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David Hoffman, Alex White Named Top Entrepreneurs by Businessweek

Entrepreneurs (from left) David Hoffman (BS09), Alex White (BS08) and Samir Rayani started
Entrepreneurs (from left) David Hoffman (BS09), Alex White (BS08) and Samir Rayani started

Bloomberg Businessweek named Next Big Sound co-founders David Hoffman (BS09), Alex White (BS08) and Samir Rayani to its list of top 25 young entrepreneurs for 2011. Their online business, nextbigsound. com, gives bands a tool to track fans’ social media interest. The co-founders developed the idea for an undergraduate entrepreneurship class at Northwestern, and the company is growing quickly.

Megha Agrawal

Megha Agrawal (BS10) of Boulder, Colo., is director of the Unreasonable Institute, which supports entrepreneurs who tackle environmental and social problems.

Becky Komarek (MS10) of Chicago, an academic counselor at Northwestern, was chosen as a leadership fellow through the Center for Leadership for 2012.

Ben Shapiro (PhD10) of Madison, Wis., and his research group at the University of Wisconsin received a $2.7 million National Science Foundation grant for their project to develop a Facebook game teaching about biomedical imaging and cancer treatment.

Kathryn Balestreri

Kathryn Balestreri (BS11) of Monterey, Calif., won a Fulbright fellowship to work on improving education in Guatemala.

Cassie Hart

Cassie Hart (PhD11) of Davis, Calif., was awarded the honorable mention for the Dissertation Award of the Association for Public Policy and Analysis. She is an assistant professor of education policy at the University of California-Davis.


Jordan Heinz (BS02) of Chicago, an associate at Kirkland & Ellis, was named a partner in the law firm’s intellectual property practice.

Tondra Loder- Jackson

Tondra Loder- Jackson (PhD02) of Birmingham, Ala., now serves as associate director of the Center for Urban Education at the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s School of Education. She is an associate professor in the Educational Foundations Program.

Stefanie DeLuca

Stefanie DeLuca (PhD03) of Baltimore, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University, received two grants to study the educational consequences of a housing desegregation program. She was also invited to join the MacArthur Foundation’s Network on Housing and Families with Children.

Keeana Barber (BS04) of Calumet City, Ill., is president of WCB Marketing, her own firm specializing in marketing and branding.

Susanna Calkins (MS05) of Highland Park, Ill., and Andrew Seidler (MS10) of Knoxville, Tenn., had their article “Faculty Perceptions of Relevance in Teaching and Learning” published in the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

Shannon Kennedy (MS06) of Chicago was promoted to senior assistant director of admission at Northwestern University.

Lauren Parnell Marino (BS06) of Washington, D.C., works for Ashoka, a nonprofit organization that supports social entrepreneurship.

Emily Selden (MS08) of Des Moines started her own college admission counseling business last year. She helps families and students through the college search and application process.

John Wilkin (MS08) of Barrington, Ill., accepted a position as vice president for administration and business affairs at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio.

Kelly Kirkpatrick (BS09) of Mountain View, Calif., is one of 12 recipients of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship. At University College Cork she will study charitable organizations in Ireland.

Neal Sales- Griffin

Neal Sales- Griffin (BS09) of Chicago is CEO of Code Academy, a software development school he co-founded.

Laura Schutt (MS09) of South Bend, Ind., was promoted to assistant director of admission at St. Mary’s College. She coordinates the school’s multicultural recruitment efforts.


Nadine Moore (MS90) of Hinsdale, Ill., joined insurance broker Lockton as a senior vice president.

Maureen Mickus (PhD94) of Marshall, Mich., an associate professor of occupational therapy at Western Michigan University, received a 2011- 12 Distinguished Teaching Award.

George Spatz (BS96) of Chicago was promoted from associate to partner in the Chicago office of McGuireWoods.

Pat Fitzgerald (BS97) of Evanston was elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Football Coaches Association.

Marjorie Gantman (BS97) of Chicago, a former tennis pro, was appointed director of marketing for Midtown Athletic Clubs.

Aaron K. Olson (MS98) of Chicago has become global head of talent development and chief learning officer for Aon Hewitt consulting firm.

Eric Brown (MS99) of Chicago, a member of the National Education Association board of directors, met with President Obama to discuss education reform in September. He is a teacher at Evanston Township High School.

Kevin Roy

Kevin Roy (PhD99) of University Park, Md., an associate professor at the University of Maryland, published a new book, Nurturing Dads, about social initiatives for contemporary fatherhood.


Mary DiStanislao (MA/MS80) recently began serving in the newly created role of executive vice president at Marquette University.

Kelly O’Donnell (BS87) of Washington, D.C., a Capitol Hill correspondent for NBC News, was inducted into the Press Club of Cleveland Hall of Fame. She is a keynote speaker at A Day with Northwestern on April 14.

Mitch Glazier (BS88) of Bethesda, Md., was promoted to senior executive vice president for the Recording Industry Association of America.


Richard G. Zalman (MA73, PhD76) of Parlin, N.J., is adjunct professor of business at Metropolitan College of New York and has written online courses for undergraduate and graduate students.

Jan Half

Jan Half (BS75) of San Mateo, Calif., program director of the nonprofit organization MOUSE Squad of California, received the inaugural 2011 STEM Benchmark Award in Technology from the Silicon Valley Education Foundation.

Titia Dick Ellis (MS/MS77) of Woodstock, Vt., wrote The Search: A Memoir of an Adopted Woman. She and her husband, William Ellis (MS/ MS76), founded the All One Family Fund, which benefits children at risk.

Ronald J. Knox (BS78) of Seattle, an attorney and partner at Garvey Schubert Barer law firm, was selected for 2011 Washington Super Lawyers.


June E. Thompson (BS61, MA65) of Portola Valley, Calif., executive director of the California Association of Student Councils, published “Developing a System for Student Feedback to Teachers” in California Schools.

George Platt (BS63) of Mabank, Texas, was named executive chairman of ViewCast Corporation, a provider of digital media solutions.

Nancy Wendt

Nancy Wendt Sindelar (BS66) of Chicago published Using Test Data for Student Achievement. She works with schools on curriculum standards, test data and teacher performance.


Richard Wiley (BS55) of Arlington, Va., assumed the role of chairman of the law firm Wiley Rein.