CLASS OF 2001 | 2022 | SPRING ISSUE

Hi 2001,

So much has changed, but what remains the same is how happy I always feel to hear from our classmates about the things they are up to around the globe. Keep sending in those notes!

Myra Sessions shares that she had so much fun watching Katie (Barge) Paris Zoom interview the U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Murthy, in a panel arranged by the White House. Topics included COVID-19 and keeping kids safe, as well as political activism.

Ben Hurwitz, Aryn (Kalson) Sperandio, Scott Kushner, and Aaron Rosenberg left behind parental and professional duties for a weekend together in the California desert to celebrate the wedding of Jess Goldfarb to James Winston on March 5.

Ben Spatz has been promoted to reader at the University of Huddersfield and continues to explore connections between artistic research and theories of identity. View Ben’s work at urbanresearchtheater.com/, including videos and publications. Visitors to Northern England are always welcome!

Ashley (Crossan) Morse lives with her husband and two sons in Chicago, where she occasionally has the pleasure of hanging out with Loren Berlin ’00. This past summer, Ashley and her kids traveled to Los Angeles to spend cherished in-person time with the ladies of 54 Home (and their partners and sweet kiddos): Julie Ames, Sarah Kozinn, and Liz Weiner—an “annual-ish” visit that usually includes Kate Purdy too (she was quarantining this time). Ashley also shares that after nine years as an organizational effectiveness consultant at Allstate, she has brought her career back full circle to the not-for-profit sector and is now doing social impact consulting and loving it. Last, but definitely not least, she has also found time to take a painting class—in Ashley’s words, “a delightful, albeit sometimes bewildering, challenge!”

Andrea Donnelly writes in with news that her work as a sound and energy healer, spiritual mentor, and coach took off last year. She was featured on Yahoo, Bustle, Hello Giggles, Re-Spin, and several incredible podcasts including, Chakra Girl Radio and Raising a Powerful Girl. Andrea is particularly proud of an interview with Thrive Global on finding happiness and joy during turbulent times, which seems to be a continued theme as we move into 2022. If you’re interested in learning more about Andrea’s work, find her at wearehere2remember.com or reach out at andrea@wearehere2remember.com.

Until next time, 2001.

CLASS OF 2001 | 2021–2022 | WINTER ISSUE

Thanks for writing in, everybody.

     Kyle Judge is currently working in the music business as an executive and manager of such notable acts who are signed to major record labels such as Young Devyn (4th & B’way/ Island Records), Souly Had (Island Records), Dru Oliver (Grammy-nominated vocal producer and platinum-selling songwriter) and Lyrique J (platinum-selling songwriter on Chris Brown’s Indigo album).  You can find them all on Instagram. He is also the executive producer of a project by Young Devyn released this summer on 4th & B’way / Island Records.

    Raymond Kuo has joined the RAND Corporation as a political scientist, continuing his research on security issues in Asia.

From Andrea Donnelly: “Last I wrote, I’d started a spiritual healing business, We Are Here 2 Remember, which has taken off like a rocketship in the past few months. I am primarily doing spiritual mentorship for founders and CEOs.” She was recently featured on Yahoo, Halle Berry’s new site rē-spin, and podcasts including Chakra Girl Radio and Hello Universe. By the time this is published, a two-part interview with Ali Levine, former Bravo Reality Star, about her work will be released on her podcast Everything with Ali Levine. “My talk with Ali is beyond a dream come true. I was an American Studies major and this feels like the perfect mash-up of my intellectual + spiritual curiosity and forevergreen love of pop culture. If anyone wants to learn more about my work you can email me at andrea@wearehere2remember.com or www.wearehere2remember.com.”

From Jenny Selgrath: “Last year I started a position at the NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary where I do research focusing on the intersection of coastal communities and ocean ecosystems. As a result my pup and I moved to Santa Barbara, which has been a sweet place to be for COVID. Lots of road biking, outdoor yoga, and my first West African Dance class since Wesleyan—this time at the beach.

    Don Kim moved to Century City and hopes there are some Wes folks in the area!

    Amy Larkin Gelbach is living in Richmond, Virginia, and will be teaching life skills to 6th–8th graders at Brookland Middle School this year.

    Karen Gross enjoyed emceeing our virtual 20th Class Reunion, seeing familiar faces, and connecting candidly about life in pandemic times. She recently launched a new podcast called She Rocked It, dedicated to raising the volume on women’s voices (and a clear continuation of her Womanist House days). You can tune in on podcast platforms, YouTube, and at www.sherockedit.com. Karen is also still running her speechwriting and communications consulting company. She currently serves as the speechwriter for one of the nation’s most influential public health leaders.

    Lisa Kagan recently released a book of poetry and art entitled Coming Home to Myself. Spanning a decade of growth and change, this book honors the importance of following your inner compass through exploring nine essential elements of the human experience: courage, passion, patience, grace, faith, resilience, wonder, gratitude, and renewal. Serving as an intimate companion for navigating life’s passages, this collection is an ode to the kindness and generosity that the world desperately needs and the power of turning that caring towards ourselves. You can purchase your copy here:

https://familyheirloomarts.com/products/coming-home-to-myself-poetry-and-art-by-lisa-kagan/

From Brenna Cothran: “I’m happily surrounded by Wes alums wherever I go (not that I’ve been going anywhere this past year). Alice Jankell ’83 and her family live down the hall from my family’s apartment. I’ve been working at the Whitney Museum of American Art as an exhibitions registrar for the past 5 1/2 years, where I collaborate often with Lauren (Tehan) DiLoreto ’97. I’m co-class parent for my son Max’s first grade class along with Georgia (Silvera) Seamans ’98 (I also have a daughter, Sammy, who is about to finish fifth grade). When travel is possible, trips to my hometown mean that I get to see my sister Rallie (Nepveux) Snowden ’96. And of course, long walks with my dog while wearing my (now-20-year-old) Wesleyan sweatshirt have led to many random connections with fellow alums on the sidewalks and in the parks of NYC.

My beloved housemates of 51 Fountain are still going strong! Isaac Eddy was awarded tenure and a promotion to associate professor at Northern Vermont University–Johnson where he is the chair of the Performing Arts Department. He is also on the committee to merge all Vermont State College System campuses to ensure they all remain open and continue to provide affordable liberal arts education to rural Vermonters. He directed an original performance, The Monument, devised by an ensemble of NVU students, which won a national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival “Citizen Artist” award during the Spring ‘21 semester. One highlight of this difficult year was zooming Wes 2001 artists into his classes including Kate Purdy and Woody Fu.

I also need to admit something to you, dear reader. I didn’t intend to miss the online Reunion and certainly didn’t intend to omit telling you about it. I actually didn’t know about it. Is an email hiding in one of the many confounding layers of purgatory known as spam quarantine (such a charming name prior to 2020)? Probably. Would I have attended and then missed your actual faces and daydreamed/Zoomdreamed of walking all the way up Foss Hill with you instead? Definitely.

CLASS OF 2001 | 2021 | ISSUE 1

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!

CLASS OF 2001 | 2020 | ISSUE 3

Greetings. I write from the past (at least a few months prior to when you are reading this). With the speed of news these days, there is something a little comforting and quaint to me about sitting down to write these notes. We received fewer messages this time, considering, well, this time. My heart is with all of you experiencing hardship and pain, whether related to the pandemic or this enduring crisis of racism and racist violence. While I don’t have the lived experience or wisdom to speak too meaningfully to either, I’ll recommend the Harvard Implicit Bias tests for those of us who are white and haven’t already checked them out: implicit.harvard.edu.

Thank you to those who were able to write in and/or modestly agreed to let me share their news.

Lerner/Carolrhoda has bought Emily Barth Isler’s debut middle-grade novel, After/Math. When 12-year-old math whiz Lucy moves to a town that experienced a devastating school shooting four years ago, she must navigate her classmates’ lingering traumas as well as her own grief over a very different family tragedy. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021; Bradford Literary Agency handled the deal for world rights.

Emily says, “I will be doing a post-pandemic book tour and hope to see as many Wes alums as I can in the various cities I visit. I will also be doing school visits (and school Zooms!) so if any librarians or middle school teachers out there are looking for authors to visit classrooms, please be in touch!”

Michael Homolka continues to teach grammar and critical writing at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity in NYC. On the creative front, some of his recent poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, Colorado Review, and Prairie Schooner. “Most importantly, my wife and I have welcomed into the world our beautiful son, Alejandro, who laughs often at our inanity and already loves to play guitar.”

Andrea Donnelly has good news: “After an over 20-year study of myriad energy healing modalities, herbs, flower remedies, and meditation, I officially launched my healing arts business, We Are Here 2 Remember, this summer. I specialize in helping people navigate change and transition, and managing the complexities of modern life. I offer personalized individual sessions, coaching, ceremonies and distance healing. I have always been intellectually and spiritually curious, and deeply committed to the marriage and integration of the two in my own life. I am beyond happy to offer what I’ve learned to others. Feel free to contact me at andrea@wearehere2remember.com or wearehere2remember.com to book a session or find out more information!”

Mary Robertson is continuing her work as an executive producer with the New York Times Presents, and raising Malcolm (five) and Maxine (almost two). I’m always excited and never surprised to hear about Mary’s achievements, which include multiple Emmys for her team this year. The episodes, which include a searing piece on the killing of Breonna Taylor, are streaming. 

Woody Fu will be performing in the New York ABC Discovers Talent Showcase. 

Don Kim moved to Los Angeles and hopes there will be in-person alumni events soon!

I (Mara) have a new position as acting director of parole advocacy for my public defender agency. The job has ballooned since COVID-19 compelled the courts to consider more that can be done to assist prisoners, who have no chance of social distancing or proper PPE and very high levels of risk due to age and health conditions. While working from home with a little kid present can feel really hard, the stories I’ve heard from incarcerated parents remind me to hug my kid tight and appreciate the sheer amount of times I get to hear that little voice say “Mama” per day. Yesterday he managed to record the word onto his light saber toy, and hearing it distorted, sped up and slowed down as he slayed the air, seemed like a fitting tribute to all of us working caregivers during this surreal time.

Mara Voukydis | maravee@gmail.com

Aryn Sperando | arynsperandio@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 2001 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Hello 2001, in the midst of weird and crazy times, class notes must go on.

Woody Fu dropped a quick line to tell us he is in the movie Lucky Grandma. Check out this comedy when you can!

It was so nice to hear from Jennifer Selgrath, who is living in San Francisco and working as a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station. Jenny looks at historical changes in the biodiversity of Monterey Bay and spends a lot of time in that area, too. On the Wesleyan front, she got to catch up with Alexis Brooks when she was visiting from Washington, D.C. She ran into Megan Richards and Celeste Fowles Nguyen at the Wesleyan Hamilton event in San Francisco. On the life adventure front, Jenny has been studying dancehall and traveled to Jamaica for New Year’s to dance with a bunch of artists there, which she admits was pretty rad. Ahh, travel, remember that?

Stay well, everyone, and stay connected no matter what.

Mara Voukydis | maravee@gmail.com

Aryn Sperando | arynsperandio@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 2001 | 2020 | ISSUE 1

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.

Your 2001 keepers of the notes,

Mara Voukydis | maravee@gmail.com

Aryn Sperando | arynsperandio@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 2001 | 2019 | ISSUE 3

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!

Best wishes,

Mara Voukydis | maravee@gmail.com

Aryn Sperando | arynsperandio@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 2001 | 2019 | ISSUE 2

Hi, 2001. Thanks for sharing your updates. As always, it’s wonderful to hear what you’ve all got cookin’ in your post-Wes careers.

Ben Spatz lives in England with his two kids and is working on not one, but two more books.

Woody Fu’s web series, Asian American Studies, screened at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. He’s also found time to play a lead part in the feature film, Lucky Grandma, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Louis Bronk shared that Bobby Nasson is getting married to his fiancée Anne this July. Bobby and Anne are living in Boston where Bobby works at More Than Words, a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school, to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business. Many fellow classmates are looking forward to the wedding this summer.

Lauren Bloom Hanover is living in Portland, Ore., with her husband and 4-year-old daughter Olivia. Lauren is working with a business consulting firm, moonlighting as an adjunct professor at Portland State in the theater department, and performing and producing when opportunities arise.

Ben Hurwitz and Manny Sharma escaped their bourgeois lives of Hollywooding and union lawyering and headed to the rugged, real world of Alaska over Memorial Day weekend to meet Reid Koch, newborn son of Josh Koch, the scientist. Dave Bihldorff was unfortunately not able to attend this annual reunion, as he was busy farming.

Lara Perez-Felkner lives on a farm in Tallahassee and works as a tenured associate professor in higher education and sociology at Florida State University. Laura researches college and career access for low-income students and underrepresented groups, including women in STEM fields. Laura adds that her older son is now obsessed with soccer, specifically Pelé, whom he now mostly believes truly spoke at our graduation. Laura rarely gets to see Wes folks, but welcomes visitors en route to Florida theme parks or beaches.

Tanya Ellman and wife Katherine Nickel welcomed the newest member to their family—Caya Nickellman born April 29. She joins big brother 3-year-old Emmett Nickellman to create what is now a family of four.

Thanks, everyone. Keep in touch!

Mara Voukydis | maravee@gmail.com

Aryn Sperando | arynsperandio@yahoo.com

CLASS OF 2001 | 2019 | ISSUE 1

Always great to hear from you! Chris Saenger is wrapping up four years in Frankfurt and will be moving with his family to Bogotá in August. He will continue his job with USAID, designing and implementing development assistance programs. Come by for some arepas if you’re in the neighborhood!

Roger Smith is in his fifth year working in Miyagi, Japan. He’s chief editor and photographer for the prefecture’s official English website, Visit Miyagi. If you head to Japan, you should actually pay him (and Miyagi) a visit and go see the volcanic crater lake and cat island!

Abigail Kurland and her husband, Harry, welcomed their first son, Alexander Koutsolioutsos, on May 10.

Ross Evangelista writes, “Started a sidewalk conversation with a stranger, at night, on my walk back to my hotel while visiting Shanghai. All because he was wearing a Wes hoodie! Now Harry Jiang ’18 and I are WeChat friends. He (and his girlfriend who seemed familiar with such Wes encounters) are doing well in China. They were both very welcoming! Caught up with Kerry Jacobs and Nikesh Dalal at Kerry’s annual holiday shindig at her Brooklyn townhouse. Unfortunately arrived after her son’s (my new godson’s!) bedtime.” Ross was slated to be on a real estate panel in Vegas during the Luxury Portfolio summit in late February—and was confident he would stop and chat with anyone in Wes apparel there, too.

Nora Friedman writes: “Still teaching Suzuki violin in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and now head of the violin department at the Brooklyn Conservatory. Open for business and looking to sculpt young Wes progeny brains!”

Dispatch from Karen Gross: “I marked five years as president of Karen Gross Enterprises, LLC, which is focused on communication that sings. As a communications strategist, copywriter, and speechwriter, I collaborate with some of the nation’s most influential leaders and organizations, crafting messages that resonate and get results. I perform as a cabaret singer and songwriter. I was a featured speaker at the World Conference of the Professional Speechwriters Association; my session, How to Make Your Speeches Sing, shared the parallels between speechwriting and cabaret.”

Josh Kagan writes, “The big news on our end is my wife, Zeynep, and I welcomed our first child, Sophia Rose Kagan, on Sept. 18.” Congratulations!

In addition to caring for her two children (with Jim Isler), Emily Barth Isler works as a beauty writer for publications like Allure, Popsugar, and WellRoundedNY.com, specializing in sustainable and organic beauty products and the green beauty movement. She says: “The more I learned about the endocrine disruptors and carcinogens found in so many of our personal care items, the more I wanted to shine a light on healthier alternatives . . . I learned that the majority of sustainable beauty products are made by hand or in small batches by women, family-owned companies, and/or members of populations generally underrepresented in the business of beauty. Writing about the ways that these small companies employ women, offer fair wages, provide childcare or flexibility, use eco-friendly packaging and sustainable sourcing, and participate in major philanthropic initiatives, made me see that this is an issue that goes far beyond finding a nice lipstick or moisturizer.”

Emily would love to hear from anyone working in the sustainable beauty space, as she’s always looking for new brands to feature.

Congrats to Alden Griffith, who was awarded tenure at Wellesley College and studies the demography of invasive plants with his lab group. Katie Griffith teaches plant science workshops at local schools and has jumped into politics since Trump was elected. She’s now the cochair of the Wellesley Democratic Town Committee, leads a local Indivisible group, and is an elected member of the Wellesley Natural Resources Commission. Their three kids are growing up fast—now 11, 8, and 5. Side note: Katie and I are now scheming about a Boston-area Wes meetup. Contact me if you want in!

Mara Voukydis | maravee@gmail.com

Aryn Sperando | arynsperandio@yahoo.com