Class Acts

Celebrating the Past, Ready for the Future

Class Acts is a series that recognizes our students who are changing the world through research, service and innovation.


2016

Bringing social change to indigenous people

By Neil Schoenherr on December 1, 2016 in 2016 Class Acts

Native Australian Kate Falconer was drawn to the School of Law because of its international reputation. After completing her studies for a master of laws degree, she'll return home to pursue a doctorate in comparative indigenous law.

The global classroom

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on November 30, 2016 in 2016 Class Acts

Alex Blustein, a December graduate of School of Engineering & Applied Science and Olin Business School, has visited home less than 40 days since arriving here in 2013. The Tampa native has spent every summer of his undergraduate years either traveling or working, and it's paid off not only in an amazing job opportunity but it has also strengthened his faith in humanity.

Photo editor sees university through a different lens

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on November 28, 2016 in 2016 Class Acts

Stephen Huber will graduate in December 2016 with degrees in finance and operations and in supply chain management from Olin Business School. But his other job, that of Student Life senior photo editor, taught him so much, too.

Yewande Apatira

On a Mission

By Judy Martin Finch on May 16, 2016 in 2016 Class Acts

Physical therapist plans to empower women and advance women’s health in Africa

Down to Earth

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on May 16, 2016 in 2016 Class Acts

Student sheds light on the relationship between our food and the land that sustains us

Mary Clemens and her daughters

Moving Forward

By Rosalind Early on May 5, 2016 in 2016 Class Acts

Mary Clemens draws inspiration for her master’s studies from motherhood and family loss

Close to Home

By Julia Evangelou Strait on April 28, 2016 in 2016 Class Acts

Audiology graduate student shifted career paths out of a desire to help her son and others who are deaf and hard of hearing

Medicine is Personal

By Kristina Sauerwein on April 1, 2016 in 2016 Class Acts

Diverse background inspired soon-to-be physician to focus on cultural competency in health care

2015-2016

Involved and passionate

By Jenna Epstein on December 2, 2015 in 2015 December

Everyone at Washington University seems to know Olin Business School student Khalyani Sankar. During her time here, she has remained a prominent student voice, bridging many facets of the campus community through her leadership and involvement.

Making Small Moves, Creating Big Change

By Barbara Rea on December 2, 2015 in 2015 December

John Lentz, master’s degree candidate in public health at the Brown School, believes that once it is understood how a large-scale administrative health care system functions, even a small tweak can generate a major improvement in health outcomes.

Spirit of ingenuity: WashU student searches for ecological solutions to basic human needs

By Liam Otten on November 30, 2015 in 2015 December

No one knows how many people live in Kibera, Kenya. Estimates are contested but range from 200,000 to 500,000 to upwards of a million. What is certain is that this century-old informal settlement, squeezed into one square mile on the northern bank of the Nairobi River, is among the most crowded and impoverished places on earth. It is also largely devoid of adequate sanitation infrastructure, says Andrea Godshalk, a master’s candidate in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

Demonstrating strength and courage, graduate completes two degrees and looks for answers on Ferguson Commission

By Jennifer Frey on November 30, 2015 in 2015 December

Monique Thomas is no ordinary Washington University graduate student. In addition to pursuing both Master of Public Health and Master of Business Administration degrees at Washington University in St. Louis, Thomas also took a term off to work for the Ferguson Commission in the months following the non-indictment in the Michael Brown case.


2014-2015

Saying goodbye

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on May 14, 2015 in 2015 Making Memories

The Class of 2015 snapped selfies, celebrated each other’s friendship and said their farewells to Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton May 11 at the annual Chancellor’s Dinner.

Senior class president embraces uncertainty

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on May 14, 2015 in 2015 Achieving Excellence

Washington University in St. Louis senior class president Jeremy Sherman knows what’s next — a trip to Europe and a job at Deloitte Consulting in Washington, D.C. The rest is uncertain. “Even if we have a job or are planning to go to graduate school, all of us are facing a lot of uncertainty,” said […]

Throwback Thursday: First day of school, Aug. 30, 2011

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on May 14, 2015 in 2015 Making Memories

It’s 1,353 days after the first day of school for the Class of 2015, and Washington University in St. Louis senior Will Ralls is amazed by the unexpected course of his college career. He came ready to major in computer science and political science and he did. The rest — serving as a residential advisor […]

Addoley Dzegede: Art of the gesture

By Liam Otten on May 12, 2015 in 2015 Shaping the Future

An artwork can be an object. But for Addoley Dzegede, who will receive her Master of Fine Arts from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts May 15, it is more like a conceptual approach, one that informs sculpture, audience interactions and environmental interventions alike.

Alexandra Mei: Design, equality and planning for the future

By Liam Otten on May 12, 2015 in 2015 Shaping the Future

I’m really interested in the combination of landscape and urbanism — in looking at integrated systems and environments and how they affect people on a larger scale. There's so much potential for landscape architecture today to impact issues both within and beyond the site in front of you.

A head start on business

By Mia Kweskin on May 7, 2015 in 2015 Sparking Innovation

“You’re the girl who pitched me!” said Kevin Dillon, an actor on the HBO series “Entourage,” when he saw Jolijt Tamanaha, a senior in Arts & Sciences, at the Austin, Texas, airport.

A passion for teaching the deaf and hard of hearing

By Julia Evangelou Strait on May 6, 2015 in 2015 Serving the Community

Aimee Gao’s interest in deaf culture was first piqued in fourth grade when her class learned the story of Helen Keller, dabbled in American sign language and put on a play for students at the Kansas School for the Deaf. Later, as an undergraduate at William Jewell College, where she earned a degree in elementary […]

Hooked on Entrepreneurship

By Julie Hail Flory on May 4, 2015 in 2015 Sparking Innovation

Joe McDonald has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. In high school, he tried to start your typical teenage businesses — lawn mowing service, disc jockey, whatever other “wacky ideas” came to him.

Law student makes most of his time here

By Neil Schoenherr on April 27, 2015 in 2015 Achieving Excellence

Third-year law student Jonathan Adair applied to Washington University in St. Louis late in his search process and made a last-minute decision to attend. Now the Chicago native, who took advantage of myriad educational and service opportunities during his time at WashU, can’t imagine wanting to go anywhere else.

Throwback Thursday: WUStock, March 24, 2013

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on April 23, 2015 in 2015 Making Memories

The Congress of the South 40 snagged one of hip hop’s biggest acts, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, for the 2013 WUStock. More than 2,000 students packed the Pageant to hear “Thrift Shop,” “Can’t Hold Us” and the duo’s other hits.

In Great Company

By Elizabethe Holland Durando on April 20, 2015 in 2015 Shaping the Future

Not many young scientists get a chance to hobnob with Nobel laureates. So Jordan McCall was elated last year to learn that he had been chosen to attend the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting — an annual gathering of Nobel laureates and young students and researchers.

Thinking on Her Feet

By Liam Otten on April 6, 2015 in 2015 Achieving Excellence

Samantha Gaitsch, a senior majoring in dance and in psychology, both in Arts & Sciences, performed with company-in-residence The Slaughter Project at Edison Theatre at Washington University in St. Louis.

Throwback Thursday: Garry Kasparov, April 2, 2012

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on March 26, 2015 in 2015 Making Memories

As a senior chess master, Mark Heimann, a senior in Arts & Sciences, has long admired Garry Kasparov, perhaps history’s greatest chess player. But that’s not what impressed him most about Kasparov’s visit to Washington University in 2012, his freshman year. “Kasparov was somewhat of a household name for me when I was growing up,” […]

Senior honorary Mortar Board inspires young writers

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on February 26, 2015 in 2015 Making Memories

Improv troupe Suspicious of Whistlers (above) was one of many campus performance groups to act out stories written by Buder Elementary students at the second annual Young Storytellers Festival, hosted by Washington University senior honorary Mortar Board.

Fun to Spare

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on February 24, 2015 in 2015 Making Memories

Robert Landis, a senior in Arts & Sciences, participates in the Danforth University Center’s first-ever human bowling tournament Feb. 21.

Schmidt brings ‘listening ear’ to his writing

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on February 19, 2015 in 2015 Achieving Excellence

John Schmidt, a senior in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is the white playwright behind Black Anthology. In past productions, Schmidt has tackled profiling, post-racial politics, bias within the black community and the insidious ways prejudice persists on college campuses.


2013-2014

Connie Shao

Reflecting on how experiences can shape dreams

By Barbara Rea on January 6, 2015

In everyone’s life there are pivotal moments that could change the future, but whether or not they do depends on recognizing their meaning and value.

Esther Barker

Research sparks empathy

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

Esther Barker, a financial accounting assistant in radiation oncology at the Washington University School of Medicine, has no plans to switch careers now that she has earned a history degree from University College in Arts & Sciences.

Bringing ecotourism home

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

“Unfortunately all of the people who come here to float or hike drive straight through the towns,” said Andrew Sheeley, who grew up in the Ozarks. “They don’t stop at local businesses or get to know the local people.”

Kasey Joyce

On to the next big thing

By Neil Schoenherr on January 6, 2015

Kasey Joyce, former reporter for KSDK-TV in St. Louis and president of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Association at Olin Business School, has been highly involved with entrepreneurship in her two years in the MBA program.

Serving the poor in Honduras

By Leslie McCarthy on January 6, 2015

“Prior to attending the Brown School I volunteered for a year in Honduras.

Christina “Nina” Marino

Improving other women’s quality of life

By staff writers on January 6, 2015

Christina “Nina” Marino will receive a doctorate in physical therapy at Commencement, after which she will begin a clinical residency in women’s health.

Abigail (Abby) Fraeman

Her head (and heart) in the stars

By Barbara Rea on January 6, 2015

Abigail (Abby) Fraeman’s love of space really took off during middle school when her father brought home a telescope.

Sarah Raven

A strong career trajectory

By Neil Schoenherr on January 6, 2015

Sarah Raven, a master’s candidate in the BS/MS program in mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, will start work in July as a structural analysis engineer at The Boeing Company, working with military aircraft.

Grace Feenstra

Gaining real-world perspective

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

Grace Feenstra, an Annika Rodriguez Scholar who majored in economics and urban studies in Arts & Sciences, will join other WUSTL classmates and alums at Bain & Company in Dallas where she will work as an associate consultant.

From fighting fires to fighting disease

By staff writers on January 6, 2015

Ryan Rimer has wanted to be a physician since he was 10. It just took a little longer than usual to make that happen.

Luis Lopez-Blazquez - airport model

A model student

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

In the days before 9/11, Luis Lopez-Blazquez would explore the airfields of Miami International Airport with his father, a civil engineer there.

Danielle Wu

Interacting with the artists she has studied

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

As a Katzenberger Foundation Art History intern at the Smithsonian Institute, Danielle Wu will help curators run the annual Folklife Festival, which draws a million visitors to the National Mall each year.

Helina Woldekiros

Sifting the sands of time

By Gerry Everding on January 6, 2015

Doctoral candidate in anthropology Helina Woldekiros’ research on ancient salt caravans in her native Ethiopia brings her to the Danakil Depression, among the hottest and lowest places on Earth.

Brittaney Bethea

Joining the fight against heart disease and stroke

By Leslie Gibson McCarthy on January 6, 2015

Shortly after graduation, Brittaney Bethea, who will receive her master’s degree in public health from the Brown School, will move back to her hometown of Atlanta, Ga., to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Michael Savala and Elaine Stokes

Architecture students found magazine, find voice

By Liam Otten on January 6, 2015

“Architecture is something that people take for granted,” said Michael Savala, a senior architecture major in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.

Courting success

By Chris Mitchell on January 6, 2015

Tim Cooney grew up in St. Louis and rarely had a place where his friends could gather and play a pick-up game of basketball.

Look at Kuumba’s 2014 Lookbook

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

Kuumba is an online media platform showcasing Washington University’s creative community.

Maximiliaan Schillebeeckx

Venturing out

By staff writers on January 6, 2015

Maximiliaan “Maxim” Schillebeeckx is a founding member of The Biotechnology and Life Science Advising Group (BALSA), a nonprofit led by Washington University graduate students and postdoctoral students.

Fresh Prints

Entrepreneurship down to a T

By Gerry Everding on January 6, 2015

There’s no shortage of competition in the T-shirt market, but student entrepreneurs and Fresh Prints founders Josh Arbit and Jacob Goodman have carved out a profitable niche by focusing on custom apparel for college students.

tote green group photo

Greening campus

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

A roll of cookie dough is no more secure in a disposable bag than a backpack. And water is no cooler from a plastic bottle than a box.

De Andrea Nichols at CGIU14

A catalyst for change

By Leslie Gibson McCarthy on January 6, 2015

If you saw any pictures from the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University at Arizona State University, there was the Brown School’s De Andrea Nichols onstage opening night, among a group of five students selected from a large pool of participants for their exemplary projects.

Austin Spurlock - Dot-Bike

Spreading smiles

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

Happiness doesn’t just happen, said senior Austin Spurlock, founder of campus positivity group Do One Thing (DOT). It takes a good attitude, a generous spirit and, sometimes, bubble wrap.

Ambika Subramaniam in one of her "Framed Seats" series.

Sitting on top of the world

By Liam Otten on January 6, 2015

Ambika Subramaniam is a sculpture major in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts with a minor in film and media studies in Arts & Sciences.

They wrote the book

By staff writers on January 6, 2015

When Washington University School of Medicine students Elisabeth Askin and Nathan Moore wanted to learn more about the nation’s health care system, the majority of resources they found were narrowly focused, opinion-based publications or dense reference books.

Cambodian children - photo by J. Rowley

Improving public health here and abroad

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

Jennifer Rowley was a kid herself when she volunteered at a Cambodian orphanage. Every child there had lost a parent to AIDS; many were HIV positive.

arch extrusion on Eads bridge

Building, transforming

By Liam Otten on January 6, 2015

The Eads Bridge is a St. Louis jewel, a historic landmark and a wonder of open steel framing.

Yin Xiuzhen, Portable City­Hangzhou, 2011. Suitcase, clothes, magnifying glass, map, sound element, 11 x 59 13/16 x 34 5/8″

Designing solutions

By Liam Otten on January 6, 2015

Curating a museum exhibition is never a small task. For an undergraduate student, it’s a rare opportunity.

Dominic Sanford

With precision

By Allison Braun on January 6, 2015

Dominic Sanford, MD, (right) is on track to be a “star surgical oncologist,” according to his mentor and program director, Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH.

WashULaw - achievements

Victory!

By Jessica Martin on January 6, 2015

The School of Law’s competition teams – the Jessup Team and the Trial Teams – scored big in both national and international competitions.

Austin French

MBA students impress international corporation

By Neil Schoenherr on January 6, 2015

A Belgian company was so impressed with the efforts of a group of Olin Business School MBA students to map out a U.S. market entry strategy, the company made the trip to St. Louis to further interact with the students, marking the first time an international practicum partner has visited the school.

Kristy Okada

Ready, set, hack!

By Neil Schoenherr on January 6, 2015

A group of WUSTL students known collectively as “The Force” won the $50,000 top prize during GlobalHack’s first 48-hour ‘hackathon’ held Jan. 31-Feb. 2 in St. Louis.

Vanessa Ridaura

Listening to your gut (microbes)

By Caroline Arbanas on January 6, 2015

Vanessa Ridaura, PhD, a graduate student in molecular genetics and genomics, will leave the university with an honor that recognizes a graduate student whose laboratory endeavors bridge basic research and clinical medicine.

Rebecca Gernes

Breathe of fresh air

By Leslie Gibson McCarthy on January 6, 2015

Rebecca Gernes came to the Brown School with an interest in studying the role geography, or place, played in public health equity.

Raymond “Bamvi” Fohtung

In his father’s footsteps and beyond

By staff writers on January 6, 2015

As a child in Cameroon, in west Central Africa, Raymond “Bamvi” Fohtung watched his father, a family physician, care for neighbors and others in his community. Inspired, he decided that he, too, would become a doctor one day.

Keep it simple? No way.

By Neil Schoenherr on January 6, 2015

Washington University students’ Green Machine, an elaborate machine built solely to zip a zipper, took second place at the Rube Goldberg 2014 College Nationals April 12 in Columbus, Ohio.

A scat-sniffing dog named Pinkerton

By Diana Lutz on January 6, 2015

Joseph Orkin, a graduate student in anthropology in Arts & Sciences, won both the “audience’s choice” and “judge’s choice” awards at the St. Louis FameLab held Feb. 22, advancing to the national competition.

Fashion sense

By Liam Otten on January 6, 2015

Camille Lynn Wright, a fashion major in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, traveled to Senegal as part of a six-week independent research project with the African and African-American Studies program in Arts & Sciences.

Rhodes Scholar credits campus life for shaping him

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

he 27th Rhodes Scholar from Washington University, Joshua Aiken earned a number of honors throughout the past four years. He served as a Humanity in Action American Fellow (2013), a U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission Summer Institute participant (2012) and a U.S. House of Representatives legislative intern (2012).

Ken Zheng

Helping in the Classroom

By Diane Toroian Keaggy and Allison Braun on January 6, 2015

As a freshman, Ken Zheng, a computer science student in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, founded Making Music Matters, which offered free violin lessons to students in one local school.

Caroline Fish

Voices that inspire

By Leslie Gibson McCarthy on January 6, 2015

It was an interest in law and social work that led Caroline Fish to a Brown School practicum in the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Missouri, but it is an interest in stopping gender-based violence and human trafficking that is leading Fish to continue her work on a volunteer basis long after the practicum ended.

Sarah Kay Hendred

Improving the quality of life

By Allison Braun on January 6, 2015

Anjali Nigam and Sarah Kay Hendred, both graduate students in the Program in Occupational Therapy at the School of Medicine, have volunteered their skills to help people from other countries improve their quality of life.

Alpha Phi Omega

Combining friendship with service

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

Every year, APO members donate some 6,000 hours to community service initiatives on and off campus.

Allie Harris - Program in Physical Therapy

Choosing service for winter break

By Allison Braun on January 6, 2015

During winter break, Allie Harris helped organize a mission trip to Guatemala for third-year students in the Program in Physical Therapy at the School of Medicine.

Advocating for juvenile justice

By Diane Toroian Keaggy on January 6, 2015

The law calls them thieves, addicts, even murderers. But to Rose McCarty, the detainees at St. Louis' Juvenile Detention Center are just kids.

Mike McLaughlin - Hike4Kids

For the Kids

By Neil Schoenherr on January 6, 2015

Mike McLaughlin hiked more than 2,500 miles to raise money for children.

WashULaw - Public Service

True Dedication

By Jessica Martin on January 5, 2015

Service is an integral component of a Washington University legal education.

Class Acts - Memories

Class Acts: Making Memories

By Teresa on May 14, 2014

Between the hours in the lecture hall and the lab, there was dancing in the Quad, cheering at Francis Field and tug-of-war in the Swamp. Here graduating students reminisce about some of their most memorable moments at Washington University in St. Louis.

Class Acts: Shaping the Future

By Teresa on May 13, 2014

The future is bright for Washington University in St. Louis’ Class of 2014. The following stories offer a sampling of where our graduates are headed now that their WUSTL adventure has drawn to a close.

Class Acts - Innovation

Class Acts: Sparking Innovation

By Teresa on May 12, 2014

Great ideas abound at Washington University in St. Louis. The following stories offer a glimpse into the Class of 2014’s many innovative endeavors.

Class Acts - Achievement

Class Acts: Achieving Excellence

By Teresa on May 11, 2014

Washington University in St. Louis students aren’t waiting until they graduate to achieve great things. The following stories recount just some of the successes already garnered by the Class of 2014.

Class Acts - Community Service

Class Acts: Serving the Community

By Kenneth on May 10, 2014

During their time at Washington University in St. Louis, these graduating students have created a better future for children — and improved the lives of adults — through a broad spectrum of service activities.