James “Jamie” F. McNiff II ’75 passed away on May 23, 2021. A full obituary can be found here.
Bryan Chong writes: “Right after graduating, I served as communications director on the campaign of fellow Wesleyan alum Alicia Strong ’18, for mayor of New Britain. Then, I came back to Wesleyan in October 2021 as the civic engagement fellow for the Allbritton Center! In addition to that work, I serve in the leadership of the Central Connecticut chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America’s electoral wing, and have continued to do communications work for progressive candidates, such as another Wesleyan alum, Andy Gottlieb ’14 for state house.”
Virginia Sciolino says: “Right after graduation, I moved to Jackson, Mississippi, to work at the Foundation for the Mid South as part of my summer program as a SELI (Southern Education Leadership Initiative) fellow with the Southern Education Foundation. I interviewed education leaders in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi about regional equity issues, and I also put together some research about workplace practices and LGBTQ+ inclusion. Afterward, I moved home to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where I am currently interning for Tangi Carter, a public defense attorney, and working as a waitress at the same restaurant where my sister is a chef! I am so grateful that I was able to bring some of my knowledge about equity, labor history, and social change back to my home state, where I’ve also been able to connect with some of the Wes alums who are in the region!”
Gayon Yang shares: “I recently read Hope’s Boy by Andrew Bridge. Highly recommend.”
Edward Yanez says that he is “conducting research on Latin American history at Columbia University. My undergraduate thesis was published in the Journal of the Oxford University History Society, XV edition, and can be accessed at: https://www.ouhs.org/_files/ugd/a8b8e6_dca4eeff1738460092f11f4536fddac3.pdf.”
Nicole Adabunu writes: “I have been signed to the Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA); it’s the same agency that represents celebrities like Beyoncé, Viola Davis, Will Smith, and more. CAA will be representing me as a writer in their Publishing, Books, Television, Podcasts, and Movies division!”
In April 2021, Lucine Poturyan was elected to serve as a representative on the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council (EHNC), following a successful six-month appointment to the local council. At the EHNC, Lucine is the chair of the Outreach and Youth & Education Committees, where she organizes local programs to benefit low-income youth and their families. In July 2021, Lucine began her new role as an assistant account executive at tech PR firm AxiCom. Excited for what comes next!
Dani Rodriguez was recently certified as a Connecticut firefighter, got engaged to long-time girlfriend Samantha Burr, and is getting married July 10, 2022. Major congrats to Dani and Samantha!
Since the last update, Esha Bhandari has been working as a care team assistant on the Neurology Inpatient Service at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She’ll start medical school in Philly come July 2022.
Anthony Price joined Dell Technologies as a corporate advisor of community impact. He’s working to close the digital divide in marginalized communities across the Midwest of the United States.
Less than a year ago Ben Lefkowitz became a board member for an organization called Kulanu (kulanu.org).
Nick Ticali is still working as an EMT with Northwell Health, where times have certainly become “stranger” thanks to the omicron variant. He plans to attend the New York Institute of Technology’s physician assistant program in September 2022. Other than focusing on his career, Nick is still participating in community theatre, volunteering with the local fire department, and spending a whole lot of time with his amazing new girlfriend.
Kush Patel started school at the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston! It’s his first time living in a city; he’s heard nothing but good things about Boston and plus, so many Wes alum are in the area.
Check out Mitchell Flautt’s fractal artwork: @fractal_entheogens on Instagram.
Tyler Kobryn is now playing hockey for the Kalamazoo Wings.
Livia Wallick recently started a job at Wesleyan! She is now the assistant director of annual giving in the Office of Advancement and is so excited to be back at Wes!
From Grace Morenko: I’m currently living in Brooklyn (along with everyone else from Wesleyan) and completing an artist residency at SVA. I have also been knitting insatiably for my shop (check out gnits brooklyn!), studying sustainable material design at Parsons, and am going to start working for an industrial designer in March! Miss you all. 🙂
Big thanks to everyone who sent in their updates! I managed to make it through my first Chicago winter and was lucky enough to escape to the warmth of (you guessed it) Brooklyn for a bit to catch up with some of my fellow 2020s. It’s so great to see our class settling into post-grad life and our *new* normal. I hope that I’ll see you all soon at our long-awaited graduation!
Hey everyone! Hope you are all doing well and staying safe. Here are some updates from our peers:
Kati Young is a PhD student at Marquette University. She uses budding yeast to study Huntington’s Disease.
Kevin Le finished his master’s program at University of San Diego in health care management in December. He is walking in May and welcomes anyone to come through to San Diego to celebrate! He also finished a year at his current company Arena Pharmaceuticals.
This spring Rachel Williams is starting her second semester as a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University in the modern languages and literatures department, with a focus in Spanish. At Hopkins she is once again sharing a department with Sophia Shoulson ’18, slowly launching a Wes takeover of campus. She is looking forward to exploring Baltimore more and meeting up with Wes friends up and down the Eastern seaboard—catch her on the Acela on any given weekend!
Rebecca Goldfarb Terry is currently living in Philadelphia with Ben Hornung ’18. She will be pursuing her nurse-midwife and nurse practitioner degrees at the University of Pennsylvania this fall. As they both formerly captained Wesleyan’s Throw Culture Frisbee team, Ben and Rebecca continue to play Frisbee together in the Philadelphia area.
Last fall, Wesley Villano moved to Kanab, Utah, to work as a field guide for Wingate Wilderness Therapy. His partner, Ainsley Kass ’20, also works there in the same position.
Special thanks to everyone who reached out with their life updates. Keep an eye out for my next email about the next edition of the alumni magazine soon.
Hey Class of 2018,
In fall 2021, Ryan Dobrin was one of the associate directors on the Broadway production Diana, The Musical, which he followed up with being one of the directing fellows at the Drama League. Congrats to Ryan!
Sending everyone peace and love,
Ali Felman works in, on, and around people as the senior people associate at Intersection, an out-of-home media company. She is basically a professional RA, but with fewer cool parties and more emails. Per her last class note, you can find her in Brooklyn, with everyone else.
Noah Mertz has been bopping between the mountains of California, Mexico City, and Boston for the past few years, where he has been working in outdoor education and local political organizing. He’s settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to begin graduate studies in French literature and philosophy, and to work with a friend on an environmental project called we.grow.eco (www.wegroweco.org), through which they facilitate youth education and coalescent community events that prompt folks to reconsider the way we act and interact with and within our ecosystem. He tries to pick up one piece of trash (at least) a day.
Adam Rochelle is in LA producing and performing with Matan Koplin-Green ’15 as the delusional pop duo Paper Idol. He also makes jazztronica music and glitch-pop remixes as PRNDL, and is still joyfully producing for Kidz Bop. Additionally, he has completed his transformation from dog person to cat person.
James Wilson and Luke Lira started a company called reUser (https://www.reuser.app/) together! reUser makes it easier for universities, hospitals, corporate campuses, and their members to reUse takeout packaging, while saving money and reducing their environmental footprint in the process. They just helped Wesleyan relaunch the Eco-to-go program at Summerfields to start reUsing again on campus. Now, once each student is done with their container, they use the reUser app to exchange it for a digital token that they can keep conveniently on their smartphone until they need a new container. They are super excited to be able to give back to Wesleyan and come together to fight for a better future!
And finally, Meredith Smith and Andrew Mehr married May 22, 2021. Many Wes classmates were in attendance.
I want to introduce myself as the new class secretary for the Class of 2016! It has been wonderful to read everyone’s updates for these past six (!) years as Wesleyan alums. You all have kept busy with your amazing projects, adventures, and accomplishments—I look forward to collecting and sharing these memories from you all.
Without further ado, here are some updates from our classmates:
Madeline James is currently working toward her PhD in history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received a 12-month research fellowship from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD, or the German Academic Exchange Service) for this academic year to conduct archival research in Germany for her dissertation. She has been living in Berlin, Germany, since September, and will be visiting several other German cities for archival research through the spring and summer of 2022.
Alexis Fineman is doing everything in her power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. She is currently moonlighting as the mayor of San Anselmo, working to build capacity and will for local climate policies and actions. She chairs a countywide committee of elected officials focused on climate action and is a member of her local Sunrise chapter. By day, she works in K–12 climate and sustainability education, after having spent the last few years as a classroom teacher.
Eury German will be a visiting assistant professor of dance at Wesleyan University. He has started a tutoring company with fellow Wesleyan 2016 graduate, Cecilia Cereijido-Bloche.
Melissa Leung has finally learned how to drive with the cool confidence and impatience of a New York pigeon. You can catch her riding dirty in the upper valley where snowbanks, deer, and bears are plenty. There is a co-op here, but it can never beat the one and only bread table she shared with Patrick Bailey. Ben Romero and Melissa also got to dance their hearts out to Whitney and many more divas! From Melissa: “Friends, come join us in the grad school life—please feel free to hit me up if you have questions! It truly is LIT to be a nerd again and have a flexible schedule to accommodate random midday shenanigans.”
Cornelia Channing joined The New York Times Company as an editorial assistant. Before joining the Times, she was a copy editor at New York magazine, where she worked on a number of ambitious stories including an investigation into allegations of abuse in former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, and was the editor of the magazine’s weekly crossword puzzle.
Johnny LaZebnik co-wrote an episode for the iconic show, The Simpsons, entitled “Portrait of a Lackey on Fire.” The episode is nominated for a Writers Guild of America award and received a feature in The New Yorker.
Sadichchha Adhikari graduated with her MBA from Georgetown University last year and is pursuing a (very predictable, post-MBA) consulting path. She also wrote and published a book, Beautiful People: Women of Color Decentralizing Innovation in Beauty, and is using her experience and background from this book to start a nail polish brand with one of her Georgetown friends, coming in summer 2022! She’s also probably moving back to NYC this summer. Lots of changes!
Ani Acopian has been named to the 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 List for social media.
As for my own update: Sarah Mi came to visit Mariam Torres for the weekend, and they randomly decided to just “take a look around the animal shelter.” Mariam ended up adopting her new kitten, Penelope. She has been the best companion during Step 1 studying!
Angela Slevin and Tim Gallivan met on the last day of classes during the spring of their senior year. They didn’t meet until then because Tim spent a lot of time in Olin and Angela spent a lot of time on Fountain and at the Nest (maybe it was the other way around . . . ?). They will be getting married in Virginia this July surrounded by many beloved Wes friends!
Sara Warnock is preparing for ACL surgery following an accident at Breckenridge and wants to throw out a friendly reminder to stop your ski day when your legs get tired. She’s looking forward to frolicking around Denver and/or San Diego with Amelia Mettler this spring.
This spring, Marissa Castrigno is graduating from UNC Wilmington with an MFA in creative writing. She wrote her first book—narrative nonfiction about riding the New York City subway, among other things. Her goal this year is to get a job she doesn’t hate.
Earl Y. Lin has been busy: “I left my job in DC and moved to Minneapolis to start law school at the University of Minnesota. On the personal front, I also got engaged to my now-fiancée before we moved out here, and we’re excited to be living in the Midwest—a whole new part of the country for both of us—and getting to know the Twin Cities as law school, the cold, and COVID all permit.”
Rebecca Wyzan is “head of development at the Brooklyn-based production company Present Company, co-founded by Dan Janvey ’06 and Paul Mezey. We launched in December of 2021.”
Melissa Luning writes: “I just started my first semester in the Advanced Standing BSN Program at Farmingdale State College. I am interested in pediatric and neonatal care. I am excited to begin the journey to becoming an RN (and to be able to do it all in person)!”
From Jamie Hall: “I’ve been living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with my partner Kaylen and my cat Seven (not Steven). I completed a successful Dry January, which I’m extending into February, and I’m growing out a winter beard that is mostly brown with some auburn parts. I also started a new job conducting research and analysis for a solar and storage company. Hope the whole Wes fam is staying healthy and doing well!”
Kehan Zhou says: “I am the CEO of Terrascope, Inc. We are building the first AI real estate agent with deep learning and computer vision technology. My co-founder, Julian Compagni Portis, and I started the company in 2020. Terrascope has been featured in 17-plus publications and podcasts. This year we are hiring more machine learning scientists and raising a seed round. Happy to collaborate with alums working in the Proptech and VC sector.”
Please write to your class secretary.
Exciting updates below from the Class of 2013. Thanks to all of you who contributed!
Vivianne and Benjamin Swerdlow (né Abravanel) moved from the San Francisco Bay area to Lebanon, New Hampshire, in the summer of 2021, where Benjamin is completing his clinical psychology internship at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and Vivianne began her master of social work through Simmons University. They will be moving to Chicago in July so Benjamin can begin his new faculty position at Lake Forest College.
Sarah Chrystler and her husband Noah welcomed their daughter, Penelope Elizabeth, this past August. They are so excited to have a future Cardinal!
Ilana Bondell and Adam Hirschberg got married this past October in Brooklyn, New York, after many COVID delays. It was the 11-year anniversary of when they first started to date, which all began with a night out at Eclectic. You never know where you’ll meet your future husband at Wesleyan!
Sam Walker and his wife Jesse Greenblatt ’12 welcomed their first baby boy on January 6th in their hometown of Washington, DC. They decided to name him Wesley as a homage to the birthplace of their relationship at Wesleyan. Wesley can’t wait to be part of the future graduating Class of 2044.
Ross Gormley is still in Boston, still teaching English, but will attend either a MSW or LMHC program in the fall. He’s in a band with Justin Pottle and Maxwell Bevilacqua and their working band name is Wait for me Henry Robertson. Frank Fineis, Jacob Eichengreen, Nate Jacobs, Maxwell Bevilacqua, and Ross were planning a trip together to North Carolina in March.