Cameroon, Colombia, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Lithuania, Nicaragua, Philippines, Romania
By JoAnna Haugen on Friday, November 5th, 2010
Alon Ferency (97-99) recently became a rabbi at Heska Amuna Synagogue in Sequoyah Hills in Tennessee. Prior to this position, he worked on the 2000 presidential campaign, as a substitute third grade teacher and in the music industry. Ferency has his master’s degree in Jewish education from Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City.
Dave Stock (69-72) runs Stock Seed Farms, a major national supplier of native grass and wildflower seeds. The company is one of seven entities to be named as a recipient of the Omaha World-Herald’s 2010 Master Conservationist awards. Stock is the fifth generation to farm land first homesteaded in the 1860s. He received his degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Bonnie Lee Black (96-98) was a writer/editor and chef/caterer in New York City for many years before she joined the Peace Corps. Since returning home, she has written two memoirs about her time in Africa. How to Cook a Crocodile: A Memoir with Recipes was just published. Her second book, Patchwork: A Memoir of Mali, is the sequel and has not yet been published. Black is a graduate of Columbia University in New York and holds an MFA in creative writing from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She currently teaches English and creative nonfiction writing at the University of New Mexico in Taos.
Montana State University recently presented “Roosts,” a series of photographs by Amanda Breitbach Ragsdale. The series is about slowing down and taking the opportunity to enjoy the spaces in between. Ragsdale is a 2004 graduate of MSU.
Amy Burtaine (95-97) is the newly appointed director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Interactive Theatre Carolina program, which uses acting to highlight social issues on campus. Burtaine trained in Brazil with the Theatre of the Oppressed and has built a career using theatre to spark dialogue on health, wellness and social justice issues. Prior to her appointment at UNC, Burtaine worked as an actor / facilitator for Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Programs in Denver, Colorado, where, among other projects, she led an arts residency with teenagers with disabilities and ran an internship where college actors toured a play about healthy eating and active living to more than 11,000 elementary school students. She also taught courses in theatre for social change as adjunct faculty at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Burtaine is a graduate of Brown University.
Michael Blasi (98-00) is in his 24th year at Farmers Insurance. A commercial property representative, he was given a leave of absence from his job to serve in the Peace Corps. Blasi participates in the Speaker’s Match program and is also a volunteer at the Southeast Asia Center in Chicago, where he has been on the board of directors since 2000.
Ruth King has been selected as one of the nation’s top principals by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. She was an elementary school administrator for 20 years and spent 18 of those years at Homer Elementary School in New York, where she retired from this past June. King received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Corland.
In response to the waste many people create, Leslie Kelly Shockley (96-98) launched Tea with Iris. The business showcases products including children’s clothes, potholders, produce bags and bibs she has created from “upcycling” old items such as pillowcases, fabrics and nonrecyclable materials.
Dr. Sean Cotter is among 20 recipients of a 2011 Literature Fellowship for Translation Projects from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will support the translation from the Romanian of Belgrade in Five Friends and Other Poems by Nichita Stanescu into English. Cotter is an associate professor of translation studies, international modernist literature and Romanian literature at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has a doctorate degree from the University of Michigan and was honored with the PEN Southwest Book Award for Translation and the Institute of Romanian Culture award for Extraordinary Contributions to the Promotion of Romanian Literature through Translation in 2009.