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Alumni Council Directory 2020-21

Executive Committee

The following is a list of Executive Committee members. Expand for brief bios and additional information about these individuals. 

BoHee Yoon ’01, president

I live in Manhattan and work as an in-house corporate lawyer for a private equity firm. I love great food.

Patricia Scholz-Cohen ’85, vice president

I have lived on the coast of New Hampshire for the past 28 years with my husband and two daughters who are 21 and 17 years old. Over the years I have served as executive director or president of several nonprofit organizations, and spent considerable time volunteering in my daughters' schools (at one point teaching elementary school science, of all things). My most recent stint has been serving as chair of the Town Council — overseeing all aspects of running a small New England town. I am also currently serving on the boards of two nonprofit organizations. One is focused on preserving and promoting the history of Portsmouth, NH and the other is focused on “helping our neighbors in need when they have nowhere else to turn”

Mike Dennis ’93, secretary

After graduating from Swarthmore in 1993 with a major in history, I received a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Haas School of Business, U.C. Berkeley in 1999. I live in Portland, Oregon and work there and in Washington, D.C. as a senior advisor in U.S. Government Relations for The Nature Conservancy, a global conservation organization. Interests include running and competitive squash, travel (favorites: Yemen, Oregon High Desert, Myanmar, and Thailand, where I worked as an economic consultant for two years), and bike-pedestrian advocacy.

Dina Zingaro ’13, faculty & staff liaison

I have been living and working in NYC in the field of journalism since graduating from Swarthmore in 2013. I began my career at CBS News in the research department of the Evening News before working as anchor Scott Pelley’s research assistant for three years. I currently work at CBS 60 Minutes as an associate producer where I work as a team with a producer to pitch and produce stories for air. A continuing passion for me is religion and as an extension of my studies and major in the religion department at Swarthmore, I have become a member of the religion reporter community and pitch religion stories as often as I can at CBS. In the city, I am a member of a book club of a few Swatties, and I spent the 2018–19 year as a Frank 5 Fellow for the College.

Sean Wright ’96, advancement division and affinities liaison

I live in Media, Pa. with my wife, Charmaine Wright, M.D., and three children. I am a plastic surgeon with Main Line Health and Crozer Keystone. My broad practice includes breast reconstruction after cancer, treating skin cancers, hand surgery, cosmetic surgery, and post burns reconstructive surgery. Currently, I serve as the president of the medical staff at Riddle Hospital, and I am a founder of a digital health start-up called Swellbox. For fun, I enjoy playing tennis (doubles), attending my children's school and sporting events, and eating the unique foods in the Philadelphia region. I have been fortunate to be a Philadelphia Magazine Top Doc for plastic surgery for the past three years and a Main Line Today Top Doctor for plastic surgery for the past four years.

Ayanna Johnson ’09, student liaison

I am a public health advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, focusing on strengthening partnerships to improve population health and eliminate health disparities. I am also leading efforts for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health to develop regional action plans and host regional meetings on healthy aging policy and practice across the country. Previously, I served as a health policy fellow within the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General, advising the director of science and policy. Outside of work, you can find me in the nation’s capital spending time with friends and family, exploring the city, enjoying a comedy show or traveling. I am on the leadership team for the Lean In – DC Network, where I work to provide professional development opportunities for women in DC to become successful leaders. I have a Master of Science in public health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Emily Anne Nolte Jacobstein ’07, nominating chair and immediate past president

I have a BA in biology and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University. I am a management consultant with PwC focused on nonprofit hospital revenue cycle. In addition to Alumni Council, I enjoy volunteering with the Junior League of Boston, Forte Foundation, the Massachusetts-Rhode Island chapter of Healthcare Finance Management Association, and AJC New England. I am a former board member of the Cancer Support Community of Atlanta. My husband, Jeffrey, and I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

Nominating Committee

The following is a list of Nominating Committee members. Expand for brief bios and additional information about these individuals. 

Emily Anne Nolte Jacobstein ’07, nominating chair and immediate past president

I have a BA in biology and an MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University. I am a management consultant with PwC focused on nonprofit hospital revenue cycle. In addition to Alumni Council, I enjoy volunteering with the Junior League of Boston, Forte Foundation, the Massachusetts-Rhode Island chapter of Healthcare Finance Management Association, and AJC New England. I am a former board member of the Cancer Support Community of Atlanta. My husband, Jeffrey, and I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Ted Abel ’85

I am the director of the Iowa Neuroscience Institute and the Roy J. Carver Chair in Neuroscience at the University of Iowa. Until 2017, I was the Brush Family Professor of Biology and co-director of the Biological Basis of Behavior Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of memory storage and the molecular basis of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders. After graduating from Swarthmore in 1985, I was a Marshall Scholar at the University of Cambridge and an NSF Fellow at Harvard University. At Swarthmore, I was actively involved in research in biology and chemistry, and I served as a resident advisor. I have returned to Swarthmore several times as an Honors examiner. Outside of the classroom and the lab, I sing (an interest begun at Swarthmore under Peter Gram Swing), play the clarinet, and enjoy opera and baseball.

Robert Cushman ’71

I live in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (near the Smokies). I retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where I worked as an ecologist. Retirement has given my wife and me the time to travel to several interesting places around the world. I play bluegrass banjo at various venues (Museum of Appalachia, area restaurants and brewpubs, weddings and other special events). I have volunteered for the College for several decades by attending college fairs and interviewing applicants.

Sampriti Ganguli ’95

I live in Arlington, Virginia and run a small consulting firm that helps philanthropic donors achieve the greatest good with their resources. After spending 15 years in the corporate sector, I finally feel like I'm doing the work that Swarthmore prepared me for. In my free time, I work actively on civic engagement, particularly trying to get under-represented populations to vote. I also spend an obscene amount of time watching professional soccer and NBA games to keep up with my 12- and 15-year-old boys.

Maria P. Mello 08

I am an assistant professor of special education at St. John’s University in New York City. In this role, I train future special educators and conduct research to improve the quality of life for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). My research focuses on the availability and development of post-secondary opportunities for young adults with IDD, specifically in the areas of college immersion, independent living, accessible housing, and meaningful employment.

 

Members

The following is a list of all other current Alumni Council members. Expand for brief bios and additional information about these individuals. 

Joe Becker ’66

After 36 years in Merion Station — a near-in Philadelphia suburb — Lisa and I moved to Center City Philadelphia in 2014. We loved the neighborhood and the house; stayed there too long as empty-nesters; love living/walking in Center City and have never looked back. After a 35-year career as a radiologist in university or academic community hospitals, I am now a consulting radiologist at the National Board of Medical Examiners where I create testing examinations for med students, interns, a number of medical specialty boards, and other healthcare professionals. Hobbies: reading (mainly nonfiction); taking courses (Lifelong Learning at Swarthmore; Temple; online); spoiling grandchildren; theater and concerts (Philadelphia Orchestra as well as free student recitals at nearby Curtis Institute). During the academic year, I offer externships for Swarthmore students at Cooper University Hospital in Camden; the U.S. House of Representatives; and the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. One special focus of our philanthropic interest is the Read by 4th initiative in Philadelphia, the goal of which is enabling all public school children to read at grade-level by the end of third grade.

Shivani Chinnappan ’18

I'm a recent grad who will be moving to Boston to pursue biomedical research at The Broad Institute. I hope to pursue a career in women's health and to return to my hometown of Philadelphia to do advocacy work for at-risk mothers. My hobbies include reading, weightlifting, cooking, and crossword puzzles.

Twan Claiborne ’07

I currently live in Harlem, New York, my home of seven years now. I am a learning specialist at an inclusion K–12 school in the Upper West Side. I have been in the field of education in various capacities over the past seven years. My specialty is literacy in reading and math. Outside of work, I am involved in various sports leagues and community organizations, including the NYGFL (New York Gay Football League) and NYCORE (New York Collective of Radical Education). Additionally I am involved in New York LGBTQIA nightlife as the drag queen Kenya Keepup, performing in venues across the four boroughs of New York City and northern New Jersey. 

Geoff Cline ’96

I live in Lincoln, Nebraska with my wife, Kristen Lockwood Cline ’96, and three children. For the past seven years, I've been the managing partner of Orange Street Partners. Prior to that, Kristen and I owned an art gallery in Santa Fe, NM focused on 20th century American art. We continue to be active in the arts and enjoy traveling and cooking.

Petrina Dawson ’76

I am an attorney and work as a senior cross-border specialist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in Washington, D.C. Prior to this, I worked for 17 years as general counsel of Standard & Poor's Ratings in New York. I live in Lovettsville, Virginia on a small farm near the Blue Ridge mountains with my husband, Dave, three horses, and three dogs. I have three grown children who live in Atlanta, Houston, and Boston, and two grandchildren. I enjoy baking and various needle crafts. My family emigrated from Romania in 1969 right before I turned 14 years old.

Thomas Finholt ’83

I have benefited tremendously from my experiences at Swarthmore and I am eager to pay back some of that debt through service on the Alumni Council. I am currently deeply invested in higher education, both as a parent with kids in college, and as the dean of the School of Information at the University of Michigan. This joint perspective provides a unique vantage to help advise Swarthmore on the many challenges ahead, such as making the case for liberal arts education and finding ways to eliminate educational privilege.

Kathy Pearce Gledhill ’80

I look forward to working with fellow alumni to foster and uphold the Swarthmore commitment to academic rigor, inclusivity, civic responsibility, and Quaker values. These principles have underpinned my approach to life in my finance career, and as a parent, friend, coworker, and mentor.

John Goodman ’60

For sixty years I've been proud and grateful to have been so lucky as to get a Swarthmore education. The critical thinking and communication skills I honed here prepared me very well for many different kinds of career steps (college professor, consultant, interactive science museum founder/designer, grant writer, inventor, and more). I want to help Swarthmore continue its tradition of admitting, supporting, and educating students who will be competent, creative, and compassionate world citizens.

Emily Mindel Gottlieb 95

I serve as deputy director for Law & Policy at the Center for Justice & Democracy, a nonprofit consumer organization dedicated to protecting the U.S. civil justice system. Swarthmore inspired and prepared me for this career path of public policy engagement. A native New Yorker, I returned to the city after college and currently live there with my husband and two children. For many years, I've been actively involved with my high school as an Alumni Council member, class officer, task force co-chair and now member of the Board of Trustees — volunteer opportunities I truly value since they allow me to stay connected and give back to my school community. I also enjoy travel (six continents down, one to go!), yoga, the NYT crossword puzzle, baking, movies, and more recently, freelancing for a comic book series. ​​​​​

David Kaufman ’94

I am the chief medical officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute, a “nonprofit biotech” subsidiary of the Gates Foundation that was launched in 2018 to develop drugs and vaccines for tuberculosis, malaria, diarrheal disease, and major causes of infant mortality. After Swarthmore, I trained as an infectious disease physician and HIV immunologist, and have worked in a variety of academic, nonprofit, and pharmaceutical settings.  I serve on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Immunotherapy of Cancer and lead their global access initiative, and was previously a director of Action Wellness, a Philadelphia social services nonprofit. I live in Brookline, Massachusetts with Nicole Kahn ’94 and our two children. We are lucky that our kids share our love of the outdoors, and we spend much of our free time and vacations hiking, backpacking, and otherwise getting off the grid. 

Daniela Kucz ’14

I'm based in DC with my husband Shreyas ’14 and our dog Jasper (a product of the Quaker Matchbox). I grow federal health business for a global tech company. Having received great support from the Swarthmore alumni community since I was a student, I'm excited to give back and help further build the community for the benefit of both current students and alumni.

Frank Kyei–Manu ’06

I am a father, a husband, and passionate about technology and its use to improve people's livelihood. I work in technology and live in Seattle. I deeply value the experiences, connections, and friendships that Swarthmore College has given me, and I am humbled by the chance to serve in any capacity.

Jim Sailer ’90

For the past 15 years, I have worked at the Population Council, an international nonprofit research organization dedicated to improving reproductive health, education, and development opportunities for women, men, and especially adolescent girls.  I now lead the Council's Center for Biomedical Research, which develops, tests, and secures regulatory approval for novel contraceptives like Norplant, Mirena, and Annovera. My work has taken me to Europe, Chile, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, and India. I live in Brooklyn near Prospect Park with my wife, teenage son, and oversized dog, and many of my best friends come from my days at Swarthmore.  Notable personal achievement: I won Carl Kasell's voice on my answering machine as a successful contestant on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."

Peter Schoenbach  ’62

A lifelong musician, I have a career in music administration that spans almost 30 years and includes appointments at Boston University, the New England Conservatory of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music. Prior to that I held teaching positions at Columbia, Temple, Rutgers, and Minnesota. I am an accomplished bassoonist and woodwind coach and have performed at summer festivals such as the Berkshire Music Festival (Tanglewood), Marlboro, and Bowdoin, and was director of the School of Music at the Chautauqua Institution from 1997 until 2002 where I played with the Chautauqua Symphony and taught bassoon. I have also played with the Philadelphia, Minnesota, English Chamber, Detroit, Buffalo, and Western New York Orchestras. I earned degrees from Swarthmore and Columbia, before completing my doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers. I have published extensively in the fields of Latin American literature, especially theatre with emphasis on Brazil, and the music of the Hispanic world. These articles include "Portuguese Music Today," in the Portuguese Studies Review, and a study guide and bibliography on Brazilian classical music by the Institute of Latin American Studies of the University of New Mexico. I retired in January 2006 and moved to Philadelphia in November 2007. There I teach part-time at the Curtis Institute of Music, continue to play the bassoon, occasionally lecture, and have served as a consultant for the National Association of Schools of Music.

Stephen Schwartz ’84

I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, running my family’s 120-year-old business that sells equipment for first responders. I have two college-age children. I enjoy reading, podcasts, and playing tennis. I enjoy sponsoring a Swarthmore extern each year. I volunteer with an organization called May We Help that builds unique devices to enable disabled individuals to live with more dignity.

Natalie Flores Semyonova ’19

I was a psychology and art history major at Swarthmore and now work for ChargeItSpot, a tech company in Philadelphia. I grew up in Arizona and have a deep love of bar trivia, costume makeup, and Halloween. As a recent grad, I look forward to engaging with current students in order to provide advising and guidance through academic and personal life at Swarthmore, in addition to helping womxn, students of color, and low income students navigate the job search process.

Riana Shah ’14

I serve as an innovation strategy consultant for Fortune 100 companies and large nonprofit institutions. I am also the founder of Independent Thought & Social Action International (ITSA), an education reform venture that works with school districts to implement critical thinking and youth-led social entrepreneurship in curricula. ITSA has worked in over 19 cities across 11 countries and has been featured in the Huffington Post, Women of Influence Magazine, and Google's Generation In Project. I enjoy hosting a podcast called Venture Vignettes, where I chat with trailblazers in entrepreneurship, innovation, and investment.

Jamie Stiehm ’82

I am a syndicated columnist, on national politics and history, for Creators Syndicate. A history major, I found that study relevant as a journalist in my work as a Baltimore Sun reporter for 10 years. My first job was as an assignment editor for CBS News in London. My columns and opinion essays have been widely published around the nation. I also hold a masters degree from the Kennedy School of Government. I am single and live in Washington, D.C.

Kimberly St. Julian–Varnan ’12

I'm a Swattie from a rural town outside of Houston, Texas. I am a history Professor at Lee College in Baytown, Texas. I teach American history, while my research focuses on Soviet history. I was a high school history teacher for four years and am dedicated to college access for poor and rural communities. I am also an avid Magic the Gathering player and bibliophile.

Charlie Sussman ’05

I graduated from Swarthmore in 2005, double majoring in engineering and economics. While at Swarthmore, I served on the Student Council. I was a four-year letter winner and a two-time captain of the Men’s Lacrosse team, earning Academic All-Conference as well as Honorable Mention All-Conference honors. Since graduating, I have worked in the financial services industry, starting at Lehman Brothers in New York, moving to Royal Bank of Canada in Calgary, and then landing at Bank of America back in New York, where I am currently a managing director as the head of oil derivatives trading. I am also chair of the Garnet Club Advancement Council. I reside in New York City with my wife, Brooke, and two daughters, Wyatt and Gray. I am also on the board of Redefine Her Street, a nonprofit started at Swarthmore by fellow Alumni Council member Christine Kim ’17. In my free time, I enjoy running and skiing.

Sean Thakurdeen ’12

I am an environmental anthropologist working at the intersection of philanthropy, science, and policy. Before philanthropy, I spent seven years working to preserve plant culture in the South Pacific. Now, as I distribute funds for climate smart land conservation, I think about how to scale environmental solutions in this most critical decade.​​​​​

Ian Yarett ’09

After graduating from Swarthmore in 2009, I first worked as a writer and editor for Newsweek magazine before going back to school to pursue a career in medicine. I’m now completing my residency in Internal Medicine at NYU. I look back on my Swarthmore years with great appreciation and am re-inspired by the campus community every time I visit. I hope to have the opportunity to give back to this community as a member of the Alumni Council.

Jason Zengerle ’96

I graduated in 1996 with a political science major and an art history minor. I live with my wife (’97) and our son and daughter in Chapel Hill, NC. I’m a writer for The New York Times Magazine.