Class Notes

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Your classmates want to know about — and see — the milestones in your life. Send us news about weddings, births, new jobs, new publications, and more — along with hi-res photos — to: Alumni News & Notes, UConn Foundation, 2384 Alumni Drive, Unit 3053, Storrs, CT 06269.

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Spotlight Stories

Dolls of Our Lives

Historians Mary Mahoney ’18 Ph.D. and Allison Horrocks ’16 Ph.D. have turned their popular “Dolls of Our Lives,” formerly “American Girls,” podcast — loved for its irreverent blend of ’90s nostalgia, deep-cut pop culture references, and astute historical analysis — into a book. “Dolls of Our Lives: Why We Can’t Quit American Girl” dives deep into the doll brand and its lore, exploring the authors’ many musings on its relevance, its history, and its place in Millennials’ hearts.

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Further Reading:

Our American Girls

UConn Magazine, Spring ’21

Dan Wilson Dan Wilson ’02 (CLAS) wants to sell you on a career in sales. A vice president of InMode, a med-tech device company, Wilson says undergraduates typically don’t consider going into sales, but — if they want to get out and connect with people rather than sitting in a cubicle — he thinks they should. “The great thing about sales is it’s one of the few careers where you can truly get out of it what you put in,” he says. “The more you sell, the more you make.”

Wilson, who lives in Southport, Connecticut, didn’t start out in sales. A five-time All-American track and field athlete at UConn, he spent several years after graduation traveling to track meets all over the world. When he finally stopped competing, he had to figure out a new career path.

“I looked back on the classes I enjoyed and the areas where I did well. In school, it always involved presenting in front of a group, being on the stage where the spotlight was on me.” A little networking indicated he should try sales.

“If you’re someone who likes making connections, you can typically do very well in sales. It’s not about convincing someone to buy something. It’s about building rapport, getting on the same side of the table as them, being able to figure out what their problem is, and solving it. In essence, it’s a riddle we get to solve every day.” —Grace Merritt

Constance Chamberlain in Monte Orfano, Franciacorta, Italy

Constance Chamberlain ’08 (CLAS) had planned to go to law school after graduation, but that all changed when she was “bitten by the wine bug” during a study abroad trip to Greece. Now she is celebrating 10 years of running Wine & Co., her communications and marketing company that promotes wine, beer, and spirits for wine regions in Austria and Franciacorta in Italy.

“I went into wine marketing after a study abroad in Greece, which changed my life. It was in Rhodes, Greece, that I learned the importance of wine from the sociological side of things. We ate dinner every night at the taverna owned by the program director’s sister in the village of Soroni, where he grew up. The wine itself was unremarkable, but the experience was so special.”

Her successful business has taken her to wine regions from the Finger Lakes and Long Island in New York to Austria, Italy, Greece, and Chile. “You never know where life will take you,” she says. —Grace Merritt

After helping to create BrewConn, the inaugural UConn student-crafted beer, Jordan Aeschlimann ’24 (CAHNR), of Simsbury, Connecticut, is one step closer to her goal of opening her own brewery. More than 350 alumni, faculty, and friends celebrated the beer’s debut, at the Kinsmen Brewing Co. in Southington in November, raising their glasses to the students’ hard work.

“It’s really good!’’ Aeschlimann said that night about the double dry hopped hazy IPA. “There’s a good amount of hops, but it isn’t too bitter. I was nervous to try it, but I’m happy with the way it came out.’’

For the past three years, engineering professor Jennifer Pascal (pictured center, with students Riquelmy Torres ’25 (ENG, CLAS), left, and Hailey Tam ’24 (ENG), right, has offered a senior capstone course, allowing chemical engineering majors to apply their knowledge to making beer. They gained hands-on experience by using homebrew scale equipment and kits. She aspired to make the course a true farm-to-pint experience.

Jordan Aeschlimann, Riquelmy Torres, and Hailey Tam at the 1881 series foundation brewery event.

That happened last fall with the help of partners Peter Menard, director of engineering technical services and an avid homebrewer, and Jennifer Mathieu, an entrepreneurship expert and executive director of the School of Business’ Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

In addition to their classroom lessons, the nine-student cohort visited Smokedown Hops Farm in Sharon, Connecticut, and Thrall Family Malt in Windsor, Connecticut, and traveled to Kinsmen twice to learn from its brewmaster. “Many chemical engineers work in the food and beverage industry,’’ Pascal says. “Chemical engineers are ‘process engineers’ and brewing beer involves optimizing processes and the ways to improve them, all relevant skills in an assortment of industries.’’

The celebration at the Kinsmen also kicked off a new initiative called UConn Brewing Innovation. Capitalizing on the expertise of UConn’s business, engineering, and agriculture faculty, it will expand to support the 130 Connecticut craft-brewing businesses.

Organizers plan to expand academic courses on the brewing process, provide scholarships and mentorship to cultivate talent in the industry, conduct research that will serve local breweries and farms, and provide collaboration for small brewing companies.

BrewConn was a limited-edition beverage and has already sold out. But for Kanisha Desai ’24 (ENG) of Rocky Hill, Connecticut, who took the brewing course because she wants to help small breweries create non-alcoholic beer, its impact offers numerous career advantages. “How many people can say they worked on a beer-brewing process in college?’’ —Grace Merritt

Kayla Murphy and husband of Austin, Texas, visit UConn's Jonathan Statue at Storrs, Connecticut, with their children, Charlie and Connor over the years.

Kayla Murphy ’09 (CAHNR) and her husband, Tim Murphy ’09 (CLAS), ’10 MA, of Austin, Texas, have been visiting UConn with their children, Charlie and Connor, since they were babies in hopes of raising them to be future Huskies.

Photographer Aliza Eliazarov ’95 (CAHNR) says she chose the title of her new book, “The Best Dog: Hilarious to Heartwarming Portraits of the Pups We Love,” because, “when we started this project everyone said, ‘You have to photograph my dog — I have the best dog!’” Eliazarov, the humane education manager for the New Hampshire SPCA, took portraits of nearly 100 good dogs, including Jonathan XIV and several dogs rescued by Oliver’s House Rescue in Lebanon, Connecticut.

The Best Dog, a book by Aliza Eliazarov with Edward Doty
Portrait of Jonathan XIII, UConn Husky Mascot


David W. Brown ’53 (CAHNR), of Middletown, Rhode Island, reports that U.S. Sen. Jack Reed honored him for his role in environmental cleanups of former U.S. Navy sites near Newport, Rhode Island, during a special ceremony at Brown’s senior living community. Brown, a former agricultural economics professor, uses his expertise in soil chemistry and groundwater flows as an active member of the Naval Station Newport Restoration Advisory Board. The board advises the Navy and other agencies on environmental remediation projects. Brown says his UConn experience built a strong foundation for his career. “I very much value the strong start that UConn gave me — not just the classes and personalized advising — but the experience of working part time and during one summer on agronomy research projects,” he says. “Although I became an agriculture and rural development economics professor, I still blend a lot with those applied plant and soil sciences.” Photo with U.S. Sen. Jack Reed above.


Raymond Gagné ’61 (CLAS) was the distinguished speaker at the 8th International Plant Gall Symposium in Chico, California, in July. He was a research entomologist with the USDA in Washington, D.C., until 1996 and is now a research associate with the Smithsonian Institution. He has written 234 scientific papers, and several books, about flies.

Holley Hewitt Ulbrich ’63 (CLAS), ’64 MA, ’69 Ph.D., a retired graduate economics professor at Clemson University, just published her 12th book. It combines economics with virtue ethics to revive moderation as a philosophy of governing in a polarized world.

Jason Traiger ’67 MA writes that he has retired from careers in technical documentation and technical publications management and now lives in Sarasota, Florida. He says he keeps busy through his involvement with the Manatee Concert Band and the Venice Camera Club. He also visits the Selby Botanical Gardens and attends performances at the Florida Studio Theater and jazz concerts at the Sarasota Art Museum.


Mary (Shine) Burns ’72 (CLAS, CAHNR) received the Brown University Alumni Award at the 50th Master of Arts in Teaching Reunion in June. She’s been a professor of English with the Connecticut State College system since 1973.

Congratulations to Paul Martel ’74 (ED, CLAS), the president and founder of YHB Investment Advisors in West Hartford, Connecticut, for winning a lifetime achievement award from the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation. Martel founded Partners for Andean Community Health, an organization that provides free medical care for thousands of people in Central and South America. He invested more than $1 million to develop and equip a clinic in Riobamba, Ecuador, so it can best serve local patients.

Steve Gillen ’74 (BUS) and his wife, Karen, have four grandchildren, including Hailey Mae, who he says could be a future Husky STEM student someday. See Gallery

Eva M. (Steinberger) Ogens ’75 (CLAS) shared an update. She recently wrote a textbook, “Social Context of Education,” for the class she teaches at Ramapo College of New Jersey. She also won a legacy essay contest sponsored by Essex County, New Jersey, for her piece, “Paying It Forward,” about the high school science teachers who influenced her to become a science educator. In addition, she wrote a guest editorial for The Star-Ledger newspaper in New Jersey advocating for more science education at the elementary school level. As a result, she was invited to be on the advisory board of the Princeton Einstein Museum of Science. Kudos!

Arnold Menchel ’75 JD, a health care lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

Bob Lorentson ’77 MS, of East Haddam, Connecticut, writes that he has released his second collection of humorous, thought-provoking essays and stories titled “You Only Go Extinct Once (Stuck in the Anthropocene with the Pleistocene Blues Again).” He adds, “Sometimes when you find yourself at an evolutionary dead-end, all you can do is laugh.”

Michael Zizka ’78 MS, ’82 JD, an environmental lawyer at Halloran Sage, was named to the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

Paul DelGrego ’78 (BUS), who recently moved to North Haverhill, New Hampshire, with his wife, Barbara, caught us up with his life. He worked for Burroughs/Unisys and then Eastman Kodak before starting DEL Imaging/Fastcam Replay in 1996. He created the first successful tennis line “cam,” which was used by CBS Sports at the U.S. Open Tennis Championships and dubbed the “MacCam” by the announcer, former tennis star John McEnroe. When DelGrego retires “in two or three years,” he plans to split his time between skiing in Colorado and enjoying the lakes in New Hampshire. He has long been involved in sports. When he was at UConn, he worked as an assistant to sports information director Joe Soltys and wrote several articles for The Daily Campus.


Olivia White ’80 MBA was named interim executive director of the Connecticut Forum in Hartford, which hosts conversations among experts to encourage open exchanges of thoughts and ideas. Previously, she was a development officer, executive director, and interim executive director of The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum. She also serves as a board member and volunteer for several organizations including the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, CT Explored, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights State Advisory Committee, and the Brother Carl Hardrick Institute.

Author Barbara Josselsohn ’83 MA, who grew up in Syosset, New York, released her seventh novel, “The Lost Gift to the Italian Island,” described by her editors as an “unputdownable and heart-wrenching WWII historical fiction novel.” Josselsohn returned to her roots to write the book, some of which is set in Long Island.

Congrats to Lisa Davis ’83 (NUR), who received a lifetime achievement award from the National Black Nurses Association. She serves as public health chief of staff for the South Carolina Department of Public Health and Environmental Control, responsible for leading and supervising the state’s public health laboratory, community nutrition services, and maternal and child health bureaus. Previously, she worked at the Connecticut Department of Public Health, most recently serving as deputy commissioner. See Gallery

James Perito ’83 JD, a real estate lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

Daniel Waxler ’85 (BUS) and his wife, Donna Waxler, shared the news that their daughter, Hannah Waxler DiPanfilo ’19 (CAHNR), ’21 MS, was married to Michael DiPanfilo on a beautiful evening at Jonathan Edwards Winery in North Stonington, Connecticut, in August. Congrats all around!

Kimberly St. John-Stevenson ’86 (CLAS) shared that she has been promoted to associate director of grants and strategic partnerships for YWCA Greater Cleveland. She brings with her years of experience developing and implementing fundraising, marketing, and communications solutions for nonprofit organizations and Fortune 500 companies. “I actually also proudly have a UCONN86 Ohio license plate, so I am a tried-and-true Husky,” she says.

The Goldberg Segalla law firm added Paul S. Tagatac ’87 (CLAS), ’90 JD to its employment and labor group in Hartford. Tagatac was previously with Michelson, Kane, Royster, and Barger.

James Maher ’87 JD, a real estate lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

Matthew Willis ’88 JD, a land use lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

Lisa A. McGowan ’89 (CAHNR), of Niantic, Connecticut, became executive vice president of a new organization called the Blue Door Foundation, which supplies free medical equipment to those in need in the New London County area.


 Kudos to Tino Rovero ’90 (BUS) of West Hartford, Connecticut, who was promoted to chief operations officer of Connecticut Foodshare. Rovera had been the organization’s senior director of operations and served on its board of directors from 2011 to 2022. Previously, he worked for Rite Aid Corp. and Stop & Shop Supermarkets in various roles.

 Kathryn Luria ’91 BGS was named first executive director of the Harold Webster Smith Foundation.

 Kenneth Slater ’91 JD, a land use lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

 Chuck McCullagh ’92 MBA retired as chief financial officer of the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts, after 24 years. The National Business Officers Association honored him with the Ken White Distinguished Business Officer Award, the association’s highest honor, for outstanding contributions to independent schools as a leader and role model over several years. He was also presented with Williston’s Distinguished Service Award for exceptional devotion to the school. See Gallery

 The Bank of Idaho appointed Kevin Ahern ’92 MBA, a managing partner at Brush Creek Parkers, to its board of directors. Ahern, a Colorado native, has been married to his wife, Annie, for 37 years, and has two children and two grandchildren.

 Peter M. Graham ’92 (BUS) was named chief financial officer of Sallie Mae, responsible for finance, accounting, and treasury activities, as well as equity and fixed-income investor relations.

 S. Peter Sachner Jr. ’92 JD, a health care lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

 Lawrence P. Ward ’92 (BUS) was elected chair of the NCAA Division III Management Council and will serve as an ex-officio member of the board of governors. He currently is vice president and dean of campus life at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. See Gallery

 Nicole Hughey ’93 (BUS) was elected chair of the board of directors of the Urban League of Greater Hartford. She is senior vice president of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social impact at SiriusXM/Pandora.

 Traci Cipriano ’93 (CLAS), ’97 JD, ’05 MA, ’07 Ph.D. writes that she has published a book with Routledge Publishing in July titled “The Thriving Lawyer: A Multidimensional Model of Well-Being for a Sustainable Legal Profession.” She also was elected to “fellow” status in the American Psychological Association.

 Nicole J. Tung ’94 JD, an insurance lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

 Congrats to Jennifer Aldworth ’95 (CLAS) on being recognized as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2023 National Alliance Professional of the Year. Aldworth, a “club kid” since 1981, is the first woman and person of color in the executive director role at the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs. She was recognized for leading the alliance and securing $20 million in revenue, the most in the organization’s 23-year history. See Gallery

 Michael R. McPherson ’95 (BUS), an insurance lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the Best Lawyers in America list for 2024.

 After owning and operating the iconic A.W. Brown’s Pet and Garden store in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, for nearly 40 years, Tom Wheeler ’96 MBA is retiring. He says his employees will become the new owners — his way of rewarding their hard work and loyalty.

 Jonathan Couch ’96 MBA joined Clearwave Fiber as chief financial officer overseeing the company’s finance, accounting, corporate development, and administrative functions.

 Stephen Nelson ’96 Ph.D. writes that he recently had the good fortune of publishing his eighth book, “Searching the Soul of the College and University in America — Religious and Democratic Covenants and Controversies.” He’s a professor of education and educational leadership at Bridgewater State University and a senior scholar in the Leadership Alliance at Brown University.

 Laura Pascale Zaino ’96 JD, an appellate lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

 Brad Malicki ’97 (CLAS), a real estate lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the Best Lawyers in America list for 2024.

 Erica Jorgensen ’97 (CLAS) writes that she recently published a book called “Strategic Content Design: Tools and Research Techniques for Better User Experience.” Jorgensen, who was an English major and a reporter and editor for The Daily Campus, says she has presented workshops around the world on digital content, web design, and user experience.

 Multi-talented Susan Mangiero ’97 Ph.D. writes that her first short documentary film, “Make a Mark,” debuted at the Mystic Film Festival in October. The film, which she wrote and directed, is about a former dentist who, in his 70s, launches a successful second career as a watercolor artist. She also recently published an article, “The Doctoral Difference Sets Executives Apart,” for AACSB International.

 Areej Duval ’98 MBA joined the leadership team of EFG Companies, of Dallas, Texas, as vice president of reinsurance. Previously, she was senior vice president and U.S. controller of Aspen Insurance Holdings.

 Charles York ’99 (BUS), the chief operating and financial officer at Day One Biopharmaceuticals, was named a Top 25 Healthcare Technology Leader of Austin for 2023.

 Daniel Krisch ’99 JD, an appellate and insurance law attorney at Halloran Sage, was named to the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.


Construction lawyer Steven Lapp ’03 (CLAS) joined the Shipman & Goodwin law firm as a partner in its construction and renewable energy practice group.

Middle school history teacher Sean Passan ’03 (CLAS), ’04 MA, pictured with Samantha Tondreau, director of curriculum and instruction for the Mohegan Tribe, was one of five Connecticut teachers awarded a Mohegan Tribe Challenge Grant for 2023. Passan, who teaches social studies at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford, Connecticut, won the grant based on his plans to integrate Native American history into his curriculum. See Gallery

Jennifer Mullen ’03 JD, an insurance and medical malpractice lawyer at Halloran Sage, made the 2024 Best Lawyers in America list.

Following a career focused on marketing research, Craig Smith ’05 (BUS) writes that he has been hired at TIAA as head of marketing research and insights. Congrats!

Kudos to Tom Feige ’05 (CLAS), a biology and forensic science teacher at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls, Connecticut. He was named Regional School District #16 Teacher of the Year for 2024. He was also a semi-finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year.

Congrats to Amy Begué ’06 MA on being promoted to principal of Bacon Academy in Colchester, Connecticut, after nine years as a math educator and seven years as an assistant principal. “UConn provided me with a strong start into my second career and I’ve been more successful than I ever could have imagined, so thank you!” she says.

Stephen P. Barry ’07 (CLAS), a partner in the Lathan & Watkins law firm in Washington, D.C., reports that Bloomberg Law, an online legal research service, named him as an honoree in its “40 Under 40” list for 2023.

Brothers can both say “ball.” Now we are working on “Huskies!” report parents Chris Hall ’08 (CLAS) and Meghan Hall ’08 (CLAS). See Gallery

Alyssa Lynch ’09 (CLAS), a workers’ compensation lawyer at Halloran Sage, is listed in the Best Lawyers in America for 2024.


Congratulations to Ashley Dunne ’10 (SFA) on being named a 2023–24 national Milken Educator Award recipient, an award that comes with a $25,000 cash prize. Dunne, a music teacher at Gainfield Elementary School in Southbury, Connecticut, was caught by surprise when Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russel-Tucker and a Milken official presented her with the award before an all-school assembly of cheering students, colleagues, dignitaries, and the media.

Geena Russo ’14 (CLAS), of Bristol, Connecticut, reports that she recently published a children’s book, “Sydney’s Adventure in New Mexico.” The book, told from the perspective of a two-year-old adopted puppy, is about tackling emotional skills. “Sydney is majority Siberian Husky!” she adds.

Kevin Peterson ’15 (ENG) and Shannon Carr ’16 (BUS) were married in July before a small army of fellow Huskies. Congratulations! See Gallery

Kenny De Leon ’15 (CLAS) and Jennifer Roginski ’16 (BUS) tied the knot, surrounded by Huskies. See Gallery

Ashley LaPane ’16 (ED), ’17 MA was named the Canton Public Schools Teacher of the Year. Way to go!

Julia Winer ’16 MBA, of West Hartford, Connecticut, was named chief financial and operations officer of the Watkinson School, an independent day school. She had been vice president of operations for MD Ally and, prior to that, chief corporate officer and chief of staff at Hartford’s Silver Fern Healthcare. She’s also been an adjunct professor at UConn’s School of Business, teaching business communications and statistics in business.

Francesco Mioli ’17 JD was elected to serve a two-year term as president of the Connecticut Italian American Bar Association. Mioli is a member of Robinson & Cole LLP’s Real Estate and Development Group and works out of the Stamford, Connecticut, office.

Kyle Perry ’17 (ENG, BUS) and Sarah Knapp ’17 (BUS), ’21 MS tied the knot at Lounsbury House in Ridgefield, Connecticut, with more than 40 UConn students and alums ranging from the class of 1960 to the class of 2024. Perry is an engineering manager with Verogy, and Knapp works in Human Resources at Kaman Corp. The couple resides in Simsbury, Connecticut. See Gallery

The National Council of Teachers of English honored Konatsu Sonokawa ’18 (ED), ’19 MA with a 2023 Early Career Educator of Color Award. She teaches at Martin Elementary School in Manchester, Connecticut, and was the 2022 Manchester Teacher of the Year.

Claudia Bachmann-Bouchard ’19 MA, of Waterford, Connecticut, a teacher at Norwich Free Academy, was selected from a nationwide search of teacher leaders to participate in a weeklong climate and equity institute at the Schoodic Institute in Acadia National Park. The institute was designed to help build a growing network of teachers who are pioneering ways to help students see the science of climate change in its human context.


Emily A. Piergustavo ’22 (ED), who was a member of UConn’s softball team as an undergraduate, is still knocking it out of the park. She was hired as an assistant softball coach at Tufts University.

Amy E. Rizzo ’22 6th Year was appointed principal of John F. Kennedy Elementary in Milford, Connecticut. She most recently served as the teacher leader for instructional technology for the district.

Ilona Bastiaansen ’23 Ph.D. successfully defended her dissertation, “Bankruptcy Spillovers in Firm Payout Policy,” and has accepted a position as an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame.

Daniel D. Burkey ’23 MA is the co-recipient of the David Himmelblau Award for outstanding innovations in computer-based, chemical engineering education from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ computing and system technology division. He’s the associate dean of undergraduate education and diversity and the Castleman Term Professor in Engineering Innovation at UConn’s College of Engineering.

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