Please write to your class secretary.
Please write to your class secretary.
Hello fellow ’09ers, below are some updates on your classmates:
Eli Wilson has recently released his first book, through NYU Press, entitled Front of the House, Back of the House: Race and Inequality in the Lives of Restaurant Workers. “The book makes for a pretty decent read for anyone interested in learning (or teaching) about race, service work, immigration, and social inequality. So far, the book has received some promising early reviews.” You can learn about it at nyupress.org.
Evan Coleman had a baby with his wife on December 24, 2020. His name is Reece, and he’s a healthy, happy future Cardinal!
Sharmeen Mazumder would like to announce the birth of her daughter, Rokeya, and her marriage to Rokeya’s father, Robin Gordon Leavitt.
Jodie Rubenstein is living in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and nine-month-old baby Hiram. She is working as the director of development for the Patriotic Millionaires.
Lastly, after spending a year in Manhattan working as an anesthesiologist on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hollie Matlin moved to the Philadelphia area with her husband Ross and her toddler son, Noah. She is in awe of the wildlife in her yard—groundhogs, foxes and a whole family of deer.
Thanks for submitting notes and please keep sharing!
Life goes on, even in a pandemic!
Ulyana Sorokopoud Cubeta writes: “My spouse, Jezz Cubeta ’10, and I bought our first house. We moved our gaggle of three kids and three cats to Maryland to be closer to my job as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.”
Cecil Apostol and Jung-Hee Oh ’07 decided to end 2020 on a high note by getting married (virtually) on New Year’s Eve in their apartment in Brooklyn. The two barely knew each other at Wes and instead first bonded at a NYE party that Jung-Hee hosted at her Brooklyn apartment in 2007. Joining them on this Zoom wedding were Wes alums from each of these class years: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Promiti Islam, Sarah Fajardo ’07, Kate Reil ’07, Jessica Tsai ’07, Thomas Tachibana, and Nicole Hsiang ’05 each gave incredibly heartwarming toasts. Theodora Fan designed a beautiful three-tiered wedding cake. After the ceremony, all the Wesleyan folks split off into three different breakout rooms that were appropriately named: Tent Party, Party on Fountain, and Mabuhay Afterparty.
Marianna Foos writes in, “Whereas before the pandemic, we would exchange actual house plants and I would help identify dead birds she found at work, Xue (Sun) Davis and I have been exchanging frequent texts about which plants to buy and which live birds she is seeing at her feeders. For Christmas she got me the perfect philodendron and I got her a roasting pan so that sort of ruins the parallel. Unless she uses it for poultry, I guess.”
Janie Stolar would like to inform all eligible alumni who like cats and live in the Los Angeles area that she is somehow single. Katie Fabac reports, “I’ve been home.”
Brittany Lyth (Marshall) got married in full COVID fashion in September. She writes, “My husband, Dave Lyth, and I got married on the beach where he proposed. Our close friends were identified as close contacts so we had to adjust our plan of hosting a small 30-person wedding to just having our parents, officiant and photographer present. It was perfect and better than we expected. We are currently living in Waltham, Massachusetts with our new rescue puppy Wesley who coincidentally was born the day we got married!”
Hello class of 2007! I hope everyone is staying safe and sane during this pandemic. The good news is that even a global pandemic won’t keep the class of 2007 down! We are welcoming many new babies for future Wesleyanites:
Sarah Lippincott and Brendan O’Connell ’08 welcomed their first child, Delphine, on October 27. She’s enjoyed lots of outdoor visits with family and friends, including Anne McSweeney ’08 and grandfather John Lippincott ’71 at their home in Conway, Massachusetts. Some of her favorite activities include watching snow fall and videoconferencing.
Simon Au ’07 welcomed his first child, Daniel, in early February. “Perhaps there is something to having children in your twenties instead of your thirties after all. . . .”
Melissa Mondesir Miller welcomed her second child, Chloé Michelle Miller, in June 2020. It was an eventful (pandemic) birth, which resulted in mom delivering the baby herself in the car while dad, Andrew, was speeding down the highway trying to make it to the birthing center in time. Thankfully everyone is doing well, and big brother, Theo, adores his new sister. During these crazy times, Melissa has been very grateful for monthly Zoom check-ins with her Wes ’07 Sister Circle, which consists of Jennifer Celestin, Oni Tongo, Nicole Reid, Samira Abdul-Karim, and Tashia Chin. “Thankful to these ladies for keeping me sane from afar.”
Albert Hill has resigned from teaching high school to be a full -time dad for a while. He and his partner welcomed their first child in Oakland in October.
And of course many ’07ers have been working on the front line in various capacities.
Lauren Ogden left Oregon after 10 years and spent the pandemic working as an infection control specialist at Stanford Children’s Hospital. While the work took over a lot of her life, she was able to reconnect with Debi Schwartz and Jacob Golden for some hikes and outdoor movies. In January she moved back home to Vermont with her partner as they are expecting their first baby.
Samira Abdul-Karim and her partner Yusef Ramelize co-founded Hyphens and Spaces, a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) consulting company that serves people in organizations dedicated to furthering social causes and justice. “We started the company because we believe that by empowering the people who are striving to create a more equitable world, we can increase their net impact and multiply the good. As Black business owners, we are motivated by the drive to make sure our daughter can experience a world where her value is unquestioned and voice is celebrated. We offer DEI process consultation, learning programs, strategy support, and coaching services. Find us at hyphensandspaces.com.”
Matthew Brownstein’s family includes his wife Hillary, son Felix (4) and daughter Ellen Poppy—we call her Poppy (1). He is an assistant principal in New York City and lives in Queens. He is proud to be bringing in-person education to more and more of our young people. He wishes everyone health and some space to make sense of these crazy times.
And our class is filled with creativity and ingenuity.
Dawid Wiacek lives in White Plains, New York, where he occasionally forages for (non-toxic) berries and (non-hallucinogenic) mushrooms in the trails and parks throughout Westchester. After several years of successfully winging it as a freelancer and consultant, he finally formalized his career coaching and resume writing business —The Career Fixer—and is currently working on a book featuring his adorable chihuahua–pit bull mix (cuter than you think!) entitled Everything My Dog Taught Me About Resumes, Networking & Navigating a Career Change.
Owen Detlor currently lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Stephanie and their little pit bull, Honey. Since Wes, Owen has been in the world of architecture and construction, finishing a graduate degree in architecture in 2013, and since then working for a construction company specializing in custom building facades. Stephanie, Honey and Owen all moved in together in Philadelphia back in 2015, before moving back to his hometown New York in 2018, and getting married in 2019. (He married Stephanie, not Honey.)
Hi Everyone. We hope this round of Class Notes finds you safe and healthy during this challenging time. That said, we are happy to hear that ’04 continues to have positive updates to share. Some highlights include:
Aja Gabel tells us she just had a baby boy and also a feature film based on a short story of hers. The movie is called Little Fish and stars Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell. It is a love story set in a memory loss pandemic . . . “and written and made way before this current pandemic, it’s worth noting,” she tells us.
Laurel Kemper tells us she’s been working from home in Rockville, Maryland, and is proud to work in grants administration at NIH, where they’ve been busy lately. And another note: “Thank you to author Amy Meyerson for visiting my virtual book club—wonderful to meet a new ’04 classmate after all these years!”
Lelah Baker-Rabe is living in Fairfield County, Connecticut with husband Dylan Osborn ’05 and their two boys. She teaches creative writing, and publishes steamy contemporary romance novels under her pen name Libby Waterford.
Kieran Meadows also shares some great news: “Honored and humbled to have been able to contribute the significant research I did while a student at Wesleyan into the life and assassination of Fred Hampton to the recently-released feature film Judas and The Black Messiah (2021). It was one of those moments when my double-major in African American Studies and Film Studies made sense.”
Kieran also reflected on our last reunion. He says he never got to express gratitude for how much fun he had DJing the most recent all-campus tent party the night before Commencement in May 2019, alongside Peter Seidman (aka Russian Bear) and former Illegalize bandmate Jon Souza, plus Brian McKenna, Tacuma Bradley and Sam Bathrick. Special shouts to Andres Villalon, Yani Lopez-Souza, Javier Gaston-Greenburg ’05 and many others also in attendance. He loved seeing all our old ’04 friends there. He’s still in Brooklyn, quarantining mostly, while continuing to work in journalism and music. “Hope folks are healthy and well, as well as they can be under the circumstances.”
Sohana Punithakumar and her family moved to Austin in September to be closer to her sister Darshana Kalikstein ’01. She now works for Microsoft remotely, currently as a program manager for Xbox. Any Austin folk should reach out!
Ariel Pliskin also writes in, telling us: “The pandemic has been a time of transition for me. I completed my MSW in May and LCSW in December and I am starting a new job as a psychotherapist and educator at South Shore Sexual Health Center. I have published a couple articles in the Journal of Positive Sexuality. I also purchased a house in Shutesbury, Massachusetts and moved in with my partner and our dog and cat.”
Philippe Gosselin tells us: “I took advantage of last year’s lockdown to pen my feature film The Angels, an epic gay love story set in San Francisco—and the great beyond. This year I hope to establish the production company that will produce the film and am looking for collaborators of all stripes. If any film alums are interested, Bay Area or otherwise, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!”
And finally, Kaitlyn Greenidge was covered in The New York Times for her historical novel, Libertie.
That’s about it for now. Wishing you all the best.
Dr. Merissa Blais lives in Old Greenwich, Connecticut with her husband and two kids. She has an orthodontic practice in Scarsdale, New York, seeing both children and adults.
Amy and Tom Hodgman are living their best 2020–2021 life stuck inside their home in Evanston, Illinois with their two kids (Quinn, 7 and Sam, 9) and two dogs (Nesta and Frank). Lately Tom has taken to snowblowing not only his own driveway and front walk but also the entire alley and half of the street. He offsets his fossil fuel usage by working at The Nature Conservancy. Amy runs a bustling tutoring business while also monitoring the kids while they remote school and cooking delicious dinners that her children refuse to eat. Both Amy and Tom feel like most of their time is spent either walking their dogs or telling their children to turn their iPads off. On a positive note, there has been a lot of forced family fun time camping, hiking, swimming and skiing in Michigan. Go Cardinals!
Tim, Jessica, Lius (9), and Josie (7) Harrington are moving from the Bay Area to Ann Arbor, Michigan to be closer to Jessica’s family. Tim continues to practice corporate law at Google and Jessica remains in marketing. Hit them up if you’re in the area!
Jessica Ely and her husband Will Carter moved to Arlington, Massachusetts last year, and they welcomed their new baby, Carly, on November 7. Back in Boston she’s been running into lots of Wes alums in the area, including Megan Crowe-Rothstein at daycare pickups.
Jules Jones has been living and writing movies in Poland for the past three years. She’s embarking on her directorial debut, a self-authored psychological horror flick, in winter of 2021 if Pandemia allows. She still plays rock music, although she hasn’t seen her band Pop-up Books in person since March of 2020.
One year later most of us are still cooped up in our homes, our kids not in school, and still riding out the pandemic. But as the world opens up and vaccines become available, it’s still great to see that Wesleyan alumni are flourishing. And what’s even crazier—next year marks our 20th Reunion! A few updates from our classmates this time around:
Michelle Carney (Rabinowitz) developed and produced a new docuseries on video games for Vice called Reset: The Unauthorized Guide to Video Games.
Eric Donelan left the U.S. State Department in late 2019 and moved to Seoul, Korea with his family to take a position with the Coupang Corporation as the head of global security and workforce protection.
Monica Coquoz sends out “a friendly hello from Seville, Spain,” where she is based. Melissa is a therapist, mindfulness and yoga teacher. She’s “dancing to stay happy and energized. Big hugs to all!”
Suzy Gerstein lives in New York City with her husband, David, her eight-going-on-14-year-old son Harvey, and her almost three-year-old daughter Judith Rose. Since the pandemic hit Suzy has had to pivot her business. Suzy writes, “For the past decade-and-a-half I had made my living as a freelance makeup artist (doing mostly shoots and red carpet). With that no longer viable, I have begun to teach one-on-one virtual makeup lessons. Fellow ’02-er, Nicole Cohen, has given me invaluable PR coaching. I have also been staying sane doing my homegirl Jen Guarnieri’s Yoga Collective workouts and filming Instagram makeup tutorials (with voice by daughter, Judy).” Suzy’s IG handle is @suzygerstein; you can follow along with her! One of Suzy’s first clients was another fellow ’02er Lily Walton (McDowell), who has a new interior design business. Lily lives in Ojai and her design website is lilywalton.com.
As for me, I’ve been riding out the pandemic with my wife and kids in the greater Vancouver area since September, having spent the fall on Salt Spring Island (seven weeks), Quadra Island (two weeks), and skiing in Whistler (one month), while settling in West Vancouver for the winter and spring (and going back to Los Angeles in the summer). I’ve been working remotely, continuing in my role at XTR. At XTR, we’ve been busy building one of the best documentary studios in the world—we produced eight films that premiered at Sundance 2021 and two films at SXSW 2021. And we are in the middle of production on three documentary series, as well as six feature documentaries, and we also launched our ad-supported streaming platform Documentary+, which is available anywhere you stream content, including docplus.com. We are building a home for passionate nonfiction fans and so far the platform has been doing quite well!
Keep the notes coming!
Hello 2001, Thank you to all who wrote in with your notes. We have been locked in a scene from Groundhog Day for the past year, and so reading your good news is a welcomed distraction. You have reminded us that there are still plenty of things to celebrate.
Melody Moezzi’s latest book, The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life, just came out in paperback in March. She is living in Wilmington, North Carolina with her husband Matthew Lenard ’00 and their two ungrateful cats, Keshmesh and Nazanin. Melody is working as a visiting associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington while Matthew is finishing his PhD at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Don Kim recently moved to Los Angeles and is building a 28-unit apartment building near downtown. Exciting!
Mary Robertson admits she’s white knuckling it through the pandemic with her two young kids, Malcolm (5) and Maxine (2). But she adds that a bright spot in these dark times was executive producing the documentary film Framing Britney Spears for The New York Times, FX and Hulu. It’s still available on Hulu and Mary says she’d love to hear what you think. If the buzz generated by this documentary is any indication, we’re pretty confident any and all feedback will be overwhelmingly positive!
Finally, Raymond Kuo shares that he has not one, but two books coming out this year. George Mason University and Westphalia Press published Contests of Initiative: Confronting China’s Gray Zone Strategy, and Stanford University Press will publish Following the Leader: International Order, Alliance Strategies, and Emulation. Seriously Raymond, how did you do it? We barely scraped together enough inspiration this year to put on real clothes once in a while.
As always, it’s a pleasure to hear from our Wes community near and far. Thanks to everyone who wrote in. Keep in touch!
Allison Larson and her husband Ron welcomed their second child, Erin Madden, in July. She joins big sister Victoria Lee. Evans Anyanwu writes “Happy to report that I was interviewed by Angela Yee ’97, Charlamagne tha God and DJ Envy on The Breakfast Club, to discuss a mental health app, U; Good? that I co-founded with a friend. You can find the interview on YouTube.”
Kori Reesee would like to share, “The recent opening of my restaurant, Roc N Ramen, located in the Little Italy section of the Bronx (606 E 187th St., Bronx, NY 10458). Roc N Ramen is a casual eatery serving authentic Japanese ramen with a Caribbean twist. Our motto is Asian Bowl, Caribbean Soul.”
Theresa Trinder published a children’s book, There Is a Rainbow, inspired by the rainbows made by children all over the world during COVID-19 lockdowns. Called “the perfect pandemic book” by School Library Journal, it’s a testament to our kids’ resilience and hope for a future that’s more safe, kind, and just. From Chronicle Books, illustrated by Grant Snider.
Calvin P. Warner writes, “The past year has been challenging, but the little things have a habit of rolling along, oblivious to the mayhem wreaked by larger events. Our son Jesse was born March 2020, just as the lockdown started here in Ohio. I finished my fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine in Columbus in September, and we moved back to Cleveland later that month. I’m now working in my first attending physician job at University Hospitals in Cleveland, mostly doing inpatient palliative consults with a smattering of outpatient. Though the transitions have been tough amidst the pandemic, there is a lot of light in the darkness for us. Hope everyone is doing well and staying safe, and I hope to see you in person in the not-too-distant future. If ever you’re in NE Ohio, look me up.”
Melissa Stevens and Rob Debbane welcomed their third son Nico this past summer. After 10 years as head of Camron US, a communications agency focused on design and architecture, Sarah Natkins has been made global head of design.
Ku Yoo writes “I left my private practice to join a client as its general counsel. The company is in the fitness/retail/childcare space. I am temporarily in Phoenix, Arizona for the job (still mostly working from the apartment), missing all the weather back east, and trying to go on outdoor hikes on weekends.”