This winter, the Gordon Career Center is hosting four “fireside chat” style Winter Alumni Career Conversation events between prominent alumni and current students. Guests include Kimberley Martin ’03, NFL reporter for ESPN; Jon Turteltaub ’85, film/TV director and producer; Jesse Greenspan ’06, director of supply chain and logistics, Partners in Health; and Dana Peterson ’98, chief economist, The Conference Board.
On Jan. 21, psychology and English double major Myla Stovall ’22, at left, moderated a talk with Kimberley Martin ’03, NFL reporter for ESPN. Martin has covered the National Football League as a national writer and team beat reporter for more than a decade and joined ESPN as an NFL reporter in March 2020. She covers the league year-round and contributes to ESPN’s NFL shows, SportsCenter, ESPN.com, and more. During the discussion, Martin recalled the reasons why she chose to attend Wesleyan. “Wesleyan was literally the last school that I visited. I saw every school on the eastern seaboard and Wesleyan just felt like home. I felt like the birds were singing. This is where I needed to be,” she said.
Although Wesleyan didn’t offer a degree in journalism, Martin valued her degrees in African American studies and psychology. “Being a psych major actually helps me so much in the field of reporting. Because if you think about it, you’re dealing with people constantly. Social psychology. Understanding how people work, how they think, what drives them,” she said. Martin also shared her initial challenges of starting at ESPN. “I was hired as a TV reporter, but intrinsically I’m a writer. I’m a storyteller. My preferred medium is through words. So it was a difficult transition because I’ve never done network TV.”
On Jan. 26, film and art history major Keane Chan Hodges ’21, at left, moderated a discussion with Jon Turteltaub ’85, film/TV director and producer. Turteltaub is best known for directing Cool Runnings (1993), While You Were Sleeping (1995), and National Treasure (2004), as well as for producing the CBS television series Jericho. Although Turteltaub majored in theater and psychology, he said, “I would push every single student at Wesleyan to take a sociology class because I think sociology is … maybe the most important thing that matters in our country or world.”
“The days of going to film school so you can make a film are ancient now. You all have super cameras in your pocket or on your desk right now, and editing equipment on your laptop. It’s far better than anything that we had 25 years ago,” Turteltaub said. “Nothing stops you from being able to go make a movie, and . . . now with the push of a button you can upload your movie. People can see it. If you want to make movies, you have no excuses to not make them.”
On Jan. 27, neuroscience and theater double major Fitzroy “Pablo” Wickham ’21 and biology and science in society major Ivie Uzamere ’21 moderated a discussion with Jesse Greenspan ’06, director of supply chain and logistics at Partners In Health (PIH). Since joining PIH in 2008, Greenspan has supported supply chain and logistics activities in Haiti, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Peru, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone through the development of forecasting methodologies, data management, and reporting, international sourcing and procurement, budget planning, disaster response, and development and implementation of OpenBoxes, an open-source supply chain management software built for global health delivery. “The model of Partners in Health is to work hand-in-hand with Ministries of Health,” Greenspan said. “We’re working on making sure that the supplies, the equipment, the medications that are needed to deliver care are always in place when clinicians need them.”
Greenspan, a government major, explained that, as a student at Wesleyan, she worked at the Reserve Desk in Olin Library, participated in the Student Global AIDS Campaign, and studied abroad in Cameroon, which was a highlight of her Wesleyan experience. “I’m sure that the spirit of the school remains the same. I had an amazing experience . . . and tried to take advantage as much as possible of all of the amazing activities and variety of classes and extracurricular experiences that Wesleyan offered.” Two of her favorite classes were Political Economy of Developing Countries and the Biology of Plants. “I took course work outside of my major to try to have as much of the liberal arts experience as possible. I think it’s important to stay curious and I think the Wesleyan education does a great job of encouraging that.”
On Feb. 3. Dana Peterson ’98, chief economist and center leader of economy, strategy and finance at The Conference Board, spoke about her wealth of experience that extends to the public sector, having also worked at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.