Dear Class of ’95: Bo Bell here, co-secretary for our class (along with my partner-in-crime, Katy McNeil). This is my first time at the helm for these notes, and I want to set it off with a shout-out to my frosh hallmate Cheryl Mejia, who just got married! She and partner, Clare, celebrated with a reception at the Washington, D.C., Pride parade.
I’ve heard a lot from fellow WesCo alums, including Ana Maria Kleymeyer, who started working with a new group in D.C. and will be representing the Federated States of Micronesia in the global climate and ozone negotiations (even if the U.S. president refuses to be part of the solution, many U.S. citizens are still working on these problems), and Danielle Langston, who, with her family, is approaching her third anniversary of living in Brisbane, Australia! Dani is an architect, working on retirement, aged care, and education projects, and stays busy on the side playing a full concert schedule with the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra as assistant concertmaster. Her husband, Carl, has an academic position at the Queensland University of Technology, and their kids, ages 9 and 13, are into their brass instruments and identifying Australian bird species.
Anne Bellows Lee writes: “I just moved to a new place in Santa Monica, Calif. Brought my two little girls, a few cats, and the husband with me. I am still working at UCLA in the Integrated Substance Abuse Programs as a project director for research studies of treatment for co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse. We are always looking for intern and volunteer research assistants—so if you, or anyone you know, wants in, let me know!”
Sabrina Prince has relocated to central Harlem in New York, still delighting her healthcare advertising clients while volunteering as a marketing consultant for small business owners in Afghanistan on behalf of Bpeace. She recently came back from Croatia and is looking forward to a summer of rating the best pizzas in New York with Jacqueline Moon.
Jason Segal, who is active in Wesleyan’s Social Entrepreneurship program, writes: “My company, Swift Current, continues to do our best to bring large-scale capital into initiatives to address climate change. Kids Julia (3), Ari (2) and family are enjoying life on the Upper West Side.”
Lauren Monchik is still in NYC with husband Paul Davidson and daughters Violet (10) and Lena (7). She’s a science educator with Growing a Wild NYC, teaching kids in New York public schools, K–12, about native plants and pollinators, as well as working on native habitat restoration. She loves getting to check out neighborhoods and schools all over Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
My Wes former soccer teammate Jeremy Lurgio says, “Life is great in Montana. I co-directed a short documentary called The Hard Way. It has been a finalist at the Banff Mountain Film Festival, Telluride Mountainfilm, the Vancouver International Film Festival and it was awarded a bronze for the People’s Choice Award at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival in England. It’s an inspiring story of an 89-year-old ultra runner who does things the hard way to maintain purpose, momentum, and vitality. This coming year I will be taking a sabbatical from my job as an associate professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism, where I co-teach a course on how to effectively report stories from Native American communities in Montana. My wife, Caroline, and our two kids, Lachlan (7) and Amelia (4), will be living in New Zealand for the year while I work on projects that explore the relationship of indigenous communities with the news media.”
Andrew Neiman is just living the dream as a St. Louis actor/bartender/adjunct professor of playwriting, screenwriting, directing, and movement. He’s received a commission to adapt Shakespeare’s Richard III into an hour-long hip-hop production for an Illinois middle school, and later this summer he’ll be co-producing and playing the title character in an immersive onsite production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Andrew says, “Cheers, y’all.”
Neil Parekh surfaces! “It’s been several years since I have been to confession/submitted an item for Class Notes. Pam Stumpo ’96 and I moved to D.C. two years ago when I got a job in communications with United Way Worldwide. Our daughter, Emily Margaret Parekh, turned 4-years-old in April. It was great to see Wesleyan’s VP for University Relations Barbara-Jan Wilson giving the Philip Brown Memorial Lecture with Director of Admission Nancy Hargrave in April. Also met Andrew Fairbanks ’90. He did my on-campus interview back in the day. Thanks, Andy.”
Randy Jackson and Brooke Leinwand Jackson are in Inwood (upper Manhattan) with children Ty and Frida (twins, 13 now and about to finish seventh grade), and haven’t moved from NYC since graduation. Brooke is now principal of the New York City Lab School for Collaborative Studies, a public high school in Chelsea, and Randy has bounced around in the social justice organizing sector for the last two decades—working on the local, state, and national levels—and most recently has landed at ALIGN: The Alliance for a Greater New York (www.alignny.org), where he’s the director of development and planning, fighting for progress in New York City at the intersection of a healthy environment, a fair economy, and racial equity. They they stay in touch with dear Wes friends—especially Dan Smith, Zeke Volkert ’96, and Julia Lazarus.
Shayne Spaulding checks in: “A couple years ago, I moved with my husband, Josh Shepherd, and boys Wiley (9) and Kieran (6) to Swampscott, Mass., after living in Brooklyn, N.Y., for nearly 15 years. Small town living has been an adjustment, but we are enjoying the ocean breezes, our garden and local politics. We live around the corner from Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker. I work for the Urban Institute in D.C., a social policy think tank. Lots to write about these days.”
Jen Levine-Fried started a new job as the CFO of the National Network of Abortion Funds at the end of February. She writes, “It has been a steep learning curve, but so rewarding to be working for an organization that is at the forefront of reproductive, social, and racial justice during these challenging times. Last November, after a work trip to California (which started the day after the election), I was able to visit with Eric Meyerson and Jennifer Parker Dockray. I regularly see Noam Shore and Noah Rumpf, as we all belong to the same synagogue outside of Boston. And we recently moved to an ever-so-slightly larger condo in the South End, and now we have space for visitors that does not involve a couch. Please let me know if you will be in town!”
Bo Bell | email@example.com
Katy McNeill | firstname.lastname@example.org