Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends

Alumni Stories

March 3, 2021

Ming Lee Tang ’04 began her research career as an undergraduate at Brandeis and is now considered a leader in energy research.

March 3, 2021

Ulrike Tillmann ’85 wasn't initially settled on a career in mathematics research but was eventually drawn in by the challenges it offers.

March 3, 2021

Space scientist Rachel Zimmerman Brachman ’95 is motivating the next generation to consider careers in STEM.

March 1, 2021

For Rabbi Ronald Kronish ’68, P’99, studying abroad in Jerusalem in 1966 was the beginning of a life's journey.

March 1, 2021

Khushee Nanavati ’19 learned to appreciate the vitality of a modern city against a traditional Asian backdrop in Singapore.

March 1, 2021

While Steven Safran ’94 experienced an extraordinary year in Israel, he managed to enjoy the "normal" moments of life abroad.

March 1, 2021

For Harrison Goldspiel ’13, studying abroad in Ecuador resulted in the discovery of a passion.

March 1, 2021

Linda Phiri ’16 was inspired to work hard and live well while studying abroad in Sydney.

March 1, 2021

Her junior year in Paris sparked lasting friendships and a career in International Development for Mara Posner Metzger ’88.

February 12, 2021

For Diane (Gass) Gennaretti ’74, studying abroad was not only a cultural awakening—it was a semester that changed the course of her life.

February 10, 2021

How Elyssa Kotzen ’07 pivoted a family business on the brink of collapse.

February 2, 2021

Health Policy Fellow Bishar Jenkins, MPP’20 is addressing inequities and shaping policy for marginalized populations.

February 2, 2021

A commitment to social justice and a calling to work in health care led Brian Gibbs, PhD'95 to what he calls his life's purpose.

February 2, 2021

During his time at Brandeis, Jerry Saunders II ’11 was inspired to pursue an MD/PhD, marrying his interest in science with his desire to be a practicing physician.

February 2, 2021

Dr. Ria Roberts ’10 followed through on her childhood dream of becoming a doctor and gives back by helping minorities pursue careers in medicine.

February 2, 2021

As administrative director of equity and inclusion at Massachusetts General Hospital, Natalie Johnson ’07, is working to address racial disparities in health care.

January 21, 2021

How a chance book recommendation triggered a guilty reminder of an interaction that Mike Leiderman ’66 had with a Brandeis benefactor half a century ago.

January 12, 2021

The executive and former Brandeis trustee joined the Brandeis Women’s Network to offer insights from her experience working with brands, companies and social-impact organizations.

January 12, 2021

Adam Smoler ’01 reflects on his time at Brandeis, his preference for Chicago and how he ended up becoming one of Google's youngest managers

January 5, 2021

Disney’s chief legal officer, Alan Braverman '69, describes how his Brandeis experience helped shape his professional path.

December 17, 2020

For Brian Ackerman ’81, sharing independent films and the rich experiences they offer is a calling.

December 10, 2020

Sixteen years after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 took her husband’s life, Ariele Cohen ’99 says the friendships they made through Brandeis have helped keep his memory alive.

December 7, 2020

One of the game’s top players says “The Queen’s Gambit” makes the right moves in portraying the chess world.

November 27, 2020

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down production of goods across the country and textile mills shifted to making masks and personal protective equipment, Stephanie (Fodor) MacDonald ’04 stepped in to help.

November 27, 2020

Impacted by a volunteer experience in Kenya, Elana Reinholtz ’11 left a career in finance to launch Bird + Stone, a mission-driven company that sells cause-conscious jewelry.

November 27, 2020

For Ayan Sanyal ’14, a cup of homemade chai is a warm reminder of home and family. Unable to find any authentic blends in New York, he and his brother decided to show America what makes an authentic chai drink so much better.

November 14, 2020

Teacher David Nurenberg ’99 writes on learning to think and talk about structural injustice.

November 14, 2020

Eric J. Harvey, MA’11, PHD’20, writes losing his vision has led him to imagine entirely new ways of living, learning and moving through the world.

November 13, 2020

Political scientist Sandy Lakoff ’53, a member of Brandeis’ second graduating class, says he established a charitable gift annuity to help the university flourish.

November 13, 2020

Reflecting on their personal encounters with injustice, Brandeisians express outrage, fear and hope for a better future.

November 12, 2020

Food — and uniting people around food — became a calling Meryl Feinstein ’12 couldn't ignore.

November 11, 2020

The best-selling author recalls his favorite professor, his favorite hangout and his idea of perfect happiness as a Brandeis undergraduate.

November 11, 2020

Actor/singer John-Andrew Morrison ’95 has found his sweet spot in theater and film.

November 11, 2020

Hollywood film and media executive Labid Aziz ’99 helps young filmmakers become the best versions of themselves.

November 10, 2020

Music-industry luminary Jon Landau, political activist Angela Davis and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Thomas Friedman are among prominent Brandeisians whose senior thesis holds hints of future renown.

November 9, 2020

Vu Truong ’86, P’20, CEO and chief scientific officer at Aridis Pharmaceuticals, is expert at solving tough scientific problems.

October 8, 2020

An immigration attorney in Palm Beach County, Florida, Aileen (Walborsky) Josephs ’86 has been recognized for her defense of immigrants’ civil and human rights, and in particular for her work with neglected Guatemalan and Haitian children.

October 8, 2020

Laura Limonic ’97 is an associate professor of sociology at the College of Old Westbury of the State University of New York. Her research focuses on contemporary immigration to the United States. Her own Jewish family immigrated to the United States from Argentina.

October 8, 2020

Jose Pérez ’75 is a principal at Butler Perez Associates, a consulting firm specializing in real estate development, government relations and strategic planning. The former assistant secretary of economic affairs in Massachusetts, he has more than 35 years of experience in the private, government and nonprofit sectors, focusing on community revitalization, economic development, issues related to Hispanics, employment and education.

October 8, 2020

​​Edith Suárez, Heller MBA/MPP’19, a community advocate with the Waltham Partnership for Youth, describes herself as passionate about identity, culture and diversity. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Burkina Faso, West Africa, she worked with women and youth in a small village of 2,000 people as a community economic development volunteer.

September 29, 2020

The research of scientist Drew Weissman ’81, MA ’81, P’15, is the basis for several vaccines being developed to fight the pandemic.

August 17, 2020

Robin Brooks ’57 reflects on his ongoing commitment and service to Brandeis.

July 9, 2020

Tracy Choi, Heller MPP’13, is a housing and community development supervisor in San Mateo County, where she and her colleagues are working to make sure the most vulnerable residents get the aid they need.

July 1, 2020

David Wish ’90, P’21, founder of Little Kids Rock, gives children the power to express themselves through music.

July 1, 2020

Stephen J. Cloobeck ’83 says his Brandeis studies in neuroscience and psychology helped lead to his remarkable business achievements. Now the former CEO and chairman of Diamond Resorts International is donating $1 million that will aid Brandeisians’ efforts to shed light on human intelligence.

June 30, 2020

Brandeis parent, book lover and dedicated volunteer chosen to serve as new president of the Brandeis National Committee starting July 1.

June 11, 2020

Virus expert warns another pandemic will happen unless commitment made to prevent it.

June 10, 2020

Liz Attardo Greenberger ’74, founding director of RowLA, uses rowing to encourage inner-city girls to set — and reach — challenging goals.

June 10, 2020

Executive editor Jenny Bak ’97 wants all young readers to see themselves in the books they love.

June 5, 2020

Aliya Bean ’16 reflects on her experiences working on policy issues in the U.S. House of Representatives, the state of LGBTQ rights movement and her time at Brandeis.

June 5, 2020

Renee Chapman-Best ’81 reflects on the current protests for racial justice, her experience as an advocate for homeless youth, and whether the concept of “repairing the world” came into her calling.

June 5, 2020

Alesdair H. Ittelson ’08 reflects on confronting injustice as part of a stated mission to “protect underserved youth who expand common conceptions of sex, gender and ability.”

June 5, 2020

Marvin Kabakoff ’68 has been involved with the gay rights movement since the early 1970s. He reflects on his experiences living through and documenting LGBTQ history.

June 5, 2020

Alexis “Lexi” Matza ’98 is a feminist medical anthropologist and the deputy director of the LGBT Health Program for the Veterans Health Administration. She reflects on her experiences working with LGBT veterans.

April 27, 2020

Ishan Kaanan, MS'16, conducted his first year of residency in Aleppo during the Syrian civil war and is now an internal medicine resident at Boston Medical Center, where he’s on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 23, 2020

‘Every challenge is an opportunity,’ says Carol Lue, MBA’03, who honed her entrepreneurial instincts at Brandeis.

April 20, 2020

Mariah Rayfield Beck ’16 reflects on the connection between wildlife health and human disease, also the topic of her recent article on Medium.

April 20, 2020

Deana Becker, MA’04, is director of stakeholder operations for Preserve, a Waltham-based company that uses recycled materials to make eco-friendly household products that, in the company’s words, are good for both people and the planet.

April 20, 2020

Jeff Civins ’67, senior counsel at Haynes and Boone, has been practicing environmental law since 1975. He reflects on environmental law and other topics.

April 20, 2020

Jane Corson-Lassiter ’76 is a district conservationist in Virginia for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. She was recently named Conservationist of the Year by the Virginia Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

April 20, 2020

Carly Greenberg ’11, MA’12, joined the Hershey Company in 2019 and oversees the chocolate-maker’s environmental sustainability strategy as well as it’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting. She reflects on her career path in sustainability.

April 20, 2020

Raquel Kallas ’15 is a research viticulturist with Villa Maria, a winery in New Zealand known for its sustainable practices. She reflects on sustainability practices in the wine industry and her most formative experience at Brandeis.

April 20, 2020

Mark Seth Lender ’71, MA’74, is a producer and explorer-in-residence for Living on Earth, Public Radio's environmental news magazine. His wildlife fieldwork, spanning seven continents over a quarter of a century, inspires his monthly broadcasts.

April 19, 2020

Dr. Julia Blanter ’13 shares her perspective as a medical resident taking care of COVID-19 patients at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

April 19, 2020

Dr. Alex Blutinger ’10 shares his perspective on the coronavirus crisis as a veterinary small animal emergency and critical care specialist at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in New York City.

April 19, 2020

Dr. Erik Blutinger ’09 has been treating COVID-19 patients as an emergency medicine physician at Mount Sinai Queens. Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the battle against COVID-19 through his video diary.

April 19, 2020

Dr. Cheryl Schreiber Lewison ’85, associate director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Queens Hospital Center in New York City, has been immersed in the fight against COVID-19.

April 19, 2020

Oluwatomi Oluwasanmi ’14, who teaches an undergraduate course in epidemiology as an adjunct faculty member in public health at Hunter College in New York City, was recruited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to work as an analyst for the CDC’s Quarantine Program in response to the COVID-19 epidemic in New York.

April 19, 2020

Shen Tong ’91 was a leader of the student pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Now the social activist, entrepreneur and managing partner of FoodFutureCo is spearheading a grassroots COVID-19 relief effort to get masks and protective equipment to New York City hospitals.

April 19, 2020

Dr. Eugene Vortsman ’08 is treating COVID-19 patients as an emergency medicine attending physician working for Northwell Health Systems primarily at Long Island Jewish, a large teaching hospital in East Queens, New York.

April 19, 2020

Dr. Hannah Zeltzer ’12 is a second-year obstetrics/gynecology resident at a hospital in Queens, where she treats a vulnerable patient population, some of whom have COVID-19.

March 10, 2020

Barbara Dortch-Okara ’71, a former Massachusetts Superior Court judge, reflects on the significance of a recent Brandeis Travelers tour to America’s Deep South that explored the lasting legacy of the civil rights movement.

February 6, 2020

Bozhanka Vitanova, MA’16, created an algorithm to help businesses build better teams and boost their workers’ entrepreneurial “muscle.”

February 4, 2020

Herman Hemingway ’53, the first black man to graduate from Brandeis, had a dream to further the cause of social justice, to fight racial prejudice and to advocate for the poor.

February 4, 2020

Dr. Janice Johnson Dias ’94 is founder and president of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, a national public-health and social-action organization that supports and develops community-driven solutions to the health challenges facing women and girls living in poverty.

February 4, 2020

Judge Edward Redd ’71, who received his law degree from Boston College in 1974, served as executive secretary of the Boston NAACP during the desegregation of Boston’s schools in the mid-1970s and was a consultant to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Presidents Ford and Carter.

February 4, 2020

Dr. Lucretia Jones ’77 directs the surveillance unit which investigates communicable diseases as well as emerging disease outbreaks for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She is also a founder of the grassroots community group Mothers on the Move and a board member of the Bronx Community Research Review Board.

February 4, 2020

Malika Imhotep grew up in a family of community organizer-artisans—her father a puppeteer and writer, her mother a doll maker and social worker—in a West Atlanta community she calls an “Afrocentric bubble.” A Posse Scholar at Brandeis, Imhotep is now a PhD candidate in African American Studies at UC Berkeley.

February 4, 2020

R Remi Matthews, a Posse Scholar at Brandeis who double-majored in computer science and African and African American Studies, says his one-letter first name stems from his father’s family’s tradition of giving all first-born males a name starting with “R.”

January 22, 2020

Candace Browning ’77, head of global research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, turns reams of news and numbers into international economic forecasts that make sense.

January 22, 2020

A national infertility alliance honors real estate lawyer Risa Levine ’83 with an award named for her.

January 22, 2020

Jill Maderer ’96, Eli Freedman ’02 and Michael Hauptman ’73 steer the course at Philadelphia’s Congregation Rodeph Shalom, the oldest Ashkenazic synagogue in the Western Hemisphere.

January 22, 2020

Former hurdler Chen Yahav-Levanon ’06 has raced her way to three successful startups and a spot on the Silicon Valley Business Journal 40 Under 40 list.

January 22, 2020

Renowned classical music composer Henri Lazarof, MFA’59, didn’t want notes and measures to live only on paper.

January 15, 2020

For five days in 1955, Allen Secher '56 drove former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt around the Boston area in his 1949 Chevy.

November 14, 2019

Fontes spent his summer working with teens in Cuba as part of a collective that promotes Afro-Cuban history.

September 18, 2019

Chris Karp ’78 crisscrosses the globe looking for new vaccines, improved drugs and other innovative strategies that can save lives.

September 18, 2019

By writing about her son Max, Ellen Seidman ’89 is helping an ever-expanding audience see “the ability in disability.”

September 18, 2019

Bonded by the shared experience of the campus unrest of the 1960s, the Class of 1969 wanted their 50th Reunion class gift to support social justice efforts.

September 18, 2019

TV titan Marta Kauffman ’78 changed the industry when we co-created the sitcom "Friends," and now she's done it again with the popular Netflix show "Grace and Frankie." Read about her Brandeis experience.

June 6, 2019

Lewis Brooks ’80, P’16, the new president of the Brandeis Alumni Association, shares his favorite Brandeis moments and hopes for the future.

May 7, 2019

Celine Hacobian ’14 ensures ABC News' social-media posts are journalism, not hype.

May 7, 2019

Norm Winer ’69 elevated rock radio to an art form.

April 24, 2019

The former Wien recipient from Tbilisi, Georgia, took some time to talk with the Alumni Association about the impact the program, why he gives back to his alma mater and his advice for fellow Brandeisians.

March 14, 2019

Early on a sunny morning, tourists are already crowding into New York City's Times Square. And, even at 11 a.m., a line is snaking along the sidewalk near Mr. Bing, a food stand in the middle of the pedestrian plaza.

January 28, 2019

Jeremy Heyman '08, MS'08, has spent a decade proving the potential of immigrant students who are English language learners.

January 11, 2019

"I was pretty sure I wasn't going to survive." After beating a rare bone cancer and early stage leukemia, Sam Eisenstein Watson ’01, MBA’06, founded The Samfund, which for 15 years has helped relieve the financial burdens that young adult cancer survivors face after treatment.

December 18, 2018

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, Elsie Morales Ramos ’72 partners with Brandeis to help the people of Puerto Rico.

December 12, 2018

As the founder of HawaiiKidsCAN, David Miyashiro '08 is using the skills he developed at Brandeis to improve the quality and equity of public education in his home state.

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