Friday, December 4, 2009

Class Notes - December 2009

Abhas Gupta '02 and Shaily Kapur '04 were married in sunny and beautiful Huntington Beach on June 27, 2009. The couple was fortunate enough to have fellow alum groomsmen, bridesmaids, and dear friends share the celebration with them: Akash Srivastava '02, Alison Lee '02, Anuj Patel '02, Ari Kaufman '02, Cass Sapir '01, Darrin Lee '02, Elana Feldman '01, Elizabeth Cho '01, Eric Marshall '02, Evan Scott '02, Hector Ortiz '97, Moshe Adesnik '02, Mumi Hemrajani '03, Jennifer Bain '04, Jessica Gonzalez '02, Jessica Radow '03, Priya Pradhan '02, Rashmi Kudesia '05, Sam Osterman '01, Saritha Peruri '02, Tara Ramchandani '05, Timothy Correia '02, and Zoe Tarshis '04. Their wedding festivities are briefly captured in this video.

Emilie Troupe '02 - I married Dr. Matthew Del Mastro '05 and completed dental school and orthodontic residency at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. I am working as an orthodontist in Newton, Massachusetts and my husband is finishing his endodontic residency at Tufts in Boston.

Evan Scott '02 - I completed my PhD in Biomedical Engineering this year from Washington University in St. Louis. I am now embarking on a three year post-doc in Lausanne, Switzerland to investigate breast cancer vaccines at one of the Swiss Federal institutes of Technology, the Ècole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). If you're in the Geneva/Lausanne area or traveling through Europe, feel free to reach out to me. I would love to catch up with fellow alums on this side of the world.

Kristina Arvanitis Gasson '02 - I recently opened my own law office in Medford, Massachusetts, focused primarily in immigration and nationality law and I've already helped some alumni with visas and citizenship. More details and contact information may be found at

Nigel Cordeiro '02 is lucky to have his Brown friends in good times and in bad. Dad died of lung cancer this past June and over these past two years, Brown friends have acted as medical/research resources, logistical superstars, and moral support. Mom, Alison and I are so thankful for all of you. I moved back to the east coast to be close to the family and just started business school at Wharton, majoring in Health Care Management and Entrepreneurship.

Olga Argyros '02 - My husband, Christos Ioannou, and I had our first child, Stelios Ioannou, on September 19th, 2009. I have been working at the Hotel Poseidon Resort which has run by our family since 1975, but has gone many changes in the last five years. You can read about them at here.

Rachel Gershenson '02 - On the left is a photo of me and '02 friends who attended my wedding on June 28. From left-to-right: Rose Kowel Durbin, Elizabeth Geddes, Alastair Agcaoili, Miranda Chen, me, Kristin Ohaus, and Meryl Marr. I met my husband, Justin Gates, in Seattle and we now live in Chicago (where we were married). It was so great to have my Brown friends there to celebrate with us on our big day!

Rolland Janairo '02 and Dianne Le just celebrated their second wedding anniversary in October. Rolland is currently working for Project Joy ( as their Director of Operations and is loving every minute of it. He currently lives in Cambridge, MA and of course, keeps in touch with his good buddy Steve Telesmanic '02, who is living with Rolland's brother and working at Gelfand Partners Architects way over in San Francisco (picture to right) - like you ever saw them apart at Brown??

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Quick Questions - Marc Altman '02

So now that you're all grown up are you doing what you thought you'd be doing?
"All grown up" has such a formal, finalized ring to it. Now as much as ever, my life is a work in progress. After Brown, I followed the expected route of an Applied Math - Economics major and landed a consulting job in Chicago, doing corporate fraud investigations and computer forensics. After three years of trying to make it stick, my wife and I quit our jobs and spent seven months traveling around the world. It was an awe-inspiring and life-perspective-changing experience.

I used the travel images from our trip to jump-start a transition into professional photography. Having loved photography since junior high, I was thrilled to finally take the leap of faith necessary to abandon the comforts of consulting and try to make a career out of my passion. I spent two years taking classes at Arizona State University and assisting photographers in Phoenix. Back in Chicago, I'm now establishing myself as a freelance commercial photographer with a documentary style. I'm learning something new every day, whether it's how to shoot in a new environment, how to incorporate a new technology, how to market myself to target clients, or how to run a small business.

So, to answer the question: I can't imagine that I actually "thought" I'd be earning a living from my photography, although perhaps I might have dreamt it. And I certainly didn't think that the seven years after Brown would take the path that they did.

What are you working on now?
I'm currently editing my latest documentary project. I collaborated with a Chicago-based organization call Range of Motion Project ("ROMP") to document a trip of American volunteers helping Guatemalan amputees receive prosthetic and orthotic services that they otherwise wouldn't have had access to. It was a fascinating project, and a sample of the images can be seen at

Recent projects include:
In May I was hired to document life at a grade school in St. Louis for their brochure and a coffee table book celebrating their 40th anniversary. In April, I spent a week in Israel photographing American ultimate frisbee coaches (including a few Brown alums!) teaching the sport to underprivileged Israeli and Palestinian kids in an effort to encourage cross-cultural understanding. And last winter I documented a 10-day summer camp in South Africa for kids affected with HIV/AIDS. I've also spent the last few summers as staff photographer at an overnight summer camp in Wisconsin. All in all, they've been amazing projects, leaving me with fantastic images and life-changing experiences. Some of the images can be found on my website,, or blog,

In January, I'm putting together my first solo gallery show, at the Bonsack Gallery in St. Louis. It's titled "Explorations" and will showcase my travel photography.

How did Brown help you get where you are?
In an important but indirect sense, Brown encouraged my general sense of independence and exploration. My degree cultivated the analytical skills that have helped me problem-solve my way to where I am now. My semester abroad at Goldsmiths College in London showed me how amazing a life of photography could be, and implanted the travel bug deep in my personality. And my Brown friends continue to inspire me to follow my dreams and use my photography to do good.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Businesses and Non-Profits - Katherine Boas '02

Inspired by a meeting with the founder of Thailand's largest NGO, Katherine Boas '02 and Stanford business school classmate Scott Raymond created the Barefoot MBA, an adaptable tool to teach basic business to anyone, anywhere.

Microlending is hot these days. It's relatively easy to give and, increasingly, easy to get a small-scale loan to jump-start a business. But despite all that available financial capital, access to intellectual capital isn't as easy to come by. Or wasn't.

About four years ago, while on a business school trip to Thailand and Cambodia, Mechai Viravaidya, the founder of Thailand's largest NGO and a pioneer in microfinance, challenged us to find a better way. Wouldn't it be great, he wondered aloud to room full of Stanford MBAs, if we had a business curriculum that anybody could learn so people who receive these loans could use them wisely?

Over dinner that night, the Barefoot MBA was born. We spent the next few months creating the 16 lessons that would become the Barefoot MBA, working with experts in education and development to devise an elegant way to teach a common set of concepts to a range of people. Our solution? Stories.

Each Barefoot MBA lesson contains a pair of contrasting stories, each with a protagonist facing a business decision. The stories in each lesson are identical, except the protagonist in the second understands the lesson at hand and makes a different, better business decision as a result. The lesson is the difference between the stories. The format is simple – and requires no literacy or props, allowing the Barefoot MBA to go truly anywhere. And it has.

After a successful pilot on a return trip to Thailand in 2007, we've successfully adapted the Barefoot MBA with partners in places as far as Guatemala, India and the Philippines. Our latest adaptation is closer to home: Providence. We're working with Brown students and alumni at the Capital Good Fund on a basic business education workshop for immigrants and other prospective borrowers.
We're excited about future partnerships, near and far, and would be happy to talk with anyone interested in learning more. We encourage anyone to express more passive interest by following our blog, becoming a fan on Facebook and/or following us on Twitter.

For more information, please visit