CLASS OF 1997 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

Thanks for your updates, Class of 1997!

60 Minutes producer Alexandra Poolos has been nominated for an Emmy for her most recent story, a profile of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Alexandra, we’re so proud of you!

Monica Santana Rosen

It was great to hear from Monica Santana Rosen, who wrote in to share, “It’s hard to believe, but my husband and I celebrated 21 years since the day we first met, which was just after Wesleyan graduation. We have three kids, two boys and a girl, ages 14, 10, and 6. I’m running my own consulting firm and just about to celebrate two years in business.”

Min and Alejandro Santandrea launched a new shoe brand, SantM, and had the launch party during New York Fashion Week in the former studio/home of Jean-Michele Basquiat that was owned by Andy Warhol. “We had a great Wes turn out. Thy Pham flew in from Seattle to help us. Shelby Stokes, Soraya Kernizan, Susan Lee, Susan Ha, and Josh White ’84 were there. Rebecca, the daughter of Professor Emeritus John Paoletti, represented the Paolettis. Also, received a great support from Christian Housh and his wife, Tassia Thomas, Tyler Moriguchi ’95, Michele Lau, Lauren Wolfe, Charlson Choi, and Maggie Suniewick.” Check them out at (we totally did!) And, because it’s such a small world . . . turns out Min’s kids and Sasha’s kids go to the same elementary school in NYC. And we are having coffee as soon as she’s back from Italy (ah, the shoes!).

We have exciting news from Matt Mulvey and his wife, Katie Sacksteder. They welcomed another boy, Finn Mulvey, into the world in June 2017. Katie and Matt sold their company, BeneVir Biopharm, Inc., to Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Johnson & Johnson) in July of this year, which made headlines in the hot field of cancer immunotherapy. They will remain at the helm of the company for the foreseeable future and are excited about all of the resources available at Janssen to accelerate the development of their innovative cancer treatments. But, they are most happy about being able to spend more time with their kids now that they don’t have to raise capital anymore. Congratulations, Matt and Katie! And good luck with your work discovering new therapies to fight cancer—how amazing!

Your class co-secretaries have an update. We got to spend the day together in July in NYC. Sasha and her son (age 7) and Jess and her two youngest sons (ages 9 and 6) went to lunch at Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum and then to the American Museum of Natural History. We lucked out on the unusually cool weather that came right after a quick summer storm. Roaming around the city together felt magical. And we cannot wait till the next Wes Reunion with all of you (mere seconds away, in 2022)! Until then, send us your photos and updates.

Jessica Shea Lehmann |

Sasha Lewis Reisen |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

Hi, Class of 1997! We hope you had a lovely summer. Cyrus Bryden writes: “I have been living in Charlotte, N.C., for about 13 years and my partner, Pina, and I have three children (ages 12, 11, and 8). I am employed by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and regulate predominantly in the financial services and energy industries. I am an active coaching volunteer for my children’s sports teams (lacrosse, soccer, and baseball). This summer, I hope to reconnect again with David Katz and his beautiful family in Destin Beach, Fla.”

Brent and Alison Keimowitz Spodek are in the Hudson Valley, where Alison is an associate professor of chemistry at Vassar College and Brent is the rabbi at Beacon Hebrew Alliance. His synagogue held a benefit concert with Dar Williams ’89. Photos are online at This summer Brent and Alison spent time with Ilana Sumka in Belgium, where she lives with her family.

Josh Suniewick writes: “Maggie and I hosted a Wesleyan reunion party at our home in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., on Memorial Day weekend. We had so much fun at our 20th last spring that it seems to be the only way to spend Memorial Day weekend. The best part was not only being surrounded by so many Wes friends, but seeing the next generation of 23 possible Wesleyan students having such a blast together.” Go to to view a group photo that includes Maggie (McLean) Suniewick, Josh Suniewick, Amani Willett, Maya Kremen, Joanna Starrels, Niko Higgins, Yaron Ben-Zvi, Tony Schloss, Alex Grashow, Carter Bays, Emma (Ditrinco) Sollars, Emma Cooper-Serber, Katharine Bailey, Kimberly King, and Mike Lenore. Other WesSpouses in attendance were Alejandro Luciano ’96, Juno Shaye ’98, and Ben Selkow ’96.

In other news, beginning July 1, we have four new AAEC officers leading the Alumni Association Executive Committee, including Kimberly King, vice chair.

That’s all for now! Take care and feel free to send us your updates and photos, which can be posted to the class notes website.

Jessica Shea Lehmann |

Sasha Lewis Reisen |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Class of 1997, we hope your new year has been a good one so far! Winter requires extra coffee and really should have extra weekends.

Let’s start off with some lovely news from Susanne Blossom: “Sergio Barahona and I are happy to report the birth of our son, John Rodrigo Barahona Blossom, in November. I have been a public defender in Los Angeles for many years and though I love it, I am loving maternity leave even more.” Congratulations, Susanne!

Michelle Conceison wrote to share some fantastic news: “My management company, Market Monkeys, is growing and things are going well in Nashville! Our client Rose Cousins’ album ‘Natural Conclusion’ is nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical category.” Great news, great album!

We’re so happy for Leah Brown Johnson! She wrote: “I am growing as a successful entrepreneur. I run Be Equipped LLC, a training, coaching, and development company. I help new and emerging entrepreneurs and business leaders turn their visions into proven results ( I’m preparing to celebrate 20 years of service through my nonprofit, AFCOM Inc. We have been consistently serving at-risk youth who struggle with poverty and homelessness ( I’m loving life, family and business!” Amazing, Leah! We are proud of you.

Big update from Alix Olson: “Happy 2018, everybody! My partner, Jaime, and I just added a second kid to our gang. Her brother is 4. I am also about to begin as professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Oxford College of Emory University, so we’re off to Atlanta. I’d love to meet up with folks in the area!” Wes folks in Atlanta, please email her at

That’s all for now. We love getting your updates, so send them anytime!

Jessica Shea Lehmann |

Sasha Lewis Reisen |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2017 | ISSUE 3

Hi, Class of 1997. Thanks for writing in to share the lovely ways you are making the world a better place through your talents, your work and your love for your families and communities.

Huge congratulations to Joshua Dubler, assistant professor of religion at the University of Rochester, who is one of 33 national recipients of a 2016 Carnegie Award for his work studying prison abolition. More details here.

Alek Friedman Lev writes, “Desperately jealous of the amazing work that my WOW-buddy Mia Lobel has done producing the fantastic Revisionist History podcast with Malcolm Gladwell, I am hosting and producing Talking Buster Keaton, a podcast about the life and work of the great filmmaker. We talk to Leonard Matlin, Teller (of Penn & Teller fame) and our very own Jeanine Basinger. Go to”

Wedding of Trevor Griffey ’97 and Allison Perlman ’97

Congratulations to Trevor Griffey and Allison Perlman on their summer wedding in Seattle. They had a huge Wesleyan Greenhouse 1993-94 posse at the wedding. Courtney Cavellier, Jennifer Kelly-Dewitt and Mike Shen, Kevin Strait, Maria Magana, Ama Greenrose, Sabelo Narasimhan, Caleb Tucker-Raymond, and Caroline Cummins. Plus, Brodie Welch ’98, Lauren Berliner ’98, Monique Daviau (Smith ‘98, attended Wesleyan for a year), Sarah Wilkes ’00, Chris Wade ’00, Katrin Wilde ’92, and Abby Bass ’98 were in attendance.

Andrew Frishman and Leigh Needleman ’96 continue to love living just outside Central Square in Cambridge, Mass. Their two kids attend a Spanish/English bilingual immersion school, together with other Wes kiddos, including Laura Warren ’98’s. Andrew is the co-executive director of Big Picture Learning ( They are doing amazing work to improve the education system in many places across the U.S. and internationally. Leigh started a new position last year as a liaison between architects and scientists assisting with the coordination of the design and construction of a very large new Harvard School for Engineering and Applied Sciences building just across the Charles River in Allston, Boston. And in their spare free time, they hang out with Jesse ’06 and Annie Leavitt ’06, and Christian Housh, and a number of other Wes folks.

Monica White is in England, teaching medieval Russian studies at the University of Nottingham. She recently visited Kazan and Vladimir with some of her students (Monica, please send us pictures —sounds amazing). In August, she was “delighted to get a visit” from Professor Emeritus Duffy White ’62 and his wife Izzy, who came to the University of Nottingham campus for lunch. “We enjoyed catching up about travels to Russia, our students, and research.”

Kevin O’Leary cannot believe it’s been 20 years since we’ve graduated. Neither can we, Kevin, neither can we. He’s living in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with husband Brian Esser and their sons Keith, 6, and Jason, 3. Kevin is a book collaborator/guide on numerous projects, including Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going to Need More Wine and Bob Roth’s Transcendental Meditation, Strength in Stillness. Kevin’s husband is a family law attorney and advocate for same-sex families, and “he is the bee’s knees.”

We look forward to hearing from you via e-mail. Your class co-secretaries,

Jessica Shea Lehmann |

Sasha Lewis Reisen |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

While Mocon may be gone, the connections among our class are more solid than ever. There was so much love at the 20-year Reunion! After the 20th Reunion Reception, we marveled that no one was seen checking their phones during the evening because we were so intensely focused on being present with each other. Or maybe we didn’t miss our phones because Wesleyan was ALWAYS a cell phone-free zone in the ’90s. Either way, it was a thrill to reconnect with dear friends and to find “new” friends in our class who we hadn’t gotten to meet prior to graduation.

We really appreciate the Reunion Committee’s hard work. And congratulations to Kimberly King, the recipient of the Wesleyan University Service Award!

Attending some of the WESeminars made us realize what a powerful influence Wesleyan has had on us, enabling us to deepen our intellectual engagement with the world during the past two decades. We were blown away by the insight, talent, and raw honesty of our visionary classmates who shared their perspectives on their work at “The Future of Digital Media” WESesminar: Craig Thomas, Sean Brecker, Carter Bays, Santi “Santigold” White, and Maggie (McLean) Suniewick. Also, congratulations to Santi White on her Distinguished Alumni award from Wesleyan!

Some highlights from the weekend included seeing Christine Landry, her wife Megan Reed, and their two children and seeing how much Matt and Amy (Goorin) Fogelman’s two daughters have grown since the last Reunion. We went all fangirl on Mia Lobel, producer of the Revisionist History podcast, and we ran home and watched the 60 Minutes piece on the rise of women’s soccer in Iran, produced by Alexandra Poolos. Jess was delighted to see her frosh year roommate, Erica (Kaiser) Schuyler, when she and her two sons stopped by the Foss Hill festivities on Saturday afternoon. We enjoyed catching up with Lauren Porosoff, Julie (Philips) Wolf, Matt Mulvey, Leelach (Rothschild) de Koven, and Seth Spector at the class dinner on Saturday night.

We wished that we had had more time to spend with everyone who came to Reunion, including…Anita (Mitra) Crabtree, Alexander Grashow, Malayna Bernstein, Abe Velez, Vicki Kuskowski, Genevieve (Kramer) Maciel, Alison (Keimowitz) Spodek, Brent Spodek, Cria Ortiz, Marisa Uchin, Dara Katz, David Goldsmith, Erin Solomon Gaffen, Linda (Chun) Meehan, Raphael Crawford, Amani Willett, Charlotte Scott, Alison Brody, Kim Diaz, Sarah Benatar, Anna Lefer Kuhn, Meg Mullen, Robin (McLellan) Woodworth, Caitlin Meredith, Laura Roberts, Laura Woodrow, Benny Vasquez, Dara Greenwood, Michael Lenore, Tom Griggs, Erin Solomon Gaffen, Austin Applegate, Niko Higgins, James Seo, Ama (Goldsmith) Greenrose Manasse, Yaron Ben-Zvi, Tony Schloss, Brendan Bolton-Klinger, Molly Steele, Sarah Nowygrod Weihmiller, Diego Gutierrez, Jill Abraham, John Walcott, Mark Karvosky, Megan Thaler, Michael Sternhell, Rachel Meeropol, Samantha Abeysekera, Alissa Bell, Cana (McCoy) Williams, Kari Colen, Jessica D’Amore, Stephen McNulty, Michelle Driscoll, Jack Eighmy, Laura (Feldt) Roberts, Steve Guidi, Jade Hoye, Ann Marie (Preissler) Everdell, Kenneth Andersen, Bettina Berg, Mayo Escobar, Josh Arthurs, Ben Harbert, Emma (Ditrinco) Sollars, Amy Trask, Susan Alkasab, Lauren (Tehan) DiLoreto, Woodwyn Koons, Carin (Ivker) Armstrong, Maya Kremen, Alexis Levenson, Joanna Starrels, Nicole (Rodriguez) Leach, Chris Gaither, Heather Burke, Susanne Sreedhar, Rachel Ruane, Sacha (Shapiro) Emerson, Rebecca (Fried) Weisberg, Oliver Henzler, Alan Rozen, Kerry Halpern, Josh Rosenblatt, Jon Gelb, Flo Turkenkopf, Coop King, Jed Byrom, Josh Borenstein, Laura (Flynn) Edmonds, Kayce Davis,  Daniel Hughes, Ria (Mirabal) Higgs, Ryan Cunningham, Ram Subramanian, Matthew Carey, Joy (Langford) Connolly, Nicole (Smith) Padgett, Aileen (Nagle) McDonough, Rachel Rodriguez, Michelle Cho, Michael Vilas, Michael Mittelman, Fawn Phelps, Gaby Alter, Matthew Rattigan, Barbara Grieninger, Kerry (Biancamano) Coppola, Marina Tal, Geoffrey Hand, and Sam Layborne.

We found out from Josh Suniewick that their family is making a move: “Maggie was made president of digital enterprises at NBC/Universal last fall and has been commuting from Philly to NYC daily.  We are both looking forward to having a better life balance and more family time with our three boys. Also we’re excited to reconnect with other Wes alumni in the New York metro area!”

Though he couldn’t make it to Reunion, Abdul L. Rasheed reached out to let us know that he has been commissioned to dance and produce in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Latin America. Abdul is a proud alumnus, singing the praises of his dancer and rehearsal assistant Nik Owens ’12 and dancer Nick Daley ’17.

Lauren Porosoff and her husband Jonathan Weinstein have a book coming out in August called EMPOWER Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience. “The book is about helping students notice how their assignments and interactions can be contexts for values-consistent behavior, and to choose those values-consistent behaviors even when it’s hard.”

Andy Hiller wrote, “For the past three years, I have been living in Brooklyn with my husband and 2-and-a-half-year-old son, Dante. We love it here, but do wish we had more green space. A highlight twice a year is when Clara Petit and Wally Einenkel come to town and we get to spend some quality time together. We don’t get to see each other often, but the bond is as strong as ever.”

Derek DiMatteo wrote to us from Indiana University at Bloomington, where he is working on his dissertation on protest literature and higher education. He won the Winchester Fellowship Award from the Wesleyan English Department this year.

Monica Santana Rosen wrote: “I am married and settled in Chicago with my architect husband. I have three children: Antonio (13), Marlo (9), and Ana (we call her Annie B) who is 5. I launched my own consulting firm last fall, Alma Advisory Group. We provide human capital consulting to school systems across the country. I’ve been spending time consulting in Hawaii, Memphis, and Tampa among others. We have a team of nine and I’m loving life as a start-up CEO, helping states, districts, and CMOs find, grow, and inspire excellent principals and teachers, who in turn make great things possible for their students.”

Elizabeth Schneider has an award-winning wine podcast called Wine for Normal People, for people who want to learn about wine in a down-to-earth way, without the snob factor.

Nadia Gardner received her master’s in environmental science and management from University of California – Santa Barbara in 2006. She has worked for Columbia Land Trust as conservation manager for 10 years.  She lives with her partner, Michael Manzulli and 18-month-old son, Matteo Gardner Manzulli, in the forest within a block from the beach on Oregon’s north coast, where they hike and surf.

Breton Leone-Quick was sad to miss Reunion, and wrote to us from Boston, where he’s been with the Mintz Levin law firm for 15 years. Breton lives in Lexington, Mass., with his wife, Katie, and two children, Thomas (8) and Violet (6).

You can check out some photos from Reunion at and on the Wesleyan University – Class of 1997 Facebook page. Why not start planning to come back for our 25th reunion in 2022? We’ll be there, O’Rourke’s menus in hand!

In the meantime, please continue sending us your updates about work, home, family, travel, books, films, podcasts, and adventures big and small.

Jessica Shea Lehmann |

Sasha Lewis Reisen |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2017 | ISSUE 1

Happy spring, everyone! We’re looking forward to seeing you in Middletown at Reunion, May 25-28. We’re already planning to be in line at O’Rourke’s early on Saturday morning.

Kenneth Andersen writes in: “I’m going on 15 years in Mexico City, which is hard to believe as I write this. My wife and I have two beautiful children that keep us busy, ages 5 and 3. I started an organizational development consulting and executive training business a few years ago, Conversari Communication, following my passion in building bridges between Mexico and the global marketplace. It’s starting to thrive, and despite what election results would have you believe, we expect good things to happen in Mexico in the coming years. If you’re passing through town, I’d love to hear from you!”

Cary Kleinman and his family are living in Cheviot Hills, Calif., “around the block from Ben Lee ’95.” Cary and his wife have two children, Ethan, 2, and Sloane, 4 months. He works as a managing director at Oaktree Capital Management.

Hope to see you in May!

Jessica Shea Lehmann |

Sasha Lewis Reisen |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2016 | ISSUE 3

It’s hard to believe that almost 20 years have passed since that rainy day in May of 1997 when we bid our farewells and moved on and out to the wide, wacky, post-Wes world. And it’s not too early to start making plans to join us for Reunion & Commencement Weekend, from Thursday to Sunday, May 25 to 28. We’d love to see you there!

Thank you to everyone who shared their latest news or just e-mailed to say hi.

Michelle Conceison writes in from Nashville where she’s moved her music marketing and management company, Market Monkeys. They manage Canadian songwriter Rose Cousins and pop/folk duo Fortunate Ones. Michelle is the president of the board of directors of Folk Alliance International and teaches at Northeastern. “I am part of a dream team launching a new online arts administration graduate program. This fall I will be teaching Strategic Planning in Arts & Cultural Organizations.” She’d love to connect with any Wes alums in the area.

Melissa Feldberg Whipps writes to us from Syracuse, where she is the director of foundation relations at Syracuse University. “We have been enjoying a beautiful Central New York summer and I am pursuing my master’s in public administration at the Maxwell School at Syracuse.” She’s also a mom to two daughters, Evelyn (5) and Amelia (7). Her husband, Chris, is an associate professor of biology at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse.

Sasha Harris-Cronin is living in San Francisco with her partner, Nathan Taylor, and their 4-year-old, Shannon Harris-Taylor. Sasha has spent the last 14 years making interactive museum exhibits and leading edge installations for museums and corporations around the country. She just finished one of her favorite projects to date, which allowed her to work with the San Francisco Lighthouse for the Blind. As she explains, “Together, we created a tactile control interface that allows folks with any range of sight to control audio and video equipment in complex conference rooms.” Sasha also teaches interaction design in the MFA program at California College of the Arts.

Matt Mulvey and his wife, Katie Sacksteder, became parents to Liam James Mulvey. Matt and Katie are also leading their immuno-oncology company, BeneVir Biopharm, Inc., into the first-in-human testing of their lead cancer killing virus T-Stealth.

Aileen Nagle McDonough runs a communications business in the Providence area, 3am Writers. This year, she spoke at WordCamp RI, a WordPress conference for developers, designers, and business owners all over New England. She also stopped by Wesleyan, when she was in Middletown to trace her ancestry in the Connecticut-based Schaghticoke Native American tribe. She and her husband, Kirk, traveled to Toronto for the final tour of the Tragically Hip.

From LA, Madeleine Perez writes, “After many years as a journalist at ABC News in New York, I switched careers and coasts and became a real estate agent. I’ve been in LA now for more than four years with my husband and almost 5-year-old son. If any Wesleyan people are looking for some real estate help in SoCal they can reach me at”

As for your class secretaries, we are happy to report that we got to hang out in NYC when Jess came to visit from Phoenix. Also, Jess is thrilled to have a book recommendation to share: “I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and couldn’t put it down!” Sasha is obsessed with the Moth podcast, which consists of “people telling short true stories—Some are dark, some are funny, many are both.”

We can’t wait to see all of you in May! We wish you a peaceful start to 2017 and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Jessica Shea Lehmann |

Sasha Lewis Reisen |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2016 | ISSUE 2

After four amazing years, Kimberly King has so kindly agreed to pass the torch on to us, Jessica (Jess) Shea Lehmann and Alexandra (Sasha) Lewis-Reisen. Thank you, Kimberly, for all your hard work and great news! We are super excited to carry on the project of assembling the Class Notes—it’s always been our favorite part of the magazine.

We were also thinking that these notes can be both updates and a conversation, so please send us recommendations for books, podcasts, shows, or movies. And feel free to send your thoughts/good wishes to the class.

Jess lives in Phoenix, Ariz., with her husband and three sons (ages 10, 6, and 4). “I teach nutrition at Arizona State University. I serve as the faculty advisor for the Slow Food club. Last fall, I got to see Hamilton, which was sublime. If you’re interested in sustainable agriculture and/or if you’re into food, I recommend Dan Barber’s book The Third Plate. I’m always behind on Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, and Girls, but those are some of my top faves.”

Sasha is living in NYC, working at a nonprofit, New York Legal Assistance Group. “Last year, Ez Cukor ’05 and I helped to set up a WEServe volunteer event in NYC, helping low-income transgender New Yorkers to legally change their names to names they prefer or reflect their gender identity. Let me know if you’d be interested in joining us next time. In the meantime, I am trying to learn how to not bring work home (ha!). Last good book I read: Alice Munro’s Dear Life stories collection. Guilty TV pleasure (can’t believe I’m admitting to the first one in print): Grey’s Anatomy and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

We were thrilled to hear from several of our classmates in the spring…

Brent Spodek is the rabbi of Beacon Hebrew Alliance, a creative and rapidly growing Jewish community in the Hudson Valley, N.Y. Alison Keimowitz Spodek is the Rockefeller Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Vassar, where she focuses on toxins in the environment. They have two children, Noa (8) and Abe (5). They can be reached at and

Rob MacDonald recently published a poetry collection, Resuscitation Party (available from Racing Form Press). He’s still living in Jamaica Plain, Mass., and still balancing teaching and writing.

Andrew Frishman wrote to let us know that “Leigh Needleman ’96 and I have been hanging out with Laura Warren ’98, as we’re now practically neighbors—we live just a few blocks from each other near Central Square in CambridgePort in Cambridge, Mass. It doesn’t feel like 20 years ago that I was the Head Resident (HR) in Butterfield A, and Laura was one of the Resident Advisers (RAs)… suddenly it is our children who are in kindergarten together! (and our younger children, each aged 3, are taking Spanish classes together two afternoons a week to prepare for the bilingual immersion school that they’ll attend in a couple of years. Leigh and I also had the incomparable privilege of attending the inimitable Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02’s Hamilton in NYC (Hurrah! and Go, Wes!—We felt some serious Wesleyan pride!!!) Just so happened to be the night that the company did a tribute to Prince—touching in so many ways.”

Larisa Ortiz published a book, Improving Tenant Mix: A Guide for Commercial District Practitioners, and was appointed by NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio to the NYC City Planning Commission. “It’s quite an honor and learning experience! On a personal note, my son, Xavier, is 6 and gets better at solving his Rubik’s Cube every day! Makes his mama proud!”

Malayna Bernstein and Josh Arthurs spent 2015–16 in Italy, where Josh was a Rome Prize fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Their boys, Eli (11) and Carlo (7), spent the year playing soccer and learning Italian. Malayna and Josh continue to teach at West Virginia University. Malayna writes, “If Wes friends are ever in Morgantown, drop us a line!” They can be reached at and

Bryan Sheckman teaches social studies at Lowell (Mass.) High School and was named a 2016 James Madison Fellow.

Cheryl Goldman Governale writes, “After nearly two years in California, we’ve just moved back to London (my third time!), where the kids are enjoying their new schools. I’m still blogging but looking to set up a photography business soon.”

Mei Woo Chin wrote to us on her way back to Dublin, Ireland, where she has been living for the past five years. She had just finished three months in San Francisco visiting family. Mei writes about food, including for Saveur and Lucky Peach. “Last year in Dublin, my partner Tommy Bergin and I founded Skillet, which paired at-risk youth with members of the Dublin restaurant industry, and trained them in the basics of food prep and service.” Mei keeps in touch with us, Sarah Kollman, and Morgan Fahey ’95, and she adds that “the last Wes person I saw was Michael (Mo) Ouyang ’96, who swung by Dublin for a couple of days. Mo is living in Shanghai, married to the contemporary art curator Zoe Zhang Bing. Mo is the creative director for EndemolShine China (he and Morgan Fahey just worked on a version of Superhuman together, an award-winning megahit show in China), owner of two alarmingly cute dogs, and still playing music.”

We really love hearing from you, so please get in touch! You can e-mail your updates, musings, and recommendations to us at our addresses below. Until next time!

Jessica Shea Lehmann |

Sasha Lewis Reisen |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2016 | ISSUE 1

What a full 2016 and it is only February. Thank you to everyone that contributed. Let’s get to it!

Steven Tejada paid me a personal visit on a recent trip to NYC. My high school classmate, In-town roommate, and brother-for-life will relocate from Boston to Washington, D.C.—he was appointed the new Head of Upper School at The Maret School beginning July 1st. He continues to speak and perform throughout the country with his one-man show. In addition, his family welcomed another member—a baby boy. Super excited for mi hermano.

Matthew Fogelman wrote in to share that Wesleyan support was in full effect for the wonderful honor bestowed upon Seth Spector, as he was inducted into the Middletown Hall of Fame on a warm night in January. Matt, along with Raphael CrawfordJack EighmyArmando Petruzziello ’98, and Gabe Wieder ’98 were fortunate enough to join Seth and his mom, Kate (and many others) for the induction ceremony. Longtime Wes track coach J. Elmer Swanson was also inducted.

Meanwhile, Matt’s wife, Amy Goorin Fogelman, reports: “After 10 years at Mass General Hospital, I have decided to cut down on my commute and I am continuing to practice internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Chestnut Hill. I miss my old patients, though the good news is that I am finally accepting new ones, so if anyone needs a PCP, give me a holler!”

Abe Velez reconnected to update us with the happenings in his world: “I continue to do audio business development for ABC News and enjoy the Langone MBA program at NYU Stern, with the support of my wife, Sarah, and our fabulous second-grader, Frida. I was lucky enough to get briefly stuck in San Francisco during January’s storm and stay with Adam Rodnitzky—an evening filled with trading of puns that left us very amused, and his girlfriend, not so much. Recently saw Katharine Bailey and Ben Selkow ’96 at the home of my onetime neighbor Ned Gusick ’90. And then there’s the mystery of how most of us have turned 40…”

Andrew Frishman has been super consistent with keeping us informed on his world: “As I’ve mentioned in previous notes, I am the co-executive director of Big Picture Learning. Just last week I was visiting The Met High School in Providence, (which is the “mother ship” of the Big Picture Learning Network) and I had the particular privilege of enjoying a ‘philosophy literacy group’ that Arthur Baraf ’99 was leading. Arthur has the group of high school students enrolled and each week the students watch a lecture, do supplementary readings, and then engage in discussion and debate (Arthur serves as the TA). Took me back to my days at Wesleyan! In other news, it was fun to take my kids out to see the Wesleyan squash teams play in an invitational tournament in the fall up here in Cambridge. Go, Wes!”

I received a first-time submission from Bettina Berg Segal who shared, “After nearly 10 years of living abroad, across four continents and three babies later, I’m happy to say that my family and I have finally moved back to New York. It’s been great to be close to old friends… Jessica D’AmoreMia LobelAnita Crabtree MitraLaura Roberts and Kerry Biancamano Coppola. And yes, I am an awesome packer.”

David Vine wrote: “I’ll be unabashedly self-promotional in saying that my book Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (Henry Holt, 2015) just came out. The book shows how our country is encircling the globe with some 800 bases in foreign lands—and how these oft-forgotten installations cause an array of ills for everyone from U.S. military personnel and their families to locals living next to our bases to U.S. taxpayers who pay the $150 billion per year bill to maintain bases and troops overseas. Although many assume that these bases make the U.S. and the world safer, our military installations abroad are, in a range of ways, actually undermining national and global security. All the proceeds from Base Nation are going to organizations supporting veterans and other victims of war. People can read more about the book, check out its 16 maps, and learn more about bases overseas at”

Kimberly Gilbert shared, “After living in Canada for six years, my husband, Jared Carbone, and I have returned to live in his hometown of Boulder, Colo., with our two girls, Louisa (7) and Beatrice (1.5). I’m a writer and Jared is a professor of economics at the School of Mines. We’re thrilled that being back in the U.S. has given us the chance to visit and catch up with several Wes friends, including Naomi PressmanRachel RuaneMatthew RattiganLucas Edwards, and Emily Weinstein.”

“I am enjoying a year-long sabbatical from my job at the University of Nottingham to start a new book on relations between medieval Russia and the Byzantine empire. Turns out, it’s all about the Crimea. Thanks to what’s left of the British welfare state, I was lucky enough to have over seven months of maternity leave following the birth of Morris Whitehill in November 2014,” writes Monica White.

In January, Noah Garrison and his wife, Michelle, welcomed the birth of their son, Bryce Cameron Garrison, in Santa Monica. Everyone is doing well, and they’re looking forward to Bryce joining his older (canine) brother, Dexter, for lots of Calvin and Hobbes-style exploring. Noah left his job as a lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council last year to run an environmental science and policy capstone program at UCLA, and has gone back to his Wes E&ES roots to teach an intro geology class as well.

Jessica McInroy Thompson and Mike Thompson ’96 met up with fellow Californians Maria Magaña, her husband Aaron Miller, and newlyweds Allison Perlman and Trevor Griffey for pre-Grammy dinner and drinks. Jessica was nominated for the Best Historical Album Grammy for remastering Erroll Garner’s The Complete Concert By the Sea. After a dozen years in NYC, Jessica and Mike recently relocated to Berkeley with their two kids, Clyde and Margot. Jessica now works out of Coast Mastering in Berkeley, and Mike is in his eighth year of running the music licensing library, The Diner.

As of May 2016, I, Kimberly Cooper King will have completed my master of science degree in integrated marketing from New York University, with a concentration in brand management. Working full time and going to school part time through fall, spring, and summer semesters, with a growing 4-year-old hasn’t been an easy balancing act, but happy to have made magic happen in just 2-½ years. I’m also proud to announce that I’ve been elected as a trustee with The Oliver Scholars Program ( As an alum of the 30-year-old program that prepares high-achieving African-American and Latino students for success at top independent high schools and prestigious colleges, I’m looking forward to supporting an organization that has made a difference in my life and the lives of so many other Wesleyan alums.

And my final update… After almost four years as your class secretary, I must announce this is my last official column. It has been great hearing from you, and I am now placing you in two pairs of great hands—BFF’s no less, Jessica Shea Lehmann and Sasha Lewis Reisen. They are super excited to share the duty of reporting the #ThisIsWhy happenings of our year so be sure to submit your updates to them moving forward.

Do note, Wesleyan is in my blood so I will still continue with my own #ThisIsWhy mission working with The Wesleyan Fund alongside Justin ClarkDavid Levin and Marisa Uchin as well as the Wesleyan Alumni of Color Council with super chair Ray Sanchez ’00 and Associate Director of Alumni & Parent Relations Greg Bernard. Service is a lifestyle. Be sure to have a fabulous spring.

Kimberly King |

CLASS OF 1997 | 2015 | ISSUE 3

Happy Holidays! After three years serving as your class secretary, I’ve figured out the most effective mechanism to hear from you…miss a cycle in the magazine. With our section left blank ’97ers, you have so much more to say the next go around (smile)!

Lucria Ortiz, Esq., joined the West Side Y in August as their senior director managing their development and communications team. It is a great career move for my friend who loves a good cause and reason to serve others. From the looks of Facebook, she, husband Chris Ebanks ’96, and their two kids are living life to the fullest and having fun along the way.

Brion Winston writes that he and wife Melanie Schoen are doing well. He is an interventional cardiologist and Melanie is a nurse in Albany. Together they raise organic grass-fed beef at their family farm with their two kids. You can learn more at

Charlotte E. Scott, Esq., checks in from Ukiah, Calif., where she is enjoying her law practice in Mendocino County and raising her children on a beautiful piece of property in the mountains about 45 minutes from town. Her daughter Violet just began kindergarten and Zara Rose is a feisty toddler. She sees Adriana Dakin ’96 on a daily basis, as their daughters are best friends at the same Waldorf elementary school.

In June, Trevor Griffey and Allison Perlman married during a civil ceremony and will host a formal ceremony in Seattle in 2016. Allison is an assistant professor of U.S. History at UC Irvine, and Trevor is a lecturer in U.S. History at CSU Long Beach. They reside in Long Beach, Calif.

Leah Ayanna Brown Johnson is proud to announce that after 12 years of building an organization in Harlem and then establishing and expanding it in Newark, N.Y., she has set her sights on her entrepreneurial endeavors. Be Equipped LLC is her for-profit entity focusing on coaching, training, and development. Ayanna is also working on her third book and you can check out her site:

Dr. Josh Arthurs, associate professor of History at West Virginia University has been awarded the 2015–16 Mellon Foundation Rome Prize in Modern Italian Studies. He, Malayna Bernstein, and their two boys are spending the year at the American Academy in Rome. He says, “It’s a big change from our regular lives as professors at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va.!”

Sadia Shepard shared, “I’m happy to be back at Wesleyan as a visiting assistant professor in film studies. My husband, Andreas Burgess ’01, and I continue to live between New York City and South Dartmouth, Mass., with our 3-year-old daughter, Noor Jehan.”

It was great to hear from Nikki Greene, who continues to enjoy her position as an assistant professor of art history at Wellesley, in what she describes as “passionately (read: ’frantically’) finishing my book manuscript.” Summer 2015 she ran into fellow Wesleyan alum Leigh Raiford ’94 while both presented at the Black Portraitures II Conference in Florence, Italy.

The managing director at the Long Wharf Theatre, Joshua Borenstein did notice that we didn’t have anything in the last issue! He’s married to Kate Hagmann ’98, and they have two beautiful girls who are 9 and 2. Settling in Connecticut, this past summer they visited Martha’s Vineyard, where they caught up with Sacha Shapiro Emerson, who has become an “islander.”

Excited to hear about other ’97ers, Andrew Frishman provided a quick update. He, wife Leigh Needleman ’96, 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter are living in Cambridge, Mass., often seeing Christian Housh and Laura Warren ’98. Laura’s son is in the same school with his daughter and they are neighbors, just a few blocks away from each other. Professionally, Andrew is the co-executive director of Big Picture Learning (, traveling to spread the word about “the need for a fundamental re-design/re-imagination of school, the education system and the importance of adopting more student-centered approaches.”

Ben Helphand is proud to announce that after 13 years of working for the conversion of an unused freight rail viaduct in Chicago, this summer they opened The 606 (, a multi-use trail and its centerpiece, the Bloomingdale Trail. The nearly $100M project features a three-mile-long elevated trail linking six access parks and weaving together four neighborhoods. The late Wesleyan trustee emeritus John Baird ’38 was one of the early leaders on the Bloomingdale Trail/606. Ben also dedicated Chicago’s first community-created and -managed nature play garden, The Jardincito, highlighting features borrowed from the natural world—boulders, play huts, a pebble pool and balancing logs. He, wife Dawn, and daughter, Selah spent the summer in Berlin, meeting up with Ben Rubloff ’98, his partner, Jennie, and new daughter, Juno, “eating kebabs in the city’s endless playgrounds.”

Semeka Smith-Williams wrote in to share that she is the lower-school diversity coordinator and kindergarten teacher at Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn where she received the excellence in teaching award in the spring. The award acknowledges and celebrates the professional achievements of a master teacher who demonstrates consistent excellence through his or her ability to inspire and educate Packer students. “It was wonderful sharing this special moment with my family”—husband Sharif Williams ’95 and two daughters. Semeka also connected with Wes alums Nicole RodriguezRachel Rodriguez, and Jeneen Garcia at a Border Crossers event supporting Benny Vasquez in his efforts to bring social justice and equity work into schools and other institutions around NYC.

Aileen Nagle McDonough continues to run a communications company, 3am Writers. She and Michelle Driscoll went to Wes for the 2014 Shasha Conference on The Novel. This fall, Aileen also spoke at WordCamp Rhode Island and was chosen to be a “Speed Mentor” at the 2015 CWE Women Business Leaders Conference. Two of Aileen’s essays were published in Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England.

Jessica Shea Lehmann headed to New York to see Hamilton and hang out with Sasha Lewis Reisen. She teaches nutrition communications at Arizona State University, manages menu consulting with clients, and does some writing related to nutrition and food. She and husband Greg celebrated their 12th anniversary in November, and their boys—Oliver, Felix, and Adrian—are 9, 6, and 3 respectively. Jess writes that she missed the “reunion of Kappa Alpha Theta in August in Boston because Amy GorinSaskia Herz MowerJoanne MaxwellJulie PhilipsKalyna Procyk, and Lauren Porosoff were there.” But she is already making plans to come to our 20th Reunion in May 2017.

Matthew Way wants us to know his first feature film, The Genital Warriors, will be released in more than 100 countries and 19 languages “on the 35th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, December 8th.” The movie will be available in the US on iTunes, Amazon, Google and Sony, as well as on BluRay and DVD. The ensemble film pieces together the three main characters’ fragmentary pasts, allowing their different perspectives and memories to meet and overlap.

The protagonists’ hero, John Lennon, comes back to life. Matthew says, “I wrote, directed and produced this film alone, an indie/underground/arthouse production, costing approximately $200K. It’d be great if you would take a moment to watch our trailer (” Matthew majored in molecular biology and biochemistry while also taking film and fiction/screenplay writing courses. After a year in Venezuela, he received a Fulbright Scholarship and moved to Hamburg, Germany, where he lived for 12 years while shooting the movie. Matthew is now mainly based in Berlin, Germany.

Cheers to 2016!

Kimberly King |