Zohar Raviv, MA’00, is the director of education for Taglit-Birthright Israel. Previously, he served as assistant professor of Jewish studies and was the Hebrew University Florence Melton Scholar to North America at Oberlin College. After earning a master’s in Judaic studies and Jewish education from Brandeis, he received his PhD in Jewish thought from the University of Michigan in 2007. The latest work of fiction by Jesse Kellerman, MFA’03, “Potboiler,” earned strong reviews. It tells the story of a middle-aged college professor who steals an unpublished manuscript from a dead friend and achieves the overnight success he had always sought. Gregory Benac, IBS MA’03, won the World Poker Tour’s National Series Paris Open of Poker in France, outlasting a field of 370 poker players to pocket a first prize of more than $120,000. It was only the second live tournament for the 15-year veteran of the sport. Christopher A. Stevens, PhD’04, was appointed an assistant professor of history and government at Misericordia University. He has taught at the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Nebraska Kearney. Michael Laznik, IBS MBA’04, the CFO at renewable-energy pioneer World Energy, was recently selected by the Boston Business Journal as CFO of the Year. He has been at World Energy for the past five years after previously directing corporate finance efforts at FTI Consulting. Actress Jennifer Lafleur, MFA’04, appeared in this year’s edgy indie comedy “The Do-Deca-Pentathlon.” The film, which The New York Times called a “near-perfect little sports comedy” with an “unsettling” subtext, revolves around two 30-something brothers who revisit their rivalry by deciding to re-stage a 25-event sports challenge they devised for themselves as teenagers. Jennifer plays Stephanie, the disapproving wife of one of the brothers. In mid-July, Jennifer helped arrange a one-time screening of the film at a new theater near her home in Brookfield, Mass. The actress, who divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, returned home for the sold-out event, at which she introduced the movie and participated in a Q&A. Brenda Bond, Heller PhD’06, assistant professor of public administration at Suffolk University, co-edited a book with Suffolk colleague Erika Gebo on the implementation of a $45 million community gang-violence demonstration project in Massachusetts. The book describes the challenges of implementing a model for gang-violence reduction policy in diverse urban communities. After several years as a research associate at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Daniel Goldsmith, IBS MBA’06, now works at PA Consulting, analyzing strategic issues and offering advice for clients in the defense, health-care and energy sectors. He is also a research affiliate at MIT Sloan and a fellow at the Truman National Security Project, an institute that trains progressive leaders in national security. Roni Ben-Aharon, IBS MBA’08, now works for Appleseeds Academy, an Israeli company that aims to use technology as a tool for social mobility. She works with a wide range of disadvantaged groups across Israel, and assists with setting up community knowledge centers across sub-Saharan Africa. Micah Zenko, PhD’09, a fellow at the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations, collaborated with Michael Cohen on an essay published by the influential journal Foreign Affairs that has garnered considerable attention. In “Clear and Present Safety: The United States Is More Secure Than Washington Thinks,” they argue that America faces no serious threats, no great-power rival and no near-term competition for the role of global leader. Harvard’s commencement on May 24 featured the world premiere of “Villanelle for an Anniversary,” for a cappella chorus, by Richard Beaudoin, PhD’08, preceptor in the university’s music department. Commissioned by Harvard President Drew Faust, the work sets to music text written by Seamus Heaney in 1986 in commemoration of Harvard’s 350th anniversary. Heaney returned to recite his “Villanelle” during the morning exercises, followed immediately by the first performance of Richard’s setting by the Commencement Choir. In addition, Focus Recordings has released his first CD. For more information, visit richardbeaudoin.com. David McKenna, MS’08, was named vice president of claims finance, metrics and strategic projects at Selective Insurance Company of America. He joined Selective in 2010 as an assistant vice president. Sean Rickert, MA’08, was appointed superintendent of schools for the 690-student school district in Pima, Ariz. He had taught for seven years in rural Arizona and served as director of an alternative high school in St. Johns, Ariz., for three years. Jenelle Marie Woodlief, Heller MA’09, married Russell Edward Emmerson on June 28 at Shore Acres State Park in Coos Bay, Ore. The couple honeymooned in French Polynesia and currently resides in Lebanon, Ore., where Russell is a medical student at Western University of Health Sciences.

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