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Alumni Council Directory 2021-22

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 have been counsel at Fortress Investment Group since 2014, and was previously secretary of Drive Shack Inc. (NYSE:DS) and an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where I served on the diversity committee.  I have been a member of Alumni Council since 2016 and currently serve as its president, and have served as an ex officio member of Swarthmore's Board of Managers since 2020.  Since 2019, I have also served as a member of the inaugural Advisory Board of the Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs (GPIA) at The New School. In 2016, Fordham Law School's Asian Pacific American Law Students Association presented me with The Honorable Denny Chin '78 Alumni Award for Excellence in the Legal Profession. I graduated from Swarthmore with a B.A. in political science. I earned an M.A. in international affairs from the Studley GPIA at The New School in 2006 and a J.D. from Fordham Law School in 2009. I reside in Manhattan with my husband, Jose Claros, Jr. and our rescue dog, Oliver.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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. 

Debby Bacharach ’​​​88

I live in Seattle with my partner John Palmieri ’86 and our children David and Rose ’24. I started out as a Writing Associate at Swarthmore, which became my whole career. I ran writing centers, taught college writing, and am back to being a writing tutor again. I also just published my second book of poetry, Shake and Tremor. I love to dance.

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. 

Michael Costonis 92

I am the Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer for CNA Financial, a leading global commercial insurance company. At Swarthmore, I was a co-captain of the Golf Team, and a member of several student organizations most notably the College Judiciary Committee. After graduation, I had a 26-year career at Accenture, where I was a Senior Managing Director.  I have remained part of the Swarthmore community by helping to establish the Pat Trinder Memorial Scholarship. I am married to Marissa Costonis, and have two children, Mac Costonis (Villanova School of Business, '23) and Mia Costonis (Springside Chestnut Hill, '21). My family and I live in Lower Gwynedd, PA and enjoy surfing, cooking, and playing with our dog, Mochi.

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 and 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, baking, movies and the NYT crossword puzzle.

Margaret Huang 87

I am the founder/CEO of Credence LLC, an online interactive leadership development program that builds the courage and skills senior teams need before they can successfully undertake systemic change initiatives that will advance equity and diversity and support growth in alignment with their organizational values. I have worked as a senior executive in financial services and international business in Asia for companies such as GE Capital, GE International, Jardine Matheson and in two national nonprofits - Facing History and Playworks. I currently reside in Oakland, CA.

M. Jawaad Hussain 05

Since graduating from Swarthmore College in '05, I moved to Brooklyn, NY for medical school. I then returned to the greater Philadelphia area, studying Pediatrics at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. I currently am an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Cooper University Healthcare in Camden, NJ and Director of Complex Disease Management at Weisman Children's Rehabilitation Hospital in Marlton, NJ. My sleep deprivation is no longer caused by studying for biology exams, but rather by trying to keep up with my three children.​​​​​​

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. 

Sinan Kazaklar 14

Since graduating from Swarthmore in 2014, I have lived in London and San Francisco and am finally moving back to the East Coast in spring. Being an international scholarship student from Turkey, I have received a great deal of support from Swarthmore before, during, and after my time on campus and have been doing my best to give back to the community. I am excited to take it one step further with the Alumni Council and hope to help the College continue its tradition of diversity and excellence. 

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 KyeiManu ’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.

Izzy McClean ’20

At Swat I was a Classical Studies and Computer Science major. After being the first class to graduate virtually I moved to New York in the middle of the pandemic. I currently work as a Software Engineer and I am planning at some point to make it to grad school (fingers crossed). On the weekends I like to either travel to DC or Philly to visit my senior year roommates or hang out in the various parks in NYC. My favorite past times are cycling around the city, watching movies and doing crosswords. I'm so happy to be part of the Alumni council and give back to the Swat community that gave me so much! 

Brandy Monk-Payton 07 ​​​​​​

I am an Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University. I received my PhD in Modern Culture and Media at Brown University, which extended my studies as a "special" major in Film and Media Studies at Swarthmore. My research focuses on the theory and history of African American media representation and cultural production. I have published essays in various edited collections and academic journals like Communication, Culture and Critique, Film Quarterly, Feminist Media Histories, and The Black Scholar. I am currently writing my first book on Black celebrity in late 20th and early 21st century U.S. television and digital media culture.

Chinyere Odim 17

I am a doctoral student of Sociology at Brown University. My research is focused on intersections of class, race, and power within elite independent schools. From Brooklyn, NY and now living in Providence, RI, I can usually be found strolling city streets, critiquing Duolingo’s Chinese translations, and playing pickup soccer.

Chris Rodger 97

Swarthmore was and continues to be foundational in my life, and I am very appreciative of the intellectual challenges, opportunities for learning, and particularly the friendships the college helped me create. After graduating with both an engineering and an economics degree, I took a job that I didn't find fulfilling and soon left to earn a Masters in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. My education has afforded me the opportunity to spend the last two decades working in the field of policy analysis, using data and evidence to help understand and remove barriers to physical, emotional, and financial well-being. Outside of work, I am an avid runner and fitness buff, and my Quaker Matchbox wife and I take an annual week-long backcountry canoe trip. We are fortunate to share a small, old house outside of Boston with our many cats.​​​​

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.

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.

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.

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 Thackurdeen ’12

I am a biocultural conservationist working as a grant maker to uplift nature, people, and their wellbeing. I spent 7 years working as an ally and environmental anthropologist with indigenous communities in the South Pacific. I currently serve as Program Associate for the Environment at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 

Jigme Tobgyel 17

I was born and raised in the Kingdom of Bhutan and currently work in Content Strategy at Netflix in Los Angeles, a role that spoke to me because of the importance of representation and diverse storytelling -- values that were instilled and nurtured in me by the Swarthmore Community during what I still call the "best four years of my life." Outside of work, I am involved with the mentorship organization America Needs You, and you will also find me on Sunday morning zoom calls with five of my best friends from Swat. I hope to get more involved with the Alumni Council in the years to come.​​​​​

Eden Wales Freedman ’03

I am the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Clarke University. Before entering academic administration, I was a tenured Associate Professor of English and Diversity Studies at Mount Mercy University. In 2020, I published my first book, Reading Testimony, Witnessing Trauma, which considers how we respond to one another across differences and in times of crisis. I value higher education, the liberal arts, and inclusive excellence. I love to read, write, and advocate for social justice. My husband and I live in Dubuque, IA.

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.