CLASS OF 2020 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Nick Ticali is still working as an EMT with Northwell Health and volunteering with his local fire department. He received his first interview for physician’s assistant school with the Tufts University School of Medicine. Hopefully, this is the first of many!

This August, Rowan Hair moved to Boston to begin his master’s program in history at Boston College and hopes to focus on Irish history, specifically religion in the early modern period.

Melisa Olgun moved back to Connecticut to pursue her JD at Yale Law School, where she plans to pursue health law. She still thinks New York pizza is better than New Haven pizza, though she can be swayed.

Colleen Castro graduated from Wesleyan in May with a master’s degree in chemistry. She started working at Sanofi—down the street from campus, in Meriden, Connecticut, working in the lab on generation of the seasonal flu vaccine Flublok and Sanofi’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Alexander Olvera spent last summer working as a consultant for a small school in San José, Honduras, helping raise over $20,000. The school was operating without internet before the COVID-19 pandemic, but thanks to numerous donations they were able to continue learning with new laptops and a connection to the World Wide Web. But by far, the best thing that happened “was flying out and seeing all of those lovely kids in person!”

Maya Layne still wants you to read her writing on mayalayne.blog!

Thanks to everyone who submitted updates to this rendition of Class Notes! As for me, I’m living in Chicago and missing the mild Connecticut winter! Be on the lookout for an email from me with the next call for Class Notes updates!

CLASS OF 2020 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Emmy Hughes is enjoying mooching off of her aunt and uncle, with whom she is living, while she works remotely as a research assistant studying planetary geology. She recently lived with fledgling China reporter Hannah Reale for an idyllic six weeks in Vermont, during which they saw little of anyone else and miraculously stayed sane.

     Emma Greenfield is working as a programmer in Madison, Wisconsin, and is living with two beloved cats.

      Sophie Charles is expertly managing a Columbia University psychology laboratory, but her real achievement since graduation is her SIMs 4 gameplay design, particularly a virtual French restaurant and vineyard.

     Chloe Thorburn is currently pursuing her PhD in physics in Rochester, New York (or as she and apparently most other residents call it: “RaChaCha”).

   Spencer Arnold is tracking COVID treatment effectiveness and creating and hosting virtual murder mystery events with Meg Cummings, who is living in Pittsburgh and working in the nonprofit industry.

     Sarah Mount is working on her feet for a local brewery in Maine, though her friends would be pleased if she decided to work in her beloved roller skates.

     Katie Vasquez has returned to Connecticut to work in a laboratory at Yale University.

     Grace Snyder is currently working for the NIH and living in Washington DC, where she is working on fixing this sorry state of affairs!

     Miles Brooks is serving as a corpsmember for the Watershed Stewards Program, working with Grassroots Ecology, a Bay Area nonprofit that specializes in habitat restoration, environmental education, and volunteer engagement. Ask him about identifying California native plants, improving local habitats, or treating poison oak!

    Sarah Hutcheon is currently working at Abbott as a technical manufacturing chemist, where she mainly makes the reagents for their COVID-19 tests.

     Isaac Klimasmith and Mariel Baitenmann-Middlebrook packed up their lives and moved to Urbana, Illinois for graduate school at the University of Illinois. Mariel is working towards her master’s in education and Isaac is pursuing a PhD in natural resources (lots of corn, lots of soil). They credit their continued sanity in the face of Midwestern isolation to their three pet rats.

     Nick Ticali is working as an EMT with Northwell Health! He still works with Hunter EMS, volunteers for his fire department, produces music, and takes part in online theatre to keep busy as he waits for the spring application cycle for physician assistant programs to open.

     After working remotely in investment research and as a contact tracer in Massachusetts, Luke Forsthoefel is now working for BMO Capital Markets in their Technology Investment Banking division. He didn’t expect to begin his career on this path but is looking forward to eventually moving to San Francisco!

     Esha Bhandari is enrolled in a “career-changer” pre-medical postbaccalaureate certification program at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia, which she will complete in May 2021.

    Ben Lefkowitz is getting an MA in public policy at Harvard. He just moved to Boston and is really excited to finally be on campus!

    Since graduation, Sherly Francois focused on searching for the right job and started a small business called SavedBySherly (@savedbysherly on Instagram), to sell her DIY projects. She recently accepted a full time position with McMaster Carr’s Management Development Program in Atlanta, starting in June.

     Eiji Frey spent the summer in Maine apprenticing for a mechanic and canvassing for the local Democatric Party. He recently moved to Los Angeles to do creative fabrication (wood, metal, props, electronics, etc.), especially for the film industry! He also got a tattoo in honor of his time playing on Nietzch Factor.

     In August, Sophie Karolczak moved to Toronto, Canada to pursue a PhD in molecular genetics at the University of Toronto. She is pleasantly surprised to report that winter there is more mild than in Middletown, at least so far!

     Kush Patel is working at a dermatology office alongside a Mohs surgeon as a medical/surgical assistant, where he is first-assist during surgeries. He is excited to be learning about the medical, surgical, and cosmetic side of medicine and is applying to go to school for the health profession. 

     Sarafina Fabris-Green is currently searching for the best bagel. Her search has taken her from Austin, Texas to Brooklyn, New York, where she has found some great contenders but not “the one.”

   Maya Layne is still regularly posting short stories and poems on her blog, mayalayne.blog, so go check out her work!!

     Thanks for all of your updates—I love hearing what y’all are up to! Recently, I was lucky enough to spend a few months in New York and safely catch up with some Wes friends while working remotely and planning my move to Chicago for when I need to be back in the office. Keep an eye out for another email from me soon!

Class of 2020 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

From Matt Huston: “In July I moved to the University of Michigan and am currently working as a research assistant and am heading a project focused on understanding proteins involved in SARS-COV-2’s ability to evade the host’s immune system and how those proteins can be targeted by therapeutics.”

Nate Gillman recently moved to Providence, Rhode Island to begin his PhD studies in mathematics.

From Sayem Talukdar: “Since June, I’ve had the privilege of working full time at Johnson & Johnson as a technology analyst through their Technology Leadership Development Program, a rotational program. My first rotation is in Corporate Business Technology on the Experience Design team. I’ve also decided to continue my education concurrently by pursuing a master’s in Technology Management at Georgetown University. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of my close friends recently from Wes—Delando Clarke ’21, Autumn Rasmussen ’20 and Marisella Andrews ’19.”

Jack Warren’s film thesis, ARTEMIS, screened in competition at the Woodstock Film Festival in late September/early October. 

Sarah Hutcheon got a job as a chemist at Abbott Laboratories and is making rapid COVID-19 tests.

Nick McCarthy is interning with Swing Left, working to get Democrats elected in the November election. He’s not sure what he will do after the election. 

Sam Peterson moved to Washington, D.C. in the beginning of July. He is working for a company called CleanChoice Energy, which helps people find clean energy options for their homes, especially if they don’t have the means or infrastructure to install their own solar panels. 

Inayah Bashir, Kolbi Bradley, and Latisha Leaperl started their own business called Holistic Wealth, LLC, which “provides personalized wellness services that inspire community and self healing.” From Inayah: “We’ve been putting on wellness programming during the pandemic! So far, we’ve had a solidarity circle for Black women on love and one for Black men. We also held a community forum for Black people to discuss love. This fall, we have been hosting weekly meditation sessions and we also are kicking off our TV Club series! It’s been such a rewarding experience for us so far! Here’s the website for more information: holisticwealthconsulting.com. 

From Zoe Cassels-Brown: “Originally from Vermont, I relocated to Dallas to start my residency year with Johns Hopkins Urban Teachers program. I am currently teaching first graders online in Dallas for Uplift Peak Primary school and taking classes at night towards a double major in general and special education.”

Saadia Naeem and alums from the classes of ’20, ’18, and ’17 watched the U.S. Open from her backyard on Winged Foot, where they enthusiastically welcomed Tiger Woods to the fourth green. 

Nick Ticali ended up using his Adelphic Educational Fund Wesleyan Summer Grant funds to take a microbiology course through the University of New England instead. He is living with his parents on Long Island, New York, is working full-time as an EMT with Hunter EMS, and has been sworn in as an EMT with his fire department. He is hoping to shadow PAs, take an AEMT course, and maybe apply to PA school in the near future!

Alex Sobor is living in her hometown, Chicago, and is an outreach coordinator for the State Senator Robert Martwick and State Representative Lindsey LaPointe campaigns in Illinois. 

From Tyler Kobryn: “I recently signed a professional hockey contract with the Tulsa Oilers of the ECHL for next year. They are the minor league affiliate of NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Looking forward to the opportunity.”

Saakshi Kakar is starting the first semester of her master’s program in developmental psychology and psychopathology at King’s College, London from home in Mumbai, India. Additionally, a paper she co-authored with 2020 grads Simone John-Vanderpool, Paul Willems, and Mubarak Sanni was published in the Journal of Community Psychology!

From Ariel Adler: “Since March, I spent a month in New Jersey living with my cousin, went back home to Georgia for another month, and then moved to Los Angeles in mid-June. Since moving, I traveled back to Georgia twice—to visit my 91-year-old grandmother in the hospital and later to attend her funeral. After spending two months in Los Angeles living off of my dwindling savings and applying for jobs, I was fortunate to be hired as the executive assistant to two senior executives at Access Hollywood.”

Lucie Plasse spent her post-grad summer at home in Lille, France studying for her French driver’s license exam. The exam contains an extremely detailed and difficult written portion, which she finally passed on the third try!

Jackie Duckett moved to Boston, where she is working as a clinical research coordinator in an infectious disease lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.

From Natasha Guandique: “Since Wesleyan I’ve had to completely shift my professional plans, it took some time, but I’ve recently gotten over myself and accepted that I can’t be in control of everything all the time. Now I’m focusing on my future, what I can control and fabricating positivity.”

From Anthony Price: “I recently joined the Universal Service Administrative Company as a program analyst in Washington, D.C. working to alleviate the digital divide amongst low-income families across the country.” 

Maya Layne is currently a digital editor intern at CR Fashion Book, lovingly running her blog (mayalayne.blog), recording her podcast (Knowsy Pod), and finding labor-intensive recipes to make for no reason. 

While the Class of 2020 had an unexpected senior spring and graduation, I loved getting y’all’s updates; they are a great reminder of our collective grit, resilience, and adaptiveness! As for me, I’m moving to Chicago in the spring to be a commercial health care consultant for Guidehouse. Big congrats to those who’ve found a path in this weird post-grad time and sending some love and support to those who are still searching for ways to fill their time. Thanks for your updates and look out for another email from me soon! 

REBECCA GREENBERG | rgreenberg@wesleyan.edu

Class of 2020 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Class of 2020, we graduated in the most unexpected of circumstances and the greatest congratulations possible is in store for all of us. I never imagined that I would have to leave campus in the middle of senior spring because of a pandemic, but, as they say, hindsight is 2020!

Nonetheless, COVID-19 has brought forth unprecedented challenges for so many members of our class and has been the ultimate reminder that we need to advocate for each other, even while apart. I am proud of the way my classmates have participated in the fight against oppression, whether it be expanding access to PPE, creating safe spaces for black trans folks, or signing people up to vote, among countless other examples. I am inspired by the Class of 2020’s tenacity and strength, even while mourning the loss of our senior spring and in-person graduation ceremony.

While graduating in my parents’ backyard was never what I imagined, it has been an amazing experience to be a part of the Class of 2020 and I am grateful to have a prestigious college degree. Like so many of my peers, I lost my job before it even began and I am continuing my job hunt from my childhood bedroom. These past few months have not been the same for everyone and we all need to work together to stay connected and support each other, especially now that we’ve left Middletown and entered the “real world.” I’m grateful to every Wes alumni that I’ve spoken with during these past few months for their time and advice. To all Wesleyan alumni, now’s the time to lend a hand if you can, especially the Class of 2020.

Hopefully, we can join each other again soon to dance under the stars on Foss and celebrate our accomplishments throughout our years at Wes. I look forward to staying in touch with y’all, hearing your news, and sharing your successes with the Wesleyan alumni community!

REBECCA GREENBERG | rgreenberg@wesleyan.edu