CLASS OF 2002 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

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Hey, everybody! I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during these challenging times. If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s that we’re able to share more time with our loved ones and spend more time introspectively looking within. Our collective resolute spirit is inspiring to see.

I recently came across an article that my old hallmate Larrison Campbell wrote in Vanity Fair, where she talks about breaking out her mother’s old Junior League cookbooks during quarantine, discovering a time capsule to the past and a guidepost for the pandemic. And I recently caught up with Jenny He, pre-pandemic, as we attended the Frieze Art Fair in Los Angeles together. This year Jenny moved to Los Angeles and took a position as the exhibitions curator at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures after being the touring filmmaker and artist for Tim Burton’s international exhibitions for the past 10 years.

Congratulations are in store for a few of our classmates. Rachael Slivka gave birth to her first child on Sept. 14, 2019; she and her husband, Joel Schectman, named their son Ori. They live in Washington, D.C., where Rachael works as an emergency physician at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. And Blake Walsh married Shannon McCabe on Sept. 1, 2019, in Buffalo, N.Y. Joining them for a raucous weekend celebration were Kevin MacDermott, Shawn Lemerise and his wife, Reka Salgunan ’01, Taylor Green and Rachel Peters, John Geehreng and Jen Guarnieri, Adam Cayton-Holland, John Lawler, Padraig Hughes ’03, and Chuck Ptak MALS ’05.

Jocelyn Greene has been creating content around theater games and social-emotional learning for parents and schools through Child’s Play in Action. Jocelyn lives in Brooklyn with her actor husband, Glenn Fleshler, and their 8-year-old son.

Alex Horwitz is tucked in the woods of Upstate New York, where he’s building a big stick house with his two boys. A few months ago, just before lockdown set in, Alex directed a Bon Jovi music video at Abbey Road Studios, featuring no-longer-Prince Harry. It was supposed to be step one of a larger documentary project with the band, but the pandemic put that on the back burner for now. Until then, his family is just hunkered down, staying safe, and getting ready for whatever is next.

And for others, it was time to move on from their jobs:

After a brief—but fun—stint working at an Amazon warehouse, Ryan Akers-Engstrand is a homemaker in David, Calif., with his wife, who is two years away from completing a neurology residency, and their two boys, one of whom is completing his kindergarten residency in June, and the other who is turning 4 in September. Ryan got the chance to have a virtual reunion in April with all of his senior year housemates—Nate Andrade, Chris Lynch, and Pete Rosenblatt. Ryan said, “It was sweet.”

Eric Donelan left the U.S. Department of State and moved to Seoul, Korea, in January with his family. Eric is currently the director of physical security for Coupang, the largest e-commerce company in Korea. They are settling well and “wish the whole Wesleyan community, students and alumni, good health during these trying times.”

I haven’t posted a note about myself in a while—I left the Viacom corporate world working for Paramount Network at the beginning of 2019 and joined forces with former Ryot Film co-founder Bryn Mooser to build XTR, a new documentary studio in LA. In our first year, we produced and co-financed over 20 documentary features, including four films in competition at Sundance 2020 (one of which—Blood Nose, Empty Pockets—was also produced by another Wesleyan alumni producer, Michael Gottwald ’06, one film at SXSW and two films at Tribeca (both festivals were sadly sidelined due to the pandemic). Our SXSW film—You Cannot Kill David Arquette—was picked up by Neon and will be released on VOD (and hopefully theatrically as well, depending upon COVID) in August. We are also about to announce a major sports doc with a huge Michael Jordan-level athlete. In addition, we’re working on several documentary series and podcasts. It’s been really fun building a new business and hopefully, a new brand within the nonfiction space.

Class of 2002, please keep the notes coming!

Justin Lacob | justinlacob@gmail.com