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In the Media – November and December 2014 Roundup

Eduardo de la Torre '17

The Chronicle of Higher Education published an op-ed written by President Catharine Hill, who discusses the new Bloomberg Philanthropies $10 million initiative that seeks to increase applications to top colleges by lower-to-middle income students. Hill was also interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education about her support of accessibility and affordability at Vassar. A story on winterberry holly in Chronogram highlights the college’s campus, itself an arboretum, which contains the ornamental shrubs. Vassar was also mentioned several times in a Bustle article entitled “10 Facts About Women’s Colleges You Probably Didn’t Know.” In a story on selective liberal arts schools that are recruiting veterans, U.S. News & World Report noted Vassar’s Veterans Posse Program and interviewed Eduardo de la Torre ’17. The University of Virginia student newspaper the Cavalier Daily illuminated the program and quoted Hill in an editorial that encourages its administration to recruit and support veteran undergraduates. Vassar was named one of the Best College Values in the nation by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, coming in seventh place. The ranking was published by many media outlets, including the International Business Times. Vassar ranked 15th on the Princeton Review’s annual list of the Most Beautiful College Campuses, as reported by the Huffington Post. The Boston Globe noted the addition of Dartmouth College to the Posse Foundation’s Veterans Program, initiated at Vassar in 2013. Vassar was mentioned in an Ithaca Journal article about the addition of the State University of New York and Cornell University to the list of colleges that are committed to improving access to underserved students. Stars and Stripes ran a story on the Warrior-Scholar Project’s academic boot camps and noted Vassar’s participation in the program, which helps veterans make the transition from the military to college. The Hudson Valley Press noted the $624,000 in National Science Foundation grants awarded to Vassar. The two grants will expand the college’s computing capacity and security as part of a larger infrastructure initiative. The Daily Freeman highlighted the Tournées French Film Festival, which begins on February 6 at Vassar. A story on this year’s American Heart Association walk, to be held on campus on March 14, was published in the Poughkeepsie Journal. The Poughkeepsie Journal also reported on Modfest 2015, Vassar’s annual celebration of performing, visual, and literary arts. 

Meryl Streep '71

The award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Meryl Streep ’71 was reported by numerous media outlets, including Vanity Fair, the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, People magazine, and ABC News.* The medal is given to those who have made significant contributions to the arts, sciences, economics, and other areas. In addition, Variety* announced a new project for Streep and Hugh Grant. She will play the title role in Pathé International’s Florence Foster Jenkins biopic. The actress was also recognized for her performance in Into the Woods in a Poughkeepsie Journal film review.

The film Whiplash, produced by Jason Blum ’91, was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. J.K. Simmons, who plays an abusive music teacher in the film, was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category. Meryl Streep ’71 was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the witch in Into the Woods. Reports on the 87th annual Academy Awards were published in media outlets worldwide, including CNN, the Poughkeepsie Journal, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times

Nicole Sierra-Rolet ’84, co-owner of La Verrière, a wine education center and working vineyard in the mountains of southern France, was knighted as a member of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, in recognition of her contribution to the wider wine world. The event was covered in the French press, including Le Blog du Grand Jury.

Professor Hua Hsu

English professor Hua Hsu authored “The Civility Wars,” which appeared in the New Yorker. The article examines civility and the ways it has evolved over the past few decades.

The Guardian published an article by English professor Amitava Kumar about the play The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar.

A story by Alan Neuhauser ’09 on Environmental Protection Agency regulations appeared in U.S. News & World Report. The article notes the tens of thousands of oil and natural gas sites that will not be included in new greenhouse gas rules.

Jana Rich ’89, a top recruiter for Silicon Valley, as well as founder and CEO of Rich Talent Group, was featured as one of OZY’s Rising Stars.

Executive producer and head writer of Inside Amy Schumer Jessi Klein ’97 was interviewed by Brian Koppelman for Grantland Network’s The Moment

The New York Times featured Doug Hand ’92 in a story titled “A Lawyer for Fashion Insiders Dresses the Part.” Hand is a lawyer to several fashion world luminaries, including Rag & Bone, Cynthia Rowley, Anna Sui, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Lee Zalben ’95, president and founder of Peanut Butter & Co. in New York City, was interviewed on CBS News Sunday Morning. The video includes some of the peanut butters and sandwiches Zalben sells at his store.

Meghan Daum '92

A New York Times article on friendship quoted English professor Ron Sharp and noted Meghan Daum ’92. Daum, a Los Angeles Times columnist and author of the newly released collection of essays The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, recently appeared on NPR.

Lisa Kudrow ’85 won People magazine’s 2014 Female Television Performance of the Year Award. Kudrow was honored for her role as Valerie Cherish on the HBO show The Comeback. The actress also talked about maintaining a healthy balance in her life as an actress, producer, mother, and wife in Glamour magazine.

The Houston Chronicle ran a story on philanthropist and trailblazer Carolyn Grant Fay ’36, who created an endowment fund that allows faculty members to integrate expressive arts and experiential processes into their teaching. Fay recently celebrated her 100th birthday.

The celebrated Nicholas Nixon series of photos of the Brown sisters—he took an annual photo of the foursome beginning in 1975—includes his wife, Beverly “Bebe” Nixon ’71. The photo series, which was recently published in a Museum of Modern Art book, was reported by several media outlets, including the New York Times Magazine and the Huffington Post

An artnet News article welcomed art critic and journalist Brian Boucher ’93 to its ranks. Boucher was previously the web editor for Art in America magazine.

Dani Bernfeld ’05 was selected as a member of the Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen 2014: Hollywood’s New Class. Bernfeld is vice president of Paramount Digital Entertainment and Insurge Pictures.

The gourmet Christmas cookies of Jason Schreiber ’05 were featured on Vogue magazine’s website and a video of him creating a gingerbread house version of Downton Abbey’s Crawley House was shown on Martha Stewart Living. Schreiber, a pastry chef and food stylist, was interviewed about his creations.

Shaheen Dil ’72, managing director of the global consulting firm Protiviti, was named to the 2014 Women Leaders in Consulting list by Consulting magazine. Dil received the magazine’s Leadership Award.


Frederick “Freddy” Deknatel ’08 authored a piece on the destruction of architectural sites and heritage in Syria’s ongoing civil war for the Nation. Deknatel is an associate editor at World Politics Review.

How to Dance in Ohio, directed by Alexandra Shiva ’95, and (T)ERROR, co-directed by David Felix Sutcliffe ’02, were chosen for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, as announced by Sundance Institute. The films are entered into the U.S. Documentary Competition with 14 other films. The festival is held in January.

A New York Times review of The Play of Daniel includes mention of music lecturer Drew Minter, adjunct artist James Ruff, and alums Sarah Jayne Harshman ’11 and Peter Walker ’09.

The Marin Independent Journal ran a story on Tony Caletti ’18, a member of the Vassar basketball team. While in high school, Caletti was a standout player on the Branson School basketball team.

Composer Joseph Bertolozzi ’81 was profiled in a Daily Freeman article. A Hudson Valley resident, Bertolozzi is composing a piece called “Bridge Music” for a group of 22 musicians to play live on the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center’s acquisition of an 18th-century Japanese scroll painting was reported by ArtDaily and The work, Pasturing Horses, is by artist Soga Shōhaku.

Composer Joseph Bertolozzi ’81 was profiled in a Daily Freeman article. A Hudson Valley resident, Bertolozzi is composing a piece called “Bridge Music” for a group of 22 musicians to play live on the Mid-Hudson Bridge.

Chinese and Japanese professor Peipei Qiu appeared on WAMC’s 51% to discuss her book Chinese Comfort Women: Testimonies from Imperial Japan’s Sex Slaves.

Psychology professor Abigail Baird was quoted in the Chicago Tribune regarding the ability of teenage brains to control impulses. Baird studies adolescent brain development.

A Q&A with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley ’71 was featured in the Financial Times

Dr. Dan Katz recounts a recent medical mission to Haiti with representatives of the Vassar Haiti Project—including Director of International Services Andrew Meade and Carly Ritter ’05—in the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Miracle Girls, written by Mary Beth Caschetta ’88, was included on the Best New Books list by People* magazine. Caschetta discussed her writing in an interview published by Lambda Literary.

Quartz ran an article contributed by English professor Amitava Kumar on the Vassar visit of Ashis Nandy, one of India’s most prominent intellectuals.

Africana Studies adjunct instructor Darnell Moore

Ebony published a story from Africana Studies adjunct instructor Darnell Moore, who chronicles his struggles growing up as a gay man in the Church of God in Christ. Moore also appeared on MSNBC in a discussion about Apple CEO Tim Cook, who recently announced he was gay. He spoke about the privilege Cook has—white and wealthy—that many LGBTQ people do not possess.

Fred Volpacchio ’79, husband of Carla De Landri ’78, appeared on WABC-TV prior to competing in this year’s New York City Marathon. Volpacchio—who has run 28 marathons—was seriously injured in a high-speed bike crash in Central Park two years ago, but following surgery and rehabilitation, he has made a full recovery.

Dan Bucatinsky ’87 was featured in Out magazine for his acting and producing. The story notes Bucatinsky’s Primetime Emmy Award for his role on Scandal; his new role on NBC’s Marry Me; and his work on The Comeback, with Lisa Kudrow ’85. Kudrow was interviewed by Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, and Entertainment Weekly.

Tanya Odom ’92 wrote an op-ed for CNN about a recent press conference held by President Obama, where he called only on women to ask him questions.

The New Haven Register interviewed Stacey Kigner ’10 about a circus school—Air Temple Arts—in New Haven and the institution’s upcoming show. Kigner, a former member of the Barefoot Monkeys, owns, instructs, and performs at the school.

The Washington Post paid tribute to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Carl Degler, who taught at Vassar from 1952-1968. Degler recently passed away at the age of 93.

Yasmin Tomkinson ’92 was named interim executive director of the Cape Fear Literacy Council, as reported by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

The Guardian illuminated artists’ creations in response to #BlackLivesMatter, which included a work by artist Rosetta DeBerardinis ’77, who wrote about the unjust targeting and abuse of her boyfriend at the hands of police while traveling to New York City in 1977.

Patricia Duane Lichtenberg ’90 was named the new chairperson of the Walkway Over the Hudson organization, as reported by the New Paltz Times. Lichtenberg will assume leadership of the nonprofit’s board of directors. She recently retired as associate vice president of alumnae/i affairs and communications and executive director of the Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College.

The Poughkeepsie Journal, the News Sentinel, and the Daily Item remembered the late Jean Arthur, a former Vassar drama instructor and film and stage actress, including quotes from Professor Emeritus Evert Sprinchorn and alumna Katherine Neville ’75.

Vijay Das '06

Vijay Das ’06 penned an op-ed for Salon about a problem with the Affordable Care Act that could lead to 3 million low-income children losing their health insurance. Public Citizen health care advocate Das also spoke with The Real News Network about the change of full-time workweeks from 30 hours to 40 hours under the Affordable Care Act.

Political science professor Zachariah Mampilly wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post. The article discusses the Burkina Faso uprising and the ongoing wave of African protests.

A photo of Judge Richard Roberts ’74 swearing in Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro was published by ThinkProgress.

Kyle Giunta ’08 was included on the New York Observer’s “The Next Wave: Nine Names to Watch” list of public relations professionals. In addition, Finsbury, employer of Giunta and Ed Adler ’76, was listed as one of the top 50 New York public relations firms.

Stacy Pettit ’81 was elected Albany County Surrogate’s Court Judge, as reported by the Times Union. Pettit previously served as chief clerk of the surrogate’s court and court attorney in the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court.

Christianna Wood '81

A New York Times article on the push for nonprofits to be fossil-free in their investments included comments from Vassar trustee Christianna Wood ’81.

Matt Ortile ’14 wrote about ending a relationship and Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse for BuzzFeed.

In a Veterans Day tribute featured in the Huffington Post, Lonna Saunders ’74 talks about honoring individuals who keep the home-fires burning and highlights the importance of nonmilitary personnel during times of war.

The Daily Freeman recognized the eight Vassar students and graduates who were granted Fulbright Fellowships for the 2014-15 academic year: Sahara Borja ’03, Daniel Davies ’11, Ian Edwards ’14, Helen Haft ’14, Eleni Macrakis ’14, Victoria Qiu ’14, Annikea O’Dea ’08, and Sophia Wasserman ’13.

Alison Hyde '59

Alison Hyde ’59 was mentioned in a Buffalo News article about Crossroads Springs Institute, a thriving school for Kenyan AIDS orphans, with support from Buffalo-area volunteers and fundraising events.

The Poughkeepsie Journal noted Vassar athletes who received All-Liberty League honors or other Liberty League accolades. The athletes include Clara Cardillo ‘15, Taylor Mosley ‘15, Chloe Hallum ‘16, Bianca Zarrella ‘16, Enya Cunningham ‘15, Lauren Wiebe ‘16, Lauren Shumate ‘17, Chloe Wheeler ‘15, Jessica Schwed ‘18, Gavin Jennings ‘16, Zach Nasipak ‘15, Jordan Palmer ‘16, Olivia Martin ‘18, Julia Cunningham ‘18, Jonah Strand ‘18, and Nick Hess ‘16. The StarNews interviewed soccer player Kelsey Hamm ’17.

Matthew Moshen '92

Matthew Moshen ’92 was interviewed by WCWP* for his work in local history. Moshen’s blog,, celebrates and recognizes North Hempstead residents who fought in the Civil War.

The Daily Freeman reported on the opening of Modfest 2015. The event will include guest artists, students, faculty, and alumnae/i and will feature several performances tied to the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland.

The Garden City News ran a feature on Chris Dieguez ’11, who serves as a part-time Christian education intern at Garden City Community Church and works as an operations analyst for Plymouth Rock Energy.

Emad Shahin

The Vassar visit and lecture by Egyptian policy expert Emad Shahin was illuminated in the Hudson Valley Almanac Weekly. Shahin spoke about the political climate of the Middle East since the ousting of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

John Figdor ’06 co-authored a Salon article entitled “The New Atheist Commandments: Science, Philosophy and Principles to Replace Religion.” Figdor is the humanist chaplain at Stanford University.

A Poughkeepsie Journal article about the White House visit of Rabbi Brent Spodek noted his wife, chemistry professor Alison Keimowitz.

Meghan Cooper ’13 was featured in the Portland Press Herald. Cooper is the 100th Island Institute Island Fellow, contributing to population and sustainability efforts on Maine’s small islands, including Isle au Haut, where she is living for one year.

Madeline Cohen ’92 was quoted in a Common Dreams story on the Oklahoma execution of convicted rapist and killer Charles Warner. Cohen is a federal public defender for the districts of Colorado and Wyoming and represents death row defendants.

Playbill noted the final negotiations in place for a one-woman show featuring Anne Hathaway ’04. The Academy Award-winning actress is expected to perform George Brant’s monologue Grounded. Hathaway also discussed her new film, Song One, on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Max Kutner ’11 authored a Newsweek article about “jump-outs,” a new version of “stop-and-frisk” allegedly being used by members of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.

Faculty Accolades

Paul Kane, professor of English, has been commissioned by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage to write a libretto for a new work by composer Lewis Spratlan, a response to Buxtehude’s cantata Membra Jesu Nostri. The piece will be premiered by Philadelphia’s The Crossing chamber choir and New York’s International Contemporary Ensemble, under the direction of Donald Nally, in Philadelphia and New York in June 2016. Kane has also recently published a book of translations of ghazals by the Persian poet Hafiz, with illustrations by Tina Kane, and has work appearing in both The Turnrow Anthology of Contemporary Australian Poetry and The Best Australian Poems 2014

Mia Mask, associate professor of film, is co-editor of Poitier Revisited: Reconsidering a Black Icon in the Obama Age, newly published by Bloomsbury Academic. Poitier Revisited offers a fresh interrogation of the social, cultural, and political significance of filmmaker, actor, and director Sidney Poitier—whose career spanned 60 years—and argues for his continued relevance into the 21st century. 

--Photo of Eduardo de la Torre ’17 by ©Vassar College-Samuel Stuart; Meryl Streep ’71 and Christianna Wood ‘81 ©Vassar College; Meghan Daum ’92 ©Alexandra Dean Grossi; Frederick “Freddy” Deknatel ’08, Vijay Das ’06, Alison Hyde ’59, Hua Hsu, and Matthew Moshen ‘92 courtesy of subjects; Emad Shahin ©Ahmad El-Nemr; Darnell Moore ©Erik Carter.

*Link not available

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, December 1, 2014