Jack Aaronson wearing black vest and smiling at the camera

Jack Aaronson ’97 majored in Computer Science and doubled with an interdisciplinary Music/Theatre major. After graduating, he worked as a lead software developer at an AI think tank in Cambridge, MA. He then moved to NYC and started the Personalization department at Barnes& For 11 years he helmed his own consulting company, designing large Ecommerce websites like H& He currently runs a social media/content creator platform geared toward the queer community and employs a 100% queer staff.



Jean-Robert smiling in a suit against a blue background

Jean-Robert Andre ’07 is a proud Haitian-American with roots in Queens, NY. In his almost two-decade career as educator, he has taught almost every grade from Kindergarten through 12th. He is currently the Director of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging at the Grace Church School in Manhattan, where he oversees programming and strategic planning around diversity, equity, antiracism, and inclusion efforts for all constituents of the school community. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Amherst College, where he discovered his passion for teaching, and earned his Master’s degree at Bank Street College of Education. Jean-Robert is a member of the New York State Association of Independent School’s Diversity Committee and is a recent alum of the Association’s Emerging Leaders Institute. He has presented at several conferences including the New York State Association of Independent Schools’ Diversity Symposium and the National Association of Episcopal Schools DEI Conference. Jean-Robert is a Board member on the People of Color in Independent Schools (PoCIS) organization, as well as the Sylvia Center, an organization tackling childhood diet-related diseases through culinary education. When not working, Jean-Robert is an avid traveler and 90’s music enthusiast who lives with his husband, Christian, and cat, Clara, in Brooklyn.

Headshot of Anuja

Anuja Ankola-Rochetti ’09 is a queer South Asian, neurodivergent, cisgender woman who has worked throughout her career to connect corporate and non-profit worlds in service of justice. Anuja’s pride and joy is her toddler whom she has the privilege of raising with her wife, Adrienne. Being a parent inspires Anuja’s efforts to ensure that all students have access to a joyful learning environment.

An expert in development and management, Anuja has a background in nurturing positive and productive relationships between organizations. Currently Anuja is a Director within the Global Client Group at American Express where she leads a portfolio of merchants and creates strategies to drive overall growth. She also actively serves on her organization’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging Council. Throughout her career, Anuja has produced multiple fundraising events for incredible organizations including the NYC LGBTQ Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and the Hudson River Park Trust. This work has raised critical funds to support Anuja’s many communities.

With deep roots formed by living decades in New York City, Anuja, Adrienne, and their little toddler currently reside in Park Slope. As a three-time DIII NCAA Tennis Finalist who married NYU’s former point guard, Anuja & Adrienne can now be found getting even more exercise chasing their inexhaustible toddler around the park, beach, neighborhood, their apartment, and anywhere else he can climb. In her spare time Anuja enjoys exploring different neighborhoods around the city, checking out new restaurants (especially ones with gluten free options for Adrienne), cooking dinner for her queer community, and thinking of creative ways to scaffold and shape her child’s learning.

Alaina Daniels '09 wearing a black dress

Alaina Daniels ’09 has devoted her career in education to elevating the voices of her transgender sisters and siblings in order to center, celebrate and protect transgender youth. A white, queer, neurodivergent, nonbinary trans woman, Alaina loves being both a mirror and a window for adolescents as they figure out their identities and find their voices in the world. They are currently the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Trans formative Schools. Alaina has taught middle and high school science, activism, sex education, robotics, engineering, algebra, and queer media at New York City schools for over ten years including at Manhattan Country School, Bank Street School for Children, Brooklyn Friends, and the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.

Alaina has a long history of helping others learn to strive for liberation in their educational practice and presents her work on social justice education and research at institutions across the country.. Alaina was one of the co-founders of the NYC Trans Educator Network and has served on several boards. Their work has also contributed to Black Lives Matter at NYC Schools. She passionately believes that science and math can be incredibly powerful tools to educate for liberation.

Growing up, she wanted to be the first person on Mars, a lighthouse operator, or a pirate. Part of her still hopes to do all three. Whenever they are not teaching or organizing with other rad educators, Alaina likes to play roller derby, sail, bike, or make a delicious mess (and clean it up) in her tiny East Village kitchen.

Nick wearing arctic gear and smiling in a snowy landscape

Nick Holschuh is an Assistant Professor of Geology. His research focuses on the past, present, and future of the Antarctic Ice Sheet using observational geophysics. He completed my Ph.D. at Penn State through an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship as a student of Dr. Richard Richard Alley and Dr. Sridhar Anandakrishnan. While his postdoctoral research has focused on satellite remote sensing, his Ph.D. worked toward better observational methods using airborne and ground-based radar. Through electromagnetic theory, he uses radar data to make inferences about the thermal and chemical properties of the ice column, and through an understanding of the physics of ice flow, he uses imagery of the internal structure of the Antarctic Ice Sheet to reconstruct the flow history of the system.

Jagu smiling in a collared shirt with a microscope

Jagu Jagannathan is the Bruce B. Benson '43 and Lucy Wilson Benson Professor of Physics. He has spent his entire professional career as an Amherst physics professor, starting in 1981. Along the way, he has chaired the New England section of the American Physical Society and worked for six years as assistant editor of the American Journal of Physics. His research interests include theoretical particle physics, field theory and the foundations of quantum mechanics. He is a theoretical physicist, and therefore does not have a lab or do experiments. However, some of the work he has done in elementary particle physics aims to model the behavior (specifically transformations and decays) of particles that are studied experimentally in accelerators. Conversation with experimentalists and attention to what is possible to measure in the lab is important for this work. More recently, he has moved to more theoretical and formal work that is more remote from experiments. One area of current interest is the role symmetry plays in the laws of physics.

Sheila Jaswal standing in a lab

Sheila Jaswal is a Professor in the Chemistry Department and Program in Biophysics and Biochemistry and Director of the “Being Human in STEM” (HSTEM) Initiative at Amherst College. With a team of undergraduate researchers, she studies the interplay between protein stability, dynamics and function using a combined biophysical and computational approach. In spring 2016 she collaborated with students to develop the “Being Human in STEM” (HSTEM) course model in response to a campus-wide protest calling for a more welcoming and inclusive learning-living environment. In the course, students drive the academic inquiry, investigating both the local experience and the literature on diversity in STEM, then design tools and interventions to enhance their own STEM community and sense of belonging. As the HSTEM Director, she facilitates the HSTEM course in collaboration with students, staff and faculty colleagues, organizes campus and regional HSTEM events, gives talks and workshops at colleges, universities and conferences nationwide, oversees a growing HSTEM network and collaborates with HSTEM affiliates at other institutions, and shares curricular and other HSTEM resources at

Christian Larsen '00 wearing a white t-shirt

Christian Larsen ’00 is the co-founder of HAADA, a nomadic art gallery, as well as a cultural historian, professor and curator of modern and contemporary art and design with a focus on Latin America. In his capacity as the Windgate Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD, NYC) and Adjunct Assistant Professor at Bard Graduate Center (2020-23), he coordinated teaching and curatorial practices between two innovative New York institutions devoted to material culture. At MAD he presented the exhibition Worldwide Wood, examining the ecological context of various tree species represented in MAD’s collection. In his role as Associate Curator of Modern Decorative Arts and Design at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2015-2019), he organized Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical at The Met Breuer (2017). As Curator at the Wolfsonian-Florida International University (2013-15), his exhibition and catalogue Philodendron: From Pan-Latin Exotic to American Modern (2015) received an Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation Exhibition Award. As a former curator in the Architecture & Design Department, MoMA (2000-08), he organized several exhibitions including Herzog & DeMeuron: Perception Restrained (2006), Digitally Mastered (2006-07), 50 Years of Helvetica (2007-08), and Ateliers Jean Prouvé (2008-09). He received a B.A. from Amherst College (2000), M.A.(2010) and M.Phil (2013) from the Bard Graduate Center, where he is finishing his dissertation.

Mara Levi side profile

Mara Levi ’99 is a multi-instrumentalist and singer who has been studying and performing music for more than 30 years. Mara studied Jazz Composition at Amherst College where they played trumpet in the jazz ensemble and sang in the DQ and the concert choir. They have more than 10 years of experience teaching vocal, instrumental, and recorded music in Western Massachusetts and Brooklyn, NY. Mara spent 10 years as a touring singer-songwriter, releasing several solo albums and one with their band, The Pushovers. They also have a Master’s degree in music education from NYU. 

Mara identified as straight while a student at Amherst, but began their transition (first to Lesbian, then to Queer and Non-Binary) shortly after graduation. One of their most beloved songs was "the Homo Song," which poked fun at fictional parents for not accepting their queer kid. 

Since coming out, Mara has been a zealous advocate for Queer rights, organizing the Washington, DC Dyke March for several years, starting a Queer Music Festival (PhaseFest) in DC, and working with countless GSA students to learn to advocate for themselves within existing systems. They currently conduct the Northampton Pride Chorus, and do freelance web design and music lessons. 

Meghan looking into the distance in front of a river during sunset

Meghan McDonough ’16 is a filmmaker and journalist who directs and edits documentary shorts and series to better understand our world. She won Aesthetica/Audible’s Listening Pitch in 2023 to fund her documentary short Old Lesbians, which has since been commissioned by The Guardian and screened at the longstanding queer film festival BFI Flare as well as universities and community centers around the world. 

After receiving her BA in Film and Media Studies at Amherst College, Meghan won the Davis Foundation Projects for Peace Award to document the Ni Una Menos movement for gender equality in Argentina. Following stints at a news outlet in Buenos Aires and a documentary production company in Boston, she was selected for the Atlantic Media Editorial Fellowship in New York and subsequently promoted to staff video journalist on an award-winning team at Quartz. 

Her freelance work has since appeared in Scientific American, Quartz, NBC, Thomson Reuters Foundation, FiveThirtyEight, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Atlas Obscura, and has been supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. You can find her portfolio here.

John Reilly wearing a baseball cap and smiling at the camera

John R. Reilly, MD, JD ’75 practiced emergency medicine for more than 40 years, retiring in 2021 from the Washington DC Metropolitan Police and Fire Clinic. He currently serves as Vice Chairman for the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, Physicians’ Health Committee. John was also an Army Captain, serving as a Brigade Surgeon and Flight Surgeon. He obtained his B.A. in History from Amherst College, his M.D. from Georgetown University School of Medicine, and his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law.



Alex Speir in a blue jacket smiling at the camera

Alex Speir ’11 is the Director of Marketing and Audience Development for the Boston Symphony Orchestra where he is responsible for all marketing efforts for the BSO, the Boston Pops, and Tanglewood. He is also a member of the Boston Cultural Council, the city’s arts and cultural grant-making body, and is an advocate for more equitable funding for arts organizations and artists in Boston.

He grew up on a farm in Oklahoma and came to Amherst in part because Massachusetts was one of the few states where same-sex was legal in 2007. While at Amherst, Alex studied history, sang in every part of the choral society, and tried his best to broaden his horizons.

As an adult, Alex has reconnected with his indigenous roots as a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, which amended tribal law on April 18, 2022 to make marriage inclusive. He is also a member of the League of American Orchestras, Chorus America, ArtsBoston, the Boston Athenaeum, and the Boston Arts Marketing Alliance. In his free time, Alex is an amateur film photographer and avid traveler.

Angie Tissi Gassoway's side profile wearing black striped shirt

Angie Tissi-Gassoway is Chief Student Affairs Officer (CSAO) and Dean of Students at Amherst College, responsible for all functions of the Office of Student Affairs, including residential engagement and wellbeing; housing and operations; identity and cultural resources; counseling and mental health; student activities and leadership; health and community safety services; accessibility; case management; community standards; new student programs and orientation; and immigration and visa services. Tissi-Gassoway joined Amherst in July 2012 as an area coordinator in Residential Life and, since then, has held various roles in the offices of both Student Affairs and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), including Director of the Queer Resource Center; Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Identity and Cultural Resources; and Associate Dean of Students for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. During that time, she founded and served as the inaugural director of the Queer Resource Center, and helped to establish a structure and expansion of the College’s cultural and identity resource centers. 

Sam Young '23

Sam Young ’23 is from Union Point, Georgia but considers the Northeast home. They graduated with a degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics with a focus on biochemistry and many interspersed fine arts courses. They plan to pursue a graduate degree in biology or biochemistry, with the end goal of becoming a staff scientist. Their positive experiences participating and co-facilitating Amherst’s Being Human in STEM course sparked their interest in restorative practices, and they hope to bring the ideology into laboratory science’s structure to promote growth and wellbeing in the field. Working with the Center for Restorative Practices has helped give a name to practices they were already dedicated to in their personal life, and they are excited to see how much more they will learn in their time here. They believe working with the CRP will help further the sense of community they strive to create at the college, and help cultivate their own skills in conflict resolution and repair for wherever the world takes them.

As an Amherst student, Sam worked as both a research assistant for Professor Jaswal in the chemistry department and worked under Jason Williams, the college’s Chemical Hygiene Officer. They also served as the president of oSTEM at Amherst College, and as a percussionist in the Amherst Symphony Orchestra. During their downtime, you can find Sam drawing or cooking, racking up hours in their favorite platformers and roguelike video games, or incessantly tinkering with their home PC setup.

Viv Young '19 wearing a white shirt smiling at the camera

Vivid “Viv” Young 19 is a teacher, sister, daughter, auntie, artist, writer, and transgender Jewish woman. In the fall of 2024, Vivid will begin her Master’s of Library and Information Science at Simmons University. She aims to become an academic instruction librarian. Since 2021, Vivid has taught middle school humanities in Springfield, Massachusetts. She began her medical and social transition during her first semester teaching, and she is currently the sole trans woman on her school’s staff. During the 2021 to 2022 academic year, Vivid founded and facilitated a meeting group for LGBTQ+ staff at her middle school. She has formerly served as a 2019 Five College Digital Humanities Undergraduate Fellow, and as the final Post-Baccalaureate Fellow for the Five College Blended Learning and Digital Humanities initiative. Despite majoring in English and French, and receiving the Five College Certificates in Native American and Indigenous Studies, Vivid’s work study positions were in the geology department, as a teaching assistant and Beneski Museum tour guide. During the 2016 summer, she was the inaugural Community Outreach Intern at Out Boulder County in Boulder, Colorado, organizing her local Pride festival. Vivid has also written creatively for the Trans Halakha Project at Svara, and created artwork for the 5784 Radical Jewish Calendar, synthesizing her ongoing investment in social justice movements with her trans-feminine and diasporist Jewish identities.