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In the Media - February 2013 Roundup

Anne Hathaway '04

Anne Hathaway ’04* received the Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Supporting Actress for her heart-rending portrayal of Fantine in Les Misérables, which also earned her a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and British Academy Film Award. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, in her acceptance speech, the actress eloquently expressed her undying hope that the “misfortunes of Fantine [an overstrained and indisposed single mother who resorts to prostitution in order to support her illegitimate daughter, Cosette] will only be found in stories and not in real life.”

Publishers Weekly reviewed Knock Knock, a memoir written by former Playboy fiction editor Suzanne McNear ’56. Fictitious yet not deliberately fanciful—as a Michigan-born Vassar alumna, mother of three girls, divorcée, and friend to Nobel laureate Saul Bellow herself—the story’s multifaceted protagonist bears a striking resemblance to its author.

Autostraddle published an article from third-year student and avid WordPress blogger Madeline Taterka ’14, in which she discusses the meaning and usage of the popularized term “queer” through conversations with friends of all ages and self-identifications.

Award-winning novelist Ben Fountain handpicked the latest literary collection from Tufts University English professor Linda Bamber ’66, Taking What I Like, among his top book recommendations for 2013 on WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. He applauds her insightful interpretations of classic Shakespearean texts, stating, “I’ve never read anything quite like these stories. They have attitude, they shake things up. They’re playful and inventive and funny, and Bamber gets the entire world into each one of her stories.”

Tanya Odom '92

Diversity consultant Tanya Odom ’92 pens a monthly column for Diversity Woman magazine. Here, she addresses the trials and tribulations of achieving a healthy work-life balance in today’s ever-changing workplace. In this Insight into Diversity article, Odom suggests that organizations learn to “incorporate language and programs that include multiracial individuals and families.”

Independent Voter Network contributing writer Debbie Sharnak ’07 penned a piece on the Westboro Baptist Church’s plans to picket just outside the Vassar campus—and the college’s collective efforts to counter the attack, including raising over $100,000 for the Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. A Los Angeles Times op-ed from columnist Meghan Daum ’92 speaks to the same subject, maintaining that “even members of the Ku Klux Klan have spoken out, deeming the church too hateful for their taste.”

The expertise of highly sought-after reputation management consultant and co-founder of Evergreen Partners Karen Kessler ’78 was summarized in the Wall Street Journal. Most recently, she was hired to counsel the producers of ABC’s Nashville on the development of a new character—a crisis communications professional who helps fading country music superstar Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton) recover from a humiliating tabloid scandal.

Sunny Moss ’63, co-chair of the Class of 1963’s 50th Landmark Reunion, appeared in an NBC4 Southern California news story covering the altruistic efforts of the Assistance League of San Pedro-South Bay’s all-volunteer post office—the only one of its kind in the nation—at which she donates her time and would-be wages to charitable organizations.

Deadline Hollywood announced the appointment of Robert Green ’91 as senior vice president, creative–digital, of Condé Nast Entertainment, a division of Condé Nast that focuses on the development, production, and distribution of original television, feature film, and digital video offerings based on the company’s iconic media brands.

Benjamin Busch '91

Actor, writer, filmmaker, and photographer Benjamin Busch ’91 has garnered critical acclaim for his most recent work, Dust to Dust, from Library Journal (Best Books 2012: Memoir), the Seattle Times (25 Best Books of 2012), and the Detroit Free Press (2013 Michigan Notable Books). In recognition of his “craft and self-storytelling,” “admirable clarity and respect for detail,” and “complexity and richness of personal experience,” Busch won the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s 2013 New Writers Award for Creative Nonfiction.

The New York Times reported that Jon Wallace ’98 and Jessica Soule were married. They own and operate the Wallace, an upscale contemporary American eatery located in the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he serves as executive chef and she is general manager. Congratulations to the happy couple!

Expat Focus interviewed freelance journalist and university lecturer Jennifer Gargiulo ’91, born and raised in Verona, Italy, about adjusting to life as an expat in Singapore with her husband and their two children, Alexander and Eliot. For personal musings and much more, follow her on Blogger.

Heather Malin ’96, director of institutional advancement at the Cancer Research Institute, was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy article "Half of Fundraisers in the Top Job Would Like to Quit." Also mentioned was Perkins School for the Blind, where Barbara Mason ’68 works as education director of the Deafblind Program.

Paul Copleman '97

Iberdrola Renewables spokesman Paul Copleman ’97 was quoted in a New York Times article on federal subsidies for global wind farm construction. highlighted the anticipated launch of, a new website developed by vegans Jonathan Farbowitz ’05, Steve Lamb, and Zack Birmingham, which will rely heavily upon feedback provided by Philadelphia residents. “VegPhilly is only going to get better as people add restaurants, write reviews, and send us their comments,” Farbowitz explains.

The latest New Yorker blog post from Jane Kramer ’59 (Phi Beta Kappa), European correspondent for the magazine, discusses her position—both physical and political—prior to the landmark court decision of Roe v. Wade in honor of its 40th anniversary.

Montreal-based writer and creative writing instructor Josip Novakovich ’78 spoke with CBC News regarding his recent Man Booker International Prize nomination for a body of work that includes novels, essays, short stories, and textbooks. This year’s winner will be announced on May 22 in London.

Science, the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, published an article co-authored by biology professor Jodi Schwarz about her and her colleagues’ award-winning web-based genomics curriculum, Genomics Explorers, which “enables students to identify a research strategy and to use bioinformatics tools for investigation, without relying on the instructor for assistance.”

Tom Block ’87, playwright-in-residence at Wanderlust Theater Lab, has been generating buzz—by way of a six-part series of DC Metro Theater Arts content—for his production of Butterfly, opening February 15 at the Takoma Park Community Center (Maryland).

Compiled by Jared Scott Tesler

*Vassar considers one an alumna/us once a student has matriculated.

Les Misérables still, courtesy of Universal Pictures; Tanya Odom, courtesy of NV Magazine; Busch portrait, © Raquel Krelle; ©Vassar College/John Rizzo; Copleman, courtesy of Iberdrola Renewables/Mike McPheeters