November Alumni Notes

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While protecting free speech, Professor Susan Benesch FR’81 is working tirelessly to dismantle dangerous speech around the globe. An American University adjunct professor and Harvard University faculty associate, Susan has spent much of her adult life thinking about the roots of intergroup conflict, including how words and images can incite violence. Read more






Andy Ahn FR’97’s Boo’s Philly Cheesesteak is on Chrissy Teigen’s “Chrissy’s Go-To LA Restaurants” list. She says, “The Original – juicy, salty, oniony meat which MUST be made with processed cheese spread only and nestled into a perfect bun – is the gold standard, but they also have these crazy loaded fries, killer turkey hoagie sandwiches – wow. Just wow.” Read more.

Max Allen CN'14 a computer science and engineering senior at MIT, is one of the students who didn’t grow up speaking Chinese, but is one of the few who are able to discuss “machine learning models” in Mandarin. He's able to do so as a result of academic work, stints abroad, an internship, and also just having the passion to learn Chinese. Read more.

Ife Babatunde ES'00, agency lead for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, sat on the expert panel for Black Girl Ventures (BGV) Pitch Competition in NYC last week. BGV is dedicated to offering comprehensive education and advisory services that outline a road map for the growth and success of minority and/or veteran women entrepreneurs. 

Offiong Bassey ES’02, Director of Product Development at CVS Health, has been named a 2019 Rev Honoree. Now in its fifth year, Rev honors the top 20 female VPs and directors in Boston tech. Read more.

Anne-Carmene Almonord FR’98, an attorney with Arent Fox representing various stakeholders in structuring, negotiating and documenting complex finance transactions, was named a 2019 AF Fellow, an initiative designed to help attorneys foster effective leadership skills and forge lasting relationships across the firm. Read more.

Michael Davis FR’17 was featured in The Sewanee Purple in an article titled, “Moving Mountains through Studies in Economics and Politics.” In it, he says his experience in France, including a visit to the Paris Stock Exchange, ignited his passion for investments and finance.  His experience in France would offer Davis a critical opportunity for igniting his passion. Read more.

Menna Demessie CN’97, VP of policy analysis and research for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, was an invited speaker for Wash U’s African Students Association 12th annual Africa week highlighting intracontinental diversity last month. During the interactive panel discussion, she spoke to students about international relations between the U.S. and Africa and the influence that African politics and economics has on the world.

Robin Hauser FR’82, presented a revealing talk at TEDxMarin about implicit biases forcing an honest look at how both genders often perceive successful women and their “likability.” Watch.

Will Feuer CN’14 is a digital associate at CNBC covering technology. A recent piece of his discusses Mark Zuckerberg’s blasting of Facebook rival and rising Chinese-owned TikTok, a mobile app on which users can share and easily edit short videos, for censoring content. Read more.

Jesse Glicker IT’08 recently moved to Brussels to start a job as a Project Manager at Buildings Performance Institute Europe, where she works on projects to further climate action in the buildings sector across Europe. Influenced by her time at SYA, Jesse moved to Europe in 2016 (first London and then Paris). Jesse is working on her French, but fortunately there is a large Italian population in Brussels for her to practice the Italian skills she gained in Viterbo.

Brooke Laughrin IN’09 recently joined Microsoft’s AI & Research - Healthcare NExT team, reflecting founder Satya Nadella’s vision that many technology breakthroughs in healthcare and medicine will come from healthcare  and life sciences organizations, working in partnership with companies like Microsoft.

Michael McCarty FR’70’s East Coast restaurant, Michael’s New York, celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this month. Following its West Coast sister, Michael’s Santa Monica, which opened in 1979, the NYC eatery is known for power breakfasts and lunches, drawing business moguls and media stars.

Naomi Moser FR’08 is in Bucharest on a research Fulbright to study the history and practice of Yiddish theater (which was started in Romania) and apply aspects of what she learns to her performance and video art works.

Rebecca Neagle CN’98 along with colleagues from KPMG US, read to students at Savoy Elementary (DC) as part of the firm’s Family for Literacy (KFFL), the flagship Citizenship program with a mission to eradicate childhood illiteracy by putting new books into the hands of children in need and developing the next generation of young leaders through reading. 

Abi Pollokoff IT’08 was recently published in Foundry, a digital magazine that publishes a range of styles and forms, from short lyric poems to prose poems and longer narratives. Read her work, “Lilies & These Eroded.” Read more.

Carolynn Rockafellow FR'77 FRS'09P, one of this year's Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, visited with SYA France and presented to the students during assembly, completely in French. She spoke about her educational background, including her decision to attend SYA and Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, and her career in banking. She also shared a great deal about her work in Greece with young refugees. Read about her work.

Lydia Smith ES’81 participated on three panels during the Portland Film Festival last month: Producers Panel & Discussion, Distribution for Independent Filmmakers and Crowdfunding.

Doug White ES’71 shares “5 things I wish someone told me when I first became an author,” in this article where he answers how he thinks his writing makes an impact. “It’s not about selling books so much as it conveying what I consider important issues.” Read more.


  • Alumni Notes
Celebrating 50 Years of Coeducation: the Women of SYA

The unprecedented move toward coeducation signaled a sweeping evolution at SYA. This moment opened doors to a lifetime of possibility and change for women, one that continues to evolve and show promise. The rest is HERstory.

It's Founder's Week and Celebration of 50 Years of Coeducation

Beginning this Founder's Day, September 9, 2020, we commemorate this historic moment with a year-long celebration of virtual programming and stories. Throughout the year we will invite the participation of alumnae/i, faculty, staff, students and parents as we honor the influence and contributions of women to SYA's past, present and future. 

2020 Alvarez Global Scholars

They say that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. Like many of their classmates, SYA’s very first Alvarez Global Scholars, Frances and Annika, will tell you that they also made traditional cider, cheese, lifelong friends, and memories that will help shape how they ultimately see the world.

My Italian Odyssey

SYA Italy class of 2020 student Jalal H. reflects on his time spent abroad in Viterbo and the memories he made with friends.