Class Notes, Fall 2014

October 1, 2014


David Amram, BA ’52, is a classical and jazz musician. He continues to compose and conduct at age 84. A pioneer of the jazz French horn, he composed the score for the film The Manchurian Candidate among many other works. “I always think of Dean Kayser and the GW History Department and hope I can be 1/10th as inspirational as he was in getting anyone to see, hear and STUDY the history of the present world in which we all live.”

Luis A. Blandon, BA ’85, is a managing partner of a firm that collaborates with production firms and documentarians to conduct background research, write scripts and treatments, conduct interviews, direct, produce and create content. Current projects include documentaries on Chinese immigration to the west from 1848 to 1906 and the life of George Washington.

Michael Jabara Carley, BA ’67, Professeur titulaire, Département d'histoire, Université de Montréal, just published: Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early Soviet-Western Relations (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2014). He is presently on leave doing research in Moscow.

Sara Lynne Falk, BA ’11, graduated from American University Washington College of Law and is now a Presidential Management Fellow at the United States Department of Labor in OSHA-Directorate of Whistleblower Protection Programs.

Christina Firpo, BA ’00, received a MA and PhD in Southeast Asian history from UCLA. She is currently an associate professor of Southeast Asian history at CalPoly University in San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Jonathan David Flack, BA ’10, is a second-year law student at NYU School of Law with interests in civil litigation, international arbitration and civil rights law. Prior to law school he worked in Congress as an intern in Representative Hank Johnson’s (Georgia) office and then as a legislative aide for Representative Carolyn McCarthy (New York).

Jillian Foley, BA ’09, lives in the Greater Boston area and is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts. She currently works as a legislative aide in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Joseph Frechette, BA ’95, MA ’98, is living in the D.C. area working as a staff historian for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command. He is also working on his dissertation in ancient history at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Miranda Gendel, BA ’11, is working in donor relations at the GW School of Business Development office, and is a master's candidate in GW's American Studies program, focusing on Cold War history.

Jeremy Hodgkin, BA ’00, resides in Burke, Va. He earned an MBA from the University of Mary Washington and is a management consultant.

Sora Jennifer Kim, BA ’05, works for Community Legal Aid in Worcester, Mass., representing homeowners and tenants who have foreclosure-related issues.

Bonnie Wernik Levine, BA ’73, is a commercial marine insurance broker in Boston, and remembers her undergraduate days as turbulent and fascinating times at GW. “Leo’s served sandwiches for fifty cents.” She married Larry Levine, BA ’73, in 1977.

Benjamin Linden, BA ’10, spent a year teaching English in South Korea. He then returned home to New York and started working at Asia Society, where he administered the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative.

Darren Menaker, BA ’00, is vice president and financial advisor at Bernstein Global Wealth Management in Los Angeles and is currently chair the Los Angeles GW Alumni Association.

Peter Otlans, BA ’06, graduated in the spring from Boston University medical school. While there, he founded the Boston University School of Medicine Historical Society.

Mark Plotkin, BA ’69, received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from George Washington University in 2014. He took the occasion to remember "fabulous former history professors: Robert Kenny, Peter P. Hill, Howard Maxwell Merriman and Roderick Davison.” He is a contributor to the BBC on American politics and writes a weekly column for

Pete Peterson, BA ’89, recently ran for California secretary of state as the Republican candidate.

Wesley J. Reisser, BA ’04, has signed a contract with Oxford University Press for his second book, Energy Resources: From Science to Society, a cross-disciplinary work that includes historical vignettes on important energy issues. His first book, The Black Book: Woodrow Wilson's Secret Plan for Peace, was released earlier this year in paperback.

Michael Rhode, BA ’87, is the archivist for the U.S. Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery's history office, and has been since 2011. His latest book, The Art of Richard Thompson, will be published in November.

Brianna D. Salerno, BA ’06, graduated from the George Mason University School of Law in 2010, and is an associate at the Carlberg Law Firm in Alexandria, Va., where she practices family law.

Lorenz P. Schrenk, BA ’54, and his wife Ann S. Schrenk, BA ’54, recently moved to Roseville, Minn. The final volume in Lorenz's five-volume series on the history of the Northern Pacific Railway was published last year.

Jason Steinhauer, BA ’02, manages programs and communications for The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, a scholars’ center within the library. He brings scholars from around the world to the library to use the collections and communicates the research to policymakers and the public.

Abbie Weiser, BA ’02, is an archivist in the Special Collections department of the University of Texas at El Paso Library. During the past two years, she has had several research articles published in Password, the journal of the El Paso County Historical Society.

James Zarsadiaz, BA ’08, is assistant professor of history at the University of San Francisco where he teaches courses on urbanism, Asian American studies and the U.S. West. He received his PhD in history from Northwestern University in June 2014.


Charlene Bangs Bickford, MA ’69, co-editor and director of GW's First Federal Congress Project, was awarded the Roger R. Trask Award of the Society for History in the Federal Government at the SHFG’s 2014 annual meeting. This award recognized Bickford's contributions to federal history, both through her work on the 20 volumes of the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 published to date and through her decades of service as an advocate for federal support for history.

Kathleen Bartoloni-Tuazon, PhD ’10, is the author of the newly-published For Fear of an Elective King: George Washington and the Presidential Title Controversy of 1789 (Cornell University Press, 2014). Kathleen is affiliated with the First Federal Congress Project in Washington, D.C. For Fear of an Elective King was recommended in the "Hot Type" section of the October 2014 Vanity Fair, and she recently penned an op-ed that was featured on the front page of "Ideas" in the September 21, 2014, Boston Globe.

Neil Bhatiya, MA ’09, is a policy associate at The Century Foundation, a nonpartisan progressive think tank located in New York City, where he writes about climate change policy, with a special focus on South Asia.

Christopher Bright, MPhil ’03, PhD ’06, is the staff director of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services in the U.S. House of Representatives. In July 2014, he completed a four year term on the GW Board of Trustees.

Jared Hall, MA ’10, lives in Beijing, China, where he serves as assistant dean of Peking University High School’s Dalton Academy, a program that prepares Chinese high school students for university study abroad. He also teaches courses in history and politics.

Tate Jones, MA ’96, is the executive director of the Rocky Mountain Museum of Military History in Fort Missoula, Montana. A PhD candidate at the University of Missoula, he is the author of Images of America: Fort Missoula (2013).

Keith A. Kenny, MA ’80, retired from a career as an intelligence analyst in 2012 and built a chalet in the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Wintergreen Resort. There he lives with his wife and two dogs and “writes commentaries under the cover of science fiction.”

Joseph Kirschbaum, PhD ’08, was recently selected to be a director in the U.S. Government Accountability Office's Defense Capabilities and Management team, where he leads congressional-mandated and requested reviews of defense-related programs in homeland defense, cyber operations, weapons of mass destruction, defense intelligence, antiterrorism and strategic force. He is working on a book manuscript based on his 2008 dissertation on the U.S. Navy's expansion during the First World War.

Lura Lee, MA ’99, runs BackInTime Historical Consulting and was retained as a resource for an upcoming TV show called The Astronaut Wives Club which will air on ABC next season. She currently resides in Tampa, Fla.

Angela Matysiak, PhD ’05, went on to get her MPH from GW’s Milken Institute School of Public Health in 2012. Her most recent publication, Health & Well-being: Science, Medical Education, and Public Health, is a history of the Rockefeller Foundation's philanthropic efforts to promote health and well-being. She is vice-president of the Policy Studies Organization in Washington, D.C., and editor at Westphalia Press, Library of Public Health.

Whitney Tarella Landis, MA ’09, and Michael Landis, PhD ’11, are living in the Fort Worth, Texas, area where he is an assistant professor, and she works from home as an editor. His first book Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis has just been published by the Cornell University Press.

Mike Nau, MA ’13, has been promoted to the rank of major and is currently assigned to US Army-Central Command in South Carolina. After returning from his fourth deployment in the Mid-East, he was assigned as a strategic planner, and works on developing various plans and operations for the region.

Larry Price, MA ’81, has been a teacher most of his adult life, including stints in Chicago, the Central African Republic and the Chesapeake Bay area. Currently he is a history teacher (world history and U.S. history) in suburban Detroit. "I fondly remember many folks, but especially Professors Linda Lear and James Horton."

William A. Taylor, PhD ’10, is assistant professor of security studies at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. Taylor won several grants to research Every Citizen a Soldier: The Campaign for Universal Military Training after World War II, which was published with Texas A&M University Press in 2014.