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Alumni Newsmakers

The 1950s

Sidney O. Dewberry, BS '51, was elected a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Since 1852, only 615 individuals have received this honor. His firm, Dewberry, headquartered in Fairfax, Va., laid the groundwork for smart growth of the northern Virginia suburbs. In 56 years of practice, Mr. Dewberry has also been recognized in the U.S. House of Representatives Congressional Record and inducted into GW's School of Engineering and Applied Science Hall of Fame.

James J. Kennedy, BA '51, MA '54, self-published Achieving Success Instructing Adults, which draws on his experience as a teacher and guest speaker to advise readers working with adult students.

GW Trustee Emeritus Morton Funger, AA '52, BA '53, received an honorary fellowship from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in recognition of his many years of service to civic, cultural, and Jewish communal causes.

The 1960s

Margie (Strasburger) Ryerson, BA '67, has published Treat Your Partner Like a Dog: How to Breed a Better Relationship (iUniverse, 2011). In the book, Ms. Ryerson, a marriage and family therapist and a devoted dog owner, shares tools, tips, and expert advice for improving relationships using principles of dog training, dog stories, and case studies of couples.

The 1970s

Bill Oliver, BA '71, was honored by the National Federation of Municipal Analysts for his many years of dedicated work. He is a frequent speaker at NFMA conferences and has twice before been recognized by the organization: in 1992 as analyst of the year and in 1994 for industry contribution. Mr. Oliver is the first person in NFMA history to be recognized with three separate awards.

Filmmaker Lawrence Hott, BA '72, finished the two-hour documentary The War of 1812, a co-production of WNED-TV Buffalo/Toronto and Florentine Films/Hott Productions Inc., in association with WETA. Mr. Hott is a recipient of the DuPont Columbia Journalism Award, the Peabody Award, an Emmy, and two Academy Award nominations. The film will be broadcast nationally on PBS in fall 2011.

Diane Remin, MA '75, is president of, an organization dedicated to soliciting major gifts for small nonprofits. Recent projects include work with Convergence, a nonprofit that brings together key stakeholders with divergent points of view to create productive dialogue on issues of national importance.

The 1980s

Head men's basketball coach at Notre Dame University Mike Brey, BS '82, was named "Coach of the Year" by the Associated Press. His Fighting Irish, 27-7 this season, finished second in the Big East and were ranked fifth in the final AP poll. The team's 27 victories also stand as the second-most wins in school history. This was Coach Brey's 11th season at Notre Dame. He is the first Irish men's hoops coach to win the award.

Howard N. Berliner, BA '86, a captain in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, U.S. Army Reserve, is mobilized as an administrative law attorney to augment the 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Mosul, Iraq. In civilian life, he is the founder and managing member of the Washington, D.C.-based Berliner Law Firm, where he practices labor and employment law and is a certified contract adviser/player agent with the National Football League Players Association.

In May, health care product provider Covidien announced that Mark A. Turco, MD '88, joined the company as chief medical officer of its vascular products business. Dr. Turco will oversee the business's medical affairs operations in the United States and Europe, focusing primarily on clinical affairs, health economics and reimbursement, professional affairs, and clinical education. Previously he was affiliated with the Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Md.

The 1990s

Haig Najarian, BA '90, spoke about joint ventures as a panelist at the spring meeting of the ABA section of international law in Washington, D.C. He is a managing director and counsel with GE Energy Financial Services in Stamford, Conn.

Buyer's Edge Co. Inc. has appointed Dana Hollish Hill, BBA '92, as vice president of the firm. Ms. Hollish Hill lives in West Bethesda, Md., with her husband, Doug, and their two daughters.

President Barack Obama nominated Maria E. Ruess, MBA '95, as a member of the board of trustees of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Ms. Ruess is a former high school physics and Spanish teacher and was a volunteer "hands-on science" teacher for nine years at her local elementary school. She is now the vice president of business development and strategy for integrated defense technologies under Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors.

Camille Dierksheide, BA '96, is the chef and co-owner of Solar Crêpes, a solar-powered mobile boutique crepêrie in Washington, D.C., that specializes in locally grown organic food. Solar Crêpes was one of two finalists in Washingtonian magazine's "Food Truck Fight," an online March Madness-style competition among food trucks in the Washington area. In April, Ms. Dierksheide also had a lead role as "Miss Todd" in the GW music department's spring opera, The Old Man and the Thief.

Kara D. Freeman, MBA '97, was named vice president for administration for the American Council on Education. Ms. Freeman, who has served as ACE's chief information officer since 2008, was previously a program manager with Lockheed Martin Information Technology.

Dewberry, a privately held professional services firm, named Erin K. McLaughlin, BA '97, regional business development director in the firm's Fairfax, Va., office. She is rejoining Dewberry, having served in a corporate marketing role from 2004 to 2008. Most recently, she held the position of federal market development leader for architectural firm HOK.

In December 2010, Scott Relyea, MA '97, received his PhD in Chinese history from the University of Chicago. His dissertation is titled "Gazing at the Tibetan Plateau: Sovereignty and Chinese State Expansion in the 20th Century." For the 2010-11 academic year, he was a visiting assistant professor of Chinese history at the University of Toronto. Beginning in fall 2011, he will be an assistant professor of Chinese history at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 research physician Lt. Cmdr. Peter Sebeny, MPH '97, MD '03, was presented with the "Knight of National Order of June 27th" medal by the prime minister of the Republic of Djibouti. Lt. Cmdr. Sebeny, who is the deputy head of clinical trials and military studies, was awarded Djibouti's third highest honor for his efforts in supporting capacity-building projects with the country's ministry of health.

Candice Bennett, BA '98, MA '03, was one of 14 businesswomen nationwide to be honored by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council as a "2011 Women's Business Enterprise Star." Ms. Bennett is the president of Candice Bennett & Associates, a consulting firm that helps identify business trends based on quantitative market research.

In March, Michael A. Brown, BBA '98, completed a master's degree in security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security. He was selected by the school's faculty members and students to receive the Curtis H. "Butch" Straub Achievement Award for his exemplary academic and service record. He also received the Outstanding Thesis Award for his paper, "Freed: Ripples of the Convicted and Released Terrorist in America." Mr. Brown is an inspector for the TSA office of inspection.

John E. Kirchhofer, MA '99, was promoted to the civilian rank of defense intelligence, senior level, at the Defense Intelligence Agency. He serves as the chief of enterprise strategies, Office of Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Enterprise Management, Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center. He resides in Alexandria, Va.

The 2000s

Emily Baier, BA '01, public relations manager for Boehringer Ingelheim, was recognized as a "Top 25 DTC Marketer of the Year" by DTC Perspectives, a company that specializes in analysis of consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals. Ms. Baier was singled out for her work on the DRIVE4COPD campaign.

In May, Mark SooHoo, BA '02, and Annie Haas were married at Old St. Mary's Church and the Milwaukee Art Museum. A total of 17 GW alumni were in attendance, including wedding party members Elizabeth Latwin Mitchell, BA '02, and Steve Roberts, BA '03. Mr. and Mrs. SooHoo reside in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Benjamin Pascal, BA '03, CEO and co-founder of Invisible Sentinel, was selected as one of the year's "40 under 40" winners by the Philadelphia Business Journal. Invisible Sentinel is a Philadelphia-based rapid diagnostics company innovating next-generation technologies for a safer food supply.

Through her organization Heroes Against Childhood Cancer, Amanda Keating, BA '04, has helped Children's National Medical Center raise more than $1 million to fight childhood cancer and to install its first-ever chair in pediatric oncology. The organization, which Ms. Keating co-founded in 2009, is a community-based fundraising group; its signature event, Be Brave And Shave, features community members who shave their heads to raise money for cancer awareness.

Debra Saunders-White, Ed.D '04, will serve as the new deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at the U.S. Department of Education. She will oversee programs encouraging low-income and first-generation students, as well as students with disabilities, to pursue postsecondary education. Additionally, she will work to increase opportunities for disadvantaged college and university students and improve the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene nominated Courtney Lewis, MPH '05, to the top post at its Center for Cancer Surveillance and Control. She will manage more than 50 staff members in eight programs, including diagnosis and treatment, comprehensive cancer control, and cancer registry.

Rennie A. Silva, BA '05, was awarded a 2011-12 Fulbright grant to study the impact of media on civic participation in Laos. Mr. Silva received a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Maryland in May 2011.

Alexis Diamond, BA '09, earned second place oralist in the Intramural Moot Court Competition at Southwestern Law School.

In February, Jean-Marc Gorelick, MA '09, joined the U.S. Agency for International Development's Foreign Service. He says his experience in international development through GW's Capstone Project was an influence in his decision to pursue a development career overseas.

The 2010s

Mitch Lowenthal, BA '10, attended the 19th U.N. Commission on Sustainable Development in New York as a youth delegate. He and 12 other youth delegates advocated for sustainable solutions through SustainUS, a network empowering young people to contribute their voices to policymaking.

Travis Wright, MSPM '10, works for the National Guard Bureau Counterdrug Office, where he has helped to revamp its outdated funding process using techniques he credits to GW's MSPM program and to Drs. Prasad and Forman. This will allow the office to more efficiently fund 54 programs in 50 states and provide measurement of those funds.

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