Class of 2018
The Boston Lyric Opera appointed Bradley Vernatter ’18 general director and CEO following a two-season term as acting general and artistic director, during which he moved the company through COVID shutdowns, created new artistic and organizational opportunities, and steered a five-year strategic planning process. In 2020, he was recognized by Boston Business Journal as one of the “40 Under 40” rising young leaders. He is a member of YW Boston LeadBoston for 2022 and serves on the board of advisors at Artists For Humanity.
Odemi Pessu ’20 MPA writes: “Shortly after completing my Master of Public Affairs in 2020, I published my first book, Force of Nature. Force of Nature is a lyrical compilation of narrative poetry that explores the intersections of African womanhood, emotional vulnerability, and spiritual liberation.This body of work is an ode to the divine feminine energy and power that exists within all African women. I was inspired to write this book because I am an Itsekiri and Ijaw woman whose parents immigrated from the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s oil-rich and impoverished coastal area. I published Force of Nature to inspire young African women globally to honor their divine feminine power through love, creativity, and decolonization of their mind, body, and spirit. I’d love for the Brown community to join me in embracing the complexities of African womanhood, exploring decolonization of the mind, reconciling tradition with growth, rejecting patriarchal oppression, and discovering new ways to love ourselves.”
Pat Kelleher writes: “Sam Lafferty ’18 and I attended the men’s hockey world championships in Tampere, Finland. Sam was the first Brown men’s alum to represent Team USA in hockey since 1977 and helped our team to a fourth place finish at the tournament, which concluded on Sunday. I have been the executive director of USA Hockey since 2017.”
Olivia Katcher, chief of staff at Collaborative Fund and cofounder of Social Good Collective, and Ana Piacentini ’23, coleader of the Brown EP Podcast Team, Dive In, have partnered to create a podcast mini series called Dive In x Social Good Collective. The six-part series was created to introduce and inspire students to take part in entrepreneurship. Ana writes: “The collection of episodes will spotlight and share the diverse stories of passionate, mission-driven entrepreneurs who are actively pushing the world forward by creating tangible social impact. While these entrepreneurs are building in various industries, their overarching goal is the same: to create a venture that enacts positive change upon greater society. In these episodes, you’ll hear from founders about how they’re all working to leave a lasting positive change through the work they’re pursuing.” The podcast mini series can be found on Dive In’s website, www.divein-brownep.com, Spotify, and where other podcasts can be found.
Ally Donahue, former Brown women’s swim and dive Ivy League champion, and Ryan Kopec ’19, former Brown football punter, wed on April 2, in Winter Park, Fla. They celebrated with former classmates and teammates from the women’s swim team and men’s football and basketball teams from the classes of 1989, 2011, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Talia Dutton writes: “My first original graphic novel, M is for Monster, was published by Surely Books, which is an imprint of Abrams ComicArts, started by Mariko Tamaki. Here’s the link to the book’s page: tinyurl.com/4xmyxbjh.”
Quinn Schoen, Saria Sakka, and Abigail Tisch opened Bungalow, an art-forward concept store and platform for emerging artists. Quinn writes: “We’re a nomadic and temporary project, with this iteration in Chinatown that ran Nov. 11 to Dec. 19, and our second presentation is scheduled to come this spring at the historic artists complex Westbeth in New York. We’ve received a bit of coverage so far in Elle Decor and New York Magazine’s Curbed.”
Rosie Mangiarotti was featured in Forbes in early September regarding her journey with her bra startup, Perkies. Perkies creates innovative undergarments for women to wear, most notably the only sticky bra with replaceable adhesives. Perkies was born out of Danny Warshay’s ENGN1010 class, “The Entrepreneurial Process.” Rosie pitched at the inaugural Brown Venture Prize competition in 2018, participated in Brown’s B-Lab and then pursued this venture after graduating. Her two investors are Brown alums as well: Liz Lange ’88 and Eliot Horowitz ’03.
Jeff Stewart writes: “Breakaway Partners was acquired by Komodo Health. What is interesting is the high concentration of Brown folks on the Breakaway side! There is Andrew Laubscher ’07 (married to Amanda Puffer ’05, ’08 ScM), PJ Santoro ’04, and myself (married to Karen Steinig ’91, parent to two sons ’20 and ’24). Also on our team are Andrew Coggins ’18 and Dylan Groos ’19. A nice ‘conclusion’ to a gathering of several Brunonians across a few decades.”
Ernesto Renda was selected for the 2021 cohort at Silver Art Projects, an artist residency housed in New York City’s World Trade Center.
Janet Leung ’16 earned a Bronze medal in women’s softball with Team Canada in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Other Brown Bears competing included Hanna Barakat ’21 of Team Palestine in track and field; Jagger Stephens ’20 represented Guam in swimming; and Cicely Madden ’18, Alex Miklasevich ’19, and Anders Weiss ’15 competed for Team USA in rowing events.
Eleanor Walsh and Blake Wilcox ’16 were married on June 13 at Eleanor’s parents’ house in her hometown of Lancaster, Pa. The ceremony was very small, with fellow Brunonians Spencer Caplan ’15, Jenna Frerichs ’16, and Willa Tracy ’18, ’19 AM, included in the wedding party. A larger first anniversary celebration is planned for June 2022.
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.
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.
Zachary Witkin will serve as a community health support agent with the Peace Corps in Senegal from 2020 until 2022.
Ernesto Renda had his first solo exhibition, “Frottage Works,” at the National Arts Club in New York City on February 3-27, 2020.
Dylan Morrissey works with The Civics Center, which was founded last fall by Laura Brill ’87, who is a lawyer in Los Angeles and former clerk to Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Dylan writes: “After graduating, I became the nonprofit’s first employee and have been building it from the ground up under the direction of Ms. Brill. We met through Brown alumni networking channels and have had a great relationship starting this nonprofit. I wanted to share my op-ed that was published in the Sacramento Bee (https://www.sacbee.com/opinion/california-forum/article231054688.html). A letter to the editor written by Laura was also published in the New York Times last fall.”
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.
Marvin Catler ’53 and his wife, Edith, returned to Brown for his 65th reunion. Marvin writes: “It was made even more significant by the graduation of our grandson, William Nober ’18. It was a great celebration, and we enjoyed meeting the few classmates who returned.”
Webmaster George Bryant reports: “Over the weekend, 72 alumni and spouses came to campus to celebrate our 55th reunion. The weekend began with a Friday night dinner at the University Club and recognition of the class of 1963’s gift. The night’s entertainment included Tom Generous on the ukulele and Marty Lawyer, our perpetual cheerleader, singing Brown songs and other touching numbers. We then proceeded to the campus dance to dance the night away. On Saturday, we lunched at the Hope Club, where we elected our new officers and presented a gavel to our outstanding president of the last 10 years, Glenn Cashion. Our new class officers are: President Barbara Smith Langworthy, Vice President Bill Silverman, Secretary Marty McCauley Anderson, Treasurer Fred Parker, 60th Reunion Cochairs Mary Lou Clark Levine and Glenn Cashion, and Webmaster George Bryant. Jose Flores ’18, the recipient of our Class Scholarship for the last four years, also addressed the class. This was followed by a tour of the RISD Museum, arranged by Jim Seed. We returned to the Hope Club for dinner and entertainment by the Higher Keys, an excellent Brown coed a capella group. Professor Barrett Hazeltine also was honored and spoke to the group. After our march down College Hill on Sunday, we went on to Bailey’s Beach Club in Newport hosted by Dayton Carr, a spectacular event to close a wonderful weekend. On Friday noon, a group of 19 Pembrokers and three brave husbands gathered at the University Club for lunch. Barbara Langworthy spoke to the group about the special values that Pembroke instilled in us that made such an event a homecoming for old friends. We were also treated to a talk and discussion with Gail Cohee, the director of the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center and an associate dean and adjunct faculty member in Gender and Sexuality Studies. What an exchange, discussing women’s issues now and 55 years ago.”
Michael Weisman (see Tony Weisman ’82).
Ernesto Renda (see Ernie Renda ’79).
Ernie Renda and Louisa Schein live in Somerset, N.J. Louise began her 25th year as a professor at Rutgers Univ., with joint appointments in Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies, after receiving her doctorate from UC Berkeley. Ernie, a graduate of Georgetown Law, has a solo law practice in Bridgewater, N.J. Their daughter, Sophia Schein Renda ’15, completed her master’s in education at the Univ. of Pennsylvania and teaches in the Philadelphia public schools. Their son, Ernesto Renda, Brown-RISD ’18, completed the joint program and is a past student head of the Brown Arts Initiative.