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:

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 or 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 |

Aryn Sperando |

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 |

Aryn Sperando |

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 |

Aryn Sperando |

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

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!

Best wishes,

Mara Voukydis |

Aryn Sperando |

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 |

Aryn Sperando |

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, 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 |

Aryn Sperando |

CLASS OF 2001 | 2018 | ISSUE 3

Hi, 2001. Thank you for showering us with your good news and updates this season. As usual, it’s great to hear from everyone, and your notes never disappoint.

Lauren McCarthy’s baby girl, Eleanor (Nora), just turned a year old in August. Lauren also writes she forgot to mention in past notes that she married Dan Kost several years ago. Oops. Lauren teaches political science and legal studies at UMass Amherst and received tenure last year. Congrats on one of the biggest years so far!

Alex Gordon and his wife celebrated the arrival of their second daughter, Elsa Victoria, in April. They’re pretty fired up about it.

Kramon & Graham law firm named trial lawyer Chris Jeffries a 2017–2018 MVP of the Maryland Defense Counsel for his work as MDC Deposition Bootcamp Steering Committee Co-Chair. The MVP award is presented to attorneys who have gone above and beyond in making MDC a success, and this year’s sold-out event speaks volumes of Chris’ efforts.

Michael Homolka and wife Tamara were married in April 2017. They live on the Upper West Side of NYC, and Michael is a high school English instructor for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. Michael is always on the lookout for anyone interested in part-time math and English instructor positions. Also, his first collection of poems, Antiquity, was published by Sarabande Books a little over two years ago and “exists now in a warm and wonderful vacuum of silence.” Michael invites anyone who is interested in talking about or exchanging poetry to contact him. Other than this highly undramatic spritz of information (Michael’s words, not ours), life is good.

Jeff Lane and his wife, Emily Henretta, welcomed a baby boy, Vincent James Lane, on Sept. 16. They are all doing well in their house in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Jeff published The Digital Street, a nonfiction book based on his many years of fieldwork with Harlem teenagers and studying their online life in the neighborhood. Order your copy on Amazon.

To cap things off with a shameless plug, I (Aryn Kalson-Sperandio) recently launched my new company, True Story Consulting ( We provide writing and communications support to busy executives and entrepreneurs. If you or your client needs help with ongoing content demands, get in touch!

Finally, I’ll end by sharing that my husband and I braved our first family road trip this summer. Three kids, two parents, three states (Montana, Wyoming, Montana), two weeks. Zero murders. Perfection.

Many, many thanks to everyone who wrote in. We always enjoy hearing from our lot of overachieving (we say that with affection) Wes classmates, so keep in touch!

Mara Voukydis |

Aryn Sperando |

CLASS OF 2001 | 2018 | ISSUE 2

As per usual, our 2001 crew is as overachieving as ever. We enjoyed hearing from all the fearless entrepreneurs among us. Let’s get right to it.

Thank you to Michael Shelley who wrote in about his wild adventures in Austin, Texas. Since 2010, Michael has been the owner-operator of a wildlife removal service that uses safe and humane methods to remove uninvited guests from homes and return them to their natural habitats. When he isn’t rescuing raccoons, snakes, and bats, oh my, Michael stays busy chasing after his two young daughters, Sadie and Mabel.

Comedian-actor Woody Fu’s one-man show was presented at the Magnet Theater in New York and featured in the New York Times. Asian Gracefully takes on topics like immigrant hoarders, Chinglish, what video game characters think about, and how the straight Asian male is the most marginalized group on Pornhub. We’ll take your word for it, Mr. Fu.

Juliana Ansari serves on the board of the Entrepreneurship Foundation in Connecticut, an organization that provides resources and education for entrepreneurs in the area. She works for the women’s health startup, DotLab, developing the first non-invasive test for endometriosis. Based on microRNA technology from Yale research, Juliana helps facilitate the transition of this new test from lab to clinic through her scientific writing and grant development.

Gwendolyn Guarino is a massage therapist with a sweet office in Troy, N.Y. Gwendolyn would be thrilled to see any local or visiting Wesleyan grads for a session (she also teaches a popular couples massage workshop), so get in touch at Gwendolyn has a 1-year-old son, Evander Gray Hurd, with her significant other, Jay Hurd.

Paul DePalo is running for Massachusetts Governor’s Council in District 7 (covering 65 municipalities across central Massachusetts). He will be facing Tea Party incumbent, Jen Caissie, in the November elections. Governor’s Council approves or rejects the Governor’s judicial nominations, and Paul’s platform centers on criminal justice reform and ending the school-to-prison pipeline. Find out more at Good luck, Paul!

November 2017’s issue of Washington Lawyer featured the work of Open City Advocates, the juvenile law organization cofounded by Whitney Trevelyan Louchheim. Open City Advocates works with law students to fill a critical gap in youth legal representation in D.C.’s juvenile justice system. Mara Voukydis pipes in to say that she and Whitney have happily crossed paths in their work and were delighted to realize the Wes connection. Mara can attest firsthand to the incredible and inspiring work that Whitney does. Learn more at

Finally, in the 11th hour, Ben Hurwitz wrote in to share that he, Maneesh Sharma, Josh Cook, and Dave Bihldorff left their daily lives and families to reunite at Joshua Tree in honor of their 20th friendaversary. While not entrepreneurial in the traditional sense, we do admire their commitment to prioritizing what’s important and working hard to get what they want. (There it is. We knew we’d find the entrepreneurial connection if we tried).

Entrepreneurship is not easy, and we are so impressed with our classmates’ willingness to take risks in order to be able to do what they love.

Mara Voukydis |

Aryn Sperando |

CLASS OF 2001 | 2018 | ISSUE 1

Class of 2001 Wesleyan Scholarship

Daniel Chung ’20, Bellevue, WA

Mara here! Welcome to Class Notes, fake news edition. Most of these updates are completely true, but some include falsehoods provided by your classmates. Can you find them?

Jenny Selgrath writes, “I just finished my PhD (small-scale fisheries and coral reef conservation) from The University of British Columbia, worked as a spatial analyst for Fisheries and Oceans Canada for a bit, and then moved back to San Francisco where I am just starting a post-doc at Stanford (projects on tipping points in coral reefs and on biodiversity changes in Monterey Bay). And of course, I have been catching up with the awesome folks from Wesleyan who live in the Bay Area.”

Chris and Wendy Jeffries enjoy living in Baltimore (they welcome visitors!) and were excited to welcome their second daughter, Maya, on Nov. 29. Her big sister, Elena, 3, is very excited to have a little sister to share her love of sports, music, and cooking. Wendy is keeping busy as the executive director of TasteWise Kids, a nonprofit that teaches kids through hands-on experience about where their food comes from and to make healthy choices. Chris continues to enjoy practicing law as a partner at Kramon & Graham, where he is a principal. His firm wrote in to tell us that he’s been recognized as a Rising Star by Maryland Super Lawyers 2018 for his work in civil litigation, and has been selected to appear in the directory every year since 2010.

Rachel Stevens writes, “We welcomed daughter Eliza Merrill Stevenson an Aug. 13, and she won a guaranteed place in the Wes class of ’39.”

Makeda Dawson-Davis ’01 and her two sons

I was so happy to connect with Makeda Dawson-Davis, who wrote: “I have been loving birth and postpartum doula work for the past three years, first with Ancient Song Doula Services and now with Healthy Start Brooklyn. I’ve just finished training with Doula Trainings International to continue my certification! I look forward to increasing my practice with private birth and postpartum clients in NYC areas for births at home, in the hospital, and at birthing centers. My personalized lactation support will also continue with another round of certified lactation counselor training. Lastly, my two sons are 9 and 6, and are enjoying elementary school where they take robotics, capoeira, karate, and graphic novel design, along with their academic subjects.”

Louis Bronk was promoted to assistant superintendent for personnel and talent development for the Meriden Public Schools in Connecticut. Meriden is the school district he attended as a student, and in 2012 he returned as an employee.

Joey Conover is now a realtor, just took her two children on a vacation to Colombia, and voted for Trump.

Katie Davis Reich writes, “My husband Jason and I welcomed our first child, Sylvia, into the world in October. We’re still living on the east side of LA, where we bought a house a few years ago like real grown-ups. I’m working at UCLA as associate director of the Center for Climate Science, where I focus on communications and outreach, and am very sorry to report that climate change is not fake news.”

Adriana Jones Laser had a son in November. The other two are doing well. “Otherwise not much news, continuing my life as a vascular surgeon and my husband’s as a radiation oncologist up here in upstate New York.”

Katie Clyde, in her fourth term in the Ohio House, is running for Secretary of State (election in November 2018) in battleground Ohio to save our democracy. She is Not accepting any further contributions to support her campaign at “We have one Wesleyan alum on staff (Cade Leebron ’14) and are always accepting gung-ho Wes volunteers!”

My toddler still talks about our fantastic recent trip to Philly. We stayed with Ben Stanko and his family, saw The Kud (D.B.A. Jesse Kudler), and even got to witness Ali Stumacher’s son’s surprisingly poetic dance solo at his fifth birthday party. On the way there, we stayed with Mary Robertson in Brooklyn, and our toddlers became instant brothers. They’re both still muttering about a dust-up involving a child-sized armchair. We even stopped in Middletown, and went to Kid City (awesome) and Tibetan Kitchen (delicious). The trip was a little touch-and-go because the giant, shimmering, rose-gold eagle we rode kept almost ensnaring bystanders in her talons. Totally worth it, though.

Glossary of Untruths: R.C.: No guaranteed spot. J.C.: Did not vote for Trump. K.C.: Is accepting donations. M.V.: Eagle was silver.

Mara Voukydis |

Aryn Sperando |

CLASS OF 2001 | 2017 | ISSUE 3

Hey there, 2001. Whoa! Our inbox was inundated with responses to the Class Notes Volunteer Edition. A fine problem to have. So many good works—so little space on this page to fit it all in. Let’s get crackin’.

Sonya Abrams writes that with three kids under six, she’s fully immersed in Mom World but still finds time to volunteer as editor-in-chief of the nonprofit Golden Gate Mothers Group Magazine in San Francisco, which often feels like a full-time job. Sonya has been taking tiny steps to resist the current administration, help organize fundraisers, and connect Democratic speakers with high-visibility forums to spread the word and fight the power. Go, Sonya, go!

After wrapping up 10-plus years in the production department at Simon & Schuster, Mike Homolka now teaches critical reading and writing at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO Scholars) in NYC. This organization works with the Department of Education to serve low-income, high-achieving, first-generation American students, and it is always looking for mentors and part-time instructors. SEO Scholars received a perfect score on Charity Navigator (

Rachel Stevens tells us about her hometown’s grassroots organization, Northampton Center for the Arts (NCFA). As volunteer board president for NCFA, Rachel has learned a ton about everything from lease negotiations to recycling contracts, and press releases to multi-board relationships. If Rachel wasn’t busy enough, she also welcomed her second child into the world, Eliza Merrill Stevens, on August 13. Congratulations to Rachel and family!

For the last 18 months, Heather Tseng has been volunteering with Paws on the Ground Colorado—an animal rescue organization that pulls dogs out of high-kill shelters and works to find them their “furever homes.” To date, Heather has personally fostered 32 dogs! Bad for Heather’s vacuum cleaner, great for dogs everywhere.

Joshua Kagan is involved with the Buddhist Pathways Prison Project (BPPP)—a nonprofit whose mission is to bring Buddhist teachings of no harm, meditation, and mindfulness into prisons and jails. Joshua spent time inside Solano State Prison with 16 inmates, co-facilitating a daylong retreat that encompassed meditation, yoga, and tai chi. He was struck by how committed participants were to mindfulness practice, as it serves as a refuge from the difficulty of day-to-day prison living. The BPPP is expanding its work and could use all the support it can get. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Joshua at

Jesse Pietroniro works with Footsteps (, the only organization in North America that assists ultra-Orthodox Jewish men and women as they attempt to explore the world beyond their insular communities. Footsteps offers former ultra-Orthodox Jews a safe, supportive, and flourishing community to turn to as they work to define their own identities, build new connections, and lead productive lives on their own terms.

Eli Sheridan Wise has been living in Oakland, Calif., performing, composing songs, and teaching music to children. This October, Eli will join the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) on its Lavender Pen Tour; an event that takes place across the South that shares SFGMC’s mission of community, activism, and compassion. All funds raised benefit local LGBT programs. Eli will be co-leading a panel on transactivism at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In other news, Eli has several albums out on cdbaby and bandcamp. Visit to listen for free.

Dan Firger is hard at work at Bloomberg Philanthropies in NYC, leading Mike Bloomberg’s philanthropic efforts on climate change and clean energy. After the Trump Administration announced it would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Dan helped launch America’s Pledge, a new effort encompassing U.S. cities, states, businesses, colleges, and universities (including Wesleyan) that remain committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement (

John Keith just finished his fourth year as a tenure-track assistant professor in chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. John and his wife, Rose, have two small boys (Bill, 3, likes re-enacting action scenes from Moana, and Danny, 1, likes eating). Between work and family commitments, John managed to get to NYC and SF this past spring to catch up with Will Gladstone, Nikesh Dalal, Alex Su, and V. Hoffman. If anyone is stopping over in Pittsburgh, let John know!

Keep up the great work 2001. We are a pretty impressive bunch—not that you needed any reminding. Thanks for your submissions. Until next time, do-gooders.

Mara Voukydis |

Aryn Sperando |