Class of 2017
Soumitri Barua ’21 MD writes: “Alyssa Gonzalez ’21 MD and Alex Vidmar ’18 married in a beautiful ceremony on June 4, 2021, in the Roger Williams Botanical Center in Providence. Alex and Alyssa met, developeda close friendship, and eventually fell in love when they both worked for the Brown IT service center as undergrads. Members of the wedding party included myself as maid of honor, Isaac Davis ’18 as best man, Marissa Hudgins ’18, Michael Stanger ’19, James Went ’18, and Lorena Vazquez. Also in attendance were Jesus Aguirre ’21 MD, Adriel Barrios-Anderson ’22 MD, Alice Chu ’21 MD, Kendal Cockrel, Catherine Gannage ’21 MD,Yanabah Jaques, Vishal Khetpal ’20 MD, Meagan Kozhimala ’21 MD, Alison Oliveros, Olabade Omole ’21 ScM, ’21 MD, Karina Rivera ’21 MD, and Adrianna Wenz ’18. It was a real Brunonian party right in Rhode Island! Alex and Alyssa live in Southern California now with their dog Yeti and cat Monster.”
Benjamin Owens (see Steve Owens ’78).
Steve Owens writes: “On Sept. 9, I was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be a member of the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), having been nominated by President Biden earlier in the year. The CSB investigates accidents at facilities that produce, process, handle, and store chemicals and makes recommendations to prevent future accidents and protect human health and the environment. In addition, my wife, Karen Carter Owens, and I celebrated the wedding of our oldest son, John, to Haleigh Williams in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 13. Our son Benjamin ’17 was the best man. We were blessed to be joined at the wedding by many dear friends, including Jill Berkelhammer Zorn, Bob Keough, and Sue Goldberger ’76.”
Mia Aplin Rollins and Samuel Sebastian Pihan were married on Oct. 3, 2020, in a tiny ceremony at Mia’s grandfather’s retirement community in Exeter, N.H. In attendance were Mia’s parents Beth Aplin Conrad ’89 and Phillip Kent Rollins ’87, her grandfather, Richard Aplin, and Seb’s parents, Dr. Maria Vivaldi and Dr. German Pihan. Seb and Mia met the first day of their freshman orientation in the kitchen of Champlin where Mia was baking chocolate chip cookies. Mia writes: “Turns out we had ‘relation-chip’ goals.”
Anant Ambani ’17 and the Ambani family are planning to build a zoo and animal sanctuary called Green Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Kingdom in Jamnagar city in the western Indian state of Gujarat, the Week Magazine reported. The zoo will house nearly 100 species of animals, birds, and reptiles from India and around the world and is scheduled to open in 2023.
Willa Tracy ’19 AM (see Eleanor Walsh ’17).
Nick Sarazen writes: “I’m a record producer and songwriter based in Los Angeles. It feels odd to send an email about myself but I thought Brown Alumni Magazine might want to know a member of the Brown community is nominated for a Grammy Award this year. BAM is really the only way I stay connected to Brown since graduation, so I figured I would send an update of my own. I produced D Smoke and Snoop Dogg’s single ‘Gaspar Yanga,’ the lead single from D Smoke’s album Black Habits, which is nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. D Smoke is also nominated for Best New Artist.”
At press time, these alums were appointed or awaiting appointment to the Biden administration: Jennifer Daskal ’94, deputy general counsel (cyber & technology), Department of Homeland Security; Elisabeth Donahue ’86, chief of staff, Council of Economic Advisers; Marc Etkind ’87, associate administrator for communications, NASA; Ruby Goldberg ’17, special assistant, Office of Land and Emergency Management, Environmental Protection Agency; Suzanne Goldberg ’85, deputy assistant secretary for strategic operation, U.S. Dept. of Education ; Roberta Jacobson ’82, coordinator, U.S. Southern Border, National Security Council; Jennifer Klein ’87, cochair, White House Gender Policy Council; Daniel Kohl ’87, director of government relations, AmeriCorps; Letise Houser LaFeir ’00, senior advisor, NOAA, U.S. Dept. of Commerce ; Emma Leheny ’92, principal deputy general council, U.S. Dept. of Education; Suzan Davidson LeVine ’93, interim political head, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Dept. of Labor; Sean Manning ’18, press assistant, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Dept. of Commerce ; Ben Miller ’07, senior advisor to the chief of staff, U.S. Dept. of Education; Melanie Nakagawa ’02, senior director, climate and energy, National Security Council; Victoria Nuland ’83, undersecretary of state for political affairs, State Dept.; Daniel Parnes ’10, special assistant to the ASD for energy environment & installations, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Tanya Sehgal ’06, special advisor and senior counsel, U.S. Dept. of Personnel Management; Stefanie Tompkins ’93 ScM, ’97 PhD, director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Christina Tsafoulias ’04, supervisory congressional liaison specialist, Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs, USAID; Janet Yellen ’67, Secretary of the Treasury; Todd Zabatkin ’10 MPP, deputy director for research (White House Communications Dept.) ; and Maria Zuber ’83 ScM, ’86 PhD, cochair, President Biden’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Nicole Martinez writes: “Dead-Enders is a new comedy web series about the zombie apocalypse cocreated by me and Anna Stacy ’17. When COVID-19 hit New York and forced the city into quarantine, Stacy and I saw an opportunity to reflect the global circumstances through a new art form. Filmed entirely over Zoom, season one of Dead-Enders consists of six 30-minute-long episodes, with the pilot episode “Online” which premiered May 22 on Dead-Ender’s official YouTube channel. The show’s season one finale aired on June 26, and a second season is currently in the works.”
See story: “Zoom as an Art Form”
Gulmira Propper published the first Uyghur cookbook written in English, Silk Road Recipes: Parida’s Uyghur Cookbook. She writes: “I was Brown’s first Uyghur undergraduate student. This book is my loving tribute to my mother and her masterful Uyghur recipes—a colorful collection of quintessential Uyghur dishes, including hand-pulled noodles, lamb, pilaf, and more. Today, with the gross human rights violations of the Uyghur people, the preservation of the Uyghur culture is more important than ever. These recipes can hopefully help the world get to know the Uyghurs and the flavors of their cooking, and above all, keep the culture alive.”
See story: “Celebrating Uyghur Culture”
Michael Petro writes that he professed his first vows as a Jesuit in August, blessed by Sonia Geba, David Elitzer, and Rhea Stark ’18, who all streamed along. His studies continue in Chicago.
Bridie Gahan ’17 (see Brian O’Neill ’84).
Brian O’Neill writes: “I have been living in Telluride, Colorado, for 30 years and coaching my sons’ lacrosse teams. This past summer, due to the pandemic, we have had the pleasure of Brown lacrosse players mentoring our kids. What struck me as notable was how caring and selfless these men were in reaching out to the local community to offer their services. Phil Pierce ’14 was living here for the summer with his girlfriend Bridie Gahan ’17 while telecommuting. Phil was captain of Brown lacrosse and you could see why he was voted captain in the way he intently worked with kids ranging in ages from 8 to 18. Seven class of ’23 lacrosse players (Trevor Glavin, Matthew Gunty, Oscar Hertz, Griffin King, Devon McLane, Logan Paff, and Ben Palin) were here for a few weeks and regularly trained and mentored these same kids with an infectious energy that truly inspired our kids. It is amazing to have them in our little town climbing 14,000-foot peaks, rock climbing on via ferratas, mountain biking, hiking, and fly fishing—in some cases, with our local lacrosse players. As a member of the ’83 Brown football team that played Penn State and ran into Happy Valley in a raging blizzard with 84,000 people screaming ‘We Are...Penn State,’ I never thought the ‘Brown State’ spirit brought back to campus by our illustrious band and fans would last this long. I cannot tell you how happy I was to see and hear these lacrosse players talk about the pride in the culture of Brown State. It is so much more than sports. It is about rolling up your sleeves and making a difference. My 11 (’31?) and 13 (’30?) year old sons will tell you these days were the highlights of a very adventurous summer in the Rockies! Their cousins, Suzie O’Neill ’22 and Tommy Maloney ’23, have told them all about Brown and their passion for the school, but what struck me was the consistency of kindness, giving, and positivity in each Brown person. In a very short time, friendships were made and young boys were inspired to give back. Kudos to admissions, faculty, administration and all who make Brown what it is! Truly a national treasure!”
Ed Benson ’68 AM, ’71 PhD, writes: “Oscar Dupuy d’Angeac ’17 and his mates made a splendid 40-minute documentary, called Providence Lost, about a family harassed and then evicted by a landlord seeking to convert their building into student housing. The film turned into an effective tool for activists organizing around the housing crisis. One elderly parent died from living in their car during the filming, while the house remained vacant a year later.”
Oscar Dupuy d’Angeac (see Ed Benson ’68 AM, ’71 PhD)
The 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 featuring the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators, and game changers of the year in 20 different industries included: Claire DeBoer ’12, partner of New York City’s King Restaurant; Trang Duong ’18, cofounder of Penta; Amelia Friedman ’14, cofounder of Hatch Apps; Dakota Gruener ’11, executive director of ID2020; Ross Harrow ’11, cofounder of Flour Shop; Jessica Liu ’13, engineering manager at Figma; Melanie Masarin ’12, head of retail and offline experiences at Glossier; Alex Morse ’11, mayor of Holyoke, Mass.; Viet Nguyen ’17, cofounder of EdMobilizer; and Alexander Salter ’12, an MD-PhD candidate at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who is studying T-cells.
Nate Wardwell married Jared Misner in November. Adam Katz officiated, while Joshua Linden and Timothy Parsons ’15 ScM were groomsmen. Also in attendance were Brook Achterhof ’15; Duane Barksdale ’17 Jeffrey Baum ’15; Natalie Diacovo; Drew Hansen ’15; Margaret Hanson; Dara Illowsky; Ryan Joudeh ’16, ’17 AM; Raghava Kamalesh; Russyan Mabeza ’15; Noah Prestwich; Derek Shay ’16; and Ben Simon ’11,’12 ScM.
Benjamin Ostrowski ’17 and his father coauthored Penultimate Human Constellation: A Father and Son Converse in Poems, published by Tolsun Books. It is available on Amazon.com.
Phoebe Erickson (see Marilyn Tarasiewicz Erickson ’57).
Benjamin N. Owens (see Stephen and Karen Carter Owens ’78).
Stephen and Karen Carter Owens write that Steve is president of the class of ’78 and also serves as president of the Brown Association of Class Leaders and on the Brown Alumni Association Board of Governors. Karen is a partner with Coppersmith Brockelman PLC in Phoenix, practicing health care law. Steve is a partner with Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, also in Phoenix. Their younger son, Benjamin N. Owens ’17, is working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Their older son, John C. Owens (Tulane ’10), is a research analyst with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council and a graduate student at Arizona State Univ.
Marilyn Tarasiewicz Erickson writes: “I’m looking forward to a week at Topsail Island, North Carolina, with our five sons, their spouses, and five grandchildren, including Phoebe Erickson ’17, and 10 days at the Santa Fe, New Mexico, Chamber Music Festival.”
Class Notes from the November/December 2017 Issue
Carlos Rotger (see Jane Doane Anderson ’60).
Jeff Salvadore (see Patty Riskind ’88).
Jack H. Ruddell ’17, ’22 MD, of Rancho Mirage, Calif.; Nov. 1. He achieved academic success while quietly managing the learning challenges associated with Tourette’s Syndrome. Before attending Brown he sang with the Paulist Choristers, and he continued to sing with Brown’s Bear Necessities a capella group. He explored various fields of medicine, including extended summer research and projects at Warren Alpert Medical School, a program in geriatric medicine at University of Rostock, Germany, and a fellowship at the UCLA neurology research lab. He was a co-lead and/or author of more than 20 medical papers and his research spanned a variety of topics, particularly the impact of opioid dosages post-surgery. He is survived by his parents and two brothers.
Blaire Velarde Johnston ’17, of Los Angeles, formerly of Little Rock, Ark.; Aug. 13. After college Blair pursued her passion of working in Hollywood. She worked in the story department at Amblin Partners, the production company led by Steven Spielberg, until shortly before her death. She enjoyed improv comedy, writing, and dancing. She is survived by her mother, a sister, and two nieces.