Those with class notes, please contact your class secretary.
Those with class notes, please contact your class secretary.
One year later most of us are still cooped up in our homes, our kids not in school, and still riding out the pandemic. But as the world opens up and vaccines become available, it’s still great to see that Wesleyan alumni are flourishing. And what’s even crazier—next year marks our 20th Reunion! A few updates from our classmates this time around:
Michelle Carney (Rabinowitz) developed and produced a new docuseries on video games for Vice called Reset: The Unauthorized Guide to Video Games.
Eric Donelan left the U.S. State Department in late 2019 and moved to Seoul, Korea with his family to take a position with the Coupang Corporation as the head of global security and workforce protection.
Monica Coquoz sends out “a friendly hello from Seville, Spain,” where she is based. Melissa is a therapist, mindfulness and yoga teacher. She’s “dancing to stay happy and energized. Big hugs to all!”
Suzy Gerstein lives in New York City with her husband, David, her eight-going-on-14-year-old son Harvey, and her almost three-year-old daughter Judith Rose. Since the pandemic hit Suzy has had to pivot her business. Suzy writes, “For the past decade-and-a-half I had made my living as a freelance makeup artist (doing mostly shoots and red carpet). With that no longer viable, I have begun to teach one-on-one virtual makeup lessons. Fellow ’02-er, Nicole Cohen, has given me invaluable PR coaching. I have also been staying sane doing my homegirl Jen Guarnieri’s Yoga Collective workouts and filming Instagram makeup tutorials (with voice by daughter, Judy).” Suzy’s IG handle is @suzygerstein; you can follow along with her! One of Suzy’s first clients was another fellow ’02er Lily Walton (McDowell), who has a new interior design business. Lily lives in Ojai and her design website is lilywalton.com.
As for me, I’ve been riding out the pandemic with my wife and kids in the greater Vancouver area since September, having spent the fall on Salt Spring Island (seven weeks), Quadra Island (two weeks), and skiing in Whistler (one month), while settling in West Vancouver for the winter and spring (and going back to Los Angeles in the summer). I’ve been working remotely, continuing in my role at XTR. At XTR, we’ve been busy building one of the best documentary studios in the world—we produced eight films that premiered at Sundance 2021 and two films at SXSW 2021. And we are in the middle of production on three documentary series, as well as six feature documentaries, and we also launched our ad-supported streaming platform Documentary+, which is available anywhere you stream content, including docplus.com. We are building a home for passionate nonfiction fans and so far the platform has been doing quite well!
Keep the notes coming!
Those with class notes, please contact:
Class Notes Editor
Hey, everybody! I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during these challenging times. If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s that we’re able to share more time with our loved ones and spend more time introspectively looking within. Our collective resolute spirit is inspiring to see.
I recently came across an article that my old hallmate Larrison Campbell wrote in Vanity Fair, where she talks about breaking out her mother’s old Junior League cookbooks during quarantine, discovering a time capsule to the past and a guidepost for the pandemic. And I recently caught up with Jenny He, pre-pandemic, as we attended the Frieze Art Fair in Los Angeles together. This year Jenny moved to Los Angeles and took a position as the exhibitions curator at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures after being the touring filmmaker and artist for Tim Burton’s international exhibitions for the past 10 years.
Congratulations are in store for a few of our classmates. Rachael Slivka gave birth to her first child on Sept. 14, 2019; she and her husband, Joel Schectman, named their son Ori. They live in Washington, D.C., where Rachael works as an emergency physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. And Blake Walsh married Shannon McCabe on Sept. 1, 2019, in Buffalo, N.Y. Joining them for a raucous weekend celebration were Kevin MacDermott, Shawn Lemerise and his wife, Reka Salgunan ’01, Taylor Green and Rachel Peters, John Geehreng and Jen Guarnieri, Adam Cayton-Holland, John Lawler, Padraig Hughes ’03, and Chuck Ptak MALS ’05.
Jocelyn Greene has been creating content around theater games and social-emotional learning for parents and schools through Child’s Play in Action. Jocelyn lives in Brooklyn with her actor husband, Glenn Fleshler, and their 8-year-old son.
Alex Horwitz is tucked in the woods of Upstate New York, where he’s building a big stick house with his two boys. A few months ago, just before lockdown set in, Alex directed a Bon Jovi music video at Abbey Road Studios, featuring no-longer-Prince Harry. It was supposed to be step one of a larger documentary project with the band, but the pandemic put that on the back burner for now. Until then, his family is just hunkered down, staying safe, and getting ready for whatever is next.
And for others, it was time to move on from their jobs:
After a brief—but fun—stint working at an Amazon warehouse, Ryan Akers-Engstrand is a homemaker in David, Calif., with his wife, who is two years away from completing a neurology residency, and their two boys, one of whom is completing his kindergarten residency in June, and the other who is turning 4 in September. Ryan got the chance to have a virtual reunion in April with all of his senior year housemates—Nate Andrade, Chris Lynch, and Pete Rosenblatt. Ryan said, “It was sweet.”
Eric Donelan left the U.S. Department of State and moved to Seoul, Korea, in January with his family. Eric is currently the director of physical security for Coupang, the largest e-commerce company in Korea. They are settling well and “wish the whole Wesleyan community, students and alumni, good health during these trying times.”
I haven’t posted a note about myself in a while—I left the Viacom corporate world working for Paramount Network at the beginning of 2019 and joined forces with former Ryot Film co-founder Bryn Mooser to build XTR, a new documentary studio in LA. In our first year, we produced and co-financed over 20 documentary features, including four films in competition at Sundance 2020 (one of which—Blood Nose, Empty Pockets—was also produced by another Wesleyan alumni producer, Michael Gottwald ’06, one film at SXSW and two films at Tribeca (both festivals were sadly sidelined due to the pandemic). Our SXSW film—You Cannot Kill David Arquette—was picked up by Neon and will be released on VOD (and hopefully theatrically as well, depending upon COVID) in August. We are also about to announce a major sports doc with a huge Michael Jordan-level athlete. In addition, we’re working on several documentary series and podcasts. It’s been really fun building a new business and hopefully, a new brand within the nonfiction space.
Class of 2002, please keep the notes coming!
Justin Lacob | email@example.com
After 12 years in Vancouver, Canada, Steve Chasey relocated with his wife, Sarah, and two little ones Dorian, 6, and Naomi, 2, to Berkeley, Calif., to be closer to family and friends. Steve is practicing construction law with Varela, Lee, Metz, and Guarino, LLP in San Francisco, while not digging in the garden, playing with LEGOs, and generally having fun in the California sunshine.
Ben Rhatigan is switching to a creative agency called Brand Culture, after several years working in strategy consulting post-MBA. He’ll stay in Barcelona but will spend a few months at the company’s headquarters in Los Angeles, where he plans to reconnect with old Wes friends and where, coincidentally, he’ll be working with Columbine Goldsmith’s delightful younger sister Alice ’10.
Becky Ticotsky Roihl and her husband Dan Roihl are overjoyed to welcome their first child Gabriella May Roihl, born April 27. The Roihls live in a suburb of Boston, and Becky works as a college counselor at a private school.
Sarah Erlinder is an assistant federal public defender in Flagstaff, Ariz. She lives there with husband Charlie and sons Caleb, 4, and Zeke, 1.
Matt Kushner and Lauren Edgar Kushner (Brown ’04) are busy juggling careers and two children. Matt is freelancing around NYC as a 3D generalist, TD, and pipeline developer. You can catch his work on TV In Fear of the Walking Dead, Blindspot, and Power. Lauren helped create the VR experience in AMNH’s new T. rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit. Daughters Mimi and Tessa are now 4 and 1.5, respectively, and are doing a great job of keeping their parents on their toes.
Laura Stein is living in New Orleans with her husband Chris Kaminstein ’04. She cofounded and directs a nonprofit arts organization, Dancing Grounds, and he cofounded and directs a nonprofit theater organization, Goat in the Road Productions, with artistic director, Shannon Flaherty ’06. Laura’s sister, Rachel Stein, and her husband, Matt Schwarzfeld ’03, moved to New Orleans with their daughter, Joni. Rachel is a research librarian at the Latin American Studies Library and Matt is a high school social studies teacher. It’s a Wesleyan family affair in New Orleans!
Amy Tannenbaum Gottlieb | firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello, Class of 2002! Not many updates came through this month so please feel free to e-mail me anytime of the year, not just when we solicit them through the class e-mail list. I would love to hear from more of you to include in the next issue! Onto the updates:
Caitlin Hardy lives in the New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia with her husband, Jeff Raynor, and daughter Savannah. She finished her radiology fellowship in women’s imaging in June and joined a private practice in July.
Eric Donelan is leaving the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary, after three years, with the newest addition to his family—his daughter Freya. Eric and his wife, Danielle, along with their children Grant, Wyatt, and Freya—will be heading back to the U.S. for language training before traveling to La Paz, Bolivia, next June for a two-year assignment at an altitude over 11,000 feet.
Jesse Lava was named to the national 40 Under 40 in Public Health list, sponsored by the de Beaumont Foundation.
Julio and Mariela Rosario Pabón celebrated the first birthday of their second child Francesca Solar. Mariela is the editor-in-chief of HipLatina.com, the largest site for Latina Millennials in the U.S. Julio is the supervising creative producer for global cultures for Spotify.
Will Gardner and son Miles made a pit stop at the Usdan Center on their way to see Nat Katin-Borland, Amy Strekas ’03, Evan Katin-Borland ’06, and Pete Mongillo.
Domenick Acquista is a physician with International and Executive Medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital Northwell Health. He opened his own medical spa, Behodi Aesthetics and Wellness, in Long Island City.
Kasia Newman Deuel made a quick visit to campus and enjoyed seeing the major landmarks of her youth with her family, including her son Emmett, 5, who enjoyed riding his scooter around “Mommy’s college.” She says that the “campus is looking great.” She is happily doing public policy work on marine conservation with The Pew Charitable Trusts, coming up on 10 years with the organization. She works from home in Beverly, Mass. She enjoys catching up with classmates when in D.C. or NYC and welcomes a chance to connect when folks come through Boston.
I’ve personally been enjoying the Netflix documentary series Remastered, created and produced by Michael Zimbalist. Each episode of the series is directed by a different filmmaker and “investigates high profile events affecting some of the most legendary names in music, presenting groundbreaking discoveries and insight.” My favorite episodes include one about the murder of Sam Cooke and another about the short, mysterious life of blues music pioneer Robert Johnson.
That’s it. Please send more updates my way. Thank you!
Justin Lacob | email@example.com
Happy spring! On the baby front: Lauren Bierman and Tom Slattery welcomed their second son, Tate, on Aug. 13. Lauren is vice president for Global Strategy Group, a public affairs, communications, and research firm. She previously served as campaign manager for newly elected Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus Hakeem Jeffries.
Rachel Gooze and her partner, Scott Kaplan, welcomed a baby, Felix, on Dec. 25, to join big sister Talia, 3. They are moving up north to be near family in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Another highlight of 2018, Rachel’s gathering of Wesleyan friends: May Wheelwright, Radhika Singh, Edna Togba, and Sheenru Yong.
Julia Clark-Spohn and her husband, Kevin Byrd, in Columbia, S.C., welcomed a little boy, Caleb Wren Byrd, into the world in November. Julia says, “He is an amazing little person and lights up our world.”
Alissa Kronovet welcomed a new addition to her family. She lives in Oakland, Calif., with her husband, Juan, 2-year-old Natalia, and newborn Julieta. They are all healthy, happy, and a little bit exhausted.
Eric Kushins and his wife, Doreen Lee, welcomed their second son, Reed, in August. Their older son, Ellis, is 3. They live in Atlanta. Eric is an assistant professor of management at Berry College in Rome, Ga., teaching undergraduate courses in HRM, social entrepreneurship, and family business management, and executive education courses in Lean Six Sigma.
Congrats to Radley Kanaszyc and Maia Ruiz who were married in 2018. Radley will hit his five-year anniversary this June at Guggenheim Partners.
On the job front: Alex Horwitz directed a feature documentary, Autonomy, about self-driving cars, executive produced by and featuring Malcolm Gladwell. The movie’s premiere is set for SXSW, hopefully with a sale and wide distribution to follow.
Since 2016, Ben Allen has worked as a microfinance researcher at Catholic Relief Services in Baltimore, a job that has taken him to a few far-flung locations, including rural Mauritania, Uganda, and Guatemala. In October, he published a global state-of-practice study on the inclusion of the most vulnerable populations—such as those who are ultra-poor, have disabilities, or are living with or affected by HIV—in savings groups. Ben and his wife, Megan, are expecting their first child in June.
Varuna Bhattacharyya moved to King and Spalding, LLP, as counsel in the corporate, finance, and investments group, specializing in commercial real estate finance.
Carly Einstein and Andy Reger are raising two daughters in Denver (Lillian, 4, and Emerson, 3). Carly is director of alumni engagement team for the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver.
Allison Kennedy lives in her home state of New Mexico and works for Meow Wolf, where she is inspired by creatives who are building immersive art environments. She is happily engaged to a fellow landscape architect.
Stephen Scribner and his wife, Stacy, moved to Denver in October. He joined a friend—Morgan Law, husband of Kathleen Jones ’03—to help him build the architecture practice he started a few years ago. Stephen is Passive House-certified and excited to be carrying the torch in Colorado for ultra-low energy construction. He and his wife also have a 3.5-year-old. Steven said, “We’re all enjoying the sunshine and mountains. It’s been great hanging out with Kathleen again—she now has an almost 1-year-old and a 2.5-year-old, both boys.”
Stephen moved from Boston, where he enjoyed being close to Conor Gately and Tricie Gately ’04, as well as Dina Levi and her wife and two little girls, who are living the dream in Northampton. Dina is director of diversity for Amherst University and Conor is a researcher at BU and Harvard in atmospheric pollution. They also overlapped with Katherine Gajewski, her husband, and 2-year-old boy in Cambridge, while she was at Harvard’s Kennedy School; they’ve since seen her in Denver while on their long winding route to move to Chicago, where she and her family are now.
Stephen flew up to Boise, Idaho, to help Austin Zinsser install a kitchen. Austin and his wife, Lauren, are racing to finish renovating their very cute bungalow before having their first baby in February. Austin is a hard rock geologist, working for a gold mining company between backpacking, skiing, and renovating his house.
Carlos Rojas moved to Jersey City from Manhattan. Carlos said, “I’m loving my new, and much larger, living/work space.” Carlos is a documentary film editor and most recently edited the Netflix documentary, The Great Hack, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Benjamin Goldstein was promoted to associate professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke University. He enjoys living in the south with his wife, Cheng, and two sons, Malcolm, 4, and Noah, 1.
Justin Lacob | firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you all had a wonderful 2018. As we ring out the year and look ahead to the next one, I wanted to bring you the latest updates from all our classmates.
More baby congratulations: Jamie Novogrod and his wife, Sarah Rienhoff, had twins (a boy and a girl) in September. Fife and Grace are happy and healthy and are best friends. They live with their dog, Ernie, in LA. James is the L.A. bureau chief for Vice News Tonight on HBO.
Kerry Wallach and Jess Firshein ’05 welcomed their second child, Rafael Jonathan Wallach, in late September. Zev (almost 3) is very excited to be a big brother. Kerry and Jess are based in Rockville, Md., and are enjoying consecutive parental leaves from their jobs at Gettysburg College (where Kerry is now tenured and chair of German studies) and Accenture (where Jess is a senior manager).
And Rachel Kriger is still babymaking. Her third child, Evan Ziv Kriger-Corso, was born Aug. 28 outside under the light of the moon in her backyard in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, Suzy Gerstein and husband David welcomed their second child (but first daughter), Judith Rose Engelhardt on May 21. Judy joins her big brother, Harvey, who turns 6 in December. Suzy works as a makeup artist in NYC. She was fortunate enough to reconnect with Nicole Cohen, who works with Medela, and who generously helped Suzy with feeding options for her return into the workforce. Suzy says, “it doesn’t solve the work-life juggling act but sure makes it easier knowing fellow mamas have got your back.”
And Joel Nichols and his boyfriend, Ray Murphy, adopted again last year and are please to introduce their adorable, now 1-year-old, Jody. Their older kid just started kindergarten and is in the same class as Mary Peacock and Phil Gentry’s kid, too!
On the entertainment industry front: Michael Zimbalist has directed three feature documentaries released in 2018: Nossa Chape, about the rebuilding of the Chapecoense soccer club after a tragic airplane crash killed most of the team, which was released through Fox Sports; Momentum Generation, a Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award winner about the world’s most legendary surf crew, executive produced by Robert Redford; and Give Us This Day, following three police officers and three residents in East St. Louis, the city with the highest homicide rate in the country, executive produced by Vince Vaughn. They are also releasing their Fox series, Phenoms, about young footballers in the lead up to the 2018 World Cup, and a Netflix original documentary series they created.
Kevin Cornish was nominated for an Emmy for directing an interactive piece for 13 Reasons Why at Netflix.
From Kevin: “I didn’t win, but still seems like it’s worth mentioning.” Kevin is a prolific VR director and producer, working with brands and clients like Netflix, IBM, Google, Oculus, MTV, Discovery, and AT&T, and is the founder of Moth + Flame, a full service virtual reality agency.
Before her transition from nonprofit leader with The Future Project to filmmaker with The Gates Preserve, Sallomé Hralima delivered a talk at TEDxWesleyanU titled “Workplaces Suffocate Human Potential” four weeks after delivering her second child. She is married with two children living in Brooklyn and working on a documentary film about hip-hop journalists, called Shaping the Culture and set for release next fall.
Out here in California: Ryan Akers moved to Davis, Calif., with his wife, Betty, and two boys, ages 2 and 4. After seven years of filtering and brewing beer, he is now a stay-at-home-dad, while Betty is completing her residency in neurology. He is looking forward to his 15th annual ski trip with Dan Winokur and Paul Kim early next year.
Nicole Krauch Stone lives in the Bay Area with her 8-year-old son, Noah, and her husband, Philip, who is a computer software engineer which is “why she can afford to stay in the Bay Area!” Nicole teaches preschool three times a week and twice a week she teaches Qigong classes to adults. In her spare time, Nicole dances, romps in the wilderness, swims in bodies of water, and transcribes talks on meditation and spirituality.
And lastly: Edna Togba was promoted to chief development officer at Chicago Sinfonietta. She has been with the organization for three years.
Lauren Gottlieb Lockshin is living in NYC with her husband and two daughters and completing her PhD at Yale University in Jewish History. She is expecting a third daughter in late November/early December.
Sarah-Jane Ripa has fulfilled her lifelong dream of being able to both speak German all the time and live in Massachusetts by working for the Goethe-Institut Boston.
Justin Lacob | email@example.com
SUNNY CHYUN ’02
Congratulations are in order for Una LaMarche and Jeff Zorbedian. They welcomed their second son, Max, on Nov. 5, joining his 6-year-old brother Sam. Congrats also to Ben Goldstein and his wife, Cheng Li, who welcomed their second son, Noah Li Goldstein, in December. Big brother Malcolm is loving having a younger brother. Ben is an assistant professor of biostatistics at Duke University.
Speaking of second children, I (Justin Lacob) had a second daughter with my wife, Melanie, in October. We named her Juliette Violet Lacob; she joins big sister Scarlett. We also moved to a new house in the wilds of the Hollywood Hills, where we all fall asleep listening to howling coyotes and hooting owls.
Also want to extend congratulations to Paul Kim and his wife, Mirjam, who celebrated their two-year wedding anniversary and moved to their new home in Brooklyn Heights in November.
And, congrats to Lin-Manuel Miranda for winning his third Grammy this year for Best Song Written for Visual Media for “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s Moana movie.
Britton Boyd went to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria with the FBI’s first relief team. They distributed food, water, tarps, baby food, and Britton calls this “the highlight of his career so far.” And after spending a year in Pakistan, Eric Donelan and his wife, Danielle, moved with their three children–Grant (5), Wyatt (3), and Freya (1)—to Budapest, Hungary, where he still works for the Diplomatic Security Service of the Department of State as a supervisory special agent and security attaché.
Aaron Schwartz “is excited to see his small business, Ayurvedic Mouthwash Company, YALA, excel nationally and internationally, entering major market stores like Free People and Anthropologie.” Meanwhile, his pediatric dental practice in Atlanta continues to grow. He and his wife, Thea Delage ’04, are keeping busy with their son, Martin. Lauren Geller Rascoff lives in Denver, Colo., with her husband, Sam, and their three children–Jonah (8), Roselle (6), and Joely (2). Lauren is a urogynecologist at the University of Colorado and “loves it!” And Caitlin Hardy lives in Collingswood, N.J., with her husband, Jeff, and their daughter, Savannah. She is finishing her radiology residency at Cooper Hospital and will be staying on next year as a women’s imaging fellow.
Ryan Akers is a brewer at Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, after managing the filtration department. He also had another child, Victor, who is 11/2 years old. Lexi Keeler is working at Summer Search in fund development and lives in Seattle with her wife and kids (Emmett, 6, Will, 4, and Harper, who is also 4). And Sunny Chyun was awarded the winner of the 36th United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year–Singapore in November. She would like to thank the Freeman Foundation, her studio arts advisor, Keiji Shinohara, and Wesleyan studiomate, Dave Golden.
Keep those notes coming!
Justin Lacob | firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunny Chyun ’02 is the winner of the 36th United Overseas Bank (UOB) Painting of the Year Award for her linen artwork titled. Dyspraxia. The UOB judges said, “[We] were impressed by the artwork’s details which consisted of various embroidered patterns created with a mix of threads, acrylic, oil and glow-in-the-dark paint.” She was honored at an awards ceremony in November. Chyun was a studio arts major at Wesleyan and earned an MFA from the Korean National University of Arts.