CLASS OF 1999 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Not surprisingly, the theme of these notes is “quarantine”, starting with NYC. Liz Garcia writes from self-isolating in Brooklyn, “where it’s deserted enough that you can hear the birds for once, but of course it’s not altogether relaxing. Our neighborhood gets out our tension every night at 7 p.m. by cheering wildly and banging on drums and lots for all the brave folks who keep the city running.” Liz is homeschooling two elementary school-aged sons and continuing to work from home as a screenwriter. “I feel incredibly lucky to be healthy and employed given the immense suffering of so many. I send love and strength and, dare I say hope, to all my beloved Wes folk.” Marianna Ellenberg has been working as photography teacher this year at Ethical Culture Fieldston School in the Bronx, alongside writing a new play, to be produced in 2021.

Gloria Weber Plaks (aka Glo) writes from NYC, while her sister-in-law is telling her to “get the heck out of here.” She’s happily married to an awesome man, Eric Plaks, for almost 14 years. Glo has been a high school math teacher on-and-off since graduating from Wesleyan in 1999 and currently a special education math teacher at Vanguard High School for the last four years. “I am surrounded by a team of super dedicated, caring colleagues and just funny, hard-working students. I finally feel like I have found a place where I can stay for a while. Remote learning means that some of my days end with me falling asleep with my phone in my hand after texting with my student until 11:30 p.m. Remote learning and teaching, while helping my 12-year-old son, 8-year-old daughter, and 14-year-old nephew with their remote learning, while taking care of a 9-month-old, can be a bit of a hot mess. Yes, I have a 9-month-old. But one thing that I learned through all of this is that I really like my family!”

Moving to NorCal quarantine: Danielle Lazier and family are sheltering in place in Noe Valley, San Francisco. “The twins are almost 4 years old. Real estate sales are different but folks still need to move. I’m figuring out how to help my clients as safely and successfully as possible.” After 15 years building and leading community development finance for Charles Schwab, Sahra Halpern left in March to join Capital Impact Partners as senior director of strategic lending initiatives. Capital Impact Partners is a mission-driven lender that operates with the belief that equity, inclusiveness, and cooperation are keys to building communities of opportunity. “We deliver capital to address systemic poverty, create equity, build healthy communities, and promote inclusive growth. I’m beyond thrilled to be here!” On the home front, Sahra and Dan Engler are celebrating 10 years of parenthood (to Hanna, 10, and Adam, 8), 10 years of living in Oakland, Calif., and the milestone of having spent half of their lives together.

Katie Mayland Redwine lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons, ages 9 and 11. She works as a licensed clinical psychologist conducting psychological assessment and specializing in autism spectrum disorder. “I spend as much time as humanly possible taking my family on adventures (when I’m not quarantined) including to Australia, Italy, Mexico, and various U.S. states. Also to my favorite exotic locations, the gym and the supermarket, haha!”

There’s a chance Katie could have seen Leevert Holmes, who reported receiving our email request for notes submissions while standing in line at the grocery store. “Ahhhhh!!!! You didn’t ever think you’d be reaching out during a pandemic?” Leevert and his wife relocated to the South Bay of Northern California, where he taught math to middle schoolers in Palo Alto and his wife was a principal of an elementary school in San Jose. Next year, they plan to relocate even closer to family in the East Bay (Oakland) and work towards closing the achievement gap in San Francisco or Oakland. “I’m enrolled in Mills College to gain certification in math. In my free time, I moonlight as my alias, DJ Elbow Greasy and starting to craft my memoir as a schoolteacher.”

After 14 years at a large law firm, Allegra Jones has moved in-house as senior counsel at Pacific Maritime Association in San Francisco. “PMA is a trade association that negotiates maritime labor agreements with the union of 25,000 longshore workers on the West Coast. Staying in touch with our friends from Wesleyan is definitely keeping me going during this time of quarantine!” Nicholas Kyte is getting back to trail running when not working and homeschooling his two sons, Noah (9) and Benji (7). “Hit me up if you want to run with me in Martinez, Calif.”

Mike Hakim and family are holding up in LA: “Keeping the dream alive. I’m on my fourth kid Alaster Harrisson Louis Hakim who is turning 1 in June and celebrating life in the new normal. There are plenty of blessings through all the challenges life brings…I miss people and hope for only good vibes In the coming years! Please reach out to me just to say hi and what you’re working on in LA. If you need a new office or place to live or know someone please email: mike@mikehakim.com.

Kabir Sen is in his 20th year teaching music at Shady Hill School in Cambridge and playing and recording music regularly. His most recent album The Good Life (If You Only Knew), a mix of hip hop and soul, is available on Spotify. Kabir’s wife, Rebecca, is still the head of her science department at Newton Country Day School, and their three kids (Eva, 10, Julia, 8, and Ethan, 5) are mostly doing well. “We are trying to balance our work and all the distance learning for our kids and it has been good to all be together despite these dire circumstances. My band Krush Faktory has been playing weekly and monthly residencies in the Boston area and I am really missing playing live music right now! From home I have been working on a new website for my music career (kabirsen.com) and have been putting on Zoom plays with my students of my original musical, True Courage—A Whaling Adventure. Sending much love to the ’99 crew!”

Leila Buck is working from home in Brooklyn with husband Adam Abel ’98, grateful to be able to teach and work remotely. Since all theatrical productions are postponed until next year, Leila and her creative team are transferring their theatrical game show about immigration, citizenship and what it means to be(come) American, online for a virtual election tour this fall. If you’re interested in voting on who will be the next U.S. citizen, check out AmericanDreamsPlay.com.

“And most importantly, if you’re able to support our neighborhood hospital, one of the most under-funded COVID centers in NYC, please visit their GoFundMe.”

As for your class secretaries, we’re both bunkered down on the East Coast. Kevin continues to lead the growth of Quartet Health, a health tech company helping people get access to the mental health care they need, as COO. The pandemic is only increasing the need for access to high quality mental health care resources, and increasing the prevalence of mental health conditions. It’s really inspiring work. Darryl was recently interviewed for the Admission Leadership Podcast (aka The ALP), “a series of one-on-one conversations with people who have been climbing the leadership mountain in the world of college admissions.” As Darryl said to Kevin in an email, “if there were a silver lining from the pandemic, it is the need to stay even more connected now than ever before.” We hope you all feel a bit more connected to one another through these Notes, and hope you are inspired to reach out to a classmate to say hello!

C. Darryl Uy | darryl.uy@gmail.com

Kevin Kumler | kevinkumler@gmail.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Dorothy Warner is supporting her 9-year-old son with his schoolwork and seeing clients through telehealth from home. She’s also volunteering with the Emotional PPE Project, offering pro bono therapy for frontline health care workers. They adopted a black lab puppy named Zelda, and are launching their sailboat soon for some physically-distanced adventures.

Makaela Steinberg Kingsley ’98, MALS ’05 is director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Wesleyan. She says that moving her classes and programs online practically overnight was a welcome professional challenge, although she misses the energy of campus life terribly. Her husband, Matt Kingsley ’98, MALS ’04, is the associate head coach of Men’s Basketball at Yale. His team had just won its fourth Ivy League title in six years when the pandemic hit, canceling March Madness and bringing the entire sports world to a grinding halt.

If you saw Lynn Chen at our 20th Reunion, she was getting ready to direct her first feature film, I Will Make You Mine. She’s proud to share that it’s now done, an official SXSW selection, and available to watch on DVD/cable and video-on-demand streaming. The movie was edited by her husband, Abe Forman-Greenwald, and features a cameo by John Newman. We heard they’ve been getting incredible reviews so far (with a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes). She mentioned Wesleyan in a recent interview on Cinema Femme, too!

In August 2019, Annika Sweetland delivered a healthy baby boy and is actively involved in efforts to address the mental health consequences of the COVID-19 crisis in Brazil, Southern Africa, and the U.S. She is an assistant professor of psychiatry and public health at Columbia University.

Abby Elbow | aelbow@gmail.com

CLASS OF 1997 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

It is mid-May as Sasha and I are compiling these updates and it’s been two months since she and I each have been staying at home, working from home, supervising homeschooling for our kids, quarantine-baking, having Zoom cocktail hours, and holding our hands to our mouth when we read the news, hoping for the best for everyone.

First and foremost, we hope that you and your families are safe and healthy. For those of you touched by COVID-19, please know that we are all thinking of you. We’d also like to thank all ’97ers on the front lines: health care workers, first responders, nonprofit organizers, government personnel, friends, parents, teachers. We really are in this together (even if remotely).

Min and Alejandro Santandrea wrote that “My Italian factory is finally open but is only making PPE and not shoes. My company, SantM, is taking this opportunity to work with Nemours Children’s Hospital to donate masks to the hospital. If you want to contribute to this cause, email me at min@santm.co.” Thank you for everything you and SantM are doing, Min! And back in February, they went on a ski vacation with Christian Housh and fam. “We saw Brandon Cook in Brooklyn, video-chatted with Lauren Wolfe and Peter Olson, and had Zoom cocktail hour with Tabitha WilliamsShelby StokesMichele Lau, and Neal Jacunski. We’ve been working with Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship led by Makaela Kingsley ’98.”

Min ’97 Zooming with Tabitha Williams ’97, Shelby Stokes ’97, Michele Lau ’97, and Neal Jacunski ’97
Alejandro ’97 on a ski vacation with Christian Housh ’97 and fam

David Vine wrote to us: “Since the onset of the pandemic, I’ve been inspired by working with Wes Classics Professor Eirene Visvardi, Alix Olson, and other Wes alums as part of a group of 60-plus people from 20-plus countries that drafted a COVID-19 Global Solidarity Manifesto. Little more than a week after a soft launch, more than 2,000 people from around the world have signed the Manifesto. In keeping with a certain Wes spirit, the Manifesto declares, ‘The COVID-19 crisis has revealed the urgency of changing global structures of inequity and violence. We, people around the world, will seize this historical moment.’ We invite you to add your name to this effort (covidglobalsolidarity.org) “to offer a vision of the world we are building, the world we are demanding, the world we will achieve.” Also “inspired by my time at Wes,” David has a new book coming out in October that tells the story of the United States’ long relationship with war. The book, The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State (University of California Press), explains a major reason the U.S. government was so poorly prepared for the pandemic. We look forward to reading your book!

Alix Olson wrote in “I am living in Atlanta, Ga., where I just finished my second year at Emory University (Oxford campus) teaching WGSS. I was thrilled to rediscover my pal Sara Pullen and we (and our kids) are now attached at the hip.” Emory is very lucky to have you!

Let’s congratulate Francisco Tezen! He was named the president and chief executive officer of A Better Chance, a national college prep and leadership development organization. Read the article for more details. We’re proud of you, Francisco!

We were thrilled to hear from Lauren Wolfe, who was recently hired as an editor at the New York Times. “I’ve never written in before, but Wesleyan people are still very much a part of my global family. I’ve spent the last six years of my career as a journalist covering (mainly for The Guardian) the gang-rape of 50 little girls (aged 18 months to 11-years-old) in a small village in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Alongside NGO and doctor colleagues from DRC, the U.S., and The Hague, we managed to get the perpetrator (and a member of the Parliament) and members of his militia arrested and sentenced to life in prison—and no girls have been raped since. My drive to work internationally and within difficult, broken state systems was born at Wes, and through years of getting to know the amazing people who also went to school there.” Lauren, we thank you for the work you have done and the lives you have preserved through your journalism.

Peter Wei is in his first year into his full/early retirement, adjusting and living in a small coastal community in North County San Diego while spending his days working out, tending his garden and becoming the perfect domestic “goddess”—a role predestined by Mei Chin more than two decades ago while at Wesleyan. We couldn’t be happier for you, Peter!

Speaking of Mei Chin, she reached out to share some delightful news: “Greetings from Dublin, where the weather isn’t sunny, but the prime minister is gay and half-Indian, the government is recently pro-choice, and health care is free. (If you can get a flight, you can have our sofa.) I got married in February, which meant we got the chance to see many friends and family before lockdown. We were going to continue celebrating next month in Connecticut with Wes pals including  Sasha Lewis-Reisen, Peter Wei, Sacha Shapiro EmersonMichael Ouyang, and Morgan Fahey, but that’s been put on hold. Everything is good here; I am cooking and walking, and every day, I say hello to the absurdly tacky Oscar Wilde statue (he has a pink cravat and shiny shoes!) in Merrion Square. Most recently, I’ve been writing a column for Food & Wine Ireland called Dublin Global Beats; recording a podcast called Spice Bags (three expat women take on the Irish food scene), and starting a magazine, Ampersand: Eating at the Cultural Crossroads. I am sure that there are other Wes people in Ireland, but I don’t think we’ve crossed paths. If you want to reach out, email me jiemeimei@aol.com.” Yay Mei-Mei, all this, yay!

Corita Stull says hello “from quarantine, where I am trying to force my four sons to do their schoolwork and also teach for my own job. At least the oldest is graduating, so I can stop telling him to do his work, right? After 20 years of teaching middle and high school, I went back to grad school to become a special education teacher, and also became certified as a teacher of students with visual impairments.” Cori is working at the Maryland School for the Blind, and writes that it’s her dream job. “Believe it or not, my studies in the Wesleyan film program, which helped me to understand how the brain creates meaning, were a pretty awesome preparation for this job.” We are all so proud of you, Cori! And so impressed by you and your boys through this transition.

Derek DiMatteo accepted a job offer at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., in the Department of English as an assistant teaching professor. “I’m very excited about it! So now I’m in the process of selling my house in Bloomington, Ind., and trying to move to Erie, all while wrapping up the most bizarre semester of teaching half on campus and half online.” Good luck, Derek! We hope you have a smooth transition and your first semester starts off well.

Lauren Porosoff, author of Teach Meaningful: Tools to Design the Curriculum at Your Core, created a card deck called “Values and Questions” with her husband, Jonathan Weinstein. The cards invite students into conversations about the values they want to bring to their learning, work, and relationships, within and beyond school. Lauren wrote, “I can’t imagine what a different experience Wes would have been if we’d had to learn remotely. It makes me appreciate this community and the work Wes faculty is doing to support their students and one another. If there’s anything we, as alumni, can do to help, I hope we’ll be informed.” Agreed, Lauren!

Matthew Way reached out to us: “I last wrote to you regarding my first feature, The Genital Warriors, which has been available on iTunes, Amazon, or Google in 100-plus countries and 20 languages since December 2015 (for example the Village Voice and New York Times reported). After traveling with the movie and landing back in Berlin, I’ve written my second feature, The Pillow Snake, which features a rap and hip hop soundtrack, including a song I wrote especially for the movie: “Don’t Touch the 3rd Rail.” Though this song was meant to be rapped by the movie’s lead, I instead used it to give birth to my new alter ego, Yóbaby. Quite to our surprise, the music video has accrued almost half a million views until now. So yo, check it.“ Will do, Matthew!

Alek Lev submitted his film to festivals like The Cannes Film Festival, optimistically assuming that one day, soon, the amazing and (sometimes soul-crushing) and again amazing process of getting independent films to see the light of day will commence once again. Alek is also the vice president of the International Buster Keaton Society (a nonprofit, 501c3, all-volunteer organization), busterkeaton.org. “If you are looking for a film (or two, or 29) to watch with the entire family during these trying times, I highly recommend the work of the Great Stone Face.” He’s coordinating the 26th Annual Buster Keaton Convention, which—for the first time —will be held entirely online. “I can also report that Noah Garrison, Craig Thomas, Woodwyn Koons, Kassie Bracken, and John Newman are all doing well during these trying times. And a special mention of Joel Viertel who produced and edited The Banker, starring Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, and Nia Long. Run, don’t walk, to your couch to check it out.” We second, third, THOUSAND the recommendation to see The Banker, out on Apple+.

Send your updates anytime…we enjoy hearing from you. We hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. Take care.

Jessica Shea Lehmann | jessica.lehmann@gmail.com

Sasha Lewis Reisen | alewisreisen@gmail.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

We start with the very sad news that Noah Clay Lemert passed away on March 27 from complications from colon cancer. Contributions in his memory can be sent to the Appalachian Mountain Club. You can read his obituary at magazine.wesleyan.edu. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.

Kelly Bird and her wife, Jane, are moving from Philadelphia to West Hartford, Conn., with their newly adopted daughter, Josephine, and Kelly’s children, Kieran (18) and Jacquo (14). Kelly is going to be the early childhood director at Renbrook School, and her wife is going to be a trauma surgeon at Hartford Hospital. Kelly is entering her last year of UPenn’s Mid-Career Doctoral Program in school leadership.

Sabrina McCormick writes from Brooklyn that she released her first scripted feature film, Sequestrada, and has also established a new company, PandemicProof Productions, to get film and media up and running in the face of COVID-19.

It’s hard to believe, but our 25th Reunion is coming up next spring! Save the date: May 21-23, 2021, for the Class of ’96 25th Reunion. If you’d like to be involved in planning the Reunion, please contact Nelson Albino MALS ’19, assistant director of annual giving, at nalbino@wesleyan.edu.

We hope this issue of class notes finds you healthy and safe. We look forward to hearing more updates soon!

Dara Federman | darasf@yahoo.com 

Dacque Tirado | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1995 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Katy writes for this issue: As I write, I’m looking forward to our virtual 25th Reunion event in May. Of course, we all look forward to getting together face-to-face when we can. For now, we’ll enjoy the connections we can get! Here’s to the Class of ’95, and glad to share these updates on our classmates.

Nathalie Perez-Cino writes: “For 14 years I had the privilege of staying at home and raising the kids. I have now rejoined the workforce at Clark University in the education department as teacher diversity and special programs coordinator. I work to attract and support candidates of color into our Master of Arts in Teaching program. Our program prepares teachers to be successful in an urban school environment. If you know of any aspiring teachers, please send them my way!”

Matvei Yankelevich writes: “I’ve recently published a series of essays on small press history and its politics at the Poetry Foundation Harriet blog. Also, I received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to work on an annotated translation of Osip Mandelstam late poems (written in exile in a small southern Soviet city in the 1930s). Otherwise, working on keeping the small nonprofit poetry and arts press I co-founded (Ugly Duckling Presse) afloat through the pandemic, and just finished teaching a half-online semester on artists’ books and bookmaking for writers for Columbia’s MFA in creative writing.”

Cheryl Mejia writes: “New job, helping those even more rural. It’s been interesting being a multiple-minoritied physician working in rural West Virginia, western Maryland, and southern Pennsylvania. Hopefully, it helps to bring evidence-based science and mindset, as well as compassion and diversity to rural people (voters) who are helping to shape our present and future. Normally I work as an interventional pain management doc, but since America is not performing injections/procedures that aren’t life-saving, that is on the back burner. Been revisiting a lot of primary-care based health care lately.”

Keep sending us your news and updates—we love to hear from you!

Bo Bell | bobell.forreal@gmail.com 

Katy McNeill | mcneill40@gmail.com

CLASS OF 1994 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Greetings, all. After spending Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico, I was so enamored with the island that I had to fight the urge to abandon New Jersey, open a bakery, and remain in Fajardo permanently. While I enjoy my legal career, I’m still dreaming about the day when I will leave the world of derivatives and have been perfecting various pastries, cookies, and treats in the interim. When I’m not baking, I am writing a book detailing my healing and Christian journey since the loss of my mother in 2017. This past Mother’s Day was an unexpected source of joy, as I delivered my first sermon at Wellspring Worship Center in New York. I am happy to report that in the midst of our changing world, the majority of my family is safe and well. My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Wesleyan community. I hope that everyone stays encouraged and safe.

Max Belkin and his colleagues recently published a new book, Relational Psychoanalysis and Intersectionality: New Perspectives on Race, Gender, and Sexuality. He teaches graduate courses in individual and family psychotherapy at NYU’s Department of Applied Psychology and supervising psychologist at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City.

Ethan Hollander and his wife, Christie, welcomed their first child in March, a son named Isaac Howard Hollander. He continues, stating that “we have no idea what it’s like having a baby in normal times, but having a baby under lockdown has been strange and wonderful.” He also shares that in November, he was elected to the city council of Crawfordsville, Ind. He and his wife teach political science and economics, respectively, at Wabash College.

Doug Schaer just finished up a three-year stint as chief operation officer of LiveXLive Media, a global digital media company focused on live entertainment, after spending five years at Hero Ventures, producing The Marvel Experience, a global touring themed attraction. He remains on the board of directors at Hero Ventures. While contemplating his next chapter, he continues in the role of chief advisor to Baron Davis Enterprises, which was founded by two-time NBA All-Star and record-holder Baron Davis. He proudly shares that “In this dream role, I am active in overseeing several companies, including No Label, SLIC Studios, BIG (Business Inside the Game) Factory, and The Black Santa Company.” He adds that he “advises on portfolio investments across media, tech, and consumer product ventures.” Doug also notes that both his fourth and sixth graders are at Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences, “which seems to be a feeder school for Wes.”

Aaron Yeater writes: “I am sad to report that our classmate and friend, Amy Morrissey-O’Rourke, died this December. She leaves her loving husband, Matthew O’Rourke, and two beloved boys, Gus and Gabriel. Several of Amy’s classmates helped their family and friends grieve and celebrate Amy’s life at a memorial: John Lewis, Heather Lipkind and her husband, Jason Sunshine, Ben Mahnke and his wife, Elisa, Andrew McNeil, Jennifer Quest-Stern and Kevin Fairley, and my wife, Caroline Marple, and me. Amy was my hallmate and friend throughout my time at Wesleyan, and I am honored by her friendship of almost 30 years. We miss her dearly and will remember her intellect, humor, tolerance, and kindness. For those who wish, donations can be made to Steps to Success Program that promotes equity for students from low-income families in Brookline (PO Box 470421, Brookline Village, MA 02447) or to the National Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI; nami.org.”

Samera Syeda Ludwig | samera.ludwig@gmail.com

Caissa Powell | cdp2000@hotmail.com 

CLASS OF 1993 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Hi, everyone! Here’s some news from our far-flung classmates:

Larissa Labay writes, “Chris Thompson and Geoff Union recently hosted a Zonker Harris Day reunion to cheer up all of the Wes folks in quarantine. Live-streamed their concert from Golden, Co. Saw a bunch of familiar faces (virtually). Jason Gedamke, Dave Pazmino, Stacy Olitsky, Joy Roth, Mike O’Malley, Jon Turati, Josh Moore, and Ethan Piper ’92. Felt just like Foss Hill 1993!”

Sylvia Sironi-Rowe is working from home for the Clinton Health Access Initiative. It’s nothing new except that everyone else is walking into her office all the time! She is expanding laboratory systems in developing countries and now focusing on adding COVID-19 response capability into the plan. She is happily married to Ian Rowe, who is running Public Prep, a charter school network in NYC, and working on a book. They are doing their best to parent Camille (10) and Oscar (8) in quarantine, who are simultaneously bored out of their minds and overwhelmed by discreet distance-school assignments. Sylvia and Ian are not teachers but know that even if they were, they would still be the last people their kids want to have taught them how to calculate the angles of a parallelogram. Stay safe, everyone!

Jon Chesto writes, “I do appreciate the connections with old friends at this time in particular. Wish I had more to report on my end. Just life in suspended animation here in Boston.”

Brett Sokol writes: “In this era of screens, I’m trying to spend as much time with old-fashioned ink and paper as possible. To that end, Letter16 Press, the nonprofit publishing house I co-founded, just released its fourth hardcover book spotlighting the work of unsung photographers from the pre-digital era: Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah: Andy Sweet’s Summer Camp 1977. Yes, it’s the golden era of knee-high tube socks, toasted marshmallows, and teenage crushes.

“I’m also writing about the (locked-down) world of arts and culture for the New York Times with recent dispatches on everything from the art scene in Seoul, South Korea, to how independent radio stations are handling the coronavirus, when having DJs even enter their broadcast studios is dangerous. (So many buttons to touch!).

“On a further offbeat radio note, you can now hear David Mittleman on the air every Saturday night into the wee hours on Tucson, Arizona’s KXCI 91.3 FM. He’s spinning avant-garde jazz records that make his (and my own) WESU radio shows back during our Wes days sound like Muzak.

“Also in Tucson, and teaching documentary film production at the University of Arizona is Jacob Bricca, now a member of the prestigious American Cinema Editors society. Singer/songwriter Chris Huff is also hard at work, virus be damned. Touring beyond his home base of Philadelphia is obviously on hold, but you can still catch him and his guitar performing live at facebook.com/huffmusic.

“As for Wesleyan, I’m happy to report that our alma mater soldiers on. I know this personally. I’ve heard my wife, Lisa Dombrowski ’92, an associate professor of film studies at Wes, teaching her classes online via Zoom this past semester as her students have been hunkered down everywhere from Boston to Beijing. Lisa is also at work on a book about the late career of Robert Altman, with lots of juicy material unearthed from his archives.

“Finally, I was saddened to hear that our classmate Max Reich passed away this spring. Max never had much patience for sentimentality or time for propriety—some of you may recall his involvement in the Great Egyptian Mummy Heist of 1990. But I know I’m not the only one Max helped keep sane during our time in Middletown, and after. He will be missed.”

Jessica Gutow Viner was named the new director of admission and financial aid at Harpeth Hall, a college-preparatory school for girls in Nashville, after having served as the associate director of admission and financial aid.

Laura Davidson Ross writes, “Greetings from Los Angeles. In this time of fear and uncertainty for our country, I feel lucky to work in education to figure out how to continue to educate students during this pandemic. I am grateful to report that I have been named the new associate head of school at the Harvard-Westlake School, where I have been serving as the head of upper school for the last three years. I am also finishing my first year of service as an alumni-elected trustee on the Wesleyan Board. It’s been a real honor to represent the Class of ’93 in those meetings, and I am looking forward to helping to continue to guide the university through the next few years.”

And finally, Jessica Sherwood writes from Providence, R.I., “I like to wave from a safe distance at neighbors Olivia Milonas (married to Ben Milligan) and Amy Grundt ’94 when they walk by.”

Many thanks to everyone who wrote in. Please do stay in touch! I hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe during these difficult times.

Suzanna Henshon | suzannahenshon@yahoo.com 

Sarah Estow | sarah_estow@hotmail.com

CLASS OF 1992 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Hopefully, by the time you read this, the lockdown that has been in effect since mid-March will be over. But who knows! I’ve hobbled around with a broken foot for most of the year, so for me, the lockdown has been well-timed. I hope you all have fared well during these difficult times.

In any case, the lockdown doesn’t stop news, so here we go!

Eric Leach-Rodriguez and his husband are among the many New Yorkers who stayed in the city to shelter in place. As Eric notes, it was some comfort to have 20 years as a nurse practitioner in HIV/AIDS before facing the current pandemic. Also in the city, Grant Brenner hunkered down in lower Manhattan, continuing as a psychiatrist running a large practice and doing nonprofit disaster mental health.

Darcy Dennett spent some time down in New York City for 60 Minutes Australia on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19 but then retreated two hours north in Connecticut, editing in the country. She and her husband, Paul, a lawyer for the MTA, are preparing to return to New York as soon as they can.

Lisa Turner Laing released her third novel, Love Me Not, under the pen name Lisa McLuckie. Rick Barot’s fourth book of poems, The Galleons, was published by Milkweed Editions. He won the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He directs the MFA program in creative writing at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash.

Kevin Prufer is writing books and teaching in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Houston. For the last 10 years, he has also been directing a literary-archaeological project called The Unsung Masters Series, a book series that discovers, considers, and reprints the work of great lost writers of the past (unsungmasters.org).

Ruthbea Yesner lives in Brookline and is the VP of Government, Education and Smart Cities research and consulting. Also in the greater Boston area, Zoe Singer Fishman is practicing primary care pediatrics with Charles River Pediatrics in Natick, Mass., living in Newton with her husband, Craig Fishman, and their two sons Sam (13) and Jacob (17). Jacob will head to D.C. in the fall to be a freshman at American University.

Also on the college track, Karen Cacase Flynn and Mike Flynn ’93 are planning to send their daughter, Sophia, to start at Wesleyan in the fall.

Stefanie Trice Gill runs IntWork, a diversity recruitment agency she founded that provides engineering, tech, and executive search. She’s in Portland, Maine, sheltering in place with her husband, Mark, their 10-year-old son, and her 80-year-old-mother.

On the front lines of the current crisis, Jacky Jennings is an infectious disease epidemiologist in the throes of COVID-19 research, including launching a seroprevalence study in Baltimore City, Md., to measure the true burden of disease as well as the social and economic impacts of the crisis.

Abigail Saguy is sheltering at home in West Los Angeles with her husband, Dotan, and their kids Claire, 18, and Jonah, 15. During the pandemic, she has become a Zoom pro: teaching via Zoom, giving Zoom seminars, Zoom writing sessions, Zoom faculty meetings, Zoom cooking classes, and Zoom cocktail hours. Just before we all went into lockdown, she published a new book, Come Out, Come Out, Whoever You Are (Oxford, 2020).

In the last notes, there was mention of a book Richard Deitrich co-edited. In early February, an accompanying exhibit opened at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, called A Collector’s Vision: Highlights from the Dietrich American Foundation.

For those of you looking for entertainment, our classmates are happy to help! Tim Ellis is doing a comedy and music show, Rock Soft with Tim Ellis, every other Friday at 8 a.m. live on Facebook Live. And Susan Kleinman’s improv group, Brownies for Everyone, is doing a free show every Saturday (see improvmarin.com). When not doing shows, she is busy helping her nonprofit clients raise money and distribute cash assistance and food to individuals and families in crisis.

And though it seems like a lifetime ago, some of our classmates had exciting travels to report. In December 2019, William Kim attended the Nobel Prize Ceremony (Stockholm, Sweden) in honor of his post-doc mentor, Dr. William Kaelin, who shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology. A small part of Bill’s post-doctoral research contributed to this finding, so he was especially excited. And he got to wear “white tie” (I can vouch for it—I’ve seen photo evidence).

Finally, on a sad note, I am sorry to report that our classmate Kristian Dahl passed away on Feb. 10.

That’s all the notes for now. Please keep Paul and me updated with your news!

Adam Berinsky | berinsky@mit.edu 

Paul Coviello | coviellop01@alum.darden.edu

CLASS OF 1990 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

We begin with the very sad news that our classmate Thea Trachtenberg passed away on April 12. Good Morning America, where Thea had worked for over 20 years, did a lovely tribute to her on pagesix.com.

As Rebecca Rossen wrote: “It’s such a tragedy. She was so smart and funny. The ABC tributes are testaments to her amazing career, and just how respected and loved she was.”

Nina Grekin recalls getting together with Thea not long after the election of 2016 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “We had (a lot of) oysters, wine, and conversation that has held me to this day. She shared the reasoning of responsible journalism…She even indulged the volume and passion of my…ranting with curiosity, humor, and patience. We laughed loud and hard. In Judaism, we say, ‘May her memory be a blessing.’ And so, with my heart dropped down so deep, I can’t even hold it up…I will embrace my memories of Thea Trachtenberg and let them be a blessing.”

Sharene Azimi started a private Facebook group in memory of Thea and shared that “Thea became my best friend in college after we met the first day of freshman year in Foss 5. We lived together in Foss 8 and in High Rise and then lived three blocks apart on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Together we traveled to Italy, Egypt, and the weddings of various friends. We frequently spoke about everything and nothing—a continuous conversation that lasted for 33 years…. Thea was fierce and funny and independent, and I’ll remember her that way.”

Julie Doar-Sinkfield’s family is planning to relocate to Atlanta, Ga., from Weston, Fla. “We were supposed to move in July, but now, who knows? If the kids are in online school still or the real estate market tanks or whatever happens in this world the move might be as late as December. But Atlanta is the plan now.”

Lara Small Laurence writes that the “quarantine, while challenging, has created weekly connections with Wes folks. When I moved back to New York after grad school, a few Wes people and I, along with some other friends, started meeting regularly for Friday night services at one of the synagogues and for dinner. We continued meeting weekly until my kids were in elementary school, and almost everyone married and moved to the burbs.” The Shabbat group had a ritual where each person shared “Sweet Things of the Week.” Now, in quarantine, they are zooming with their families each Friday evening before Shabbat to share their sweet things. In the group are Michelle Elisburg ’92, Jennifer Hammer ’91, Shira Koch Epstein ’98, Tzvi Mackson ’89, and Jenny Simon Tabak ’93.

Lara said, “This time has become a highlight of my week. Currently, I’m hunkered down on Long Island, working as a learning specialist via Zoom, with my husband, Aviv (Vassar ’90), and my three children.”

Mark Hsieh sends greetings from Taiwan, “where early precautions have allowed us to contain the COVID-19 virus effectively and carry on life as usual with restrictions. I was particularly happy that Kazutoshi Ohkubo was able to visit Taiwan with his family before the whole pandemic made international travel next to impossible. I am glad to have had a nice coffee in Washington with Edward Ungvarsky when I attended the Invest USA Conference last year!” Mark sends wishes to everyone to stay safe during the pandemic and included photos of his and Kazu’s family in Taiwan and of him with Ed in D.C.

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Lara Goldmark sent an update to recognize the late Mike Mahon ’89, a fellow Wesleyan swimmer, and the group that gathered virtually with him a month ago and then again on May 22 to honor his passing: Jen Zoltners ’91, Dana Schultz ’91, Steve Jackman ’89, Dave Griffiths, Bill Fabbri ’91, Doug Bothner ’91, Jil Zilligen, Mark Mullen ’89, Mark Seasholes ’89, Courtney Fahy ’89, Karen Smolar ’88, Greg Lesser ’90, Dave Kane ’92, Morgan Bain ’92, Jono Marcus ’88, Dana Hoey ’89, swim team manager Nadine Angress ’90, friend of swimmers Ed Brown ’90, and Assistant Coach Diane Callaghan, who read a message from Coach John Ryan ’82. Lara has started a company called Just Results (justresultsllc.com). Summer internship positions were just filled, but Wes students are welcome to apply for the fall.

Netania Steiner writes from Brooklyn, “Sad that we’ll miss our Reunion but happy for the Wes friends who keep me sane. One silver lining of the stay-at-home life has been weekly Zoom parties with the Aloha Deck—my sophomore hall of Jon Bakija, Peggy Lionberger, Dan Gilman, Alan Busby, and Brett Terry.” Netania also speaks regularly with Amy Redfield ’89, who lives in St. Louis with her husband, Scott, and their dog Josie. “The Mutt to my Jeff, Rob Daniels ’88, lives in NYC with his wife, Laura Sherman ’88, and their two daughters.”

Finally, in May, our class celebrated its first-ever Virtual Reunion, or “ReZOOM-ion,” as it’s been called. While nothing can replace on-campus Reunion, the weekend was surprisingly fun and gave us a great opportunity to reconnect with classmates. We heard updates, broke into first-year residence halls, “met up” on Foss Hill, and participated in a deeply moving panel discussion with Professor of Psychology Emeritus Karl Scheibe, Carolyn Clark, Joy Challenger Slaughter, Deborah Gahr, and Andrew Siff. As successful as it was, remember that we WILL have a real Reunion on campus next year: May 28-30, 2021. Mark your calendars now!

Vanessa Montag Brosgol | vanessa.brosgol@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1984 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Hello, classmates!

What can we say in times like these? I heard from a few of you, who had nothing to report but just wanted to respond in some way. Michael “Misi” Polgar, Marc Sholes, and Michael Murphy all send their greetings, and Dave Blauer writes from Cape Cod that he wishes everyone and their loved ones health, happiness, and security.

Robert Leland writes from his Los Altos Hills, Calif., perch above Silicon Valley. He’s 15 miles from Google, Apple, and Cisco, but his cell service “completely sucks.” He describes this “strange place to live—billionaires here and there and then on the street El Camino outside of Stanford University are 40 broken down RVs where workers live in them.” His son, Davis, is enrolled in CAL next year. He is feeling his age (aren’t we all?), and offers that Wesleyan is known in California as the “Berkeley of the East.”

Scott Pearson reports he will be leaving his job with the DC Public Charter School Board after eight-and-a-half-years. After spending months dealing with shutdowns and keeping students connected (even providing devices to families), he reflects on the extraordinary giving spirit he has seen. The most exciting action, Scott says, is in public service at the state and local level, where a mayor or governor can make an “immediate and positive difference.” He is looking forward to some fun times—sailing, skiing, hiking, cycling, reading, learning, and celebrating his marriage of 25 years to Diana Farrell ’87. Even though neither of his children opted for Wesleyan, they turned out happy and healthy despite it all. Scott is grateful for his time at Wes and his dear friends, helping to navigate this crazy world.

Rick Davidman ran into Jennifer Watkins in early March, at the Art of Paper Fair in New York (resulting in a mini-Gingerbread House reunion). Rick, former head of DFN Gallery, was curating a booth, and Jennifer was there representing her Boston-based firm, PSG Framing.

Karen Wise is tickled pink she will be able to add P’24 next to ’84 in the alumni listing, as her daughter enrolled at Wes in the fall. Status of the all-campus opening is unclear at this time, though her son hopes to be entering his senior year at Colby, and her daughter hopes to be teaching elementary school in the fall (having completed her master’s at BU). Karen has worked full-time at home for decades—editing cookbooks and other “trade non-fiction” (parenting, self-help, health, entertainment, memoir, etc.)—so her work life has not changed much since the pandemic began.

Jonathan Sadowsky let us know that his book, The Empire of Depression: A New History, will be available from Polity Books in November.

Kari Friedman Collier is back to work at reduced hours at Barnes and Noble, and is grateful for that. She had been scheduled to give a lay preacher’s sermon during Lent, but like many events, it was canceled. She is filling the time, reading a lot of Longfellow and other early American writers.

Michael Feldman is working and studying at home in D.C. His wife, Diane ’86, is working for Bloomberg Law as team lead for transactions. Son Harry was accepted to Washington University in St. Louis, and of course, is waiting to hear if the campus will be open. And fortunate timing, a new puppy was welcomed into the household just before the pandemic hit. Read Michael’s piece that he was asked to write for the Foreign Service Journal about his theater and policy work at afsa.org.

And that’s the news this time around. Best to all of you.

Michael Steven Schultz | mschultz84@wesleyan.edu