CLASS OF 2001 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Always great to hear from you! Chris Saenger is wrapping up four years in Frankfurt and will be moving with his family to Bogotá in August. He will continue his job with USAID, designing and implementing development assistance programs. Come by for some arepas if you’re in the neighborhood!

Roger Smith is in his fifth year working in Miyagi, Japan. He’s chief editor and photographer for the prefecture’s official English website, Visit Miyagi. If you head to Japan, you should actually pay him (and Miyagi) a visit and go see the volcanic crater lake and cat island!

Abigail Kurland and her husband, Harry, welcomed their first son, Alexander Koutsolioutsos, on May 10.

Ross Evangelista writes, “Started a sidewalk conversation with a stranger, at night, on my walk back to my hotel while visiting Shanghai. All because he was wearing a Wes hoodie! Now Harry Jiang ’18 and I are WeChat friends. He (and his girlfriend who seemed familiar with such Wes encounters) are doing well in China. They were both very welcoming! Caught up with Kerry Jacobs and Nikesh Dalal at Kerry’s annual holiday shindig at her Brooklyn townhouse. Unfortunately arrived after her son’s (my new godson’s!) bedtime.” Ross was slated to be on a real estate panel in Vegas during the Luxury Portfolio summit in late February—and was confident he would stop and chat with anyone in Wes apparel there, too.

Nora Friedman writes: “Still teaching Suzuki violin in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and now head of the violin department at the Brooklyn Conservatory. Open for business and looking to sculpt young Wes progeny brains!”

Dispatch from Karen Gross: “I marked five years as president of Karen Gross Enterprises, LLC, which is focused on communication that sings. As a communications strategist, copywriter, and speechwriter, I collaborate with some of the nation’s most influential leaders and organizations, crafting messages that resonate and get results. I perform as a cabaret singer and songwriter. I was a featured speaker at the World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association; my session, How to Make Your Speeches Sing, shared the parallels between speechwriting and cabaret.”

Josh Kagan writes, “The big news on our end is my wife, Zeynep, and I welcomed our first child, Sophia Rose Kagan, on Sept. 18.” Congratulations!

In addition to caring for her two children (with Jim Isler), Emily Barth Isler works as a beauty writer for publications like Allure, Popsugar, and, specializing in sustainable and organic beauty products and the green beauty movement. She says: “The more I learned about the endocrine disruptors and carcinogens found in so many of our personal care items, the more I wanted to shine a light on healthier alternatives . . . I learned that the majority of sustainable beauty products are made by hand or in small batches by women, family-owned companies, and/or members of populations generally underrepresented in the business of beauty. Writing about the ways that these small companies employ women, offer fair wages, provide childcare or flexibility, use eco-friendly packaging and sustainable sourcing, and participate in major philanthropic initiatives, made me see that this is an issue that goes far beyond finding a nice lipstick or moisturizer.”

Emily would love to hear from anyone working in the sustainable beauty space, as she’s always looking for new brands to feature.

Congrats to Alden Griffith, who was awarded tenure at Wellesley College and studies the demography of invasive plants with his lab group. Katie Griffith teaches plant science workshops at local schools and has jumped into politics since Trump was elected. She’s now the cochair of the Wellesley Democratic Town Committee, leads a local Indivisible group, and is an elected member of the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission. Their three kids are growing up fast—now 11, 8, and 5. Side note: Katie and I are now scheming about a Boston-area Wes meetup. Contact me if you want in!

Mara Voukydis |

Aryn Sperando |