CLASS OF 2020 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Nick Ticali is still working as an EMT with Northwell Health and volunteering with his local fire department. He received his first interview for physician’s assistant school with the Tufts University School of Medicine. Hopefully, this is the first of many!

This August, Rowan Hair moved to Boston to begin his master’s program in history at Boston College and hopes to focus on Irish history, specifically religion in the early modern period.

Melisa Olgun moved back to Connecticut to pursue her JD at Yale Law School, where she plans to pursue health law. She still thinks New York pizza is better than New Haven pizza, though she can be swayed.

Colleen Castro graduated from Wesleyan in May with a master’s degree in chemistry. She started working at Sanofi—down the street from campus, in Meriden, Connecticut, working in the lab on generation of the seasonal flu vaccine Flublok and Sanofi’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Alexander Olvera spent last summer working as a consultant for a small school in San José, Honduras, helping raise over $20,000. The school was operating without internet before the COVID-19 pandemic, but thanks to numerous donations they were able to continue learning with new laptops and a connection to the World Wide Web. But by far, the best thing that happened “was flying out and seeing all of those lovely kids in person!”

Maya Layne still wants you to read her writing on!

Thanks to everyone who submitted updates to this rendition of Class Notes! As for me, I’m living in Chicago and missing the mild Connecticut winter! Be on the lookout for an email from me with the next call for Class Notes updates!

CLASS OF 2019 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Hey everyone! Hope you all are continuing to stay safe and healthy. Here are some updates from our classmates:

Samantha Schreiber will be starting a school-clinical PsyD program at Pace University in the fall.

Josh Signore will begin a PhD program in chemistry in fall 2021 at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

Nikolas Ortega will be relocating to San Francisco in August 2021. He’s looking forward to experiencing the Bay Area and the rest of the American West Coast. Niko cannot wait to connect with other Wes folks out in SF! If you’re out there, don’t hesitate to reach out.

He also recently completed the Colorwave Fellowship, a program designed to help close the racial wealth gap in venture capital and the startup ecosystem—making the innovation economy more accessible to BIPOC.

Katie Tyner moved to D.C. in July for her new job as a fellow at the Cohen Group, a government relations advisory firm. She looks forward to reconnecting with fellow Cardinals who are in the area!

Zachary Obstfeld finished his first year of his master’s at the University of Chicago. He’s enjoyed working with faculty here, including Michael Kremer and Brian Williams. This past summer he worked for the World Bank and is planning a trip to Joshua Tree.

Amy Breitfeller and her pal Cara Bendich ‘19 stayed in Middletown after graduating. She stayed to work in the Wes Office of Admission as an assistant dean, and Cara worked with both Upward Bound Math-Science and GEARUP, two programs that provide extra academic and mentorship resources to high-poverty school districts and primarily serve low-income students throughout their time in middle and high school. Cara worked in both Middletown and Meriden.

Throughout their two years living in their home on Home Avenue, they have had an incredible array of truly authentic, warm, and caring roommates (including Meghan Jain, Breanna Cavanaugh, Mackenzie Mitchell ’20, Michelle Nivar ’20, Emily Moon ’21, and Clare Glickman ’21). The two years following graduation spent in this beautiful home had been filled with such incredible love, heartfelt laughter, and life-long friendships. Their time there has been unforgettable.

Cara and Amy are both heading off to NYC to become full-time educators, a dream they’ve had since working with Kindergarten Kickstart, a project that is part of the Cognitive Development Lab at Wes (Cara worked with Kickstart for three years, and Amy for a year during undergrad). This upcoming year, Cara will be a teacher of mathematics for 4th and 5th graders at the East Harlem School, and Amy will be a teacher of PE and Fitness for 4th-8th graders and the head coach of the girl’s lacrosse program at Trinity School.

And as for me, I am starting graduate school in the fall at the New York University Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. There I will be studying public policy with a focus on inequality, race, and poverty.

Special thanks to everyone who reached out with their life updates. Keep an eye out for my next email about the next edition of the alumni magazine soon.

CLASS OF 2018 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Congratulations to Hannah Skopicki and Matthew Renetzky who graduated with their Juris Doctors from American University Washington College of Law. From sitting next to each other coincidentally in the fall 2014 Wesleyan orientation picture, you have come a long way! After graduation and studying for the bar, Hannah and Matt will have judicial clerkships in the District of Columbia and California, respectively.

CLASS OF 2014 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

McClain-Silversmith wedding celebration
The McClain–Silversmith celebration: (from top left to right) Nicole Okai, Mary Diaz, Esthefany Castillo, Will Durney, Jessica Titlebaum, Oren Cook, Juliana McClain, Ferhad Sultani, Reina Barnswell, and Jake Smith

Juliana McLain and her now husband Zach Silversmith officially tied the knot at a beautiful and dancing filled Jain-Jewish fusion celebration in Pier 60 in New York City that I and many Wesleyan alums including Ferhad Sultani, Reina Barnswell, Jake Smith, Esthefany Castillo, Nicole Softness, Jessica Titlebaum, Nicole Okai, Lauren Seo, Will Durney, and Oren Cook had the privilege of attending. The Wesleyan fight song was definitely featured at the end of the night. Mazel Tov!

Jenna Lamm reports: “I’ve been in NYC since graduation and am now the associate director of Disability Programs at the City University of New York. Would love to connect with fellow alums who are in the field or work at an organization trying to ramp up disability hiring efforts. My students are amazing and many are looking for opportunities!”

Rachel Warner is earning her PhD in 20th-century American literature and gender and sexuality studies from UNC Chapel Hill this spring 2022.

Jay Benedith is leveraging her expertise as an instructional coach and a life coach, and founded J. Benedith Coaching Services ( Through her business, she facilitates workshops for educational entities and coaches Millennial and Gen Z educators to reach their professional goals. Furthermore, she is a contributing writer and podcast speaker for Truth For Teachers ( Last but certainly not least, she is a doctoral candidate in Educational Sustainability at the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point and lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their mini-aquarium.

Take care of yourselves and keep shining.

CLASS OF 2013 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

We were all heavily impacted by the pandemic, and James Gardner managed to experience it working as the after-hours administrator in the emergency room of his Veterans Administration hospital. The federal government’s response was swift for a heavily bureaucratic agency, but he saw firsthand the toll on patients, their families, and staff alike—the uncertainty, deaths, resistance, PPE shortages, rapid change to policies, etc.—and decided to move away from frontline work. In October, James transitioned into a national VA career program for health care data analysis and informatics, where he—among funding, diversity, equity and inclusion, program analysis and other data projects for the leadership of his facility—oversaw the staff and veteran vaccination data for his facility. He’s happy to better the lives of veterans who trust him with their care in this new capacity.

Anna Swartz and her wife Netta are still camping out in the Boston area where they’ve been since the start of the pandemic. She continues to work remotely as a managing editor for the content section of Policygenius, an insurtech company. She did manage a trip back to Brooklyn in June to catch up with friends in person, including Lila Murphy and Jason Katzenstein. She hopes everyone is adjusting as well as possible to our new reality, and that any breakthrough infections are mild.

Mary Vallo and Bohao Zhou ’14 got married in July 2021 after first meeting at a performance in Crowell Concert Hall eight years ago. They were happy and grateful to celebrate with friends.

Sandy Durosier moved to Mesa, Arizona, to begin her medical education at A.T. Still University–School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona. She is very excited to explore the desert and learn medicine. If you’re in the area, feel free to reach out!

Evan Okun recently finished his first year at Yale School of Management. This summer he’s working at Kapor Capital, an Oakland-based venture capital firm investing in racial and economic justice in the United States. Outside sourcing and diligencing early-stage companies, he is responsible for building the firm’s investment approach to the justice sector.

Margot Sidman and Matthew Lichtash are getting married this fall! After going on their first date to Fiore II on Main Street (shoutout to Jonathan Lis for the recommendation and Christian Lalonde for letting Matt borrow his pickup truck) and months of serenading Margot with Taylor Swift piano covers, it was inevitable that this day would come.

Best wishes to my classmates, hope everyone is staying safe and sane.