CLASS OF 1996 | 2017 | ISSUE 3

Hello, all! Thanks to those who shared their news.

Shu-Mei Chan had an exhibition of ceramic works at Sculpture Space NYC in October.

Chris Meredith moved to Bellingham, Wash., to take a position in private practice with a group of three neurosurgeons. His two children are in preschool and pre-K and enjoying the outdoor life.

Colby Evans and Sara Kirchhoff Evans love living in Austin. They sold their dermatology practice last year and are spending more time on gardening (Sara) and coaching fencing (Colby). They visited Japan and Ireland this summer with their children, Quinn, 9, Malcolm, 8, and Ruby, 6. Colby completed his tenure as the chair of the board of the National Psoriasis Foundation and continues to volunteer with the organization.

Shelby Hyvonen writes, “After 15 years in California, we packed up two years ago and moved back East to raise our kids (Fern, 9, and Otto, 7) near family. We are living the quintessential New England small-town life in the Happy Valley (Easthampton, Mass.), just ‘down the road’ from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and a wide community of friends. I’m working at Baystate Medical Center as a clinical child psychologist and my husband, Seth Koen, is immersed in the art world here, both through work and studio practice, with a recent show in the Hudson Valley and an upcoming one in San Francisco (our first trip back to California since our move two years ago).”

Dacque Tirado ran into Stacey Samuel in the NPR offices in D.C., at an event for the NPR podcast What’s Good with Stretch and Bobbito, hosted by Bobbito Garcia ‘88.

Elura Nanos Kish lives with her family in Cherry Hill, N.J., where she is a TV lawyer and media figure. She is a featured columnist for LawNewz.com where she regularly enjoys riling up e-haters who would never have survived Wesleyan. Last summer, Elura and her family spent a great couple of weeks in San Diego with Shana McDaniel, who is an anesthesiologist.

Leigh Needleman shared the following: “Back in February, Ellen Bourque Johnson, Rebecca Bookie Neuburger ’95, Amy Todeschini, and Sasha Dennis Moreno had a long-awaited get-together in Boston. Much fun was had romping around the Boston area and catching up. Everyone is doing great with fantastic jobs, new kids, and great spouses!”

Tracie Bloom writes, “Flock and Rally, the integrated communications firm I co-founded when I moved back to my hometown of Columbia, S.C., just celebrated its seven-year anniversary, and our firm had the pleasure of managing our region’s total solar eclipse tourism campaign this year. It was surreal and amazing, and it was very fun seeing Wes friends across the country post on Facebook about their experiences with totality! 2024 anyone?”

Hope to hear from everyone soon for the next issue!

Dara Federman | darasf@yahoo.com 

Dacque Tirado | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

Hello fellow ’96ers. I hope all is well—it’s getting very hot here in Maryland. Should be lots of pool and beach days this summer. A few of you have written in with updates:

Sam Effron writes in about his promotion to member at the law firm of Mintz Levin in New York. He focuses his practice on venture capital, start-ups and emerging growth companies, fund formation, and crowdfunding platforms. Congrats!

Amy Costa lets us know that a few ’96ers (Flo Stueck, Kate Treveloni, Esme Finlay, and Amy) were inducted to the Wesleyan Athletics Hall of Fame last fall as part of the 1994 women’s soccer team that won the ECAC championship. Also, she was the team physician for USA hockey’s women’s U18 world championship where they won gold in Zlin, Czech Republic, in January. She visited with Kate Treveloni in Prague while she was there.

Nick McQuaid let us know that after 11-plus years in the government, he left the White House at end of the Obama administration, and joined the law firm, Latham and Watkins. He will be focusing his practice in New York, but will continue to live in D.C. He looks forward to being in touch with Wes folks in both cities.

Dara Federman | darasf@yahoo.com 

Dacque Tirado | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2017 | ISSUE 1

Greetings! Here’s the latest from our classmates:

Kate Baker is living on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, where she runs a small B&B in the town of Punta Mita. In November, she gave birth to her first child, a girl. She’s enjoyed visits from Wes friends Koyalee Chanda, Alissa Pines, Jody Kuh ’95, and Jason Blalock ’94.

Kristin Mercer just spent a sabbatical last year in Vancouver. While there, she and her family had a West Coast reunion with Miriam Colvin ’98, Dan Helfet-Hilliker, Mike Cantor, and their families.

Pam Alt writes: “I have been living in Seattle for almost 18 years. Fourteen of those years have been spent as an acupuncturist in private practice, a challenging and rewarding field. I do a lot of work with pregnant women and have been blessed to attend and assist in many births. I have an adorable 77-pound rescue dog, Archie, who keeps me active, and a niece and two nephews living in Boise whom I don’t see often enough. Same is true for all you lovely Wes folks. I think of you often and wish you love, laughter, peace, and health in these challenging times.”

From Bill Macomber: “I’m heading up to Sundance next week, to premiere a film that I am co-producing, directed by Miguel Arteta ’89, and written by Mike White ’92. It’s called Beatriz at Dinner, and it stars Selma Hayek as a massage healer who gets trapped at a conservative dinner party with John Lithgow, who plays a real estate developer in the mold of Donald Trump. The film should be in theaters later this year.”

The Gender Quest Workbook: A Guide for Teens & Young Adults Exploring Gender Identity, a comprehensive workbook for transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) teens, by Rylan Jay Testa PhD, Deborah Coolhart PhD, and Jayme Peta ’96 MA, is out now from Instant Help Books/New Harbinger Publications.

Margaret Wright and her husband, Jon, welcomed their second child, Lily Katherine, in July 2015. Lily joins big sister Olivia, age 5, and canine sister, Kaylee. Margaret works as a senior research associate at the American Academy of Pediatrics and is always looking to connect with Wes folks in the Chicago area.

Jimmy Liao is happy to announce that he received tenure in the department of biology at the University of Florida, Gainesville. He works at the Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience, which is on the beach in St. Augustine.

And last but not least, news from the NYC area:

Benjamin Meyer reports: “My wife, Beth, and I have spent the last year-and-a-half having a NYC adventure. We came here from Los Angeles, with our 4-year-old son, Bash, so that Beth could write for the ABC show, Quantico. Maybe we will be back in LA in a few months. Maybe we will stay forever. My feature, Fools, did the festival circuit last year, is now available on Amazon Prime, and will be on iTunes in March.”

Ben Selkow and Katharine Bailey ’97 and their two children moved from Brooklyn to Montclair, N.J., in December 2015. Ben writes, “Kat is at The Wall Street Journal. I came off of 2016 having directed one feature documentary on PTSD, Buried Above Ground, and produced another on Dominican and Haitian deforestation, Death by a Thousand Cuts, which I made with director Jake Kheel ’99 and won the Audience Award at DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival. Looking toward 2017, I directed all six episodes of a forthcoming docu-series on religion, faith, and spirituality for CNN called Believer with Reza Aslan that premieres in March. I worked with really brilliant minds in executive producer and showrunner, Liz Bronstein ’89.” See the trailer: cnn.com/shows/believer.

Shola Olatoye tells us that she, Matthew Strozier, and their three kids were happy to host Phil Choi ’95, his wife, Sue, and their two children over the holidays for a BBQ dinner.  They were joined by Tracey Gardner, along with Randy Slaughter, her husband, and their daughter.

Barrett Feldman married Glenn Halpern in September. In attendance from the class of 1996 were Sabrina McCormick, Sheilaja Rao, and Carrie Adler. Professor David Schorr signed the ketubah as one of two witnesses. Barrett has moved her office, PSF Projects, from Brooklyn to the Soho/Chinatown/Noho area. Her architecture firm recently hired their first Wesleyan graduate, Evan Ortiz ’16.

Thanks to everyone who sent in updates! Keep them coming!

Dara Federman | darasf@yahoo.com 

Dacque Tirado | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2016 | ISSUE 3

Dacque writes for this issue: Candace Nelson writes that her confectionery chain, Sprinkles Cupcakes, has found a spot in the new Disney Springs. Sprinkles began with its first location in 2005 and has since grown to a total of 14 locations across the U.S. In 2012, Sprinkles debuted its one-of-a-kind “Cupcake ATM” that dispenses several varieties of freshly baked frosted cupcakes with 24-hour convenience.

The 1994 Wesleyan women’s soccer team was inducted into the Hall of Fame. As the most successful in program history, that Cardinal team finished 12-4-1 that season, while claiming the ECAC New England Division III Championship. Flo Stueck led the team with 15 goals and five assists for a total of 35 points. Other class of ’96 members include: Amy Costa, Esme Finlay, and Kate Treveloni.

Jayme Peta writes about the completion of a PhD in clinical psychology as of August and the start of post-doctoral fellow with Marin County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services. She is co-author of a new book: The Gender Quest Workbook: A Guide for Teens and Young Adults Exploring Gender Identity, published by New Harbinger this past spring.

Mary Pagones is proud to announce that she has published a third novel, Quick Bright Things Come to Confusion, now available on Amazon.

Joel Levin decided to buy himself out of EdTech startup life and return to the classroom. He just started a new job at an independent school in Manhattan teaching technology classes to kids with learning disabilities.

Elena Pavloff had a mini-Wesleyan and Alpha Delta Phi reunion at Lynn Cartwright-Punnett ’07’s in Philadelphia. She got to hang out with Amanda Bennett and other alumni—a fun time was had by all.

Lastly, Sam, Topher, and Koyalee were thrilled to see so many of you this spring at Reunion, when 160 alumni came to Middletown and partied hard. This number is huge—blowing the previous attendance record by nearly 40 alumni. And, for those of you who couldn’t make it, there was a virtual reunion of literally hundreds of photos posted on our Facebook page (Wesleyan University – Class of 1996 for those of you who haven’t joined).

The spirit of the Class of 1996 is undeniable. Set your calendars for an even bigger Reunion in 2021! We will all travel there in our self-driving cars.

Dara Federman | darasf@yahoo.com 

Dacque Tirado | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2016 | ISSUE 2

So great to see so many of you at Reunion! A huge thank you goes out to Reunion Committee Chairs Topher Bellavia, Koyalee Chanda, and Sam Effron, and the rest of the committee: Mark Davis, Kate Treveloni Fencl, Sam Fiske, Daphne Frydman, Tracey Gardner, Dana Holahan, Chung Ma, Ann Camp Mason, Pritha Mittal, and Camellia Noriega.

The class of ’96 smashed the 20th Reunion record with 150 alumni in attendance! We were able to catch up and reminisce beginning on Friday afternoon on Foss Hill. The festivities continued: receptions, WESeminars, department gatherings, a class dinner, and of course, an epic dance party.

Shola Olatoye and Jed Hoyer each received Distinguished Alumnus Awards. Shola was honored for her current work as the chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest public housing authority in the country, and her earlier work in nonprofits furthering affordable housing. Jed was honored for his current work as executive vice president and general manager of the Chicago Cubs, as well as his previous work for the San Diego Padres and the Boston Red Sox. Koyalee Chanda and Dara Federman received University Service Awards.

There were WESeminars given by Topher Bellavia, Mark Jacobs, Javaid Khan, and Jake Sussman. Steve Collins screened his film, and Javaid (aka DJ Van Vader) spun an all-campus dance party under a tent on Saturday night.

All in all, it was a huge success. For those of you who weren’t able to come, we hope you make the next one! And in other news:

Jake Ward writes: “I was the editor-in-chief of Popular Science until 2013, when I left to start a new career as a television correspondent covering science and technology for Al Jazeera America from the San Francisco bureau. In April 2016 the channel shut down, and I’ve now begun work as the host of a four-hour series for public television about human irrationality, which is due to air in 2018.”

Maria Lourdes Chen Quinn announced that her fifth child, Maria Caridad, was born in May. She lives with her family in Wisconsin.

Kelly Bird Pierre lives in Philadelphia with her two children, Oona (14) and Jacques (10). She is the lower school principal at Friends’ Central School.

Berry Brosi just earned tenure at Emory. He writes: “I’m in the department of environmental sciences and am continuing to conduct research on pollinator declines, including summer field work in Colorado. My wife, Karen, is also a professor at Emory in public health, and we have two daughters, Aviva (5) and Zuria (3).”

It was great to catch up in person, but the 25th is a long way off, so keep sending in your updates!

DARA FEDERMAN | darasf@yahoo.com

DACQUE TIRADO | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2016 | ISSUE 1

Dara writes: Lots of news this time, so let’s get right to it: Ben Meyer recently traveled to Santa Cruz for Stuart Norton ’97 and Jeanne Hardebeck’s wedding. Also in attendance were Lauren Olsho and John Blake. Ben tells us that the feature film he wrote and directed, Fools, has been doing the festival circuit. It won the Audience Award for Best Competition Feature at Dances With Films, in Los Angeles. The film was also screened at the Petaluma International Film Festival, the Southampton International Film Festival, the Tulsa American Film Festival, the ReadingFilmFEST, and the Big Apple Film Festival in NYC.

Mike Stabile’s film is also in festival release right now. It’s a documentary, Seed Money, about ’70s pornographer (and gay rights activist) Chuck Holmes. It will be in distribution later this year: out.com/popnography/2015/12/24/watch-10-best-lgbt-documentaries-2015

From the theater world, playwright Ginger Lazarus writes in about two of her productions. The Housekeeper was at the Boston Playwrights’ Theater in January, and Burning was at the Theater at St. Clement’s in NYC in February. The production of Burning featured Catherine Curtin, also known as Officer Wanda Bell on Orange Is the New Black.

Lauren Elmore tells us that Kirsten Greenidge had a busy February, with two of her plays produced at the same time. Milk Like Sugar was at the Huntington Theatre Company, and Baltimore was at New Rep Theatre, both in Boston. She also wrote that Angela Tucker is living in New Orleans, currently in pre-production for her Kickstarter-funded feature, Paper Chase. And lastly, Lauren is sorry to miss Reunion this year, but she has a good excuse: “I’ll be attending the Harvard Graduate School of Education ceremonies to celebrate earning my doctorate of education, with a focus on technology, arts, and higher education.”

From San Francisco, Sarah Huard writes: “I’m leading advancement efforts for Convent & Stuart Hall, the school where my daughters, Piper and Arden, are in second grade and kindergarten. Piper’s teacher is the proud parent of Wes sophomore Tess Holland ’18. I was in an extremely short-lived running club with Sophie Middlebrook Hayward ’98 last spring—I dropped out so now she’s the only member.”

Michael Roberts and his wife, Leslie Roberts ’97, welcomed their third son, Adrien Justis Roberts, into the world last April. Their older sons regularly play mischievous games with the daughter of fellow Marin County resident and shoulda-been-a-’96er, Andrew Levine ’97.

Also on the West Coast is Nina Erlich-Williams: “I have been living in Corvallis, Ore., for about six years now with my husband and two sons, Jude (7) and Ezra (10). For my day job, I continue to run a public relations firm that specializes in environmental policy (publicgoodpr.com) with my husband. When the garden is in season I do a lot of cooking and canning and have somehow turned into a PTA mom who does things like bake gluten-free cupcakes from scratch. We had some wonderful visitors this past year: Dara Federman came all the way out from Brooklyn to check out our little town on Memorial Day, and Hilary Hoeber and her hubby paid us a visit in the fall. I also got to see Cora Stubbs-Dame Jeyadame as part of a trip to New England last summer. It was wonderful to see so many of my closest Wes buddies in one year. Looking forward to catching up with even more people at Reunion!”

Alissa Pines lives in Austin. She and her husband bought a house and both of their children, Owen (6) and Miles (4), are in public schools. She teaches Spanish at the local public school.

Colby Evans and Sara Kirchhoff Evans have expanded their dermatology practice (evans-dermatology.com) in Austin to three locations and eight medical providers. Their children are well and happy and keep them busy. Quinn is 7, Malcolm is 6, and Ruby is 4.

Dacque Tirado writes from Maryland, where he was digging out from 30 plus inches of snow. He is traveling to Argentina for two weeks in June and is looking to link up with any Wes folks down there or traveling through Buenos Aires.

Meanwhile, Kristin Mercer was in Mexico “on a research trip where I work with traditional varieties of maize and chile pepper. My family and I are in Vancouver, B.C., on sabbatical this year and loving the ocean and forests.”

And on the East Coast, Elura Nanos Kish continues to work as a TV lawyer, appearing often on news and talk shows. She has also launched Man Class—a speaking tour that brings Elura to fraternity houses and locker rooms to talk with young men about how they can avoid becoming part of the next campus scandal, while actively influencing peers to create safe environments for young adults.

Jesse Wegman lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, with his wife, Kyra Himmelbaum, and their 2-year-old daughter, Samara. Since 2013 he’s been a member of the editorial board of the New York Times, where he writes the Supreme Court editorials, as well as those on national legal issues.

After 19 years of hipster living, Koyalee Chanda and Neal Brandenburg packed up the family (two girls, ages 7 and 2) and left Brooklyn for Wesleyan, N.J.—otherwise known as Montclair. They get to see a lot of Sarah Chamberlin and Kate Washburn. Neal works as a supervising attorney at the Department of Education for the City of New York, while Koyalee is at Nickelodeon, producing the preschool series Wallykazam!, created by Adam Peltzman. During the production, Adam and Koyalee were able to keep it in the family, with Adrian Rothschild ’12 as their executive assistant for the second season.

Sam Effron also reports a move: “The transition to life in the ’burbs (Hastings-on-Hudson, aka Montclair North) has been great, and we’ve reunited with fellow locals Yaron Ben-Zvi ’97 and Emma Ditrinco Sollars ’97 and their families. Looking forward to Reunion!”

Great to hear from so many of you! Hope to catch up even more at reunion!

DARA FEDERMAN | darasf@yahoo.com

DACQUE TIRADO | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2015 | ISSUE 3

Michael Roberts and Leslie Feldt Roberts ’97 celebrated the birth of their third son, Adrien Justis Roberts, last April. To accommodate their growing clan, they purchased an old VW van, which they use for beach adventures near their home in Marin County, Calif. They enjoy occasional multi-family hikes with Andrew Levine ’97, and his wife and two daughters.

Colby Evans and Sara Kirchhoff ’96 have expanded their practice, Evans Dermatology Partners, the largest, locally-owned and family-operated practice (evans-dermatology.com) in Austin, serving three locations with eight medical providers. Their children are well and happy and keep them busy, Quinn is 7, Malcolm is 6, and Ruby is 4. They are hoping to attend the big upcoming Reunion!

In addition, they shared the great news that Colby Evans MD has been named chair of the board of directors for the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Official Wes old-head Shereem Herndon-Brown will present at the Education and Career “Next Steps” for Entrepreneurs dinner/talk on campus this December. He will bring his expertise as founder and director of strategic admissions advice as he covers options for educational or career next steps for entrepreneurs and change makers, and also shares tips and tricks to prepare students for what the future holds.

Tracie Broom writes from flood-stricken Columbia, S.C., that she and her loved ones faced no direct hardships, but she has good friends with kids, pets, etc., who lost their homes, cars—everything. She mentioned that one PR clients, the nonprofit Central Carolina Community Foundation, has established a Flood Relief Fund to address the pressing needs of flood victims—both short and long term, with zero overhead. One hundred percent of monies donated will go directly to local grassroots organizations aiding those in need. If you’d like to donate, go to yourfoundation.org and click on ’Help SC Flood Relief.’

Shelby Hyvonen writes that after more than 15 terrific years on the West Coast, she has finally made true to her promise to move back East near family and friends in the western Massachusetts Pioneer Valley. She is now working as a clinical child psychologist at Baystate Health in Springfield, while her husband, Seth Koen, is situating his art practice out here and looking forward to having more opportunity to visit the NYC art scene, now that it’s just “down the road.” Her children, Fern (7) and Otto (5), are happily settled into their new school, and weekends have been spent picking apples, enjoying the autumn foliage, and catching up with East Coast pals.

Jullia Chowdhury-Quazi recently joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as a managing director and is leading their corporate finance healthcare practice. I guess 15 years on Wall Street was enough!

Sarah Huard-Leffert writes that she is back in San Francisco leading advancement efforts for Convent & Stuart Hall, the school where her daughters, Piper and Arden, are in second grade and kindergarten. She mentioned that one daughter’s teacher is the proud parent of Wes sophomore Tess Holland ’18. Sarah was in an extremely short-lived running club with Sophie Middlebrook Hayward this spring. She hopes to see all at the Reunion in 2016!

Rallie Nepveux Snowden is living in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Lexington, Va., with her wife and their nearly 5-year-old daughter. She says she is lucky to live in the same town as her father, stepmother, and older sister. She has her dream job at Washington & Lee University, where she gets to divide her time between counseling graduate and undergraduate students as one of the university counselors, and as the LGBTQ coordinator.

Lastly, shoutout to my big brother Robert “Bobbito” Garcia ’88, who just released his documentary called Stretch and Bobbito: Radio that Changed Lives, which takes a look at his historic radio show in the 1990s introducing the “world to unsigned artists like Nas, Bigge, Wu-Tang as well as an unknown artists like Jay Z, Eminem and the Fugees.” Check out the film in your town at stretchandbobbito.com/screenings.

DARA FEDERMAN | darasf@yahoo.com

DACQUE TIRADO | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2015 | ISSUE 2

Greetings, fellow ’96ers! Can you believe our 20th Reunion is coming up in May? Hope to see many of you there!

Let’s start with the Olatoye-StroziersShola writes: “Matthew, big brothers Alexander and Rowan, and I were pleased to welcome Isabel to our family in May. We are managing the fun and chaos while I run the NYC housing authority and Matthew is the editor of a new Dow Jones site called Mansion Global. We see Tracey GardnerRandy Slaughter, and their beautiful daughter. I was so excited to celebrate the success of Sarah Wildman’s new book, Paper Love, during her many NYC book tour events this year. At my 40th birthday party, Aisha CookDonna Temple ’95Joy Connolly ’97Ian Halpern, Saeyun Lee ’93, and others were in the house. Thrilled to get to talk to Tanya Schneider Robinson ’94 and her husband, Earl Robinson ’94, who are in New Orleans. Love that you can still run into people on the street and not just on Facebook. Loved seeing Jason Rosado on lower Broadway.”

When Laura Dine Million wrote in, she also mentioned Sarah Wildman’s book: “I’m still in Los Angeles with my husband, Mike, and two kids, Chloe (7) and Nathan (3.5). I am the producer of the NPR political discussion show Left, Right & Center. I loved seeing Sarah Wildman out here this spring for her book tour!”

Speaking of books, Mary Pagones has published her second one. It’s a novel titled Fortune’s Fool, and you can find it on Amazon.

Benjamin Meyer’s first feature film, Fools, had its world premiere at Dances With Films, in Los Angeles, where it won the Audience Award for Best Competition Feature. He wrote and directed the film and put the final touches on it at Bill Macomber’s Fancy Post.

Aruna Chandran and husband, Kelly Miller, welcomed twins, Lucas Nihal and Nicole Anjali, in May of 2014. Syryna, the family cat, is still waiting for the new “house guests” to leave!

Leigh Needleman and Andrew Frishman ‘97 moved within Cambridge, Mass., to the Central Square area. Leigh works in a neuroscience laboratory at Harvard University. Andrew is co-directing Big Picture Learning. They have two kids (2.5 and 5.5 years old) and try to spend most weekends at Lake Wequaquet on the Cape.

Barrett Feldman relocated to NYC four years ago. After practicing architecture for 13 years, she recently founded an architecture firm—PSF PROJECTS—with two other partners, based in Brooklyn. She writes, “I would happily welcome the chance to work with anyone from the Wesleyan community, as it is a place I continue to hold close to my heart!”

Pascal Pinck also sent an update: “I joined a Seattle-based software company called Socrata, focused on helping government organizations make public data accessible to citizens, researchers, and app developers. If there are any civic hackers or open data nerds out there in Wes-land, I’d love to get in touch!”

Mark Davis continues to work at Wesleyan as the director of planned giving. His daughter, Minerva (or Minnie, 5), is starting kindergarten, and son, Ollie (3), is starting preschool. He hopes that both his children are able to meet other ’96 kids at our 20th Reunion in May.

Thanks to everyone who sent in updates! Please continue to send in news.

CLASS OF 1996 | 2015 | ISSUE 1

Hello, fellow ’96ers. I hope this finds you well. I know during winter months we all think back to the wonderful memories of our years at Wes!

Nikki Lewis, living in Raleigh, is director of marketing at Epic Games, the makers of Gears of War, Unreal Engine, and the upcoming Fortnite.

Chung Ma has moved south of the Mason Dixon, from NYC to RVA (Richmond) with his family. He landed a sweet gig managing money for Virginia’s pension fund. He says leaving NYC was a tough choice but the proximity to skiing, beach, and myriad outdoor activities has kept his entire family busy. RVA is a wonderful blend of smaller city and progressive mindset. He further added he went out to Las Vegas to be a part of Alex Fong’s and Sylvia’s wedding. Big Wes reunion there—13 in all!—John Kong, Jason Kim, Ingrid Wong, Phil Cho and his fiancée Wendy Wu ’97, Howie Bae, Susan Yee, Diana Ip, Emily Chang, Andrew Fuys, Susan Ha, Barrett Feldman, Chung Ma, and of course Alex Fong.

Arwen Anderson calls San Francisco home and is happy to be a working theater actor, and along with partner Rod, to have welcomed a son, Rowan Anderson Gnapp, into the world. He is absolutely amazing and keeps them on their toes!

Darrah Carr and husband David Byrne welcomed their daughter, Ettamoya Darrah Byrne, on Nov. 24th; she joins big sister Cavan and big brother Eamonn. Darrah’s dance company, Darrah Carr Dance, celebrated its 15th anniversary season at NYC’s Irish Arts Center.

Elana Pavloff moved back to NYC from Toronto in June; she says she missed real bagels and humid summers. She just started a new job at OMD as the NA Lead for the Visa client. Since her clients are in San Francisco she travels to the West Coast a great deal, so much that the flight attendants know her by name.

Nine years ago, Amalia Mayita left photojournalism to join her family’s coffee business in El Salvador, where they’d been growing coffee for five generations. If any NYC Wes alums want to try this delicious coffee, they can find it at Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, which offers Talnamica and Natamaya. This year’s harvest is available this spring and summer. Amalia admits to being obsessed with Instagram, so check her out @AmaliaMayita.

Alejandro Wyss and Marissa Wyss ’97 have re-located to Los Angeles, where he now runs operations for SpeedNews Aerospace & Defense Events.

Anuj Desai and his wife, Joanna Baum, have a baby girl. Little Ziya is happy and healthy, and Anuj lives close to veteran parents Billy Kheel, Ben Bell, and Becca Cutter ’97.

Colby and Sara Evans live in Austin with their three children, Quinn (7), Malcolm (5), and Ruby (3). They have expanded their dermatology practice, which now has seven medical providers across three locations. In July, Colby will become chair of the board of directors of the National Psoriasis Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (psoriasis.org).

James Weinberger is living happily in Brooklyn along with half of the alumni of all of Wesleyan, his wife Erica of 15 years, and sons Eli (11) and Nate (7). (Both were kindergarten students of the amazing Semeka Smith-Williams ’97 at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights.) He is lucky enough to be practicing copyright and trademark litigation as a partner at Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu and recently gave an appellate argument at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, where he represented DC Comics in a lawsuit about whether the Batmobile was protectable under copyright law. He is looking forward to our 20th Reunion next year.

Mary Pagones published her first novel, The Horse Is Never Wrong, available on Amazon and from most other major booksellers in e-book and paperback form: amazon.com/dp/B00RYFUDCY/

DARA FEDERMAN | darasf@yahoo.com

DACQUE TIRADO | dacquetirado@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1996 | 2014 | ISSUE 3

Check out Sarah Wildman’s new book, Paper Love: sarahwildman.com/books/. It’s the story of Sarah’s search for the woman her grandfather left behind when he fled Vienna during the Holocaust. Her interest was first kindled when she found pictures of an unknown woman with her grandfather. Her search took her to Vienna, the Czech Republic, Berlin, and Israel. Kirkus Reviews calls the book “a poignant and humane memoir.”

In news from Connecticut: Mark Davis works at Wesleyan and lives in Middletown with his wife, Megan (a Middletown native), and their children Minerva (“Minnie”), 4, and Oliver (“Ollie”), 2. He is always happy to see fellow ’96ers on campus!

Across the country, Cathy Thomas is working on a PhD in literature, with a focus on comics and contemporary Caribbean writing, at UC, Santa Cruz.

Pamela Stumpo published an article about Egyptian politics. You can read it here: layalina.tv/new_at_layalina/pamela-jean-stumpo/.

Elura Nanos Kish writes, “I’m enjoying life being a TV and radio lawyer, and I regularly do appearances on Fox News, HLN, Sirius Radio, HuffPost Live, and others. I’m also being featured in a new show on Reelz called Celebrity Damage Control, and I’m working hard toward landing a new show where I can tell it like it is with no holds barred. Marysol Castro and I had lunch to discuss life as a Wes ’96 New York Big Mouth TV personality (which was so fun), and in the middle of our lunch, we ran into none other than Matthew Strozier. Total Wes moment! I’m also starting my seventh season playing flute and piccolo with the Philharmonic of Southern New Jersey, and have joined its board as well. Still living in Cherry Hill, N.J., with my husband, son, and daughter.”

Mara Kailin and Daniel Cohen are celebrating 11 years in Denver. Dan is training for the NYC Marathon in November, and Mara recently got a great promotion at work. Dan reports, “Our kids are in first and third grades, and as they get older we like Colorado more and more because of all the things the family can do. We just celebrated our joint 40th birthday party by renting a house in the mountains with a group of friends, including Sean O’Connor and his wife, Lisa. Turning 40 is not so bad….”

Anand Nayak lives in Florence, Mass., with Polly Fiveash ’98 and their two sons. He is a Grammy-nominated guitarist, singer, and producer. You can find him on tour (along with Scott Kessel ’88) with folk band Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem.

That’s all for now. If we haven’t heard from you in a while, send in your updates!

DARA FEDERMAN | darasf@yahoo.com 

DACQUE TIRADO | dacquetirado@yahoo.com