Class Correspondent

Unfortunately, my husband, Kenneth Wong, and I had to miss our 20th Reunion in June due to a commitment with extended family, but we were able to take a lengthy road trip through New York and Boston, creating our own reunion of sorts. Times like these remind us of the deep and lasting connections we made at our alma mater. Who are you still in touch with? What have they meant to you?

Diane Berman reports that she continues to enjoy teaching in the New York City public schools. She traveled to Romania as part of a Habitat for Humanity team that built houses there. Richard Jacobson let us know that he left his development research job at Harvard’s School of Public Health and now works as director of development research at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston. He and his wife, Elise (Millen) Jacobson ’90, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. They have two children, Ben, 9, and Sarah, 3. David Swirnoff is working as a consultant in the human resources field after his position with Nassau County (N.Y.) government ended with a change of the elected officials to whom he had reported. He says that married life with his wife of one year, Merry Firschein ’87, has been a real joy and a source of strength while each has faced personal or professional challenges. After years as an appraiser of other people’s houses, Hugh Wattenberg writes in to tell us that he finally became a first-time homeowner himself when he bought a condo in West Roxbury, Mass. It required him to leave his beloved Waltham, but he continues to thrive while putting lots of miles on his car checking out the houses others want to buy and sell. Jenifer Gershman released her first children’s book, “Where Did Mommy’s Superpowers Go?” a heartwarming story for all parents struggling to balance a serious health crisis with caring for small children. In 2007, Jenifer was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening blood protein disorder and underwent high-dose chemotherapy and two stem-cell transplants. At the time, she was raising her 4-year-old son, and she searched in vain for an appropriate book to explain the changes he would see in her appearance and physical abilities. She is currently in remission and happy to be living a healthy and active life with her family in Maynard, Mass. She told The Boston Globe that her son, Jason, now 8, is a model of empathy toward other children with a sick family member. “I looked different, and I couldn’t do everything I used to do,” she said, “but he knew I was still his mommy.” Michael Sweet joined Meyers Nave as principal, launching the San Francisco firm’s new municipal debt restructuring and bankruptcy practice group. He has more than 14 years of bankruptcy, litigation and election law experience and has represented clients in litigation before federal and California courts. In addition to having numerous speaking engagements on bankruptcy, he has published several articles on bankruptcy alternatives. Michael is also chair of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Julie Hoffman Marshall founded BrainSong: Music for Autism, which brings in musicians to perform weekly mini-concerts for the students at the Independent Learning Center at Ryan Elementary School in Lafayette, Colo. Writes Julie, “It’s a way for our kids to experience the profound joy and power of music. It’s nothing short of miraculous each week to watch our kids move and groove and connect to their peers and the music.” David Stern, executive vice president of endocrinology at EMD Serono, was named to Pharmaceutical Executive magazine’s 2011 list of emerging leaders. The award honors the fresh faces of leadership in the pharmaceutical industry. Daniel Shapiro was sworn in as the new U.S. ambassador to Israel by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a ceremony attended by hundreds of guests at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Daniel made a speech in English and concluded with a few words in Hebrew, expressing hope for friendship and cooperation between the United States and Israel. David Binder, M.A.’92, was named chief financial officer at Blue Nile, an online retailer of diamonds and fine jewelry. He joins Blue Nile from Infospace, where he served as CFO and treasurer since January 2008. Rachel Schnoll, an executive with Goldman Sachs Asset Management, spoke at the Strategic Insight Fund Trends Conference in June. Rachel heads Goldman’s mutual fund product development and product strategy for the Americas. She first joined Goldman Sachs in 1998 as a summer associate and joined the firm full time a year later. Alvin Marcovici is a neurosurgeon at South Coast Health Systems in Massachusetts. He performs a range of highly complex neurosurgery and has completed research and published articles on a variety of topics, including research on brain tumors and cerebral aneurysms.
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