Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends

These Young Alumni Made the 2021 BOLD 9 List

January 25, 2021

Meet the BOLD 9

The 2021 BOLD 9 list recognizes up-and-coming Brandeis alumni who, during a year unlike any other, are using social media to spark creativity, conversation and change in their fields and beyond.

Confident Storytelling

Elizabeth Cayouette ’19

  • Elizabeth Cayouette standing in front of a beach.

    Elizabeth Cayouette ’19 is the lead videographer and editor for Aerie by American Eagle.

  • Elizabeth Cayouette holding a camera, standing on the counter of a restaurant.
    A behind-the-scenes look at Cayouette in action during the Aerie holiday shoot.
  • Elizabeth Cayouette shooting video on the beach.
    A behind-the-scenes look at Cayouette shooting the #AerieReal campaign.

A summer internship turned into a dream job for Elizabeth Cayouette ’19. As the lead videographer and editor for Aerie by American Eagle, she travels the world to produce video content that promotes female empowerment and positive body image, and encourages people to love themselves.

Majors: Film Studies; Independent Interdisciplinary Major

Instagram: @CayouetteMedia | TikTok: @CayouetteMedia

Home Base: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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The Votes Are In

Sophia Warren ’19

  • Sophia Warren sitting on the rocks next to the ocean.
     Sophia Warren ’19 is a member of the Maine House of Representatives, representing District 29.
  • Sophia Warren and supporters holding signs.
    Warren and supporters holding signs before Election Day 2020.

Just 25 years old, Sophia Warren ’19 secured a seat in the Maine House of Representatives in November, besting the District 29 incumbent by just 230 votes. An Independent from Scarborough, she vows to work with both sides of the aisle to help Maine protect public health, aid economic recovery, emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and address the harmful effects of climate change.

Major: International and Global Studies

Instagram: @SophiaBWarren

Home Base: Scarborough, Maine

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Food for Thought

Galen Karlan-Mason ’16, IBS MBA’18

Galen Karlan-Mason standing in a super market aisle.
Galen Karlan-Mason ’16, IBS MBA’18, is the founder and CEO of GreenChoice, and app that rates nutritious groceries.

Drawing on his interests in health, environmental justice and technology, Galen Karlan-Mason ’16, IBS MBA’18, launched the app GreenChoice while still a student at Brandeis International Business School. The app lets grocery shoppers make informed choices related to items’ nutrition stats and sustainability, and this spring will launch a carbon-neutral marketplace that sells healthy pantry staples and snacks. Google Play selected GreenChoice as one of its Best Apps of 2020.

Majors: International and Global Studies (undergrad); International Economics & Finance (grad)

Instagram: @GreenChoiceNow | TikTok: @GreenChoiceNow

Home Base: Guilford, Vermont

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Investing in Success

Ruben Kanya ’14

  • Ruben Kanya standing in front of fall foliage.
    Ruben Kanya ’14 is the founder of Invested Talent and the Real Estate Experiment.
  • Ruben Kanya holding a microphone in front of a yellow wall.
    Kanya is also a licensed Realtor, an investor, a brand consultant and a TEDx speaker.

Ruben Kanya ’14, founder of Invested Talent and the Real Estate Experiment, is a licensed Realtor, an investor, a brand consultant and a TEDx speaker. In addition to sharing inspirational quotes and business advice on Instagram, the former Brandeis basketball player also hosts a podcast that invites serial entrepreneurs to talk about their business and real-estate ventures.

Major: Health: Science, Society, Policy

Instagram: @TheRealEstateExperiment

Home Base: New York, New York

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Raising a Glass to Racial Justice

Claudiane Philippe ’13, MA’14

  • Headshot of Claudiane Philippe.
    Claudiane Philippe ’13, MA’14, was named 2020’s Best Virtual Bartender by Boston magazine.
  • Claudiane Philippe sitting at a table holding a cocktail.
    Philippe uses her platform to educate followers on systemic racism while promoting Boston bars and booze brands.
  • Hand holding a glass filled with a cocktail.
    Philippe's posts combine her signature cocktails and stylish manicures.

Claudiane Philippe ’13, MA’14, is the cause-conscious cocktail blogger behind the Instagram account @NailTheCocktail. Named 2020’s Best Virtual Bartender by Boston magazine, Philippe uses her platform to educate followers on systemic racism while promoting Boston bars and booze brands with dazzling photos of signature cocktails and stylish manicures.

Majors: Health: Science, Society, Policy (undergrad); Anthropology (undergrad); International and Global Studies (grad)

Instagram: @NailTheCocktail

Home Base: Waltham, Massachusetts

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The Future of News

Elizabeth Bruenig ’13

Headshot of Elizabeth Bruenig.
Elizabeth Bruenig ’13 is an opinion columnist at The New York Times.

Elizabeth Bruenig ’13 is helping redefine the world of news media. A New York Times opinion columnist, she writes about gender, family, class and faith, and weighs in on political and moral issues from her perspective as a socialist, a Catholic and a Texan. Bruenig was named to the Forbes 2020 30 Under 30 list and was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing.

Majors: English & American Lit; Sociology

Twitter: @ebruenig

Home Base: Stamford, Connecticut

Contemporary Jewish Life

Rena Singer ’13

Headshot of Rena Singer in front of a grey wall.
Rena Singer ’13 is a rabbi at Temple Sholom in Chicago.

Rena Singer ’13, a rabbi at Temple Sholom in Chicago, is one of the two millennial rabbis behind @Modern_Ritual, an Instagram account with the tag line “Bringing you fresh, beautiful, feminist Jewish living.” Launched with the goal of making Judaism more accessible, the account isn’t just a curated collection of challah pics; it’s a resource for learning about Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ equity, reproductive rights and other social-justice issues through a Jewish lens.

Major: Philosophy

Instagram: @Modern_Ritual

Home Base: Chicago, Illinois

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Comedy for a Cause

Jesse Appell ’12

  • Jesse Appell standing in front of a brick wall with the word Comedy behind him.
    Jesse Appell ’12 is a bilingual comedian and Beijing resident.
  • Headshot of Jesse Appell with his chin resting on his knee.
    Appell pivoted during the pandemic and starting hosting the “Jesse@Home” talk show from his parents' kitchen.

The show went on for bilingual comedian and Beijing resident Jesse Appell ’12, even after the pandemic stranded him in Boston. Known for using comedy to build a bridge between the U.S. and China, Appell hosted a February 2020 stand-up show to raise money to send medical supplies to COVID-affected areas in China and, from his parents’ kitchen, is hosting the “Jesse@Home” talk show on YouTube for an international audience of more than 2 million.

Majors: East Asian Studies; International and Global Studies

YouTube: Jesse Appell 艾杰西 | Instagram: @whatxisaid

Home Base: Beijing, China & Newton, Massachusetts

Healthcare Heroes

  • Animated drawing of two doctors wearing Brandeis masks.
    According to LinkedIn, more than 3,000 BOLD alumni work in healthcare and research around the world. These Brandeis health-care heroes have been instrumental in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Grid of three women, two in medical masks.
    Read reflections from alumni on the front line: Dr. Julia Blanter ’13 (left), a medical resident at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Oluwatomi Oluwasanmi ’14 (center), an analyst for the CDC’s Quarantine Program, and Dr. Hannah Zeltzer ’12 (right), a second-year obstetrics/gynecology resident.

Brandeis applauds the many young alumni working on the frontlines of the coronavirus fight. The sacrifices made by physicians, nurses, researchers, contract tracers and other professionals — many of whom have used social media to raise awareness about important public-health concerns — embody Brandeis’ founding value of tikkun olam, a dedication to using one’s gifts to help repair the world.