CLASS OF 1999 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

Diana Glanternik is riding the pandemic out in Brooklyn with husband and two little ones, Ila (4) and Amara (1). Mari was born in December 2019, so Diana was just coming off maternity leave when this hit. “I am in the ranks of moms whose work hours have been drastically reduced by additional childcare responsibilities. We are lucky that at this age, our kiddos are perfectly content to have more time with their parents and it’s still a time for lots of play-based learning. The pre-pandemic aspect of life that my husband and I miss most is dinner gatherings, many of which involved Wes friends who live nearby. As soon as everyone is vaccinated we hope to host those weekly! Feeling grateful for security and health.”

     Gloria Milagros Plaks is sharing pandemic time with three kids (14-year-old nephew and 13- and 9-year-old children) who are learning remotely while she is teaching high school math from home and taking care of her 18-month-old baby. “Thank goodness my mother is near and takes the baby most of the work week! Life is interesting and I am thankful that my family has been spared (hopefully will continue to be) and my heart aches for those families who have had difficult experiences during this time.” She sends many hugs and blessings to her Wes fam.

     Ellen Sluder (Cohen) is now head of marketing for software startup smrtStudio Global. Their client base is 100 percent North American, but Ellen is the first U.S. employee. “I’ll be working shifted hours to bridge between Romania and New York, which leaves me open in the afternoons for my kids (10 and 7). We’ve been lucky this school year that they have mostly been in school full time. Although it can be hard to find the silver linings, the extra time to keep up with text messages and group chats with other Wes alums has been a bright spot!”

     Nina Kontos reports she is “ever grateful for my badass network of Wesleyan friends who have been a support system through the pandemic (and the past 20+ years)­—whether through text trains, phone, Zoom or socially distant outdoor gatherings. I still live in forever resilient New York City, I have a kindergartener, and recently started a new job at Pinterest leading internal and executive communications for the company.”

     Abbie Goldberg has been on a daily running streak for 11 months (hoping to make it a year), and has run over 3,000 miles since mid-March. “We also got a #pandemicpuppy this winter. She is bringing much needed joy into our lives. I am a visiting professor at UMass during my sabbatical, working on projects involving the intersection of education, adoption, and foster care.” Her latest book, the SAGE Encyclopedia of Trans Studies, is coming out this March.

     Jennie Rabinowitz is coping with pandemic limitations by volunteering with the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project (DCVLP), where she helps survivors of domestic violence obtain civil protection orders, divorces, and custody of their children. “Demand for DCVLP’s services is up 300%. Being able to help my wise and resilient clients has kept me sane. The extent to which they’ve educated me has been a huge gift. I was honored to be one of DCVLP’s Volunteers of the Year for 2020, and while I hope the need for my services dissipates, I’ll be here as long as my clients need me.”

     Chad Bartell lives in his hometown of Madison, Wisconsin, where he practices corporate law by day and plays in a steeldrum band by night (check out “Panchromatic Steel” on Facebook or YouTube). Ed Holzwarth and wife, Aline, just welcomed a baby son, Nico Holzwarth to their family! The digital health company where Ed is co-founder and CTO, Pattern Health, just closed $1.5m in funding. Exciting times!

     The second hardest part of writing the Class Notes is getting people to take the time to send in submissions . . . thank you to everyone who sent the stories for us to share this time around! The hardest part of writing the Notes is when we have to share sad news, such as the passing of our classmate Catie Lazarus last December. She was a bright light with boundless energy and wit, gone too soon. The New York Times carried a nice piece on her.

     Kevin continues to find purpose in his work at Quartet Health, which is striving to help everyone with a mental health condition get the care they need. This need has been growing for decades, and has exploded over the past year. One pandemic pastime that Kevin and his wife, Keara, have enjoyed is watching the entire How I Met Your Mother series from the beginning. The numerous Wes references have been a welcome shot of nostalgia!