Please send news to your class secretary.
A few updates from classmates:
Bryan Chong works for the Greater New Haven Labor History Association, and worked on Cap the Rent CT, the first sustained campaign for rent stabilization in Connecticut in almost 40 years. Bryan continues to train workers, including student workers, across the country to engage in labor organizing.
Isis Gaddy wrote: “Over the past 18 months, I have lived in two different continents, held five jobs, and started my own business. After graduating from Wesleyan in 2021, I worked as an SEO intern for Zillow. Upon completion I moved to France to participate in the TAPIF program as a teacher’s assistant. During this time, I enjoyed indulging in all things French, including cheese, croissants, and the slower pace of life. However, my time in France was cut short when I received an offer from Bloomberg to join their Planning and Campaign Management Team. Working with the head of business administration, I helped develop new initiatives that were implemented throughout the company and focused on finance management. After my contract was complete, I left Bloomberg to pursue my career in the luxury travel industry.
“Starting with Erina Pindar, the COO of SmartFlyer, I worked to rebuild and launch the EQTR (Equity in Travel) scholarship and internship programs. After completing the internship, I was offered a position in SmartFlyer’s takeoff mentorship program, which provides new travel agents with structure and support as they begin to build their own business in the industry. In less than a year, I have had the opportunity to create an internship and scholarship program for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals, plan domestic and international events for the company, and build my own brand.
“Overall, I am grateful I had the opportunity to continue my passion for languages at Wesleyan, as it has helped me develop professional fluency in in my day-to-day work.”
Taylor Goodman-Leong said: “I have been living in Boston for the past two years and will be graduating this spring from Boston College with my master’s in social work! After graduation, I will be working at the Baker Center for Children and Families as their post-master’s fellow, providing therapy and services for children and adolescents.”
Gayon Yang lives in Irvine, California, and wants to connect with Wesleyan alums in the area! She visits Los Angeles every week, and she’d love to catch up with an alum!
From Saki Ohashi: “I’ll be publishing a book in March of this year, under my pen name Kaki Okumura (secret’s revealed ha ha). It’s called Wa: The Art of Balance because ‘wa’— the Japanese word used to describe Japanese things—also means harmony and represents the value of seeking balance to live a well-rounded life. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun and I’m very excited!”
Lucine Poturyan is running for re-election for her position as District 1 representative of East Hollywood in Los Angeles. She currently serves as the chair of the Outreach and Youth and Education Committees on the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and looks forward to continuing leadership of the free produce box distribution and community outreach around resources for low-income families.
Isaac Klimasmith and Mariel Baitenmann-Middlebrook got married in July 2022 (don’t worry, we didn’t hyphenate!), with many wonderful Wesleyan folks in attendance. Mariel graduated with a master’s of education from the University of Illinois and is currently teaching bilingual social studies. The Klimasmith pet rat herd continues to grow, reaching a height of eight rats in 2022.
From Sarah Hutcheon: “I started a new position at Abbott as a product transfer scientist. I help facilitate new lateral-flow product development and troubleshoot our current products.”
From Jake Multer: “I’m down in D.C. working as an advocate in the food policy world. Still doing a lot of brewing, ceramics, baking, and Frisbee!”
From Nick Ticali: “I’m still in school to become a PA at the New York Institute of Technology. Softball season is coming up though, so I’m excited to hit some home runs and hopefully secure another championship win. I’m also planning a trip to travel to Italy for a month over the summer, so all good things!”
Maya Layne is still working her way to stardom, currently as an assistant at Vogue. She not only recently celebrated a move to the Bushwick/Williamsburg area but also went on a much- deserved beach vacation.
Jackie Duckett is currently based out of New York and enjoys her job developing greenfield solar projects at EDP Renewables, reporting to a fantastic boss, and fellow Wesleyan alum, David Kane ’92. In her spare time, she’s been training for a half marathon, taking a printmaking class with a friend, and discovering other new hobbies in the city.
As for me, I made my storytelling stage debut earlier this year and read my fourth grade diary in Mortified Chicago’s Doomed Valentine’s Day show that you can watch on YouTube. Now, I’m focusing on defrosting underneath the Midwestern summer sun, eating local Wisconsin cheese, and still working on accepting that I’m no longer a “recent grad.”
Thanks to everyone who submitted an update! As always, feel free to send me updates throughout the year and look out for my submission requests!
Please write to your class secretary.
Please write to your class secretary.
Lili Kadets and Ben Marvin-Vanderryn are getting married this May. Shout-out to Professor Franklin-Fowler’s Advanced Media Analysis class!
Erica Arensman and Nat Warner got engaged! Also, Erica got a job that starts after she graduates law school: she’ll be a public defender with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
Noah Mertz lives in Albuquerque. He researches the culture industry and teaches French at the University of New Mexico. Soon, he will be on exchange in Paris. He tries to floss at least three times a week, but sometimes he forgets.
I’m happy to report the following updates from the Class of 2016.
Kota Uno moved to the fertile Aizu region in Fukushima three years ago and joined the largest traditional, regenerative organic farm in Japan. They grow the rice as incredibly nourishing superfood and do the ecoservice at the same time. From Kota: “Swing by when you are in Japan!”
Also in Japan, Kotaro Aoki founded a nonprofit educational organization, KOTOWARI. He has been inspired by his undergraduate studies of philosophy at Wesleyan University, as well as his three years studying yoga and meditation in the Himalayas, to bring unique and powerful methods of exploring the self and the world to today’s Japanese youth. KOTOWARI provides transformative educational experiences for high school, university, and graduate students as well as young professionals in Japan. Since 2021, KOTOWARI has been offering programs annually. Last year KOTOWARI was recognized as a pioneer in the field of education and was awarded a grant from the Mitsubishi Mirai Foundation.
Olivia Glick will be receiving her MBA from USC Marshall School of Business along with fellow Wes alum Danielle Pruitt ’15. Olivia was student body president at USC Marshall and will be heading off to Ernst and Young after she graduates to do management consulting. Danielle was the Business of Entertainment president and will be going to YouTube on the marketing team after she graduates.
Gla aka Gla4 aka Lena Meyerson is living in Providence and Central Connecticut, working on their of arts in teaching and on various film projects. They are hoping to reinvigorate clo$et, master’s their band with G. Foley. They invite you to say hi to them on Instagram, @kissytunnel.
Tahreem Wasti (née Khalied) has settled back in Middletown, Connecticut, with her husband and two children. She works at Yale as a program coordinator and is also in the process of getting her MBA in business analytics. Since she is in Middletown, she keeps in touch with some of her Wesleyan professors. From Tahreem: “My daughters and I regularly pass by the campus and they know this is where mama went to school . . . maybe (hopefully) they choose the same when their time comes!”
Dropping at the end of March (March 31) under his artist moniker, ENYE, Christian Nuñez’s third rap project RAPSTARTAPEZ is an exploration and experimentation of different genres and sounds. Inspired by the uptown, New York City soundscapes that raised him, this Spanglish mixtape breaks away from traditional hip-hop/reggaeton, entering a more underground, experimental subgenre.
Follow ENYE’s creative journey via his Instagram, @newyorkenye. All music streaming links included in his bio.
Sarah Mi and Taran Carr are living in San Diego and soaking up the sun. They have a guest room for Wes peeps to come through!
I recently visited Sarah and Taran and we had a great time eating our way through San Diego. I am still dreaming of the burritos. . . . I came back to Atlanta in time to catch the Wesleyan Spirits concert and alumni event, which brought me right back to my time at Wes and how I would never miss one of their shows. Incredible to think it’s been over five years since we graduated. I am hoping this period of medical school can also pass by as quickly because it’s been the hardest yet while I balance clinical rotations, research, studying for the boards, and thinking about applying to residency! I do appreciate all my Wes friends who’ve gone through the process and have helped me immensely along the way. <3
Evan Bieder is teaching fourth grade and coaching cross country and track at Greens Farms Academy. He and his wife Britney have a one-year-old son named Zen. Evan had a few beers at Foxwoods with Eric Arsenault ’17 over the winter.
Sara Warnock and Brent Packer had their auras cleansed during a Denver sound bath.
A few life updates from ’14ers:
Following eight years working in book publishing at Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group in NYC, Haley Weaver moved across the country to Seattle where she is now working as a freelance editor.
After several years of working as a chef, Rehan Mehta recently opened a New York–style pizza and sandwich shop in his hometown of Mumbai. It’s called East 7th Pizza & Deli. He says, “Come visit!”
Kallan Benjamin and Elliot Meyerson welcomed their daughter Elowah at the end of December. They live in Madison, Wisconsin.
Julia “Jay” Benedith is a second-year doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. Jay said, “My research focus is wellness coaching in the education space.” After moving to Washington, D.C., last year, “I purchased a condo near the waterfront, and became the associate director of talent development at KIPP DC. I continue to run my business, J. Benedith Coaching Services! It’s been a pleasant whirlwind of a year!”
Henry Cheung wrote, “I find myself reminiscing about the good old days on Foss, 14C Warren ragers, and even late nights studying at Exley or in the lab at Hall-Atwater. One of my greatest joys at Wes was being the founder of WesCompliments . . . seeing all of the unsolicited compliments come through the [Facebook] page not only for their friends but also complete strangers . . . just so much love and care. Perhaps send a compliment to someone just for the heck of it? Can’t hurt. Hope everyone is taking care. :)”
The Class of 2013 is getting ready for our 10-year reunion later this spring! Thanks to my classmates who sent updates in and best wishes to all.
Anna Swartz writes “Happy 10 year! Hard to believe it has already been a decade since we graduated, and yet also somehow hard to believe how just how much has happened in the world since we left Wesleyan. I’m still in Boston, looking forward to the warm spring weather— although, somewhat alarmingly, we’ve barely gotten snow this winter.”
After graduating from dermatology residency, Taryn Murray moved to Houston, Texas, for a prestigious cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery fellowship. Upon completion of the program, she will be joining the Dermatology Department at the Cleveland Clinic. Vivianne and Benjamin Swerdlow (né Abravanel) moved to Lake Forest, Illinois, as of July 2022 so Benjamin could join the Lake Forest College faculty as an assistant professor of psychology. Vivianne is completing her master’s of social work at Simmons University in May and accepted a postgraduate role as a clinician for the Chicago DBT Institute. They live with their three-year- old Husky rescue, Sonic, and their eight-year-old chinchilla rescue, Cashew. Vivianne and Benjamin will be celebrating 10 years of marriage in June!
Ross Gormley is finishing up his first year at Boston College’s School of Social Work, focusing on clinical work. He is sad to report that he missed his annual ski trip in Utah with Henry Robertson this year. But the two of them adopted an old Goldendoodle together this winter and split custody over Zoom. Ross is grateful, as well, for the $30 Chipotle birthday e-gift card from Frank Fineis this year. He looks forward to splitting burrito bowls come fall once Jacob Eichengreen moves to Boston. But hold the hot sauce.
After receiving an MBA from Yale School of Management, Evan Okun now works as an impact investor at the Working Capital Fund—a venture capital firm improving conditions for vulnerable workers across global supply chains. The firm invests in early-stage technology start-ups. Outside of work, he’s gotten quite good at volleyball/pickleball and continues to freestyle rap and write spoken word. Katie Schad recently celebrated her bachelorette party in Tulum with Faye Phillips, Laura Volgenau, Jeanne McPhee, Ashley Palmieri, Michelle Kravets ’14, Claire Larson ’15, Brenna Tharnstrom ’16, plus the spouses of Max Rosenman and Jeff Tanenbaum ’12. A real Wesleyan affair!
After several years overseas in China and the UK pursuing career and educational opportunities, Jocelyn Spencer is now back in New York working in regulatory compliance and training for her third marathon. Matt Motta started a new job as an assistant professor of health law, policy, and management at the Boston University School of Public Health. If you’re living in the Boston area, he’d love to meet up for coffee or drinks!