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Alumni

Variations on a Theme: The Many Drafts of Writers' Lives

Friday, May 30, 2014

From the sensational to the sublime, there are many incarnations of the writer’s life. Please join us for a discussion with Debby Applegate ’89, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer; Margaret Stohl ’89, bestselling co-author of the Beautiful Creatures novels; and Juli Berwald '89, a science writer based in Austin, TX who is writing Spineless, a book about jellyfish, the most overlooked but iconic creature of our time. The panel will be moderated by Stacey Sklar ’89, who currently teaches English in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a former member of the California Young Reader Medal Committee (2009–2011) and has been a member of California’s Curriculum Study Commission since 2000. Presented by the Class of 1989.

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01_Many Drafts 20140530.mp373.92 MB

Haiti: The Forgotten Country

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dr. Doug Barlow ’84 is a pediatrician with the Palm Beach County Health District. In 2010 he traveled to Haiti with the Dorsainvil Foundation. The private NGO had learned of his work running a MASH unit in Baton Rouge following Hurricane Katrina and invited him to serve as chief pediatrician for their Earthquake Relief Project. The appreciation from the Haitian people was overwhelming, and their dignity inspiring. Doug will narrate a slide presentation of his Haiti photos, with a Q&A to follow. Presented by the Class of 1984.

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Life and Work in Show Business

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Rani Arbo ’89 grew up a cellist and chorister in New York City, where she sang everything from Hildegarde to Poulenc. At Amherst, she took up fiddle and fell for the rootsy sounds of old-time, Cajun, honky-tonk and bluegrass music. She co-founded the bluegrass-folk band Salamander Crossing in 1991 and the quartet Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem in 2000. She has released nine CDs, with a new one in the works this spring. Ben Gundersheimer ’89 spent 20 years as an indie rocker before getting a master’s degree in education (at Smith) and transitioning to writing and performing for families. These days, he tours throughout the USA and Latin America as “Mister G.” His most recent bilingual CD, ABC Fiesta, is on the Latin Grammy ballot as the Best Latin Children’s Album of 2014. John Paluska ’89 discovered the musical giants Phish when he was still a student at Amherst and before Phish was known beyond a small circle of fans. He became their manager and, for 17 years, directed all aspects of Phish’s operations. Greer Shephard ’89 is a TV producer and the co-founder of The Shephard/Robin Company based at Warner Bros. Television. She has been the executive producer of the Golden Globe-winning series Nip/Tuck and the Emmy-winning series The Closer. Presently, she serves as the showrunner of the A&E Western series Longmire. Eric Zicklin ’89 is a sitcom writer/producer whose fanciest credits are Dharma & Greg, Frasier and Hot in Cleveland. In 1995, in one of his first television jobs as a writer, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for the Michael Moore series TV Nation, as a part of the writing team. In 2001, he was nominated for another Emmy for his work on Frasier. Presented by the Class of 1989.

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Digital, Mobile, Social Marketing: The Revolution Is Here

Friday, May 30, 2014

The digital revolution has led to a proliferation of data and information—from interactions on social media to the tracking of browsing and mobile app usage—that has broken the marketing mold. The challenge for marketers is to produce and use information that results in a symbiotic relationship between brands and their customers, who crave and expect personalized experiences that aren’t creepy or invasive. In this session, Jason Spero ’94 (Google), David Muhlenfeld ’94 (Martin Agency) and Matt Collins ’94 (Microsoft) will tackle such issues as the value that is exchanged between consumers and the digital services they consume, how advertisers use data to target these consumers and personalize their experience more efficiently, and what the future holds for consumers and advertisers alike. Presented by the Class of 1994.

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The Sweatiest of the Liberal Arts: How the Amherst Men's Basketball Team Has Excelled On and Off the Court

Saturday, May 31, 2014

During the last 20 years, the college has witnessed a resurgence in its athletic program. At the head of this resurgence is the men’s basketball program, led by Coach David Hixon ’75. Many point to the February 1994 trouncing of Williams (89–60) and the subsequent run to the Elite Eight in their first year of NCAA postseason eligibility as the turning point of the program. Since then, the team has won the National Championship twice (with six Final Fours) and the NESCAC championships seven times. In this session, Hixon; Barry O’Connell, professor and basketball academic advisor; and players from the past few decades, including Yram Groff ’89, Benjamin Batory ’94, Josh Anish ’99, Adam Harper ’04 and Brian Baskauskas ’09, discuss how the program has been able to produce at such a high level both on and off the court, as well as how their experiences on the team helped propel the players to meaningful careers after graduation. Presented by the Class of 1994.

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Our "Lives of Consequence": How Did We End Up Where We Are 20 Years Later?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Members of the Class of ’94 will be given five minutes each to tell a story of joy, trial, discovery, struggle, value, transformation, endurance or how things are (or are not) turning out just the way they imagined 20 years ago. For those familiar with National Public Radio, this will be The Moth Radio Hour meets This American Life with strong Amherst overtones. Discussions will be moderated by Rebecca Schlatter Liberty ’94, ordained minister, leadership coach, consultant on organizational development and author of the book The Treasure Hunt of Your Life. Presented by the Class of 1994.

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02_Lives of Consequence 20140531.mp364.09 MB

Will Reading Go the Way of Handwriting?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Is old-school reading a dying pastime? Are words really the best way to convey meaning? In today’s multimedia world, it is easier to generate and distribute sound bites and video clips than ever before. Channels such as YouTube, Facebook and others make it easier to search and consume this content. Meanwhile, print publication subscriptions are declining. Reading will never entirely disappear, but digital innovation has clearly diminished the reliance upon long-form reading. The panel will discuss and debate where and how reading/writing and multimedia clash and coexist to provide meaning in today’s world, and where the future of communication and content consumption will lead us. The panel will be moderated by Lee Maicon ’94, senior vice president of strategy, 360i, with Rob Bernstein ’94, vice president and editorial director of digital and print, World Wrestling Entertainment, and Ed Castillo ’94, chief strategy officer, TBWA\Chiat\Day NY. Presented by the Class of 1994.

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Crowdsourcing in Scientific Research: Disruptive Technology Harnessing the Power of the Internet

Saturday, May 31, 2014

From discussion forums to user reviews, the internet has long been a source of knowledge tapped from a wide population base. Crowdsourcing is a natural evolution of this process, whereby needed ideas and content are solicited from a large group of people (e.g., the online community). Recently, scientists have begun to utilize crowdsourcing to gather large pools of data or knowledge. This phenomenon is disrupting traditional means of conducting and funding scientific research. Allen Hurlbert ’94, academic ecologist, Jaro Wex (Wechowski) ’94, pharmaceutical consultant and Paris Wallace ’04, CEO of Ovuline, will discuss how crowdsourcing (or so-called “citizen science”) has advanced scientific knowledge, including our understanding of biodiversity and climate change, as well as human fertility and how it might impact traditional academic research approaches. They will also discuss how crowdsourcing has changed the business of research and what the future holds for monetizing such methods of data collection. Presented by the Classes of 1994 and 2004.

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04_Crowdsourcing 20140531.mp374.87 MB

"A Certain Slant of Light": A Talk on Photography

Saturday, May 31, 2014

In a discussion of their careers in photography, Amy Giese ’99, artist and assistant professor at the Community College of Rhode Island, and Clay Williams ’99, Brooklyn-based photographer and blogger, will talk about some of their recent projects and present examples of their work. Presented by the Class of 1999.

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Poetry at Amherst: A New Crop

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Perhaps it’s the close attention to reading, the classic New England landscape or reverberations in the air left by Dickinson and Frost. Whatever the reason, Amherst has long been a wellspring for poetry—and generations of Amherst alums have achieved remarkable success in the literary world. In this reading and discussion, moderated by Jennifer Acker ’00, founder and editor-in-chief of The Common, five emerging and established poets, critics and essayists read from their work and talk about the ways their literary lives thread through Johnson Chapel and beyond. Featuring Rafael Campo ’87, Rachel Nelson ’99, Brian Simoneau ’99, and Tess Taylor ’99. A book signing will follow. Presented by the Class of 1999.

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08_Poetry at Amherst 20140531.mp3108.35 MB

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