CLASS OF 2009 | 2014 | ISSUE 3

Let’s welcome the fall/winter season with some new updates from your fellow classmates!

George Bennum is living in Cambridge, Mass. He works for Bjönd, a healthcare start-up co-founded by Dave Blauer ’84 and Ben Flynn ’03. Their first application, called BjöndHealth, invents and automates hyper-personalized workflows that clinicians, social workers, and family members execute collaboratively to intervene with patient’s suffering complex diseases and conditions. George mentions seeing Conor Veeneman and Adam Nikolich around town a lot.

Seth Halpern has been promoted to strategic consultant at The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C. In his new role, Seth will deliver actionable insights and advise a large cohort of several hundred of Advisory’s member health systems across the United States. Seth is in his third and final year at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business (evening program) and will earn his MBA in May.

Anthony Marsella is in his sixth year coaching college football. He coached at Wes in the 2009 season, then worked at Mount Ida College for a year. He is now in his fourth year at Middlebury College coaching running backs, tight ends, and coordinating the special teams.

Sophie Regan (formerly Sophie Pollitt-Cohen) is living in Washington, D.C., and pursuing her MBA at Georgetown University. Sophie got married this summer with some help from two wonderful Wesleyan bridesmaids—Emily Dine and Jodie Rubenstein.

Tess Smagorinsky and Tim Horgan-Kobelski got hitched outside of Boulder, Colo., amongst mountains and margaritas in late June. Among the wedding party (moral support, y’all!) were Barry Finder, Robbie Rindlaub, Liz Demakos, and Liana Hernandez, with many other Wes alumni on the attendee list. Tess and Tim continue to live in Oakland, Calif., where Tim is attending law school at UC, Berkeley, Tess works in HR for Zenefits, and their dog, Huck, spends his days pondering existential questions and eating things from under the couch.

Heather Sheriff just started her graduate studies at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing, to become a certified nurse midwife/women’s health nurse practitioner.

On Aug. 3, 2014, Samantha Hurley Doucet and Hannah Barber Doucet were married in a ceremony at Dream Away Lodge in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. Attendees included Lesley Chapman, Lily Bushman-Copp ’10, Adrienne Russman ’10, E. Evnen ’10, Katherine Nilson ’11, Mattie Liskow ’11, and Nina Terebessy ’11. Upon returning from their honeymoon in Belize, Hannah began her third year of medical school at SUNY Downstate and Samantha took on a new position with St. Nicks Alliance, a community nonprofit, where she will put to use her graduate degrees in education and social work. The two reside in Brooklyn, with their dog, Olive, and two cats.

Sara Deniz Akant received an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in May 2012. She won a chapbook contest for her manuscript Parades, which will be out from Omnidawn Publishing on October 7th. Her first full-length book manuscript was selected for Rescue Press’s Black Box Poetry contest, and will be published in fall 2015. She also has a chapbook coming out titled Latronic Strag (Persistent Editions). She just moved back to New York and teaches composition/writing at CUNY Baruch.

Shane E. Heckstall writes, “Whats up? I’m doing well. Please buy a copy of my book titled The Romance of LaLa available on Amazon. Stay tuned for my next book scheduled for a 2014 December release titled Did You Create a Monster?, which looks at African-American identity in higher education… much more dense, intriguing, research-based, and contemplative. Find me on LinkedIn.”

Thom Sisson and Nina Gonzalez were married on Sept. 15th in Brooklyn, where they live. Thom is also a graduate of NYU Law and has been working as an attorney since 2012. Nina is an MIM graduate of Instituto de Empresa in Madrid and works in nonprofit management.

For the New Orleans’ Art Biennial Prospect 3, Wesleyan grads and artists Silvie Deutsch and Kira Akerman ’10 have collaborated to create Intimate Immensity, an immersive, site-specific art installation. Using a cloud tank (a hands-on SFX technique) and the centuries-old process of paper marbling, stop-motion animations are projected onto a ceiling: the small-scale process becomes gigantic. An organic interaction between pure water and spray paint reveals a push-and-pull relationship—two substances making room for each other on a finite surface. The piece opened Oct. 25th.

Arthur Nazarian has started his first year of his two-year MBA program at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management alongside Arran Bardige ’10, who joins him in the same class, and Alison Kung, who is a second-year in the program. He is enjoying the unusually pleasant warm weather this autumn as he studies accounting, marketing, and economics—all very exciting fields of study that are unfortunately lacking that intellectual Wesleyan flair.

Jon Short spent three years as a special education teacher, earning a master’s in education, and is now in his third year as an instructional coach, working to bring under-performing K-8 Phoenix, Ariz., schools into high-achieving status. He dedicates most of his free time to working as the vice-chair for the Board of Grand Canyon Performing Arts, Arizona’s oldest and largest LGBTQ arts organization.

Paul Boulat and Michelle Brown are roommates once again, now living in Astoria. Paul is continuing his work with Vermont-based luxury textile company ANICHINI and recently started an MBA at NYU’s Langone program. Michelle completed her master’s degree in art history from NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts in 2012 and currently works in the editorial department at Sotheby’s.

Alicia Garrison writes: “I have been working on mosaic murals in Philadelphia. The first mosaic is for Maplewood Mall, a small area in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia that is undergoing a long-term beautification and revitalization program. It is a 5 x 6-foot mural, due to be installed this fall. I worked with wonderful students at Germantown Friends School and the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in creating this image. The mural with the two children reading and sitting back to back in the sunset is the first mural I had the pleasure of designing and creating all myself. It was for Belmont Charter School, an elementary/middle school in West Philadelphia. I was given two words for the theme: ‘Youth Empowerment.’ My goal was to create an image that represented a safe haven for youth, education, growth, and knowledge. The design was loosely based on a piece of work I actually made when I was in middle school.” See the photos of Alicia’s work on our Class Notes website.

Thanks to everyone who sent in notes. Please keep them coming!

Alejandro Alvarado |

Intern at the Wesleyan Office of Communications for Spring and Summer 2015. Currently working towards meeting the requirements for an Economics and Government dual major. A Wesleyan Posse Veteran.