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Alumni Newsmakers

The 1970s

Brian Katen, BA ’72, was among 25 faculty members in North America named Most Admired Educators of 2010 in the 11th annual America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools study by the DesignIntelligence publication of the Design Futures Council. Katen is a professor at Virginia Tech, where his research explores the everyday landscape, community identity and conceptions of place, and the complex relationship between the landscape, its archives, and memory.

Albany Records released highlights from Chéri, a musical drama written by opera and music-theater composer Michael Dellaira, MA ’73, based on French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette’s 1921 novel of the same title. Dellaira’s choral works are widely performed in the United States and Europe, most recently at the Eighth World Symposium on Choral Music in Copenhagen. He is the composer-in-residence at The Center for Contemporary Opera in New York, and his forthcoming opera is based on Joseph Conrad’s novel, The Secret Agent.

Sharon H. Sykes, MBA ’79, was hired as vice president of marketing of OBA Bank in Montgomery County, Md. She is a certified financial marketing professional and past president of the American Marketing Association’s Baltimore Chapter.

Nancy Jackson, BS ’79, was elected president of the American Chemical Society, the largest scientific organization in the world. Jackson is the manager of the International Chemical Threat Reduction Department at Sandia National Laboratories. She received a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from GW in 2004.

The 1980s

Donald Koenig, BA ’80, JD ’84, was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer of Humility of Mary Health Partners in Youngstown, Ohio. He served for 11 years as vice president and assistant general counsel for Catholic Healthcare Partners, the parent corporation of Mary Health Partners. Koenig is the lead administrator at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, Ohio.

M. Scott Reichenbaugh, MSA ’81, assumed the position of executive director for the Marine Corps Institute. Reichenbaugh has a BS from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and a MA in instructional technology from the Catholic University of America.

Jane MacKnight, BA ’82, MA ’95; Elizabeth Wiecher Pierce, MA ’95; and Lauren Hancock, MA ’07, helped the Cincinnati Museum Center gain honors as one of the 2009 National Medal winners for Museum Service by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The award recognizes institutions for outstanding social, educational, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities.

Lawrence Deyton, MD ’85, was interviewed by the Courier-Journal about his role and plans as “the nation’s first anti-smoking czar.” Deyton is the director of the Federal Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products.

Valerie A. Yarashus, BA ’87, was elected president of the Massachusetts Bar Association for the 2009-10 year. Her top priorities for her term are technology, preserving access to justice, and enhancing diversity in the legal profession. Yarashus is a principal with Meehan, Boyle, Black and Bogdanow in Boston, where she concentrates in plaintiff’s trial practice and a wide variety of other general liability cases.

Ian Meklinsky, BA ’88, JD ’91, presented “Navigating Paid Family Leave: How to Comply with the New Law and Final Regulations” at the Paid Family Leave Briefing offered by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association on Nov. 20, 2009, in West Orange, N.J. Meklinsky is a partner in the Princeton, N.J., office of Fox Rothschild.

Brian Michelli, BBA ’88, is proud to announce that his oldest daughter, Rebecca, transferred to The George Washington University from Northern Virginia Community College. She is a psychology major and sociology minor.

Ronna Lee Sharpe, MA ’88, is a cultural heritage specialist for the Colorado Council on the Arts. She was profiled in the Grand Junction Free Press.

Robyn Walensky, BA ’88, joined ABC 26 WGNO in New Orleans as a full-time television reporter. She is an adjunct professor of journalism at Tulane University and co-wrote the book Covering Catastrophe: Broadcast Journalists Report 9-11-01.

The 1990s

Raya Haffar al-Hassan, MBA ’90, was named finance minister in Lebanon’s new national unity cabinet. She will be the first female minister in Lebanese history.

Christopher J. Capelli, BS ’90, an intellectual property attorney, joined Leason Ellis in White Plains, N.Y. Capelli previously served as chief IP counsel for MeadWestvaco Corp., where he had management responsibilities for a global IP portfolio consisting of more than 6,000 patents and trademarks.

Brett Kimmel, BA ’90, and his wife, Jodi, welcomed the birth of their second daughter, Ottilie, on Oct. 26, 2009. Brett and Jodi are partners in The Law Firm of Brett Kimmel, which specializes in family law in New York City.

Pam Schanwald, MHSA ’91, was recognized for her work with the Arthritis Foundation of Western Pennsylvania with the Heart-in-Hand Award for pediatric care and dedication to arthritis awareness. Schanwald is chief executive officer of The Children’s Home and Lemieux Family Center.

Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth, MA ’92, was presented with the inaugural Colin Powell Public Service Award by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, MBA ’71. Duckworth received her award for her lifetime of service at The George Washington University’s “Celebration of Service” dinner on Oct. 15, 2009.

Franz Keller, BBA ’93, and his wife, Christine, welcomed the birth of their son Ryan Josef Keller on Feb. 20, 2009. Keller was also hired as marketing director for RSC Architects in Cliffside Park, N.J.

Kristen Shepherd Denner, BA ’93, MA ’98, was selected by the German Marshall Fund as a Marshall Memorial Fellow in 2010. As a representative of the American arts and culture sector, Denner will meet with senior leaders in government and business when the Marshall Fellows travel to Europe in June 2010.

Jonathan Vivar, BBA ’93, accepted a position at CGI Group Inc. as director of business development. Vivar was previously employed at IBM Corp. as a business development executive. In his new position, he will be part of the CGI team working toward advancing new business for the New York City business unit. Vivar is married and has a 14-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. He and his wife, Kelly, were expecting a baby boy in January.

Shawn Raymond, BA ’94, received the 2009 Woodrow B. Seals Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. Named in honor of a well-known federal judge, this award is given annually to one Houston attorney under the age of 38 who best represents professional excellence and service to clients, the community, and the bar. Raymond is a partner at Susman Godfrey.

Ethan Chazin, MBA ’95, was quoted extensively in the September 2009 issue of New Jersey Monthly as an expert resource for information on high growth industries for jobs and the best places to work in those key industries. Chazin is president and founder of The Chazin Group.

Elizabeth Wiecher Pierce, MA ’95; Jane MacKnight, BA ’82, MA ’95; and Lauren Hancock, MA ’07, helped the Cincinnati Museum Center gain honors as one of the 2009 National Medal winners for Museum Service by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The award recognizes institutions for outstanding social, educational, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities.

Nicole C. Kibert, BS ’97, wrote several chapters and is co-editor of a practical legal guide for the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust, and Estate Law. The guide, titled Green Building and Sustainable Development: The Practical Legal Guide, was released in August 2009. Kibert is a certified mediator and a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional. She is an associate at Carlton Fields in Tampa, Fla.

Thomas C. Bogle, BA ’98, joined the partnership at Dechert law firm in its financial services group. He is resident in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office.

Scott Fagan, BA ’99, is serving in Baghdad, Iraq, at the U.S. Embassy with his wife, Christine Fagan, BA ’01, MA ’06. Scott, who was promoted, is serving as team leader in the political-military section. Christine is serving in the Refugee/IDP Affairs Office. Both recently finished a two-and-a-half year assignment in Bogota, Colombia.

Daniela Wiggins, MD ’99, an anesthesiologist, created a new line of dolls called Prodigyrls. The dolls have realistic African American features, and each doll has an inspirational story about a special interest or talent. Find more information at

The 2000s

Alexander Kalkines, BA ’00, graduated from Brooklyn Law School and passed the New York Bar exam.

Charlene Kannankeril, BA ’00, and Stephen Voss, BA ’01, welcomed the birth of their son, Luke Paul. He was born on Sept. 15, 2009, in Rockville, Md., and weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces. The family lives in Washington, D.C.

Oscar Ramirez, MA ’01, JD ’01, joined the Podesta Group of Washington, D.C., as a principal. Ramirez previously served as the special assistant to the secretary of labor under the Obama administration. He also previously worked as the Virginia policy director for the Obama campaign and worked on Capitol Hill for eight years, most recently as chief of staff for Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.). He lives in Silver Spring, Md.

Tiane Harrison, BBA ’01, was named one of PR News 15-to-Watch in the corporate and nonprofit PR category. Harrison was honored at the PR News PR People Awards Luncheon.

Amanda Dietrich, BA ’02, and her husband, Mark Golino, are proud to announce the birth of a baby girl, Emma Grace. Emma was born on Aug. 11, 2009, in Falls Church, Va., and weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

Lee Lubarsky, BA ’02, accepted a position as senior account executive in the consumer health care division at Edelman in New York City. Lubarsky was previously an associate at Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, where he focused on corporate crisis work.

Anna Staton, MPA ’02, will serve as a public health fellow to the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions’ Subcommittee on Children and Families during 2010. Following the fellowship, she plans to return to her role as a public health adviser in the Science Policy Branch at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Carly (Weiss) Natko, BA ’03, married Jonathan Natko on Nov. 21, 2009, in Naples, Fla. Carly is a dietician and the senior nutritionist in the adolescent health division of Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and Jonathan is a vice president at Credit Suisse in Greenwich, Conn.

Kristen Taddonio, BA ’03, MA ’06, and her freshman year roommate, Clare Rowley, BA ’05, were named 2009 Service to America Medal finalists. Taddonio was recognized for her efforts at the Environmental Protection Agency, where she is working with General Motors and other automakers on air conditioners that use alternative refrigerant systems to reduce pollution. Rowley is employed at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. When IndyMac Bank, based in Pasadena, Calif., failed in July 2009, Rowley was sent with colleagues to implement a system to modify loans and help struggling mortgage holders stay in their homes.

Anita (Pytlarz) Ponchione, MA ’05, and Marc Ponchione are proud to announce the birth of a baby girl, Madeline Rose. Madeline was born on Sept. 24, 2009, at The George Washington University Hospital and weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces. Her big sister, Anna, is especially excited about her new baby sister.

Abbey Richards, MA ’05, JD ’05, and Brent Richards are proud to announce the birth of a baby girl, Marguerite Jewel. She was born on Aug. 5, 2009, in Oklahoma City and weighed 9 pounds, 15 ounces. Maggie’s parents and big brother Brendan love the new addition to the family.

Danielle Shuckra, MPA ’05, was hired as a communications associate at The Nellie Mae Foundation in Quincy, Mass. Shuckra previously served as communications and project manager with the University of Massachusetts Boston, College of Science and Mathematics.

Andrew Anderlonis, BBA ’06, and Amy (Rediker) Anderlonis, BA ’06, were married Oct. 10, 2009, in Chatham, Mass. Amy and Andrew met when they both lived on the third floor of the Hall on Virginia Avenue. More than a dozen GW classmates were in attendance at the wedding.

Elizabeth Bagerman, BBA ’06, launched her own innovative event design company, Designs by iBi. The eco-friendly operating company’s events span from weddings to corporate events. Find out more at

Declan Binninger, BA ’06, was sworn in as assistant state’s attorney at the Cook County State Attorney’s Office in Cook County, Ill.

Josh Wilkie, BA ’06, was profiled in The Washington Post about his quest to make the Washington Nationals major league roster. The article also touched on Wilkie’s decision to major in music at GW and mentions his engagement to Jesse Keith, BS ’06.

Lauren Hancock, MA ’07, with Jane MacKnight, BA ’82, MA ’95, and Elizabeth Wiecher Pierce, MA ’95, helped the Cincinnati Museum Center gain honors as one of the 2009 National Medal winners for Museum Service by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The award recognizes institutions for outstanding social, educational, environmental, or economic contributions to their communities.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory has hired Justin Adder, MBA ’08, as an economist. He works with the Integrated Electric Power Systems Division. Previously, Adder worked for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for analyzing data in natural gas and oil pipeline tariff filings to resolve economic issues and determine compliance with FERC rules, regulations, and policies. He resides in Mount Lebanon, Pa.

Thomas Renard, MA ’08, is a senior associate fellow and head of the Brussels office at the Center on Global Counterterrorism Cooperation. He also remains a research fellow at Egmont, the Royal Institute for International Relations, a Brussels-based think tank.

Jabneel Abreu, MTA ’09, accepted a two-year appointment as a member of the board of directors for the Network of Latino Meeting Professionals. The network’s goal is to create a nurturing environment for all meeting professionals and foster the exchange of ideas.

Bevan Sabo, BA ’09, and classmate Ariel Goldring, BA ’09, started a free market economics and philosophy blog. Sabo and Goldring have had the opportunity to interview a number of well-respected thinkers, including Robert Dunn Jr., professor of economics at GW. The blog can be found at

William Atkins

Five Colonial alumni were inducted into the GW Athletic Hall of Fame Jan. 23. The five inductees, Scott Allen, Mike Battle ’73, Myriah Lonergan Cain ’96, Liu Li ’96 and President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, were introduced at halftime of the GW-Richmond basketball and officially inducted at dinner that night.

Mr. Allen is the winningest coach in the 80-year history of the GW golf program and led the team to its first NCAA berth in 60 years in 2006.

Mr. Battle was a two-time men’s basketball team MVP. A 6-foot-5 forward, Mr. Battle was usually assigned to guard the best player on the opposing team, including All-Americans and future NBA stars such as Julius Erving.

Ms. Lonergan Cain was a standout member of the women’s basketball team from 1992 to 1996. Team captain in 1995-96, Ms. Lonergan Cain also was named to the 1993 A-10 All-Rookie Team.

Ms. Li was an integral member of the women’s volleyball team in the mid-1990s. Her skills and leadership helped lead the team to Atlantic 10 Championship titles in 1994 and 1995. In 1994, Ms. Li was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year.

Mr. Trachtenberg was instrumental in transforming the athletics program during his time as president from 1988 to 2007. During Mr. Trachtenberg’s tenure, several Colonials teams advanced to the postseason.

And What About You?

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