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 1998 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

Hi, fellow ’98ers. After a decade or so of doing our class notes, I (Jason) am ready to pass the torch on to someone else. Abby has been my class notes partner for the past three issues and will stay on, but it would be nice if she had some help. Would any of you be willing to help keep this going? It’s fulfilling to keep everyone informed but it’s easier when two people do it. If you can, email Abby or me. And, here are your notes:

After 20 years of making commercial video games, Simon Strange has returned to academia, becoming a PhD candidate at the University of Abertay in Dundee, Scotland. His goal is to earn the world’s first PhD specifically focused on game design and production. Not to be outdone, Simon’s teenage son, Oskar, hopes to attend Hogwarts during that same period.

Sean Dague is now part of the quantum computing team at IBM, helping make this next great leap in computing accessible to the public. He and Susan Tveekrem MA’99 live in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and have a daughter, Arwen, who just started kindergarten this year. To celebrate her 5th birthday, they revived the old Wesleyan Physics Department tradition of making liquid nitrogen ice cream. The 15 kids with safety glasses on all loved both the show and the ice cream that followed.

A few annual traditions keep them in touch with Wesfolks. For their Memorial Day party, they got to host Trey Belew and his wife, Lara. They took the train up from Maryland where Trey is part of the research staff at the biology department of UMD. Shoshe Cole ’99 stopped by on her way back from the 20th Reunion. She’s living in Ithaca, N.Y., and recently completed her PhD in planetary science. They also were visited by Mike Christie-Fogg and wife Kaileah and their twin daughters. They made it a day trip from their place in Mystic, Conn. Mike has transitioned from woodworking to faux bois, and you can see his work at David Sutherland’s showroom in Manhattan.

Another annual tradition is camping in the Catskills with Scott McCracken and family. The McCracken clan has been doing this since their first child was born 13 years ago. Sean and Susan joined when Arwen was 1. When not pitching a tent or grilling burgers over an open fire in a 24-inch frying pan, Scott works as the medical director for a community health center.

They got to see Nick Coleman and wife H.N. James last summer. Nick is now a tenured professor of computer science at Austin Peay University in Tennessee. A few years ago, Sean, Susan, and Arwen visited them in Tennessee to see the great American solar eclipse. The epicenter came right over their apartment complex, and they had a full day of eclipse festivities, including solar scopes and snacks all day long.

Inspired by Anil Seth, Sean has become very involved in Citizens Climate Lobby, a volunteer organization that is lobbying congress to put a steadily rising fee on CO2 emissions and returning that money to households as a monthly dividend. He participated in two D.C. lobby days this year, the second with Trey Belew. The end of lobby day saw 75 co-sponsors for H.R. 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, the legislation they are advocating for.

Back in New York, this volunteer work was a great excuse to reconnect with Alison ’97 and Brent Spodek. Brent is the rabbi leading the Beacon Hebrew Alliance and lent early support to the bill, and Alison is a professor of chemistry at Vassar College. Sean had an opportunity to give a guest lecture in Alison’s climate change class this last spring on making climate policy.

Dahlia Schweitzer writes: “I have published another book (L.A. Private Eyes) with Rutgers University Press, and I have moved back to NYC for a teaching position at FIT in film and media studies. I’m really excited to get back in touch with all my Wesleyan people who live out on the East Coast and to finally be able to make it back to campus for the occasional visit.”

Jason Becton | jason@mariebette.com

Abby Elbow | aelbow@gmail.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

Sean Connell is working as vice president of government and public relations for LAVLE, a U.S.-Japanese joint venture company headquartered in Anacortes, Wash., and which is developing the world’s first solid-electrolyte battery energy storage system for the marine, renewable energy, and defense sectors. Sean is concurrently a senior fellow of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation in Washington, D.C., a leading organization promoting U.S.-Asia relations, and has been involved over the last few years with the D.C., think-tank community in several projects on economic and innovation policy interrelationships between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. He also serves on the board of directors of the Washington State China Relations Council (currently chaired by Marc Berger ’04), the nation’s leading statewide organization dedicated to promoting stronger commercial, educational, and cultural engagement with China. In his free time, he is wandering trails and climbing glaciers in the North Cascades.

Adam Borden and his wife, Meredith, just returned from Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore with their 12-year-old daughter, Emma, and 10-year-old son, Ian. Driving through the West, the Hamilton recording was their music obsession (thank you, Lin-Manuel ’02!). They also visited the Galapagos Islands this summer, walking among blue-footed booby nests and having an orca pod surface behind the boat. They keep running into Wendy ’01 and Chris Jeffries ’99 in Baltimore because Chris and Meredith serve together on the board of Maryland’s state theater, Center Stage. Adam had dinner with Adam Bakun and his father this spring while in Washington, D.C., on their annual father-son trip and enjoyed an Asian/Peruvian fusion dinner. Adam Bakun and his wife, Ann, live in Boston. As for Adam Borden, he joined SAGE Dining in March as their marketing director. Their campus dining services may be familiar to many WesStudents, as they work with a number of independent schools like Milton, Choate, and Roxbury Latin. He also was appointed to the board of the National Aquarium, Maryland’s most visited attraction and a leading advocate for aquatic conservation.

Sarah Miller Lipton is living in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys, ages 6 and 4, who are about to start kindergarten and pre-k, respectively. Sarah is a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor with a private practice in Santa Monica. She works with her husband who practices interventional pain management and addiction medicine.

Lauren Berliner was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor at University of Washington Bothell, where she teaches media and communication and cultural studies. She is enjoying a year-long sabbatical and has plans to binge-watch all of the TV she missed. She released two books this year with Routledge: Producing Queer Youth: The Paradox of Digital Media Empowerment, and a co-authored volume (with Ron Krabill) Feminist Interventions in Participatory Media Culture: Pedagogy, Publics, Practice.

Cassie Colletti Mecsery and her husband, Sean, were blessed to welcome baby boy, Westley Stephen Charles Mecsery, on March 24.

Jason Becton | jason@mariebette.com

Abby Elbow | aelbow@gmail.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Arshad Chowdhury moved to Hong Kong last August after 20 years in Brooklyn. Asia, where travel is easy and the weather is balmy, has been great so far. He’s investing in early-stage companies throughout the region and, wow, there’s a lot going on. He’s not sure Asia is the best place to be to endure the eco-collapse, though, so they’ll probably return to the States within a few years.

Tom Cleary and his brother have started a new technology dental benefits company, Cirrus Dental, that allows dental offices to offer a subscription dental service at a fraction of the cost of traditional insurance. He and his wife, Morley Silver Cleary ’99, are working on bringing their three children to all 50 states before they apply to Wesleyan (34 down).

Patricia Selcke Grad finally caught up with her good friend Grace Wang Colman ’99 in Princeton, N.J. They hope to get together again in Pawling, N.Y. She reports no major changes since the 20th Reunion last year. She enjoys being a mom, lives on the Upper West Side, and works at Arsenal Capital Partners, a private equity fund. She is in her third year as chair of the board of AMIGOS (amigosinternational.org), a nonprofit organization providing summer immersion and gap programs in Latin America.

Josh Rosenblatt published a book, Why We Fight: One Man’s Search for Meaning Inside the Ring, a memoir about his transition from self-proclaimed pacifist to trained mixed-martial-arts fighter.

It is with deep sadness that we report the passing of James Kamm ’92, president of Alpha Delt and Wesleyan employee for 10 years. Jim was previously married to Ellen Struzziero. He leaves two beautiful daughters, Eliza, 13, and Scarlett, 11, residents of Farmington, Conn., and both alumni of the Neighborhood Preschool at Wesleyan. The girls have beautiful memories of the times they spent with their father at Wesleyan.

As for me (Abby), I’ve been following in my grandfather’s stellar tradition, traveling around Alaska in my 1983 VW Westfalia on weekends in between working as a nurse with Alaska Native moms and babies, and getting to have other amazing Alaskan adventures, such as five days helping at a checkpoint for the 2019 Iditarod. And hoping to hear from many more of you as we head into Reunion!

Jason Becton | jason@mariebette.com

Abby Elbow | aelbow@gmail.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Hi, all. This time around I have a few updates to share as well. My husband and I opened our second café (Petite MarieBette) this winter. Hopefully by the time this is published, my stress levels and social life will be back to normal. I have also been elected board president of Meals on Wheels Charlottesville/Albemarle—an organization that I have been deeply involved with for the past three years.

Adam Borden was elected to the board of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, an Inner Harbor icon and leading aquatic conservation organization. After almost three years marketing McCormick spices, he is now looking for his next adventure. His family finally got the chance to go on their long-dreamed safari in December, seeing leopards and lions, as well as Nelson Mandela’s former Soweto home and Robben Island prison cell.

Anthony Veneziale got to speak at the Kennedy Center around his work on neuroscience and improv’s effects on the brain, plus do a freestyle rap. And Freestyle Love Supreme (with Thomas Kail ’99, Bill Sherman ’02, and Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02) has a sold-out run off-Broadway.

Rob Finn married Dan Shaver, in D.C. last year, and they celebrated with Allison Radecki, Neal Wilkinson, Steve Engel, and Becca Gerner. Sarah Maine ’99, was Rob’s “Best Maine.” Since moving to D.C. in 2014, Rob has worked in housing policy with the National Community Stabilization Trust and is leading the Legislative Affairs division of D.C.’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

Lia Salza has been running Little Loft, the children’s art studio she founded in DC for the last six years, and raising three intense children. She sees Laura Polania and Rebecca Preiser, and stays in touch with Sarah Margon, Eliza Hersh, and Shai Rao. She met up with Justin Moyer and Harrison Owen last summer. She’s leaving behind her beloved Takoma Park neighborhood for a family move to Dallas in June. If you have any contacts there, she’d appreciate it because she currently knows zero people there, but she’s excited to be part of the blue wave in Texas.

Juniper Hill and husband Jesse started new jobs at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg in Germany. He teaches in the Mathematics Institute and she heads the ethnomusicology program. “I am introducing several curricular innovations (which are more in line with Wesleyan pedagogy then with conventional German musicological approaches).” They are busy learning German and adjusting to Franconian/Bavarian culture and enjoy having two academic positions in the same place. She is active in the Sacred Harp shaped note community and started a shape note singing class in Würzburg. Her new book, Becoming Creative: Insights from Musicians in a Diverse World, was published by Oxford University press. If there are any other Wes folk in the Franconian region, they would love to hear from you.

Adam Hinds was sworn in to his second term as a state senator in Massachusetts.

Matt Stromberg has been living in Los Angeles for the past seven years with his wife, Jessica, and their two dogs. Since receiving his master’s from USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism in 2014, he has been working as a freelance arts and culture writer, contributing to a wide range of publications including the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Hyperallergic, the Art Newspaper, and several others.

Bishara Wilson completed his doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. He owns the Brooklyn-based New York Sports Acupuncture where he’s celebrating 16 years in private practice.

Dr. Nadine Forrester Mills earned her doctorate in education (curriculum, instruction, and assessment) from Walden University and would like to thank her loving husband, Gregory Mills; children Jevon Smith, A’ngelique Mills, Ashley Mills, and Anisha Johnson; parents Heroline and Arthur Standberry, grandmother Alberta Blake, and close friends for all their love and support throughout this accomplishment.

Abby Elbow is living her dream life in Anchorage, Alaska, after 15 years of talking about it. She spends four days a week working as a nurse, seeing moms and babies in their homes, and the other three romping in the greatest of great outdoors: hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, playing Ultimate, and just recently, curling! And with her brother and a whole host of family via his marriage here, she gets tons of niece time and chaotic dinner gatherings. She says you’re all invited to come visit. Abby has also agreed to help me with our class notes, for which I am very grateful.

Jason Becton | jason@mariebette.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

Hi, fellow ’98ers. I missed you all at Reunion but from all accounts it seems like it was quite a good time. The following are the notes from our class.

Anya Fernald was included in Inc.’s “The Female Founders 100”—women entrepreneurs that Inc. has been most intrigued by in the past year, whose smarts are rattling industries far and wide. Within this group Anya was named one of the “17 Female Founders Built Brands That Started Movements.”

Anya is co-founder and CEO of Belcampo Meat Co. which started as a vertically integrated, certified organic, and animal welfare-approved farm and butchery in Northern California. Belcampo now runs seven restaurants, a burgeoning e-commerce site, and wholesale businesses, along with a hospitality arm that includes meat camps, where wellness-minded participants learn to butcher and cook meat. Anya is working on expansions that will include a box-subscription service for meat, bone broth, and jerky and a new restaurant and butcher shop that will open soon in NYC.

Joshua Stedman writes: “My band, Brothers of Others, had an exciting time over the Wesleyan Reunion and Commencement weekend. First, we were honored to play at our class’s 20th. The next day we performed with The Voice’s brand new champion, Brynn Cartelli. And the following day we sang the National Anthem a cappella in front of 40,000 at Fenway Park on Memorial Day Weekend.”

Nathan Eddy passed his viva for a PhD in Hebrew Bible. He still uses the Bible he bought for Religion 201 with Jeremy Zwelling, complete with Hebrew words he wrote down from that class.

Lynn Chen is directing her first feature film, I Will Make You Mine, which she also wrote, is producing, and starring in. She’s cast John Newman in it too. You can find out more at IWillMakeYouMine.com.

Amy Barnes writes: “My big news in 2018 is that I launched my own investment advisory and financial planning firm, Firebrand Wealth Management, with a focus on planning for women. I also had my second child, a baby boy, born in May. I am living in Seattle with my partner.”

Peter Isbister lives in Decatur, Ga., with his wife, Robyn, and their three kids, Mira, Ezra, and Lucia. Occasionally he sees Rachel Wellborn, who lives in Atlanta. Peter is enjoying his new job at the Southern Poverty Law Center, where he works in the Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative. This past summer Peter worked with summer intern Agnes Baik ’09.

After over a decade of handling class notes, Marcus Chung has retired. I want to thank Marcus for taking this on for all of these years and for his dedication to the university and our class. We are looking for new people to help take on our class notes. If you have the time and interest, please contact me.

Jason Becton | jcxbecton@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Anthony Veneziale’s new series, Bartlett, premiered on Amazon. Bill Sherman ’02 was music supervisor and Evan Shapiro P’17 was executive producer. Anthony was in another series called The Mortified Guide where he played an adult version of Harry Potter in a gay erotica fan-fiction piece. He had a mini-reunion with Tommy Kail ’99, Sara Miller ’02, Alex Horwitz ’02, and Suzanne Appel ’02 at Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02’s birthday party in NYC.

Amanda Palmer lives in Woodstock, N.Y, but is constantly traveling the world and trying to figure out where to settle. She has a 2-year-old named Anthony.

Anne Thomas and her husband, Andy, attended the marriage of Shelby Tillett ’98 and Matteo Gallo on June 24. In attendance were Kate Berry Grant, Abe Forman-Greenwald, Christine Treveloni Reidenbach, Ryan Chamberlain ’00, Matt Feeney ’99, Jake Fay ’00, Matt Perceval ’00, and Heather Cohen Perceval ’02. She makes summer visits to Middletown to show her children Lucy (9) and Drew (7) their future alma mater. She often sees Makaela Steinberg and Matt Kingsley ’98, and their children Amelia and Eli. Anne is serving on our 20th Reunion committee and looks forward to connecting with many of you in May!

Claire Skorski Garland lives in her hometown, Golden, Colo., with her husband and two boys. She is a psychotherapist working in crisis assessment and counseling.

Laura Ayala is president of the board for Upward Scholars. The Upward Scholars mission is to empower low-income adults, mostly immigrants, by providing them financial, academic, and community support so they can continue their education, get better jobs, and serve as role models for their community.

Sara Brenneis and her husband, Eric, welcomed their second child, Malcolm, on Thanksgiving Day. Her book on Spaniards in the Mauthausen concentration camp comes out in April with The University of Toronto Press. She’s an associate professor of Spanish at Amherst College and will be in Madrid on sabbatical during the 2019-20 academic year. If any Wes alumni are living in Spain, she’d enjoy being in touch.

Amanda Green Marini lives in Oakland, Calif., with her husband, Paul, and their two kids. She teaches English and film at Berkeley with Matt Albinson ’97 and John Becker ’03. She tested for her third-degree black belt in jujitsu. She often sees Mike Della Penna and Summer Halas.

Jessica Cortes is a partner at Davis & Gilbert in NYC. She hosted a Wesleyan Lawyer’s Association networking event in March. She lives with her husband, Lee, and their children in Westfield, N.J. She was proud to co-organize the Second Annual Westfield Women’s March in January, where there were close to 2,000 attendees and speakers including public officials, candidates, members of women’s organizations, and several young children, including her two daughters. She caught up with Daisy Voorhees Bokus and Heather Cunningham Ostrowski.

This year Marianne Benet’s son, Henry, who is 8 years and was born with a rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome, walked 22 consecutive steps independently for the first time! Marianne and her family didn’t know if they would ever see him walk. She and husband Ben have two other sons, Zac (10) and Billy (5). Marianne has put her career in microfinance on hold to be a full-time mom and to help Henry reach his full potential. She keeps in touch with Miki Kawashima, Jeff Matrician, Heather Marciniec, Erin (Fieler) Collins, Andrew Hall, and Isabel Vega.

Keisha Robinson is married with two boys. She acquired her master’s in chemistry from NYU Polytechnic Institute and works as a clinical quality assurance manager dealing with radiopharmaceutical oncology or cancer drug treatments for advanced accelerator applications.

Joshua Stedman’s band, Brothers of Others, released an EP in June (brothersofothers.com).

Adam Abel and his partners founded the nonprofit SkateQilya, which uses skateboarding and art to teach community building and leadership skills to girls and boys in Palestine. It was featured on NBC, CNN, and the cover of Haaretz. Viceland will be airing an episode about it.

Steve Engel was promoted to a full professor in the Bates College department of politics, which he chairs. He got to see Adrienne Lucas who came up from the University of Delaware, where she is a professor, to give a talk to the department.

Markell Parker is executive director of Summer on the Hill, a nonprofit academic enrichment program for low-income public school students in the Bronx, Harlem, and Washington Heights. Markell resides in his hometown of the Bronx where he is raising his 7-year-old son, Malcolm.

We would also like to issue a correction. The notice of the passing of our classmate Marc James Augustine was included in the notes for the class of ’99 instead of being included in our class of which he was a part. It was brought to our attention by his brother who wanted to make sure that his fellow classmates were made aware. Marc passed away suddenly on Oct. 26, 2014, at his home in Durham, N.C. Marc leaves behind his wife Cynthia (Bland) Augustine, brothers Mikael James Augustine and Gerald Darin Augustine, two aunts, and several cousins.

Marcus Chung | marcusbchung@gmail.com 

Jason Becton | jcxbecton@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2017 | ISSUE 3

Did anyone else catch our friend Kate Wetherhead’s opening skit on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in September? Drawing upon her Wesleyan English degree, she read a book on air. The book, The Emperor’s New Wall, served as witty commentary on President Trump’s promise to build a see-through wall at the Mexican border. I loved seeing our classmate on my television!

Also on television in September, Adam Abel’s organization, SkateQuilya was featured on NBC news. The organization is a youth empowerment program that uses skateboarding as a tool to teach art, community building, and leadership skills to Palestinian girls and boys in the West Bank.

In June, Joshua Stedman’s band, Brothers of Others (brothersofothers.com) released a new album, Space. Based in Miami, the band is described as “a trio of multi-instrumental artists…deeply influenced by the pioneers of blues, soul and rock.”

Lisa Ko’s debut novel, The Leavers, was longlisted for the National Book Award for fiction. The Leavers is the story of an 11-year-old whose mother, Polly, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, fails to return home one day from her job at a nail salon in Brooklyn—leaving the boy alone to navigate a new life as the adopted son of a well-meaning American couple in upstate New York.

I love to hear when my Wes friends are connecting with each other and making new memories together. Abby Posner shared with me that she, her husband Alan Rosen ’97, and their daughters spent time hiking in the White Mountains with Jill Kantrowitz Kunkel, her husband Greg ’95, and their sons over Labor Day weekend. As the families summited Mount Lafayette, they naturally trekked while singing “Guns and Ships” from Hamilton, making it a Wes outing through and through!

I don’t know about you, but I’m astonished that we will celebrate our 20th Reunion in May. I’m already looking forward to seeing all of you back on campus!

Marcus Chung | marcusbchung@gmail.com 

Jason Becton | jcxbecton@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2017 | ISSUE 2

Hi, fellow ’98ers. Though 2017 has been overwhelmingly eventful so far, visits from friends help to slow it down a bit. Keeping with my theory that Charlottesville, Va., is the Wesleyan crossroads of America, we got a visit from Emily Lieberman, Jules Cohen, and their three wonderful daughters Lucy, Lola, and Eliza. They stopped to see us on their way from the Shenandoah to the D.C. area to visit Jules’ parents. Our daughters got an opportunity to get to know one another and hang out outside to enjoy the beautiful Virginia spring weather.

In other updates…Kubi Ackerman is director of the Future City Lab, a cutting-edge interactive space at the Museum of the City of New York exploring the key challenges and opportunities that New York will face in coming generations. Kubi invites all Wes students and alumni in New York to come visit the lab.

Abby Elbow writes: “After 15 years of talking about it, I’ve finally taken the plunge and moved to Alaska. I’m very happily living near my brother and nieces and other family, am surrounded by beautiful mountains and water and, at this time of year, 19 hours of sunlight!  I also made a career change a few years ago and became a nurse, and am now working with Alaska Native moms and babies to improve long-term maternal and infant health and social outcomes.”

Adam Borden writes: “I left The Hershey Company about 18 months ago after launching Kisses Deluxe—Hershey’s trade-up to premium chocolate—and returned to Baltimore to work for McCormick, where I manage the Kitchen Basics culinary stock business. We are having dinner with Adam Bakun and his wife, Ann, in November at Blue Hill at Stone Barns—hoping for luck in getting our reservations.”

Yolanda Denson-Byers graduated from Luther Seminary with a doctorate in ministry. Her thesis was titled, Walk Me to Gate: Christian Practices of Accompaniment with Dying People and Their Families. Yolanda is called as a hospice chaplain and bereavement coordinator with St. Croix Hospice in St. Cloud, Minn.

Jim McLean writes: “I’m working as an emergency department physician assistant in Fort Collins, Colo., where my wife, Heather, and I just bought our house and are raising our 2-year-old, Felix. We just moved out here two years ago from Berkeley, Calif. Great hiking, super family-friendly, and tasty beer! Don’t get to see too many fellow alumni out here, but always glad to hear from people!”

Annika Sweetland is an assistant professor at Columbia University in psychiatry and public health, where she does global mental health research. She is happily married to photographer Nacho Guevara, whom she met during her Wesleyan study-abroad program in Costa Rica in 1997 and reconnected with 16 years later.

Dr. Brendan Armm is a leading nationally board-certified acupuncturist, and doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine, specializing in orthopedics, pain management, and integrative medicine. He serves on the faculty of one of the nation’s top Chinese medical schools. He is the founder and clinical director of Lotus Integrative Medicine Santa Monica. Inspired by the benefits acupuncture brought his patients, he created BackInBand®, a self-administered acupressure device that offers affordable and convenient daily treatment for low back pain.

Finally, it is with tremendous sadness that I have to report that our beloved classmate Obi Okobi has passed away. She was principal of City Neighbors Hamilton School, Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland, and had also worked in various capacities with the Prospect Hill Academy Charter School, The Park School of Baltimore, and Waverly Elementary/Middle School, all in Baltimore; and the Hamden Public Schools in Connecticut. Obi was a source of inspiration and joy to the students, teachers, families, and colleagues throughout the Baltimore district and Connecticut. She personified the love of learning, commitment to students, and dedication to the principles of equity and justice that are the hallmark of a great educator. Obi was an active member of many organizations and communities, focusing on arts and culture, children, civil rights and social action, education, health, human rights, poverty alleviation, and social services. She served as a mentor, motivational speaker, outreach coordinator, and girl’s lacrosse coach. She was an avid runner, participating in several half-marathons. She was on the board of directors of Sheldon Calvary Camp in Conneaut, Ohio, and also on the board of directors of Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Marcus Chung | marcusbchung@gmail.com 

Jason Becton | jcxbecton@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 1998 | 2017 | ISSUE 1

As I (Marcus) write this edition of our class notes, I await a visit by Michael Roth ’78 to San Francisco where he will discuss Wesleyan’s “Beyond 2020” vision and plan. Wesleyan has built generations of leaders who are able to work across disciplines and sectors, apply critical thought to the world around us, and compel others to action through articulation of a clear, inspiring vision. It’s clear to me that now, more than ever, these qualities are important to build a more just world—and it’s heartening to see our classmates work so hard to make a positive difference in a variety of ways.

In November, Brooks Berndt and Romarico “Chief” Nieto were part of a delegation that met with leaders from both the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the demonstrators opposing the Dakota access pipeline. Based in Cleveland, Brooks is the minister for environmental justice for the United Church of Christ. Together with Chief, owner and operator of Apache Stoneworks in Denver, he sought to spread a message of peace, prayer, and justice.

Jack & Louisa: Act 3, by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead ’98, is the third in the popular middle school series about two musical theater nerd best friends from Penguin Young Readers.

I enjoyed a fancy breakfast with Kate Haviland, her husband, Edo, and their new son, Elan, while Kate visited San Francisco for a conference. Based in Boston, Kate is chief business officer for Blueprint Medicines, a biotechnology company focused on an innovative approach to treating diseases driven by the abnormal activation of kinases, like cancer.

Over the past few months I’ve had the chance to see Lindsey Fitzgibbons and her family. Lindsey and her husband, Mike, are raising two beautiful boys while she continues to work in the health and wellness field in San Francisco. She is a practicing depth hypnotherapist who helps her clients heal traumas, work through current and past relationship issues, and recognize and address destructive patterns.

Thanks to my work with Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, I am lucky to be in near-constant contact with Makaela Kingsley, whose leadership and mentorship continue to amaze me. If you haven’t had the chance to meet some of the Wesleyan students and recent alumni who have learned from Makaela and her network of social entrepreneurs, I highly encourage you to do so. You’ll undoubtedly feel the same sense of hope and optimism I feel after my meetings and conversations with these inspiring students.

It’s a short and sweet edition of class notes this round. Please send your news to me and Jason!

Marcus Chung | marcusbchung@gmail.com 

Jason Becton | jcxbecton@yahoo.com