 | ISSUE 1

When It’s Leaving Time by Ang Pompano CAS’95 has been nominated for a Best First Novel Agatha Award. The book was launched last October at the Wesleyan R.J. Julia Bookstore. Ang has been writing mystery for more than 20 years.

Tucker Griffith MALS ’10 joined Lathrop Gage in Boston as a partner in the Intellectual Property Transaction group. He has 20 years’ experience in intellectual property law, previously practicing with a Connecticut-based boutique intellectual property firm.

Jorge Arévalo Mateus PhD’13 and Bill Carbone MA’07 are executive directors at The Association for Cultural Equity/Alan Lomax Archives and TeachRock/Rock and Roll Forever Foundation, respectively, located in New York City. The two organizations announced a partnership. The Association For Cultural Equity in conjunction with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is providing content to TeachRock to be utilized in creating lesson plans and other teaching resources. The cultural materials collected by Alan Lomax, one of the most celebrated folklore collectors and musicologists in America’s history, provide an engaging and powerfully personal basis for looking at history through the music that past generations took joy and comfort in, stretching back to the Colonial period and beyond. The two become friends as graduate students in Wesleyan’s ethnomusicology program.

CLASS OF 2019 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Hey, Class of 2019! Hope everyone is doing well. Here are some updates. George Poulos is working on his YouTube channel and clothing brand, Arrow Skate Co, in NYC. He is rooming with Maddy Paull and Izzy Creavin this year.

Kati Young is living in NYC where she studies DNA repair as a lab manager for Professor Lorraine Symington at Columbia University.

My favorite former housemate, Dom Vazquez, has moved to Berkeley, Calif., and is roommates with Aaron Cheung (again). He is teaching seventh-grade world history and science at a public charter school in Oakland, and he is looking into starting a teacher credential program in the summer, though he’s not sure where yet. He is enjoying life by the Bay and is filling his free time with hiking and SAT/ACT tutoring. Meanwhile, Aaron is still in law school. He sends his regards to the class of 2019.

Rachel Williams is starting her second semester as an English teaching assistant in Segovia, Spain, where she works with primary school kids from second to sixth grade. She will be in Spain at least until June and potentially for another school year after that before making her return stateside.

Adam Wells has started working as a content manager at a digital music distribution company called AudioSalad in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

Nikolas Ortega has been living in Ann Arbor, Mich., since July working full time as a business consultant at Google. Through his work, Nikolas partners with countless small to medium-sized businesses throughout the U.S. to fuel their long-term growth—via Google’s products and solutions. He’s been making the most of living in the Midwest.

Jordan Legaspi has been spreading Christmas cheer in Taipei, Taiwan, where he is teaching English as part of his Fulbright Grant with Fulbright Taiwan. He shared with us a photo of a very tender moment where he sang the song “Silent Night” in English while his students responded singing “Silent Night” in Chinese.

Big thanks to everyone who chose to share their life updates with us! Watch for my next email for the next edition of the alumni magazine.

Justin Campos |

CLASS OF 2017 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

On Christmas Day 2019, Liam Tran, 25, informed his friends that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Four days later, he passed with his family at his side.

He was a four-year board member of AASC; cofounder of SHADES, Wes’ SOC theater collective; senior interviewer; and a friend and chosen family to more than can be named.

At Wes, he was the first friend to so many. As a tour guide, admissions intern, and senior interviewer, often he was the first person a baby cardinal ever met. If you attended WesFest during his tenure as a student between 2014-2017, then you met him or benefited from his organizational handiwork.

You heard him before you saw him. Sometimes, you just heard him because he was belting Rihanna in the shower while everyone had left for Thanksgiving break. From Olin to Exley to Foss, as part of the Spirits, you could catch his tenor voice reverberating, hurtling at you like the most loving vocal body slam.

It’s a social faux pas to self-declare your test scores as a sign of your intelligence, but maybe if a friend does it, it’s not as cringeworthy. He was a Questbridge scholar who aced every single test he took. You wanted to hate him because he was a music major taking organic chemistry for fun and skewing the curve while you were crying your eyes out in the Butts lounge studying until the sun rose.

But you couldn’t hate him even if you wanted to because he would be there at the end of midterms, hosting an AASC self-care night at AAA house, offering you a plate of Vietnamese spring rolls with a heap of peanut and hoisin sauce.

In a world where fighting the good fight for humanity is too often draining and seemingly impossible, he would slide in with a smile and witticism to keep you going. He was a laugh-and-a-half, a day-one-er, a ride-or-die, a build-with-you-from-the-ground-up kind of guy.

Post-Wes, he spent two years at another NESCAC school working as an admissions counselor, doing the college-access work he was so passionate about. He left Maine for his hometown of Houston in pursuit of the big stage. If you missed the opportunity to see him shine on stage, some of his performances can be viewed on the Wesleyan Spirits’ YouTube channel.

He is missed by his mother, brother, sister, best friends, 260 Pine St. housemates, and all those whose lives he touched. If you want to help continue his legacy, consider donating to MECA, a Houston-based nonprofit organization providing underserved students access to the arts.

On behalf of AASC Board 2013-2017, we love you dearly, Liam. You will never be forgotten.

Keyonne Session | 

CLASS OF 2016 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Melissa Leung spent Thanksgiving with Taran Carr’s family which presented both a turkey and duck and let her assist in putting up the Christmas tree! Thereafter, she took on the honorary title of third roommate to Sarah Mi and Taran, making delicious quiches and apple pies at the Carr-Mi residence in Baltimore. Melissa stopped to say hello to Lars Berg at the University of Maryland, Baltimore library. “Shout out to Whole Foods delivery for making the cooking sessions possible,” says Melissa.

Last summer, Jamie Ember and Arthur Halliday got engaged. Jamie is working as an associate casting director, with credits on Hulu and CBS and upcoming on Netflix, TBS, and CBS All Access, while Arthur is in his first year at Columbia Law School. Their dog, Stanley, is perfect.

Willie Zabar is pursuing stand-up and character comedy in New York City. He is currently developing a comedic one-man show as part of a fellowship with LABA: A Laboratory of Jewish Culture. The performance will take place in April.

Rohan Shriram got a new puppy named Laddu. His older dog, Waffles, likes to steal Laddu’s toys and then lie on them. Tim Israel and Atreya Sinha saw all this firsthand when they visited Rohan in Delhi.

Ellen Paik |

CLASS OF 2015 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Ryan Gardner moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco and started working in video games and interactive tech.

Peter Cornillie wrote in to say that he has been working way too much and not drinking nearly enough.

Jessica Seidman recently passed the Connecticut Bar Exam and was sworn in as a licensed attorney. She is now working at an asbestos litigation law firm in New Haven, Conn.

As a passion project, Julia Chanin, Andrew Hove, and Zia Grossman-Vendrillo have formed an experimental dance company inspired by the lives of primordial beings. Their first installation explores themes of sentience and godliness. They can be spotted in urban centers across the upper-middle West Coast over the summer.

Katherine Lu spent the holidays in South Africa and Madagascar with Maurice Lee, where she saw lemurs and whale sharks and realized she much prefers the great indoors. She also started a new role at Taco Bell to redesign its website. She still hasn’t been to a Taco Bell.

Jenna Starr |

CLASS OF 2014 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Some great class news coming your way:

Julian Theseira started a new job with Deloitte Consulting Southeast Asia and is based out of the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, office. Outside of work, Julian volunteers actively with the Malaysian Youth (Climate) Delegation, with whom he co-organized the only Local Conference of Youth (LCOY) in Southeast Asia in 2019, part of a global network of LCOYs that gathered youth input about climate change governance in the leadup to COP 25 in Madrid. Julian has also been catching up with other Wesleyan Freeman Asian Scholar alumni in Malaysia and Singapore. He is active with the Taizé ecumenical movement and attended the 42nd annual Taizé European Meeting in Wroclaw, Poland, alongside 15,000 other pilgrims. His testimonial about the spiritual impact of the philosopher Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) was translated into Polish and featured by the Edith Stein House Foundation in Wroclaw.

Remi Ojurongbe happily reports: “Alexander Mehner and I got married last month and were lucky enough to celebrate with lots of Wes Folks!” Congratulations to you both! #gowes

Mehner-Ojurongbe wedding

Jason Shatz writes: “In August, I finished up my master’s degree at the University of Chicago for software engineering while working for a consulting firm called Cognizant. I have been relocated to the Raleigh area for a Big Data project. I hope to return to the NYC area soon, but I will let you know of my whereabouts whenever they change.”

Adele Bubnys received her PhD in biomedical sciences from Rockefeller University last spring. After traveling around Europe over the summer and stopping by Wesleyan for our five-year Reunion, she started a postdoctoral position at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. There, she is using novel 3D cell culture techniques and self-assembling “mini-brains” to model neurodegeneration in a dish.

I always look forward to hearing updates from our awesome class. Keep them coming.

Your Class Secretary,

Mary Diaz |