Brandeis Alumni, Family and Friends

All Brandeisian Stories

Brandeisians are remarkable.

They’re making a difference in the worlds of science, literature, arts and entertainment, public policy and various other fields — and they’re doing so in service to others, boosting a culture of generosity at the same time that they are repairing the world. Here are a some of their stories. Read them and get inspired.

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July 27, 2021

Proud alumni Ira and Nancy Shapiro support Brandeis to honor all that makes the university great.

June 23, 2021

Health-conscious entrepreneur Michael Shoretz ’09 enjoys the sweet taste of success.

June 7, 2021

As one of few out trans rabbis in the United States, alum Lily Solochek ’11 shares their perspectives on recent anti-trans legislation and violence.

May 17, 2021

2021 marks signature anniversaries of several commencements, including one that became a sing-along.

April 27, 2021

Exceptional graduates of Waltham High School express gratitude to the Stroum Family Foundation for the opportunity to attend Brandeis with full scholarships

April 16, 2021

Scott Feinberg ’08, awards columnist at The Hollywood Reporter, knows a thing or two about winning and losing.

April 14, 2021

In her Instagram account Nail the Cocktail, Claudiane Philippe ’13, MA’14, combines an interest in cool libations with a passion for social change.

April 14, 2021

Ariana Boltax ’14 helps vets learn how to communicate with grieving clients.

April 14, 2021

Up at bat: Amelia Schimmel ’08, public-address announcer for the Oakland Athletics.

April 14, 2021

Alex Goldstein ’06 uses his Twitter account @FacesOfCOVID to remember lives ended by the coronavirus.

April 14, 2021

The scion of a progressive-politics family, Lily Adams ’09 has made her own way as a Democratic Party operative through smarts, moxie and, occasionally, sharp elbows.

April 2, 2021

The alumni of the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program hail the impact it had on their lives.

March 22, 2021

Bela (Apparao) Labovitch ’87, P’17 is making a difference in the tech world and is attracting more young women to do the same.

March 22, 2021

Chari Smith, PhD’89 found that enthusiasm for science was contagious during her time at Brandeis.

March 22, 2021

CSO of Faze Medicines Rachel Meyers ’84 looks back on her time at Brandeis and her introduction to the wonders of biochemistry.

March 19, 2021

When Classical Studies Lecturer Alexandra Ratlaff encountered Helen Wong ’19, she knew she’d be an asset to the field of archeology.

March 16, 2021

Although Alana Hodson ’19 planned to pursue a career in medicine, a research opportunity studying hearing loss revealed a new way she could help.

March 16, 2021

Bonnie Ronish ’09 gained much more than a polished resume from her experience as an undergrad esearching infectious diseases.

March 3, 2021

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

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

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

March 1, 2021

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

March 1, 2021

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

March 1, 2021

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

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

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

March 1, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 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

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 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

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 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 14, 2020

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

November 13, 2020

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

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 12, 2020

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

November 12, 2020

Recipient of Gwen Goldstein Freishtat Endowed Scholarship says Brandeis has ‘guaranteed his potential to succeed,’ despite learning-disability challenge

November 12, 2020

Recipient of the Max and Sadie Friedman Endowed Scholarship, aspiring physician, says grandparents in India could not have dreamed of opportunities offered her by Brandeis

November 12, 2020

The recipient of the Mindy Schneider ’75 Endowed Scholarship researches the experiences of front-line hospital staffers during COVID-19 wave.

November 11, 2020

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

November 11, 2020

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

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 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

​​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.

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

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

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.

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 21, 2020

Brandeis parent Sharon Himeno of Honolulu, Hawaii, shares why she's proud to have two daughters carrying on the Brandeis tradition.

July 15, 2020

The Edelstein Family Foundation continues to fulfill the mission of its founders - to offer the gift of an education to deserving students.

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

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.

July 1, 2020

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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.

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.”

May 19, 2020

"Brandeis has been a great place to provide a lot of lessons and resources that I will treasure in my future."

May 19, 2020

"The Ting Tsung and Wei-Fong Chao Endowed Scholarship, along with other financial aid I have received, is a testament to the generosity of members of the Brandeis community."

May 19, 2020

"I cannot imagine a life without the people Brandeis gave me. Wherever they are, that’s where home is to me."

May 19, 2020

"When it came down to my decision, Brandeis felt like home, and the scholarship I received made the option realistic for me."

May 7, 2020

Irma Zamarripa ’21 is among more than 700 Brandeis students who received financial assistance from Brandeis to help pay for rent, travel, storage and other needs in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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 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

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. 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.

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

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. 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

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. 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.