Tag Archive for alumni achievements

Goodman ’69 Featured in Digital Photography Review

Tom Goodman '69 (self portrait by Tom Goodman)

Tom Goodman ’69 (self portrait by Tom Goodman)

"4th & Fulton," 2012, from the portfolio Window Dressing. (Photo by Tom Goodman)

“4th & Fulton,” 2012, from the portfolio Window Dressing. (Photo by Tom Goodman)

Tom Goodman’s (’69) career in photography has spanned many different mediums. From being a full-time photographer, an instructor, to operating an agency, Goodman has always been fascinated by the art of photography.

After graduating Wesleyan with an honors degree in art, he went on to earn his MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico, which was the catalyst that launched his career. In 1975 he was hired by the University of Texas at San Antonio to develop the photography program. Three years later he moved to Philadelphia to teach at the University of the Arts (then the Philadelphia College of Art). He also taught history of Art at the Curtis Institute of Music. Goodman went on to create Tom Goodman Inc., an agency that formerly represented photographers and digital illustrators for commercial assignments for 25 years.

After retiring from the commercial business in 2009, Goodman began photographing again. Now, eight years after he has resumed taking pictures full time, his work from his highly focused portfolios is being featured in Digital Photography Review, one of the premier photography sites on the web.

Using a Nikon D750 and Sony DSC-RX100, Goodman states that “serendipity plays a significant part” in how he chooses his subjects—one could even say that he waits for his subjects to choose him. As shown by The Veils Portfolio, which grew out of his obsession with looking through screens, and other ‘veils’ to see things on the other side and the Scanned Portfolio, which contains images taken while shopping in Asian groceries, Goodman simply observes and lets his surroundings present themselves as possible targets.

"Capital Man," 2011, from the portfolio Focal Points. (Photo by Tom Goodman)

“Capital Man,” 2011, from the portfolio Focal Points. (Photo by Tom Goodman)

Most importantly, he credits his mentor, Ray Metzker, for providing him with the advice that he tries to apply to his work daily—“it is the artist’s lot to accept, indeed embrace, not knowing, in order to begin the journey of discovery and achieve some breakthrough.” For Tom Goodman his next challenge will be to continue to follow that advice.

View Goodman’s website.

(Story by Fred Wills ’19. All images copyrighted, Tom Goodman)

Carpignano ’06 Awarded for His Debut Film

Jonas Carpignano '06 - Photo courtesy of the filmmaker

Jonas Carpignano ’06 (courtesy photo)

In his recently released debut film Mediterranea (IFC Films), director and writer Jonas Carpignano ’06 focuses on two friends from West Africa’s Burkina Faso (played by non-professional actors Koudous Seihon and Alassane Sy) who take a hazardous journey to Calabria, Italy, across the Mediterranean Sea, hoping to better their economic fortunes.

Carpignano recently received two awards for his work: the Independent Film Project’s Gotham Award for Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director and the Best Directorial Debut Award from the National Board of Review.

In his New York Times review of the film, Stephen Holden writes that Carpignano “has adopted a low-key neorealist style, using hand-held cameras that intensify its ground-level perspective. The character-driven film focuses on the day-to-day experiences of people struggling to find a foothold in a hostile land that throws up nearly insurmountable barriers to assimilation. … Mediterranea is impressive for the degree to which it lends its characters complex human dimensions and gives equal weight to everyone’s joys and frustrations.”

Carpignano was recently profiled in Interview magazine. His hometown is the East Bronx, N.Y. but he currently lives in Gioia Tauro, Calabria, Italy, where his feature film takes place.

“My knowledge of film as an art always came from Italy; it came from my grandfather,” he said. “I grew up on neorealism and the giallos—the Italian horror films. To me, that was the difference between film just being escapism and something being seen as an art. My grandfather instilled that in me.”

Homer ’03 Named One of the “40 Under 40” by Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund

Tricia Homer ’03 was selected as one of “40 under 40” by Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund. The co-founder of HGVenture, a management consulting firm that specializing in nonprofit capacity building and leadership development, she also is chairperson of the College Park Community Foundation Board of Directors, which supports local nonprofits in capacity building. Additionally, she is cochair of the City of College Park Education Advisory Board and is the assistant director of the Office of Community Engagement at the University of Maryland. To recognize her contributions to the lives of multi-ethnic students at the University of Maryland, last spring she was awarded the Excellence in Service Medal.

A government major at Wesleyan, Homer earned her master’s degree in instructional design from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is a former Miss Virgin Islands and winner of the Miss Congeniality Award at the 2005 Miss Universe Pageant.

“It’s been a blast working with and growing the Community Foundation here in College Park,” Homer said. “I’m in awe of how hard working the all resident, volunteer board is. I hope to be able to inspire this sort of community engagement back home in the Virgin Islands someday.”

Lin ’12 Honored with NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

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.”

Jeremy Serwer ’70 Inducted into Outlet Industry Hall of Fame

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 Establishes Griscom ’52 Chair

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.


Feldman ’70 is Deputy Chancellor at UMass-Amherst

Robert S. Feldman ’70

Robert Feldman ’70

Robert Feldman ’70 was appointed deputy chancellor of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. In this new role, Feldman, currently dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, will coordinate and facilitate campus-wide quality enhancement efforts, collaborating across campus areas including Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Administration and Finance. He will also oversee implementation of campus-level strategic plan initiatives, as well as oversee administration of the Chancellor’s Office, including portfolios such as the Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Subbaswamy praised Feldman, saying that he “brings to this position a wealth of skills and experience as an administrator, a nationally recognized researcher and an acclaimed teacher who has a deep knowledge of our campus.” Additionally, he said, “His insight and ability to lead a team will be extremely valuable as we continue to strengthen our university and demonstrate its importance as the Commonwealth’s flagship campus.”

Feldman noted that UMass-Amherst was “an extraordinary community” and that he “welcome[d] this opportunity to make a new contribution in this leadership role.”

Feldman, a professor of psychology, has served as dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science since 2012; previously he was interim dean since 2009. He is a recipient of the College Distinguished Teacher Award, a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science, winner of a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer Award, and recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Wesleyan University.

President of the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences Foundation, which advocates for the social sciences, his research interests include deception and honesty in everyday life, work that he described in The Liar in Your Life, a trade book published in 2009. He is also the author of Understanding Psychology, now in its 12th edition and published by McGraw-Hill, and he serves on the board of New England Public Radio.

Feldman received his BA degree from Wesleyan University, graduating with high honors, and he earned his MS and PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Perel-Slater ’11 Receives Advancing Leaders Fellowship

Max Perel-Slater ’11

Max Perel-Slater ’11

Max Perel-Slater ’11 has won an Advancing Leaders Fellowship from World Learning for the Tanzania-based project, The Maji Safi Movement (“maji safi” means “clean water” in Swahili; see majisafimovement.org).

Maji Safi is focused on disease prevention and health promotion and particularly aimed at empowering rural communities in their efforts to combat water-borne and water-related diseases. The Movement encompasses both a local NGO and a US-based 501(c)3; Perel-Slater is president and co-founder of the U.S. arm and treasurer of the Tanzania-based organization. He has worked on water projects in Shirati, Tanzania, since 2009, when he led the construction of a rainwater catchment system.

A College of the Environment (COE) major at Wesleyan, Perel-Slater studied abroad in Tanzania with World Learning’s School for International Training, dedicated to international development and exchange programs. He also completed a graduate-level field course in hydrogeology at Clemson University. While in Tanzania, he researched Shirati’s water challenges for his senior capstone project with the COE. In 2011, he worked in Nairobi’s Kibera slum with Shining Hope for Communities, a nonprofit organization founded by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner Odede ’09; there, Perel-Slater coordinated a water sanitation project and co-led their summer program for students from US universities.

Additionally, this summer Perel-Slater was named an associate fellow of the College of the Environment, noted Barry Chernoff, COE director and the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies at Wesleyan. The fellowship acknowledges both the formative and continuing relationship between Perel-Slater’s work and the COE: Wesleyan undergraduates in the College now serve as interns with Maji Safi in Shirati, and Perel-Slater returns episodically to campus to meet with COE students and faculty.

“Max is an inspiration to our COE undergraduates and alumni alike,” said Chernoff, who is also professor of biology, professor and chair of the environmental studies program, professor of earth and environmental sciences. “He has put his education—and idealism—to practical use in the world in an incredible way. We are so proud of him.”

Musician Smilow ’82 Honored by Reform Zionists of America

Peri Smilow '82

Peri Smilow ’82

Peri Smilow ’82, a College of Letters graduate, will be honored at the Association of Reform Zionists of America’s (ARZA) 36th Anniversary Gala on April 5 at Central Synagogue in New York City.

Known internationally as one of the bright lights in contemporary Jewish music, Smilow will be recognized for her ability to elicit a sense of spirituality and social action in her audiences, drawing on a wealth of personal and professional experiences.

As a composer, Smilow’s music is sung in worship, in youth group settings and at Jewish summer camps throughout the country. As a recording and touring artist, her music has been enjoyed in the U.S., Canada, England, Singapore and Israel. She is perhaps best known for her groundbreaking cross-cultural work with blacks and Jews through The Freedom Music Project. This project brings together African-American and Jewish singers to explore their shared histories of slavery through the music of Passover and the Civil Rights Movement.

Recently audiences are also enjoying Smilow’s new one-woman cabaret act featuring the music of the Jewish American Songbook.

Smilow’s work as a contemporary Jewish musician is influenced by her previous work as a non-profit entrepreneur, developing and launching new organizations that meet the educational needs of inner-city youth during afterschool hours. She also has been influenced by her time living and working in Israel and by her graduate study in education at Harvard University.

She lives in South Orange, N.J. with her husband and daughter.

ARZA, The Reform Israel Fund, is the Israeli voice of the Reform movement in the United States, and seeks to make Israel fundamental to the sacred lives and Jewish identities of Reform Jews. ARZA champions and supports activities that help build an inclusive and democratic Israeli society. This year’s ARZA Gala celebrates 36 years since the founding of ARZA. The theme “honoring our past, securing our future” is reflected in the selection of three honorees representing three generations of Reform Zionists who have made a difference both here and in Israel.

Donfried ’94 to Lead the German Marshall Fund

Karen Donfried '94

Karen Donfried ’94

Karen Donfried ’94 will become the president of the German Marshall Fund in April, a role for which she was unanimously elected. She’s currently a special assistant to President Obama and senior director for European affairs on the National Security Council at the White House. She advises the president on European matters and leads the development and implementation process of his European policies.

“I am very pleased that Karen is returning to GMF to take on its leadership,” said current GMF president Craig Kennedy, in a press release. Kennedy is retiring after 19 years at the helm. “I am very confident that this wonderful institution will thrive under her guidance.”

At Wesleyan, Donfried was a government and German studies major. She went on to earn her Ph.D. and M.A.L.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Magister from the University of Munich, Germany.

She received the Cross of the Order of Merit from the German Government in 2011, became an officer of the Order of the Crown of Belgium in 2010, and received a Superior Honor Award from the U.S. Department of State in 2005.
 She’s also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Council on Germany.

Donfried’s first stint with the GMF began in 2001 after having served for 10 years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service. She then returned from 2005 to 2010, first as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president.