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2012 Spring Letter 1995

2012 Spring Letter 1995

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Published by Christopher Dorobek
Kenyon
Kenyon

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Published by: Christopher Dorobek on May 31, 2012
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05/31/2012

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Dear Ladies & Lords:For anyone who loves skipping ahead to the juicy parts of a story as much as I do, then editing ourClass Notes is a dream come true. Our own life narratives are taking fantastic twists, turns and
delightful digressions, and I’ve got a front
-row seat. Who would have thought at least three of us
1995ers would be raising…chickens?
Was that an elective class I slept through?
We’ve also g
ot achess club coach, a yoga instructor, a wood-working whiz and enough awesome authors to fill theold bookstore (Jack Finefrock-era).
If you’ve read the new
 Alumni Bulletin,
you know that AndreiMassenkoff is the reigning world champion pinball wizard. A scholarly set of us is following in our
 professors’ footsteps by becoming educators— 
with publications and smarter students to prove it.And a happy, if sleep-deprived, cohort is busily chasing future Kenyonians around the backyard.Reading though this crop of class notes has been inspiring to me.
If there’s a defining characteristicof our class, it’s that we approach life with optimism, creativity, humor and determination.
Philanderwould be so proud. Campus Security would be so relieved.
It’s be
en wonderful to hear from somany of you
 — 
thanks for sending your updates. And the rest of you:
We’re dying of curiosity here.
Help me help you give your Kenyon fans news they can really use!
I’ll report on it in my fall letter.
 As your new class agent
, I’d like to thank Beau Bierhaus, Nicole (Dennis) Forziati and Colleen
Canning for paving the way with years of hard work and great cheer.
And I’d like to point you to
our class Facebook page:
 facebook.com/groups/kenyoncollege1995/.
Please use this modern-dayVAX like one big ALL-STU message: Share spontaneous news, post pictures, check in with oldfriends, plan mini-reunions, order a Bluebeard from the Cove or plan a
 yomping
party at the Danvillebridge.And now, some updates from our alma mater:
Share the pride.
Show the pride” is this spring’s
theme
 — 
and there are countless reasons to be proud of Kenyon, where students, faculty, and alumnicontinue to do amazing things.
In the “sharing” department:
Over the past few years, Kenyon hasbecome a top producer of Fulbright Fellowship winners. Kenyon students also consistently win
Goldwater Scholarships, the country’s premier undergraduate award in the sciences.
And Kenyon isa leader among small colleges whose seniors are admitted into Teach for America.Faculty members are earning recognition, too. Biologist Wade Powell recently received a grant fromthe National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for research on dioxin pollution. VictorRodríguez-
 Núñez of the Spanish faculty won Spain’s prestig
ious Rincon de la Victoria InternationalPoetry Prize.And amazing alumni?
You’ve heard about best
-
selling authors John Green ’00 and Ransom Riggs’01, Oscar winner Oorlagh George ’02, and actor 
-
filmmaker Josh Radnor ’96. But all you need to
do is read the
 Alumni Bulletin
or explore 
 to see how our Kenyon education enrichesus in illustrious and unexpected ways.
These Kenyon success stories bring me to the “showing” department:
 
Let’s show o
ur pride andcelebrate our connection to Kenyon in a way that makes a real difference for students now and in the
 
future.
That’s by making a gift to the Kenyon Fund by June 30. If you haven’t already, please give,
at any level. What matters most is that you participate.
 
 Now I know you’ve heard it before— 
that giving even a little is the most important thing. Guess what?
It’s true!
Giving is an act that reaffirms. And when we give together, it reaffirms the connection weshare, which began a million years ago (aka the 1990s, cue the Samples) and continues to this day. Givingis like hugging Middle Path, just a lot less gravelly.
Have a spectacular summer and let’s be in touch this fall!
 George Stone1995 Class Agent
 
1995 KENYON CLASS NOTESRachel Balkcom
 
artfully reports “I live in Denver with my partner Ian and my dog, three chickens, and
lots of vegetables growing in cold frames and little hoop houses. My entire family relocated here fromChicago, so I get to see the parents and sister each week. I'm still trying to reform education, which thispast year brought me to work at City Year. I'm a brown belt (black expected sometime this year, wehope) in Ninjutsu and do a lot of fiction writing. And camping.
I still try to ‘Do Art’ but usually fail.”
 
Atieno Bird
is flying high these days.
“I was Jennifer Atieno Fisher, have since dropped the Jennifer and
changed the Fisher and am Atieno Bird; married to Shawn Bird. We have an almost-two year old tow-headed daughter, Samia Luisa, and a boy due at the end of summer. We enjoy living in the Brooklandneighborhood in DC; bought a Victorian for the riotously blooming yard and love it, even when wecannot use the yard (all summer; mosquitos.) Shawn works for INR at the State Dept. and I work overthe phone or in occasional evening classes as a relationship coach and write trashy ebooks under apseudonym. And of course the classic potty training and keeping-house adventures apply, with a heavytwist of Home Depot (my second home) because Shawn is a renovating maniac, taking a nice house andmaking it gorgeous. Weekends, we often travel to my native Harrisonburg, VA, or our straw bale cabinon the Greenbrier (for rent!) or his brother's at Smith Mountain Lake, or jaunt to Sandy Point State Park 
(45 mins!)”
David Bouman
is a seasoned diplomat who represents the citizens of the United States of America insensitive international situations. [Edit note: That sentence is not a typo.]
“My wife Leah Fickes and I
 just spent two weeks in Kauai for R&R. Awesome. Now we're passing through Seattle for a couple daysto catch up with
Shelly (Baker) Butler
(Kenyon 1996),
Neil Butler
,
Shannon Wilkinson
,
Laura Baker
 (Kenyon 1998) and the Pacific Northwest. Then we're headed back to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The goodnews is we're expecting in May our second blessing...another year of marriage without having a baby!God bless all the baby-making Kenyon folks out there. Other good news is that after almost nine yearsoverseas with the U.S. Department of State, I decided to come back stateside to kiss bum and push paperat headquarters/mothership/Main State. We should be in DC around October for at least two years.Looking forward to reconnecting and running with the Class Agent again. Please don't write aboutANYTHING
I did before I got married.”
[Edit note: The Class Agent accepts the offer to go running butis seeking legal counsel on the proposed non-disclosure agreement.]
 
Kate Brauer-Bell is
deeply entrenched in suburban awesomeness and loving every minute of it.
“My
son George, now 7, convinced me to start a Chess Club at his school this year, so these days you can findme every Wednesday afternoon coaching chess to 30 second graders at Indian Hill Primary School inCincinnati. It's become quite the institution, and I've committed to expanding the program and will becoaching chess to first through third grade at the elementary and primary schools. Anyone who knew mewell at Kenyon can likely surmise that I am not much of a chess player. I wish I had those mad
DavePutz
chess skills, but alas, I spend most meetings asking George to coach me on strategy. How I endedup with a math genius for a son is beyond me--I went to Kenyon so that I wouldn't have to take math.(Didn't everyone?). Chris and I have been married nine years now, and I can honestly say every year hasbeen better than the year before. In addition to George, we have our daughter Franny, who is six, and ouryoungest son CJ, now 4. All three of them are just amazing little human beings and I couldn't be happieror prouder than I am with each of them. I am fortunate enough to have built a successful freelancewriting career, and can work from home while still enjoying the chaos three kids can create. These daysthe vast majority of my work centers around brand development and product naming. You can find mywork in malls and grocery stores across America. I never did win a Pulitzer, but I'm happy to report thatRandom House recently released the eBook edition of 
The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide
 for Kindle and Nook, so now you can carry it with you on your long-
distance romantic adventures.”
 
Rhett Brymer
has always been a classy guy.
This fall, he’ll move from teaching high school science
classes to lecturing business students as a university professor.
“I've been doing penance in Texas,
 getting my Ph.D. at Texas A&M after stints as a high school science teacher, a business and educationmasters student, and seven years as a corporate change consultant. Thankfully, the end of the tunnel israpidly approaching, and in fall, I'll be moving back to the motherland....Ohio! I've accepted a position asthe John Mee Assistant Professor of Strategic Management in the Farmer School of Business at MiamiUniversity. Say that five times fast. Very psyched about the opportunity and the great institution I'm joining. If that isn't enough of a game changer, I'm also engaged to Amanda Bentley (Texas A&M, '07),who is working on her Ph.D. in Environmental Science at the University of Idaho. Wedding in early
2013.”
Rhett reports that
Drew Miller
recently moved to the Washington, DC, area and that
AndrewStuebner
is knocking it out of the park in Bangor, Maine.
Emily Carifa
would like to clarify one thing: “No vomiting babies here...just sassy, back 
-talking,dramatic girls (ages 6,7,10)....no for real...they are great (most of the time). In between parenting taskshere in NJ, I spend my time raising eight hens, two dogs and a fish. I am also doing some freelanceresearch for an old boss in the Executive Search Business. Lastly, I am a Distributor for an amazingproduct called Juice Plus+...a whole food fruit and vegetable supplement that has managed to rid myseven year old of her migraines and vertigo, as well as keep us very healthy ALL winter long. Go to mylink if interested(www.juiceplus.com/nsa/content/Home.soa?site=ec77420).
Life is good and busy!”
 
Mike Costanzo
sportily pinged back to say “I live in Memphis, Tennessee with my wife Morgan and two
young boys Mac (2) and Cash (newborn). I do all the stuff it says in my signature
 — 
Director of MiddleSchool Sports, Director of Physical Education and Head Varsity Lacrosse Coach at Lausanne CollegiateSchool
 — 
and I don't get paid much to do it.
Hope you are doing well.”
 
John Cunningham
is feeling
 preeeteeeyyy kinddddd 
 
and reports that “Things are
niiiiiiiiiiice
up here inthe
 Buohstin
area. Still overseeing the financial affairs of families/small businesses and enjoying what Ido. Carisa and I just bought a house in the quaint/historic seaside town of Marblehead (north of town)and are very happy with adding space and a wee bit of land to our lives. Address is 12 Pond St,Marblehead, MA 01945. While I'm at it my e-mail is jhcjhc12@hotmail.com. Hope all are well, and our
door is always open for classmates now that we have a place to put you.” Cunningham occasionallyswings through DC “to see
Button/King/Oliver
, but I never see my BFF
Lisa (Bolton) Hooper
when
down there, which speaks to my programmatic limitations.”

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