CLASS OF 1945 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

This column marks the beginning of my 32nd year of secretarial jottings, and I’m nesaki, (Mohawk word meaning “standing on a high hill, looking backwards”). I have climbed and stood, walked, even slept atop numbers of the Rockies, bits of the Alps, all of the gentle old Adirondacks, and several of New England’s White and Green heights. Always, the view, were it at dawn, midday, or sunset, was an inspiration, sometimes an admonition, occasionally a wind blast scare; but it never failed to lift the horizon to the level of my vision. And that’s why we go high. My walking the top of the world is years gone and my visions are memories, clear, keen, and colorful memories. The eye of the mind is indeed a treasure.

Returned to the Hill of Class Notes, I look backwards to September of 1941, when a generally happy, sometimes boisterous collection of youths were buying affordable text books, completing class scheduless, visiting fraternity houses, trying out for teams or music groups, and making new friendships that were sure to hold forever, according to the Wesleyan songs. The Depression was fading, Hitler, and occasionally Mussolini, were newsreel interludes at the movies. But that was there, we were here, and the Class of 1945 settled into planning four years of the\Jesleyan adventure. Seven weeks later the explosions at Pearl Harbor blew the Class of 1945 into fragments that scattered graduations all the way through 1949. We went to the war to end all wars, and some of us never returned to Wesleyan—some too damaged, some to other colleges, some already at rest in honored cemeteries, or in unknown places in other lands. We were one class for a brief time, but our fragments have added luster to the entire 40s decade of the Wesleyan adventure. So, from my secretarial hilltop, I look out and back, and I see that scattered, tattered class again a whole force, the like of which will not be seen again.

Slan go foill

Francis W. Lovett
315 14th Street Unit A

Windsor, CO 80550

970/460-9338

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 2019 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

Hey everyone! Hope you all are continuing to stay safe and healthy. Here are some updates from our classmates: 

Anna Knes (she/her) has moved to the Netherlands to pursue her second master’s degree (her first being Wesleyan MA ’20). For the next two years, she will study forensic science at the University of Amsterdam. While she will miss her family and friends in the United States, she is excited to explore Europe, and she is thankful that COVID-19 cases are quite low and well-managed. Anna isn’t the only Wes alum living in the Netherlands, however, as she is accompanied by Sarah Paulson (she/her) who moved to Groningen, a town two hours away! She is pursuing a master’s in marine biology at the University of Groningen. Follow their travel Instagram @thestroopwafeleffect for more updates!

Zachary Obstfeld (he/him) just started a master’s in public policy at the Harris School at UChicago. 

Katie Tyner (she/her) recently completed her Master of Science in Politics Research from the University of Oxford (Balliol College). She absolutely loved her time in Oxford. This year she is working from home in Connecticut, co-authoring a few research projects and serving as a substitute teacher for fifth and sixth graders to help out the community during this COVID-19 craziness. She hopes everyone is keeping safe and happy.

Aaron J. Cheung (he/him) is still in Berkeley, California, and still living with Dominic Vazquez (he/him). Aaron sleeps a lot but wants to say hi to all his friends.

This fall Wesley Villano (he/him) is starting a master’s program in Chinese medicine at the New England School of Acupuncture. He is currently living with his girlfriend, Ainsley Kass ’20 (she/her).

Robin Waterman (she/her) just started a dual-degree PhD program in plant biology and ecology, evolution, and behavior at Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan), working with Professor Jeffrey Conner. 

Nic Yeager (he, they, she) is living in Austin, Texas, writing culture and politics articles for the Texas Observer and a few other publications. They wrote a guidebook about Austin that’s out now, even though it’s not a great time for travel. They’re hoping everyone is staying safe, sheltered, and politically engaged however they are able.

Marisella (Sella) Andrews (she/her) started school as an MBA candidate at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. Sella plans to pursue a specialty in health sector management and strategy. 

Thank you to everyone who shared their life updates with us this time around. And check your inboxes for another email from me soon! 

Justin Campos | jxcampos@wesleyan.edu

CLASS OF 2017 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

Rachel Kaly starred in the season finale of HBO’s High Maintenance, is learning how to make rugs, and has been rejected from 22 jobs.

Ali Felman moved to Brooklyn, New York three years later than everyone else and started work at the Trevor Project as a training coordinator. She would like to be eating more bagels, so please say hi if you’re in the area to help her do that!

Rachel Waugh launched the Museum of Food and Culture based in Denver, Colorado. The museum’s mission is to inspire curiosity, creativity, and excitement for food, history, and culture. She is currently working on food and social justice (virtual) programming.

Anna Lu is remotely finishing up her last credit for the master’s in health science degree from Clark University. Her graduate research has been on cultural medical anthropology, as she worked within the urban Worcester community. She’s been able to follow her passion, working part-time at UMass Medical School while developing policies for the growing cannabis culture in Massachusetts. She’s awaiting her candidacy with Clark’s psychology PhD program to continue her work and research in providing more mental and behavioral health help and opportunities for the growing Asian and Asian American populations in urban settings. She wishes everyone well!

Nisha Grewal started her PhD in astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh in September, and she is very excited to study dark matter and the evolution of the universe. If you are traveling to Edinburgh in the next few years, she is happy to show you around! Feel free to email her at ngrewal@wesleyan.edu. 

Leneil Roderique officially became an ADCOLOR FUTURE, a program dedicated to developing the next generation of leaders in the advertising, marketing, and tech industries, after being rejected the year before. He was also promoted at work, from a creative to senior creative at VICE Media Group. This is all to say, he doesn’t sleep and will probably crash soon.

Cam Arkin somehow made it into medical school and is now attending the University of Utah School of Medicine. 

Jackson DuMont can in fact say that winter is indeed colder in Russia.

Alexandra “Zandy” Stovicek is in her third year and final semester at Yale School of Nursing. She has become a midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner after falling in love with patient care through the Wesleyan Doula Project! With any luck she will be beginning “Integration” in January, a full-time residency of sorts (location still unknown due to COVID-19) before graduating the program. One day at a time!

Erica Arensman just started law school at University of Michigan which is ‘incredible and exciting!’”—Nate Warner (I didn’t think she would submit a note about herself)

Hilary Brumberg is still living in the Costa Rican rainforest as a Princeton in Latin America Fellow. She manages community-based conservation initiatives at a grassroots nonprofit, including creating a collaboration with NASA DEVELOP to assess the impact of policy on land management. Hilary hosts undergraduate interns from Wesleyan every summer through the College of the Environment to expose students to careers in conservation. She is grateful to use the skills she learned in her double-major in earth and environmental sciences and Hispanic literatures and cultures every day.

Keyonne Session | ksession@wesleyan.edu 

CLASS OF 2015 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

After a successful first run of our primordial beings dance tour in the fall, Andrew Hove, Julia Chanin, and Zia Grossman-Vendrillo have had to postpone their second run because of the pandemic. Despite this setback, life has flowed on and they are still in the process of creation! They are all currently living together in a tiny home on Mt. Tam with their pet turtle. They are dedicated to exploring sentience through dance in public again soon. Stay tuned!

Mateusz Burgunder finished his MBA at INSEAD, which felt like a small hub of Wesleyan alumni. He is now continuing his studies in management at MIT Sloan and looks forward to reconnecting with friends in Boston.  

LaDarius Drew got promoted to director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, making him the first Black administrator since The Frederick Gunn School’s founding in 1850, despite its founder being an abolitionist.

Marco Martinez writes: “I’m disappointed that we did not get a chance to celebrate our 5-year together and hope that can happen in the near future. I started a new job at Twitter as a research analyst and it’s been a wild experience onboarding and working remotely for the past six months but I feel that this work has never felt more relevant given the current climate. Currently I’m hunkered down in Los Angeles, which has been home for the past two years; riding my motorcycle and dancing have been my favorite escapes and I recently rode solo up the coast through central California. I hope everyone is holding up the best they can. Drop me a line if you ever want to catch up!

Jenna Starr | jstarr@wesleyan.edu

CLASS OF 2013 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

After a postdoctoral fellowship at Mount Holyoke College, Stephanie Huezo joins the Department of History as an assistant professor at Fordham University. She is happy to be teaching Latin American and Latinx history in NYC where she grew up. 

Evan Carmi is now a puppy papa, spending his days reparenting himself via his Brittany, named Pluto. Cute puppy photos can be found on Instagram @plutzthepup.

 Krysten Thomas was elected to be a 2020 Democratic National Convention Delegate in D.C. She is excited about the upcoming general election.

Michael Steves and Lucas San Juan have been making commercials and documentaries through their production company, Rule of 3. Their work, for clients including Amazon, Ring, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Bloomberg, and others, has been featured in CNN Business, The New York Times, and at Michael Moore’s film festival. They are also in production on their first documentary feature film, following a community of Rohingya refugees living in Chicago. They’ve loved working with fellow Wes alums on their productions, so reach out if you want to collaborate!

Vivianne Swerdlow has been working for over a year as a mental health coach at Joyable (acquired by AbleTo, Inc.) where she supports people in completing and getting the most out of eight-week digital cognitive behavioral therapy programs to reduce depression, generalized anxiety, or social anxiety. She recently started her own coaching practice, specializing in behavioral coaching, life coaching, and career coaching. As someone with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, she often works with chronic pain clients in particular to develop more fulfilling lives.

Benjamin Swerdlow (nee Abravanel) is in his last year of a clinical psychology PhD at UC Berkeley, where he has been studying interpersonal emotion regulation and emotion-related impulsivity. 

Zach Schonfeld recently survived a near-death encounter with an exploding can of shaving cream. His first book, chronicling the strange story of the widely sampled funk band 24-Carat Black, was published on November 12. It’s called Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth and it’s part of the 33 1/3 series of books about individual albums. 

Thank you to my classmates who contributed to this column! Hope everyone continues to stay safe during this time.

Laura Yim | Lyim@wesleyan.edu