Newsmakers

Alumni making headlines around the world

In August Eric Fanning ’90 was nominated by President Obama to serve as under secretary of the Air Force. “I am honored by the president’s announcement and look forward to working with the Congress and continuing to serve the Department of Defense during the confirmation process,” said the openly gay Fanning, reported GayPolitics.com. Fanning, who currently serves as the deputy undersecretary of the Navy for business operations and transformation and before that was deputy director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, was awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation at press time. If confirmed, he will be the highest ranking openly gay member of the Department of Defense, which would be a “sign of progress” in the military’s tolerance of gay Americans, Ken Yalowitz, the former director of the Dickey Center for International Understanding, told The Dartmouth.…

Alexandra Stein ’06 coxed for the U.S. mixed four rowing team at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, guiding the boat to a sixth-place finish on September 2. Stein, who is not disabled and works as assistant director for Dartmouth athletic fundraising when she’s not on the river, urged the team to a sixth-place finish at the 2011 world championships. “We knew that everyone was going to be fast off the line, so we just wanted to go out and be in contention, put forth a full effort, hammering it out right from the start,” she told USRowing.org. “We just came up short, but I think we feel good, because we put it all on the line.”…

When the rover Curiosity touched down on Mars on August 5, R. Aileen Yingst ’91 celebrated along with other scientists and engineers at mission headquarters, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California. Then Yingst, the director of the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, got a few hours sleep and went to work. As the deputy principal investigator for one of the mission’s cameras, the Mars Hand Lens Imager, Yingst will monitor the camera from JPL until at least November. “When the first images came down and I realized we were looking at a place in the universe that no human being had ever seen, there’s a moment of elation there,” she told Inside Newsroom, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s news website.…

The Valley News invited readers to “Meet Joe Asch, Dartmouth’s Most Tenacious Critic” in a front-page story in August. Asch ’79, who owns a medical products business in England and the River Valley Club in Lebanon, New Hampshire, has been blogging for Dartblog.com since 2009 and, as the Upper Valley newspaper reports, many find “his perspective is overwhelmingly negative.” He said his often-critical posts are motivated by his love for the College. “Obviously, I care about Dartmouth because I think Dartmouth has the potential,” Asch said.…

Kass Savarese Lazerow ’93 was named one of “44 Female Founders Every Entrepreneur Should Know” by Mashable.com in August. The co-founder of Golf.com, which she sold to Time Inc. in 2006, was described as “a serial entrepreneur [who] brings extensive experience in marketing, consulting and business operations to the table.” In June she and husband Mike Lazerow sold their latest business venture, Buddy Media, to Salesforce for $689 million.…

Why Do You Have Black Dolls?, a documentary Samantha Knowles ’12 made as an undergraduate, was screened at the Run and Shoot African-American Film Festival on Martha’s Vineyard in August. Knowles’ film is “a powerful meditation on the importance of giving our children toys that look like them,” according to Ebony magazine.…

The New York Observer reported in August on the new business venture of Ben Gifford ’10, Double or Muffin, which allows customers to flip a coin and potentially earn a free muffin. So far the mobile muffin stand mainly does business in San Francisco’s Duboce Park. But Gifford and his business partner, a former high school classmate, have expansion plans. “I wouldn’t want it to become a chain or anything like that, but having a handful of establishments in select locations across the United States would be awesome,” he said. “Someday we may also go international. I’ve already laid the groundwork for Double or Muffin’s Argentine cousin, Todo o Empanada.”…

Julie Dunfey ’80 has been working with award-winning director Ken Burns since 1986, co-producing such Burns’ documentaries as The Civil War and The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The history major’s latest production with Burns, The Dust Bowl, airs on PBS in November. Dunfey told Dartmouth Now in July that she helped locate and interview more than 140 people over the age of 82 “who had lived through the crucible of drought, dust, and Depression. Two dozen wound up in the film, and their family stories of those hard times make this more of an oral history than our previous films. This will likely be the last eyewitness account of the Dust Bowl.”…

Former Goldman Sachs chairman and U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. “Hank” Paulson Jr. ’68 explained why he gave $2 million in 2000 to endow the College’s football coach position in an August article by The New York Times about such endowed positions. Seven of the eight Ivy League football head coaching positions are endowed—Brown is the exception—with Dartmouth’s named in honor of Paulson’s former coach, Robert L. Blackman. “It was only after I looked back after having spent time in the financial world and the business world that I realized how much I had learned, and so many others had learned from him, in terms of life lessons,” said Paulson, who as a senior earned the New England Football Coaches Award as Offensive Lineman of the Year.…

As the Boston Globe reported in May, Michael Belinsky ’08 and his Harvard Kennedy School of Government team won the Public Sector Innovation Award in the Harvard College Innovation Challenge. Recent Harvard Kennedy School graduates Belinsky, Avnish Gungadurdoss ’09 and Michael Eddy founded award-winning Instiglio to use the “social impact bond” concept in developing countries. With this approach, African governments might contract with healthcare providers to educate people about AIDS, and tie payments to a decline in infections. “These are basically pay-for-success contracts,” Belinsky said. “If you don’t have an impact, we’ll pay you zero. The provider of the service is taking on the risk.”…

During her first week at the University of Rochester (New York) Medical School Lindsay Wahl ’11 got right to work saving lives. The former Big Green swimmer dove into the Erie Canal to help rescue a man and his two children after the children’s stroller plunged into the water. All three family members survived the ordeal. “I knew I was going in right away once I saw them,” Wahl told the Democrat and Chronicle after the mid-August rescue.…

The Reluctant Lesbian, a new play by Kate Mulley ’05, premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in August. The sold-out play had been through a workshop at Dartmouth in February with other members of Vox Theater, the group founded by Mulley, Thom Pasculli ’05 and Matthew Cohn ’08 to develop and showcase the work of Dartmouth alumni. The New York production was directed by Pasculli, and starred Cohn and Amanda Jones ’97. Katie Lindsay ’11 was the assistant director and Stacey Derosier ’12 did the lighting design. “What’s exciting about developing new work with actors is watching what they bring to the piece and seeing how that informs the play,” Pasculli told BroadwayWorld.com. “This kind of collaborative process is exactly why we founded the company.”…

Tony Jones ’90 is an ordained minister and the theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Now, thanks to an iPhone app he created, Ordain Thyself, anyone can see what it’s like to be a religious leader. The app, which enables users to upload a photo and see how they would look in various clerical attire, also includes an explanation of 28 different faiths, from the traditional to film-inspired faiths such as Star Trek’s Klingon religion. “Religion is serious business to be sure,” Jones told CNN’s Belief Blog in July. “But it could use a little stand-up comedy to lighten us up.”…

In July Congressional newspaper The Hill named Mary Hiratsuka ’07 one of “The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People.” An Inuit from Dillingham, Alaska, which she described as the “salmon capital of the world,” Hiratsuka had worked as a legislative assistant for Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) until August, when she left D.C. to take a finance job in N.Y.C. “It’s tough to leave the Hill, especially because I’ve been involved in Alaskan politics for the last four years and it’s something that’s close to home,” she said. “To get out of that and to try something completely new in a different industry is scary, but exciting.”…

Interior designer Mary-Lynn Ring ’98 transformed her “soulless” 1,400-square-foot Manhattan condo into a “beautiful blonde environment,” according to New York Spaces, which featured the redesign in its July-August 2012 issue. The magazine described Ring’s neutral décor as “serene, smart and inviting”—and reported that many of her furniture finds came from eBay. “That’s what I do when I can’t sleep,” said Ring. “I like elegant, timeless pieces with a degree of craftsmanship.”…

Dartmouth’s Handel Society commissioned a new piece, Roots and Wings, by composer Oliver Caplan ’04 in honor of the Hopkins Center’s 50th anniversary. The town-gown chorus will perform the piece at its November 13 concert. A former member of the Marching Band, Caplan studied composition at the Boston Conservatory. A double major in music and geography, Caplan told The Riverdale Review that his work, which has been performed more than 50 times, is influenced by the “incredible access to beautiful outdoor areas” near his home base in Boston.…

The Dallas Urban Debate Alliance (DUDA), co-founded in 2007 by Craig Budner ’87 and directed by Nicole Serrano ’02, was named the 2011-12 “Outstanding League” by the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues in April. The organization was cited for more than tripling the number of Dallas area high school students who participate in debate. “These are very bright kids, but they’re going to get lost if they don’t latch on to an activity,” Budner, DUDA chairman, told The Dallas Morning News in June.…

A political documentary co-directed by Dinesh D’Souza ’832016: Obama’s America—was one of the summer’s surprise box office hits, earning $18.2 million by the end of August, following a nationwide rollout to more than 1,700 North American theaters. Based in part on D’Souza’s book, The Roots of Obama’s Rage, the movie drew lukewarm reviews, with the Los Angeles Times writing that the film “promises to demystify the president…but does more to illuminate its filmmaker” and Newsday calling it a “docu-diatribe.” D’Souza told The Huffington Post in late August that swaying voters was not the goal. “This was not intended to be a ‘Don’t Vote For Obama’ film, but rather to be a ‘Discover the Real Obama’ film,” D’Souza said.…

Ricki Fairley-Brown ’78 was cited in a Washington Post article headlined “Inside President Obama’s campaign team” in August. Fairley-Brown, the president of DOVE Marketing in Alpharetta, Georgia, is listed as one of nine media consultants “who comprise the Obama media consulting team.”…

Former Dartmouth tennis player Ann Scott Plante ’06 has launched Wello, an online fitness company that allows users to work out with trainers from anywhere via computer video chat. The sessions range from $5 to $150 an hour for celebrity trainers and can be booked in increments of 25, 40 and 55 minutes. Plante told Mashable.com in July that users can customize their workouts with trainers, who also provide the extra motivation that’s often needed to get off the couch. “One thing we’ve heard from fitness professionals is that people are more engaged online,” she said.

 

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