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Category Archive for 'Alumni News'

Zin Lin '12

Zin Lin ’12

Zin Lin ’12 received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for his research on PT-symmetric systems performed while a student at Wesleyan. Lin’s advisor was Tsampikos Kottos, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Physics.

Lin was selected for his “outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well [his] potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise. He’s currently studying quantum nonlinear photonics as a second-year graduate student at Harvard University.

As a fellow, Lin will receive a $32,000 stipend for 2014-15. Fellows are expected to make satisfactory academic progress towards completion of their graduate degrees, as defined and certified by the Fellow’s GRFP institution. Upon completion of his fellowship, Lin is required to provide an Annual Activities Report that documents his activities, accomplishments, progress and productivity.

At Wesleyan, Lin double majored in physics and mathematics and graduated with high honors. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received the Robertson Prize, awarded during his sophomore year for “excellence in mathematics.”

Sue Guiney '77

Sue Guiney ’77

Sue Guiney ’77 has published her second novel, Out of the Ruins (Ward Wood Publishing). At the beginning of the book, a Cambodian doctor is frustrated that the poor women in his country are dying needlessly. He reaches out to friends to help him create a new clinic for the local villages around Siem Reap’s world famous temples, and they answer his call.

An Irishman, Dr Diarmuid, arrives with his English assistant, Dr. Gemma, and a Canadian administrator Mr. Fred. Together they establish a place where poor women of Cambodia can find the basic care that so much of the world has long since taken for granted. A young and ambitious Cambodian nurse, Srey, acts as an interpreter and connection to the trust of the local community, but her idealized view of western medicine will be seriously challenged.

Tradition collides with science as East meets West, and though the doctors are all too eager to help, they have much to learn about their own personal demons in a desperate and seductive society.

Novel by Sue Guiney '77

Novel by Sue Guiney ’77

In a recent interview in The Phnom Penh Post, Guiney comments on an aspect of her writing process: “I do quite a lot of research for my books, both through reading and on the Internet, but most importantly, by immersing myself in the place, walking the streets and talking to the people. For example, to research Out of the Ruins, I found a Khmer guide in his 20s who was willing to take me to streets where there are karaoke bars and tin-roofed shacks with girls of all ages offering themselves up for sale. He was brave to take a middle-aged Western woman to places she had no right being in. And I suppose I was brave to go with him. But I need to see things with my own eyes, even if they are just buildings and surroundings. And I need to talk to people about their experiences if possible.”

Guiney has lived in London for nearly 20 years where she writes and teaches fiction, poetry, and plays. Her work has appeared in prestigious literary journals on both sides of the Atlantic, and her first book, published by Bluechrome Publishing in 2006, is the text of her poetry play Dreams of May, (now been relaunched by Ward Wood Publishing). which premiered at London’s Pentameters Theatre. Ward Wood has also published her poetry collection Her Life Collected and her first novel set in Cambodia, A Clash of Innocents.

Sue Guiney web site

 

Avery Esdaile ’00

Avery Esdaile ’00

Avery Esdaile ’00 started his new job as athletic director for Boston Public Schools on Monday, April 14. Before his recent transition, Esdaile spent 12 years in the Wellesley College Athletic Department.

Ken Still, the former athletic director for Boston Public Schools, retired in October, leaving the schools without an AD for much of the fall and the entire winter season. Esdaile, with a degree in sociology from Wesleyan and a master’s of science in management of sports industries from the University of New Haven, says he is looking forward to being “in a position to hopefully down the line develop a program that infuses some learning and life lessons through athletics” because he hopes to help “kids that participate in athletics not only grow athletically but grow as the people that they are,” according a Boston Globe article.

Esdaile will face challenges through the transition from college to high school including the huge shift in size; at Wellesley he had only one team in each sport but as AD for Boston Public Schools, he has multiple teams participating in each sport. One issue Esdaile is planning to tackle is “the lack of interest in certain sports in the city.”

Less popular sports include hockey and swimming and Esdaile hopes to give students more opportunities to participate in these sports. Speaking about his plans, he states, “Right now, for me to come in and make changes would be foolish. The goal is to get through the year, take that breath, and then start to get ready for next year and look at what are some of things that we can do that make us more efficient or open the lines of communication or deal with anything that will just make what we do in this office here work at a higher level.”

Juila Morrison '96 and James E. McDuff

Juila Morrison ’96 and James Duff

Julia Morrison ’96 has co-produced, co-written and edited a new film, Hank and Asha (website), which opened at the City Cinemas Village East Theater New York City last weekend and will run at the Laemmle NoHo 7 Theater in Los Angeles from April 18–24. This lovely romantic comedy about identity, longing, and the irresistible appeal of entertaining life’s what-ifs was co-written and directed by James Duff, who is also Morrison’s husband.

In the film, an Indian woman (Mahira Kakkar) studying in Prague and a lonely Southerner (Andrew Pastides) living in New York begin an unconventional correspondence through video letters—two strangers searching for human connection in a hyper-connected world. When their relationship develops, they must decide whether or not to meet face to face.

Andrew Pastides in "Hank and Asha"

Andrew Pastides in “Hank and Asha”

Hank and Asha premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. Since then it has screened at more than 25 festivals worldwide, and has won 11 awards.

In his New York Times review, Nicolas Rapold writes: “A rare sustained epistolary romance, … this winsome, whisper-thin tale shimmers along with the charming urge to connect and reveal yourself that links its two correspondents. … this is a movie by people who honor the pleasures of waiting, wondering and longing in an instantaneous world.”

 

Mahira Kakkar in "Hank and Asha"

Mahira Kakkar in “Hank and Asha”

NPR interview with Julia Morrison and James E. Duff

Hank and Asha on Facebook
Twitter: @HankandAsha

YouTube Preview Image

 

Jeremy Serwer ’70 was inducted into the Outlet Hall of Fame

Jeremy Serwer ’70 was inducted into the Outlet Hall of Fame.

Jeremy Serwer ’70 joined the Outlet Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2005, the Developers of Outlet Centers and Retailers started the Outlet Industry Hall of Fame to honor people in the outlet retail industry who help the industry grow and improve. Serwer is the president of a consulting firm he began in 1993.

At Wesleyan, Serwer majored in French, Russian, and music, so his decision to enter the retail industry shocked his family. As a 14-year-old boy working in a girls’ clothing store, Serwer thought that retail was the most exciting market. “The constant demand and constant energy and the measurement of your efforts every day through sales really turned me on,” he said.

With a client list that includes Michael Kors and Jockey, Serwer has worked on both developer and retail sides of the industry. As he accepted the award, Serwer said he had “never envisioned that the industry would become a primary channel of growth and innovation. We started with a cigar box for cash and 2-year-old inventory, and then one day a landlord offered to write a check to build a store.”

Boston Children’s Hospital announced the establishment of the N. Thorne Griscom Endowed Chair in Radiology. Dr. Griscom ’52, recently retired after 49 years in pediatric radiology, served as president of the Society of Pediatric Radiology (SPR) in 1981-82. Dr. George Taylor, SPR president in 2005-06, is pictured with him here at the reception to celebrate the announcement. Taylor calls Griscom as “an outstanding radiologist, clinician, mentor and friend,” adding, “This was a very deserved honor for this truly gentle man.” A Phi Beta Kappa chemistry major at Wesleyan, he earned his medical degree from the University of Rochester and was a professor of radiology at Harvard University.

The first holder of the N. Thorne Grisom Endowed Chair is Dr. Simon Warfield, who serves as research director on the department of radiology at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. N. Thorne Griscom ’52 (left) with Dr. George Taylor.

Dr. N. Thorne Griscom ’52 (left) with Dr. George Taylor.

 

Bozoma Saint John '99

Bozoma Saint John ’99

Bozoma Saint John ’99 was named senior vice president, head of global marketing, at Beats Music, reporting to Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers. Saint John will lead Beats Music marketing initiatives, from brand and performance marketing to collaborations with AT&T, Target, Chevy, Beats Electronics and others. She will also work closely with Luke Wood ’91,who serves as president of Beats Electronics and vice chairman of Beats Music.

Prior to Beats Music, Saint John was most recently the head of the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America, working with entertainment celebrities such as Beyonce, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Eminem, Katy Perry and Michael Jackson. She has been named one of Billboard Magazine’s Top Women in Music, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People, and Ebony Magazine’s 100 Top Executives. Saint John also shares her expertise, serving on the Leadership Council for the United Nation’s partnership with the PVBLIC Foundation, and as a mentor for the Levo League.

At Wesleyan, Saint John majored in English and African American studies.

Jerry Hourihan ’

Jerry Hourihan ’86 was named president of AIG Private Client Group for the US and Canada.

Jerry Hourihan ’86 is the new president of AIG Private Client Group for the United States and Canada. In his new role, Jerry will drive the development, implementation, and execution of strategies and priorities in the Private Client Group business.

Before being named president, Hourihan served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for AIG Personal Lines, working with marketing, distribution management, and field operations. Hourihan has been with AIG Private Client Group since 2002 and has held several different positions. At Wesleyan, he studied economics.

Paul Gionfriddo was named the new president and CEO of Mental Health America

Paul Gionfriddo ’75 was named the new president and CEO of Mental Health America.

After an extensive national search, Mental Health America’s board of directors has named Paul Gionfriddo ’75 the new president and CEO of the organization. Gionfriddo is an experienced nonprofit leader and former state legislator and mayor. During his over 30-year career, Gionfriddo has held many leadership positions related to health and public heath; he has led nonprofit organizations in three states, run his own consulting business, specializing in public health, children’s health, primary care and mental health.

In 2013, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appointed Gionfriddo to a four-year term on the National Advisory Council to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Mental Health Services. Gionfriddo writes a popular weekly health policy blog and has written multiple essays, one of which was adapted as an opinion article in The Washington Post. Not only did Gionfriddo get his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan, he was also a member of the adjunct faculty during the 1990s.

Several Wesleyan students attended a dinner in Paris, hosted by Wesleyan alumnus James Lieber ’84. Pictured, from left, are Robert Don ’15, Laura Hess ’16, Olayinka Lawal ’15, James Lieber ’84, Haylle Reidy ’15, Will Slap ’15 and Drue Mirchand ’15. In the booth are Borworn Satayopas ’15, Dan Medvedev ’16, Gabriella Carpenter ’16, Daniel Issroff ’15, Michael Lyn ’15 and Stephanie Dawson ’16.

Several Wesleyan students attended a dinner in Paris, hosted by Wesleyan alumnus James Lieber ’84. Pictured in the back row, from left, are Robert Don ’15, Laura Hess ’16, Olayinka Lawal ’15, James Lieber ’84, Haylle Reidy ’15, Will Slap ’15 and Drue Mirchand ’15. Pictured in the front are Borworn Satayopas ’15, Dan Medvedev ’16, Gabriella Carpenter ’16, Daniel Issroff ’15, Michael Lyn ’15 and Stephanie Dawson ’16.

James Lieber ’84, president of the consulting firm, Lieber Strategies, hosted a dinner for Wesleyan students in Paris in March.

“I think they were all fed for a week,” Lieber said.

After graduating from Wesleyan with a BA with honors in art history, Lieber went on to get his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard and a juris doctor degree cum laude from Northwestern University School of Law. In Paris, he founded Lieber Strategies, a strategic consulting firm that specializes in management of cross-border projects for multinational and national corporations, investment funds and private individuals.

Book by Daniel A. Gilbert '98

Book by Daniel A. Gilbert ’98

Not one but two books about baseball by Wesleyan graduates have just hit the shelves. Daniel Gilbert ’98, assistant professor in the School of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has published Expanding the Strike Zone: Baseball in the Age of Free Agency (University of Massachusetts Press), while Benjamin Baumer ’00 and Andrew Zimbalist P’02 have co-written The Sabermetric Revolution: Assessing the Growth of Analytics in Baseball (University of Pennsylvania Press).

Book  by Benjamin Baumer '00 and Andrew Zimbalist P'02

Book by Benjamin Baumer ’00 and Andrew Zimbalist P’02

Expanding the Strike Zone takes a look at issues of work and territory that have come into play as baseball expanded since the mid-20th century. The book highlights how players, owners, writers and fans have reshaped the sport as a central element of popular culture from the postwar book to the Great Recession.

Gilbert examines recent research as well as fiction and film and shows how Major League Baseball grew to become a transnational popular culture, arguing that the sport exists within the development of neoliberal globalization. In particular, his study works as a labor history, spanning from integration and ballplayer unionism to big league stardom and baseball academies.

Chapters of the book cover such topics as the role of free agency; star power and solidarity in the United States and Mexico; Dominican baseball and the rise of the academies; and Seattle, the Mariners and the politics of location.

The Sabermetric Revolution closely examines the rise of player performance analytics depicted in the 2003 book (and 2011 movie) Moneyball, correcting common misinterpretations and developing new methods to assess the effectiveness of sabermetrics on team performance. Baumer, a visiting assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Smith College and former statistical analyst for the New York Mets, and Zimbalist, the Robert. A Woods Professor of Economics at Smith, explore how analytics have changed since the 2002 season and question how useful sabermetrics will be in the future.

Baumer and Zimbalist provide an interesting case study of the use of statistics by general managers and front office executives. For fans and fantasy leagues, the book is an accessible primer on the real math behind moneyball including new insights into the changing business of baseball.

Andrew Zimbalist P'02

Andrew Zimbalist P’02

Daniel A. Gilbert '98

Daniel A. Gilbert ’98

Benjamin Baumer '00

Benjamin Baumer ’00

Roberta Pereira ‘03 is the co-founder and managing editor of Dress Circle Publishing, whose mission is to provide its readers with a peek behind the curtain through theater-themed books. The company publishes fiction and nonfiction, which attracts a varied audience, and especially theater-lovers everywhere.

Roberta Pereira '03 (Photo: Erik Pearson)

Roberta Pereira ’03 (Photo by Erik Pearson)

Dress Circle Publishing has just published The Untold Stories of Broadway, Volume 1, by musical theater historian and producer Jennifer Ashley Tepper, which records the stories of eight Broadway theaters and productions that have played there, as told by producers, actors, directors, writers, musicians, and the various other artists and workers involved. Pereira edited the book and says that even during the first read of the work she knew she had found something unique.

Book Published by Dress Circle Publishing

Book Published by Dress Circle Publishing

Pereira recently talked to us about her work and her Wesleyan experience.

How did Dress Circle Publishing come about?
I have always been an avid reader and a passionate theater lover. In fact, I am also a theater producer (with Bisno Productions) and have worked on shows such as Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons, starring Tyne Daly and now playing on Broadway. One evening, I was having a post-show cocktail at Sardi’s with my friend and fellow producer Brisa Trinchero, and we were bemoaning the fact that there was a lack of great theater-themed books. As two enterprising women, we immediately wanted to do something about that, and thus Dress Circle Publishing was born.

Did you always have an interest in theater?
Yes! When I was six years old I was obsessed with a show called The Butterfly Garden in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I grew up. I asked my parents to take me back to see it every weekend for six weeks in a row. My favorite part was that The Wind was played by a dancer on roller skates.

Roberta Pereira '03 with Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 at launch party of The Untold Stories of Broadway by Jennifer Ashley Tepper. (Photo: Kristin Goehring)

Roberta Pereira ’03 with Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 at launch party of The Untold Stories of Broadway by Jennifer Ashley Tepper. (Photo by Kristin Goehring)

Did you have a lot of publishing experience before founding the company? Was it difficult getting funding?
I had worked at Scholastic before embarking on my theater career and had further experience editing articles, programs, blogs, etc. Since both my co-founder and I are experts at raising money for theater, getting funding wasn’t too difficult. Besides, it is much easier when people are excited about your idea and our funders agreed with us that theater-themed books was an untapped market.

Would you talk about some of the favorite books you’ve published?
I love our Broadway Trilogy by Ruby Preston. Showbiz and Staged are out already and she is working on the last book right now. Those books are fun because they are inspired by real-life Broadway people and events, but tell a very engaging story of Scarlett Savoy, an up-and-coming producer who works for the less than nice “King of Broadway.” It is The Devil Wears Prada in the world of theater.

Do you rely on submissions or do you sometimes commission projects?
We have an open submission policy (info at dresscircepublishing.com) and so far we have been lucky that all our books have come to us through that. We are big proponents of first-time authors so we been able to support a lot of fresh new voices. (more…)

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