Haiti, Morocco, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Suriname
By JoAnna Haugen on Friday, March 19th, 2010
Paula Egan-Wright (85-87) recently returned from Haiti, where she spent 10 days translating for doctors, dentists and patients at a clinic in Port-au-Prince. Since returning to the United States, Egan-Wright has undertaken a number of initiatives to help raise money and collect supplies for the country. She and her students are participating in a walk for water in conjunction with World Water Day; the funds they raise will go toward a well for Maissade, Haiti. Egan-Wright is also helping an orphanage in Les Cayes by developing a secure website for the organization, working on securing scholarships at a local community college for three young men from Haiti whose schools were destroyed by the earthquake and creating medical kits, which will accompany a physician’s assistant on a future trip to the country. She is also designing a calendar made of her sketches that she plans to sell to raise money.
The Wikimedia Foundation recently hired Danese Cooper (81-82) as its chief technical officer. In her new position, Cooper will oversee the foundation’s technical strategy and tech team, which includes Wikipedia. She is the only female CTO in the top 10 websites, a member of the Apache Software Foundation and serves on the board of the Open Source Initiative. Prior to joining Wikimedia Foundation, Cooper worked at Intel, Sun Microsystems and REvolution.
Four days after the earthquake in Haiti, Myk Manon (70-73) and two other power specialists from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association were in the country to help restore electricity. All four power plants serving Port-au-Prince were offline and power lines were strewn everywhere, but Manon and his colleagues had the first of the four plants running within 10 days of the earthquake. Two of the four plants are now back online and service has since been restored to 25 percent of the country’s customers, including to critical areas such as the University Hospital.
The Chester United Methodist Church has voiced its support to authorize Bill Novak (04-07) to begin the process of becoming a United Methodist pastor. He will now enter the supervision of the Yellowstone Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and become a student in seminary to prepare for a career in the clergy. Novak received his bachelor’s degree from Whitman College and is about to complete his master’s degree from the University of Montana. After serving in the Peace Corps, he worked as the coordinator of the agricultural sector for the Peace Corps in Paraguay.
Jeff Follett (02-04) has been working as the South America program officer for Trees for the Future since 2008. The organization teams up with Peace Corps volunteers to provide resources for reforestation and agroforestry projects; Brazil is currently the cornerstone of the South America program. Follett received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and graduate degrees from American University and the University for Peace.