CLASS OF 1994 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

| HOME
← 1993 | 1995 →

Anne Noel Occhialino writes: “Like many others, I have been hunkered down at home for the last year with my daughters (hybrid school), husband (working at home), and one-eyed Golden Retriever (loving every minute of having everyone home!). The highlight of my year was the Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status, as I worked on these cases for the EEOC at the court of appeals level. A silver lining of the pandemic has been monthly Zoom calls with my cross-country friends, including Joe Mahoney ’94, Sean Mazer ’94, Matt Schneider ’93, Jon Chesto ’93, Arthur Magni ’93, Deb Levin ’96, and Amy Dain ’96. Love Wes! For my 49th birthday last week, my father even sent me a Wesleyan T-shirt! Hope my classmates are staying healthy and that the next few months brings a reprieve from the pandemic.

Jonathan Kirsch is running a new mobile health initiative at the U of Minnesota med school, bringing high quality preventative and advanced medical care to marginalized communities, like farmworkers, meatpackers and other jobs where refugees, immigrants and migrants work.

Erika Phillips (formerly Amy Phillips) writes: “The program that I created, manage and facilitate for The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego where I am an Arts Engagement Programs Manager, Reflecting Shakespeare, is a transformative arts program for the incarcerated and justice-involved.  During the pandemic, with generous grants from the California Arts Council and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the program has expanded to reach the Reentry and Youth populations.  For the adult populations on lockdown, our program has transformed to correspondence and video formats.  The videos have been released on The Old Globe’s website and youtube pages and can be viewed by the public at large.  We are currently in Series 3 exploring Much Ado About Nothing through a healing and social justice lens with a panel of hosts that include artists who were formerly incarcerated.  Interested parties can watch and send in their responses.  We will feature community writing in a final episode.

I was also recently featured on Episode 17 of the podcast A Life in the Theatre, where I got to talk all about this work.” 

Eliza Comer reached out to a bunch of friends and provided us with the following updates: “I don’t know if I’ve ever written in, but I used the Class Notes deadline as an excuse to check in with some friends via WhatsApp and text to try get some deets on everyone’s current realities, as well as their TV and movie suggestions. And to continue my tradition of ultimate procrastination (which I honed at Wes and has served me well in my career), I only reached out to people today, the day before the notes were due. And now, in alphabetical order by last name…”

Neeti Bambrah, from DC: “I am still a practicing PM&R physician (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), doing mostly electrodiagnostic testing and spine in an orthopedic practice. I have been living in downtown DC since medical residency … so have officially been through some interesting times! Especially lately… I still manage to try and get a daily run in by the monuments.”

Julie Beattie, from Colorado: “I’m in product marketing and research in the technology talent acquisition space (working for DHI Group Inc if that’s easier to say). Adam ‘93 and I live in Denver with our daughter who started high school this year at the same high school I attended (although between Covid and how the school has evolved it’s a pretty different experience!). We’ve been thankful to live in CO and enjoy extra ski days this season as a family pandemic activity.” 

Nicole Cho, from Massachusetts: “I’ve been working in philanthropy as an Information Services Manager for over a year in Boston and spent the past year working from home with my husband. Ted Lasso is a must watch for a good laugh and a bit of light heartedness!”

Karine Chung, from California: “I’m a fertility doctor in Los Angeles with two smelly teenage boys, my husband who is a critical care doctor, and our dog Auggie, who we are obsessed with. My favorite pandemic tv series is Ted Lasso because it makes me feel so happy. But also just started watching an oldie but goodie – Freaks and Geeks.”

Nimali Fernando, from Virginia: “The Dr. Yum project, a nonprofit I founded, is holding its annual fundraising event as a Virtual Celebration on Friday, April 16th, at 7pm. Go to https://www.doctoryum.org/ for more information.” 

Adji Gadson, from California: “I live in Los Angeles, a mile from my twin sister, and am working at CAA. With a 30-foot commute instead of 30-minutes, as a long time New Yorker, I have a new appreciation for California!” 

Rula Geha, from California: “I moved to California from NYC in the fall after being in NYC since 2001. Now I am closer to my family. I have one daughter who is 8 years old. I work as a physician consultant for a financial company doing biotechnology due diligence and medical and scientific philanthropy as well as running the corporate health program. Fortunately school is open here, because I was losing it as an elementary school teacher!”

Pammie Nguyen from NY: “We’re in the suburbs north of the city, and I’m still a neuroradiologist, still at Columbia. Mike is still a head and neck surgeon. Our loud rambunctious boys are now 9 and 12 and were happy to play board games with us at the beginning of the pandemic, but that didn’t last long. So we got a pandemic puppy, a Golden doodle named Baloo. And that’s about it! Oh, and Ted Lasso is my latest obsession! And Wanda Vision!”

Kristy Scanlan, from California: “We are moving within the same building, to a 2 bedroom on the other (sunnier) side. Now that I will be WFH permanently, as well as my bf, we needed a bit more space and a home office.  I do not miss the commute and actually really like working from home, but sitting all day at the dining room table sucks.  I look forward to having an actual room with a desk and proper desk chair.  But moving is no fun.  I am up to my ears in boxes. I just started season 2 of Schitt’s Creek (I know, I’m behind).  Love it!!” 

Laurie Sorabella, from Virginia: “In the last several years, I have been restoring oyster reefs in Virginia’s waterways, teaching science, running races (with Claire), and living in Virginia Beach with my husband and three children. My oldest has started looking at colleges, so we’ll be visiting Wes this summer.”

Caitlin Dunne Wilson, from New Jersey: “I am working on Verizon’s next generation network, from home. I have been enjoying the extra time I have been getting to spend with my twin 10 year olds, and the rewards I am getting from homeschooling them. In my spare time, I’ve been busy with my company caitlinwilson.com. If you need serious design help, or just a pretty pillow, let me know.”

Claire Wingfield, from DC: “My nephew will be attending Wes this fall as class of 2025–following in his mother, father, auntie and cousin’s footprints—the 5th family member to graduate since 1991! I have rewatched Schitt’s Creek seasons 1-6 at least 3 times, and Derry Girls twice through, but I’m still stuck in season 2 of Breaking Bad because it stresses me out!”

Sondra Youdelman, from NYC: “I live in Brooklyn, NY and am the Campaign Director for People’s Action, a national network of state-based power-building organizations. I’m thrilled to no longer have to orient everything against Trump (though Trumpism is still alive and well!), and finally be able to work on some proactive campaigns, including being a piece of the puzzle to land the $1.9 trillion federal relief bill that was just secured. Next up – addressing recovery in a way that creates jobs, addresses climate change, and focuses on equity and structural reform! “Seeing people” has been limited of late, but I live a long walking distance from Melissa Woods and have managed a few social distance get togethers with Nicole Davis and Eliza Comer as well.”

And finally, Eliza Comer provided her own update from NYC: “I’m lucky to have had continuous work with Zero Point Zero (mostly WFH), mainly on the CNN series “United Shades of America” with W. Kamau Bell. We managed to shoot 7 episodes across the U.S. from September to February, with serious Covid protocols in place, and nobody got sick. (S6 premieres 5/2.) I’m grateful to be in post production now and am sleeping much better! In my down time, I’ve been tooling around the neighborhood on my new blue Razor scooter, and have been bidding in Housing Works Thrift Shop auctions on various items I don’t need, like a tin chair with a ram’s head on the side, and then praying that someone will outbid me and I won’t have to spend $175 on a chair I don’t really want. I recently re-watched a few 80’s favorites: Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, and Trading Places. I’ve also joined the 21st century and enjoyed Schitt’s Creek, Tiger King, and Bridgerton, and am just getting into Watchmen.” Thanks for all the updates, Eliza!

As for me (Caissa), I’m happy to report all is well from New Jersey. I completed and received my master’s in adult education in December 2020. I am looking forward to the virtual graduation ceremony to be held this month. I pray that all is well with all of you!

CAISSA POWELL| 4caislaw@gmail.com

SAMERA SYEDA LUDWIG | samera.ludwig@gmail.com