Captain Jesse Sommer is deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
Stephanie Marcus and Jon Shestakofsky welcomed their own Wes baby, Theo, in November 2018. Last August they celebrated their five-year wedding anniversary. They have been living in Cooperstown, N.Y., for four years. Steph is an elementary art teacher and Jon is VP of communications and education at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
Alison Criscitiello, director of the Canadian Ice Core Lab, is leading several multi-disciplinary, multi-national ice coring initiatives, including an upcoming expedition to drill an ice core high on Mount Logan’s summit plateau (loganice.ca). Her daughter, Winter, just turned 1!
In August, Mark Forscher joined Bison Trails, the leading blockchain infrastructure provider, as head of brand and design. The company announced its $25.5 million Series A financing round and is one of the founding members of the Libra Association.
Ryan Garbalosa was named the Best Cardiologist for 2019 in the first annual Best of Clarendon Awards hosted by the county newspaper. The Sumter Item recognizes professionals in Clarendon county. Also, he was selected as one of the Top 20 under 40 young professionals in the Sumter-Clarendon-Lee tri-county area. He serves on the medical executive committee for Tuomey Hospital and as the medical director of the cardiac rehabilitation and echocardiography departments at McLeod Clarendon Hospital.
John Graham has expanded his high-end cultural tourism business to include Ethiopia! While completing his PhD, John has been leading tours in Georgia, Armenia, and Turkey since 2006. Details listed at johngrahamtours.com. He would love to have Wes alumni on the tours!
In September, Joey Wender, his wife, Lauren, and their 3-year-old son, Sam, welcomed Abby Wender into the world.
Tejas Desai befriended Zaheed Essack ’05 and Rashida Abuwala ’05 after meeting them at a mutual friend’s wedding in Brooklyn! He also hung out with Brett Carty ’04 for the first time in many years when he helped set up a play date with Ted and Laurie Quinn, Bayard Templeton, and their wonderful children on a trip to Philly! As for his books, in December 2019 The Brotherhood became a #1 bestseller on Amazon in two separate categories and briefly surpassed Crazy Rich Asians and Pachinko on the Asian-American bestseller list. The Brotherhood also won the Pencraft Award in the Fiction-General category and both it and its sequel, The Run and Hide, have continued to garner great reviews. He is going on another Southeast Asia trip in February and working on the final edits for his next book, The Dance Towards Death, scheduled to be released in the fall.
Tim Schwartz’s first book, A Public Service: Whistleblowing, Disclosure and Anonymity, was released by OR Books in January. Thomas Drake, a former NSA executive and whistleblower, described the book as providing “a practical roadmap when making that often life-altering choice of standing up and exposing abuse and misuse of power across all sectors of society.” The goal of this book is to help individuals expose unethical and illegal acts while limiting retaliation.
Stu Sherman was awarded a two-year grant to support his ongoing legal aid work for low-income seniors with diminished capacity. In March he announced his candidacy for the New York City Council in 2021. His district (33) covers north Brooklyn, downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, and the East River waterfront.
Nezia Azmi formalized a “side hustle” and became executive director of Arts Focus Southeast Asia (artsfocus.org), a Honolulu-based nonprofit entity that promotes and fosters an appreciation of the arts of Southeast Asia through education, performance, preservation, collaboration, and innovation. She completed her first documentary film showcasing the unique Asian Theatre Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa; the film walks through the four-month process of rehearsals and training to produce a professional award-winning theatre production with a primarily student cast and crew and a core team of Balinese guest artists. Her “main hustle” remains as the lead for global engagement at the College of Education on the same campus. She and husband Paul Rausch never get tired of waking up to views Diamond Head and going in to work in beautiful Mānoa Valley every day.
Last October, after four years of development, Jamie Antonisse and his team at Sirvo Studios released their debut mobile game Guildlings on Apple Arcade. Jamie and his family are basking in the warm glow of positive reviews and bathing in a sea of customer support emails. They dream of taking a real vacation someday soon.
On a personal note, on Oct. 26, my husband and I welcomed our daughter, Zoe Madeline Gottlieb, to the world. My daughter and I share a birthday!
Thanks to everyone who wrote in at the start of 2020. It’s nice to kick off the new year with some feel-good news!
Andrew Calica and his wife, Jacqueline, welcomed their third child at the end of 2019. Baby Theodore made the perfect gift, arriving just in time for the holidays.
Melody Moezzi just finished her second year teaching creative writing at UNC Wilmington, as well as her book, The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life, which was published by an imprint of Penguin Random House. Melody’s husband, Matthew Lenard ’00, finished his second year as a PhD student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. The couple lives happily between Wilmington, N.C., and Cambridge, Mass., with their two ungrateful cats, Keshmesh and Nazanin.
Woody Fu co-created a digital series, UR Asian Friend, produced by Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy and Nerdist. One of the shorts, Ghost, is an official selection at Just For Laughs (Montréal) and Just For Laughs Northwest (Toronto). Oh, Canada! Woody toured his one-man character show, Too Many Asians!, at San Francisco Sketchfest and Upright Citizens Brigade Franklin in Los Angeles.
Chietigj Bajpaee and his wife, Neha, welcomed a new baby girl into their family. In the same year, Chietigj found time to complete a PhD at King’s College London, and he intends to publish his dissertation as a book. He also works for Equinor (Norwegian energy company) as a political adviser on its global strategy and business development team. Chietigj, please tell us your secret for squeezing more time out of a 24-hour day.
In 2019, Roger Smith’s passions for environmental advocacy and “all things Japan” finally merged when he started a new job with the environmental protection organization, Mighty Earth, to fight against coal-fired power plants in Japan. Roger invites any Wesleyan alumni passing through Tokyo to reach out!
Heather Tseng packed up and moved the family from Colorado to North Carolina, where they’re now trying to assimilate into Southern culture (bless their hearts). Heather still works in marketing, volunteers in animal rescue, and trains a young horse for show jumping. Another Wes slacker over here!
Seriously, you guys are all such overachievers, we’d get an inferiority complex if we didn’t like you so much. Thanks to everyone who shared their news. We wish all of our 2001 family (and the rest of Wes) a happy and healthy 2020.
Can you believe it’s been 20 years since we graduated from Wesleyan?
Bakley Smith writes “Since I last checked in, I got married in 2013 and live in Brooklyn with my wife and our 3-year-old daughter. After a few years in very entrepreneurial projects (with, um, limited success), I began working for a small investment bank here in NYC that focuses on better-for-you food and drink products. I’m still in touch with and good friends with members of the Class of ’00 and will be more so as a class agent this year.”
Claudia Cruz accepted the position of director of internships and experiential learning at the Reynolds School of Journalism of the University of Nevada in Reno. This means that after nine years of living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area she’s headed to the Reno-Tahoe community. She’d love to connect with Cardinals in the area or with those just passing through.
Last but not least, Shawn Green, in Western Massachusetts, is working for Sunpower, helping homeowners convert to solar power.
Maya Bass ’08, MA’10 is a family physician and was featured in The Guardian for her work providing abortions in Oklahoma. She works full-time as family medicine faculty at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia in addition to flying back to Oklahoma part-time to provide reproductive health services.
Jeremy Brown and Kara Schnoes ’07 completed their family this past year with a second child who was adopted in Florida. They are enjoying living in Eugene, Ore., and hope the Wes community here continues to grow.
Steve Maroti writes, “I am finishing a master’s in international affairs at Columbia University, focusing on international security policy and finance, and recently got engaged. I remain eternally game to meet at Miller’s.”
Sam Barcelo graduated in May with an MBA from the Questrom School of Business.
Please keep the updates coming! Your classmates love hearing about you. E-mail me anytime.
Wedding bells are ringing for the class of 2007! Amy Lee Rosen married Dr. Nicholas Marinkovich, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia on Aug. 31. Four years ago, Amy met Nick at the National Gallery of Art and they have explored the world together ever since. The Honorable Bradley Moss ’80 officiated the ceremony. Amy met Brad in Philadelphia one week before she started law school because she was wearing a Wesleyan t-shirt and they happened to be neighbors. Others in attendance were Amanda Brown ’05, Lynn Cartwright-Punnett, Samuel Duncan ’05, Sarah Montgomery ’06, Phu Nguyen ’09, Victoria Pinsky, and Psychology Professor Emeritus Karl Scheibe, who taught Brad, Sam, and Amy while they were at Wesleyan. It was a happy day for Nick and Amy and their wedding dance included a waltz followed by a robot dance, which they are very proud of.
Also, in Philadelphia, Beth Herz and her partner, Neeta Sonalkar, celebrated their marriage, with their mutual friend Molly Hartman basking in the glow of her successful matchmaking. Rabbi Leora Abelson co-officiated the Hindu-Jewish wedding and Nicole Grijnsztein and Kimberly Greenberg led the hora, as Philly-based Compas 48, including Cara Tratner ’12 on sax, got everyone on the dance floor with their signature jarocho-cumbia-klezmer tunes.
Across the pond, Simon Au got married and is marking himself safe in Hong Kong.
On the job front, Erica Pasciullo Cahill officially became a clinical assistant professor at Stanford Medical School in obstetrics and gynecology. In addition to doctoring and research, she started a podcast called The V Word with one of her colleagues all about women’s and reproductive health.
Jocelyn Bonadio-de Freitas is in the midst of an artist residency at The Loisaida Center, Inc., in Manhattan and is starting a new job as program associate, community engagement and social justice projects with the Lower East Side Girls Club.
For the last three years, Jose Chapaled a campaign to pass legislation in New York State that would provide farmworkers across the state with equal labor rights, including the right to organize and a day of rest. The bill finally passed this last legislative session and Governor Cuomo signed it into law. Jose lives in Brooklyn with his boyfriend, Adam Martin, and they are seriously contemplating adopting a cat.
Rachel Salowitz Vaughan is living in Des Moines with her husband, Brian, and their 2-year-old daughter. She is working as the director of sales and private events for a prestigious 1920s house museum/manor home, running a home organization business, and pursuing a certification as a birth/labor and postpartum doula. She still does commercial work and acting projects when she can; most recently she wrapped a supporting role in the indie film, East of Middle West, due out next year.
In family news, Daphne Clyburn and her husband, Michael MacEwen, just welcomed their first child this summer. His name is Benjamin Arlo MacEwen and he was born on June 29. They were grateful to get together with folks from 88 Home—Meredith Katz, Kara Brodgesell, Thomas Coen, Sally Smyth, and their families this summer, too.
Grace Nowakoski and her husband, Jeff Diteman, are enjoying raising their daughter who was born in June 2018. His first translation of a novel, The Anarchist Who Shared My Name by Pablo Martín Sánchez, also came out last year. Grace works with pregnant folks as a doula and facilitates group prenatal care at the local hospital. They are happy to have neighbors again after living out in the country for two years, and to be able to stroll with their kid to the library, park, and restaurants in the “big city” of Northampton, Mass.
Nick Myers has spectacularly exited the corporate consulting world to work on opening an experiential, immersive gallery and bar space in Seattle devoted to his travels to off the beaten path locations around the world. He has the undying love and support from his besties Katie Walsh, Jackie Noh, and Anna Brown, who all continue to be spectacularly accomplished and fabulous women.
Kevin Egolf is continuing his impact investing career journey with a new company, The Capital Good Fund, while concurrently developing his own impact finance consulting firm, Trellis Capital L3C. The Good Fund is a Providence, R.I., based community development financial institution and Kevin now has a handful of social enterprise clients with Trellis. He has found a wonderful niche industry combining his finance career with businesses and organizations that are making positive social and environmental changes. He likes to remind folks that you can vote with your wallet and your investment account.
Bonnie Loshbaugh lives in Seattle with her husband and their 3-year-old. She says, “I’ve been training in martial arts for over a decade (in close company with Tyler LePard ’00), got my brown belt in kajukenbo last December, and am teaching regularly as well as mentoring new students in the art. Black belt is on the horizon!
“I published my first historical sports romance this spring under the pen name Irene Davis—I’m doing a series called The Whitford Crew, following eight heroes who rowed together at a small college on the Connecticut River in the 1880s (see if you can guess where I got that idea from). Book one, Anyone But the Earl, involves a sibling’s best friend, insurance fraud, and Victorian flower language. The next book, Head Over Wheels, will be out next spring and includes bicycle polo, Emily Dickinson, and lemon cake. Research is a blast—I’ve been learning about women’s bicycle costumes, Victorian medical procedure for concussions, marriage manuals (i.e. Victorian sex ed), incident reports from the NYFD, the night lunchwagons that were the precursors to O’Rourke’s and Athenian . . .”
Nora Bowman ’05, MALS ’08 married Paul Bomer on Oct. 13, 2018, at The Owenego in Branford, Conn. Her sisters Shaleen Bowman Thody ’03, MALS’05 and Kelly Bowman Allen ’07 served as bridesmaids, as did her Wes roommate of all four years, Susan Frost ’05. Also in attendance were her former basketball teammates, Kamica Lewis ’03, Amy Posocco ’04, Meeghan Ward Creeden ’04, Liz Walsh MacMillan ’04, Ashley Elia Weller ’04, and their coach Kate Mullen. Nora and Paul live in Boston, where she is a senior vice president at eSecLending.
After nearly a decade running an independent design practice, Mark Forscher joined Bison Trails—a leading blockchain infrastructure provider—as head of design in NYC.
Rachel Morris Bruce and her husband, Samuel Bruce, welcomed their second child in January, Aviva Miriam. Everyone is doing well.
Kirsten Yamaguchi is happily engaged to Jahna Berry and living in the San Francisco Bay area. Kirsten is animating at Pixar Animation Studios.
Alexander Yellen married Kelli McNeil, an LA-based writer with whom he has been sharing adventures for the better part of four years, in a ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 7. Among his groomsmen was fellow PsiU alumnus Matt Pierce. Also celebrating with them were Alex Brown, Jason Sax, Matt Gottlieb ’05, and Chris Connor ’04. Alex and his new bride are hard at work fundraising for their feature film collaboration, Daruma, a dark comedy starring a pair of lead actors with disabilities.
Tejas Desai’s new novel, The Run and Hide, was released on Sept. 16. An article in the Queens Courier praised The Brotherhood Chronicle trilogy as “timely and exciting” and a “must-read” that “will keep you guessing.” He will be on local TV and headlining various reading series in NYC to promote the book. He is also attempting to create a multicultural stories program at the Queens Public Library where he works as a supervising librarian. The third book of the trilogy, The Dance Towards Death, is tentatively scheduled to be released on Sept. 16, 2020.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation has recently named Jonathan Selter as senior vice president of strategy and impact. In his role, he will work with the foundation to expand its reach of empowering military and veteran caregivers.
Hi, everybody. Mara here, reporting for duty. Thank you for your notes.
Sarah Dalsimer writes, “My husband, Josh, and I welcomed our second son, Judah, on March 21. He joins big brother Ezra, 5. We live in Brooklyn (shocking, I know!).”
Melody Moezzi just celebrated her 17th wedding anniversary (with Matthew Lenard ’00), and is a visiting professor of creative writing at UNC Wilmington. Her third book, The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life, will be published on March 3 by an imprint of Penguin Random House (TarcherPerigee) and is available for pre-order (hint!).
Jeff Lane and his wife, Emily Henretta, welcomed a baby boy named Vincent James Lane on Sept. 16, 2018. They still live in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.
Jim and Emily Barth Isler moved this summer from New York City to Los Angeles with their two kids, ages 8 and 4. Happily ensconced in life in Burbank, they would love to connect with other Wes alumni and film/TV people in the area.
Woody Fu is a lead in the film Lucky Grandma, which debuted at Tribeca Film Festival and won $1 million from AT&T Presents: Untold Stories. The film features Tsai Chin as an ornery, chain-smoking grandma.
Jenny Selgrath writes, “I’m living in San Francisco and a post-doc at Stanford University, where I work on biodiversity changes in Monterey Bay. I ran into Megan Koss Richards and Celeste Fowles Nguyen at the Wesleyan reception for Hamilton in San Francisco earlier this summer, which was a nice surprise.”
Eli Sheridan Wise welcomed baby Kestrel June into the world. He feels incredibly lucky to have been able to conceive and give birth to a beautiful baby girl. He and his loving partner, Stephen, are in the small group of gay couples (one cis, one trans) to be able to create life all on their own. She was born on Sept. 1 to The Cure album, Disintegration. It was a great start to a bright new life. As I write up these notes, I am at this very moment listening to and really enjoying Eli’s music, which is over at eliwise.com.
Here in Boston, my son is now old enough to explain the world to us, which is probably the most magical thing I’ve ever experienced (have you noticed lately that sidewalks sparkle?). He just started preschool, and on the first day I turned to introduce myself to a dad in the room and I was completely delighted to see that it was Will Tsoulas! We’re bringing some wacky Butterfield energy to the school, though we haven’t found its tunnel system yet. On another front, I’m excited to be a part of the new Justice Committee of Prisoners Legal Services, which aims to raise support and funds for a series of new initiatives related to prisoners’ and detainees’ rights here in Massachusetts. Learn more at plsma.org!
Thank you for all the updates. Reunion year! More details to follow, but plan to attend Reunion Weekend in May.
Khary Cuffe writes, “I moved to Los Angeles last year. I worked at a start up in San Diego for a while as head of business development, but the commute was vicious so now I am an adjunct professor at LMU and work full-time as the director of MBA Career Services at USC Marshall School of Business. I would love to connect with Wesleyan alumni if they are in town.”
Trace Peterson published her second book of poems, Since I Moved In (New & Revised), which features an introduction by Joy Ladin. Trace works as a mentor for the Emerge-Surface-Be program at The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, and also works at Hunter College, where she teaches an original course that she designed in the English department titled Trans and Nonbinary Poetry.
Nicole Lesperance writes, “I signed two book deals this year. The first, a middle grade book called The Nightmare Thief, will be published in fall 2020. The second, a young adult book called The Wide Starlight, will be published in 2021.”
Andrew Bancroft (aka rapper “Jelly Donut”) makes his Broadway debut with Freestyle Love Supreme, a fully improvised hip-hop musical created by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Anthony Veneziale ’98, and Thomas Kail ’99. Andrew is also co-creator of FLS Academy, a school teaching freestyle rap, beatboxing, improv, and storytelling. Learn more and get tix at freestylelovesupreme.com.
Abby Rosenthal Burd drove to San Diego after graduation and hasn’t left. She is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice. Her perinatal online school just launched its first course, Prevent Postpartum Depression. Abby, her husband, Matt, and two daughters often play with Jenessa Pascoe Daugherty and Matt Daugherty ’99, and their daughters.
Leora Wein writes, “I completed my certification in educational therapy. I work in both school and clinical settings as part of a group private practice in LA.”
Ku Yoo writes, “I changed my law firm and joined as a principal at Axenfeld Law Group to grow and head its corporate practice. Still living in Philadelphia.”
William “Billy” Chun reports, “I’m serving as deputy mayor of economic development for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. My responsibility covers all the thriving and emerging industries in Los Angeles: aerospace, sports, tech, entertainment, real estate, tourism and hospitality, health care, cannabis, and mobility. My projects can range from large-scale events like the upcoming 2028 LA Summer Olympics, to infrastructure projects like the expansion of LAX, to bringing Netflix and Warner Music Group into LA, and to promoting economic opportunity. On that last point, I created the Evolve Entertainment Fund, which is an initiative to promote diversity in the entertainment industry. We kicked off the initiative with Ava DuVernay last year and we just launched our summer program with Issa Rae in June.”
Ami Student writes, “I’m living with my boyfriend in downtown Los Angeles, having moved south from San Francisco three years ago. I work for the VA as a psychologist. I primarily work with rural veterans via video telehealth technologies in their homes or local community clinics. Our program’s aim is to provide mental health care to veterans with little-to-no local mental health resources.”
Ali Haider says, “I am a practicing interventional cardiologist in Massachusetts and an assistant professor of medicine. One year ago, I married Uruj Kamal ’09, whom I met at my hospital when I first moved here. I am also a health care influencer on Instagram: @yourheartdoc!”
Daniel Gomez-Ibanez designed electronics for a remotely operated underwater vehicle specially designed to work under ice. He was in the Arctic Ocean on the icebreaker Kronprinz Haakon in September and October at 87 degrees north latitude exploring hydrothermal vents on the Gakkel Ridge.
Working out of Western Massachusetts, Shawn Green was promoted to senior residential solar energy consultant. He represents Sunpower and offers a free analysis and custom design/quote for homeowners. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.