FALL 2015 SCHOLARLY Pursuits



FALL 2015 SCHOLARLY Pursuits
FALL 2015
Moving Forward
Montgomery Scholars Program Newsletter
Inside This Issue
Fourth Anderson Scholar Named
Winter Solstice and Philo Café ......................Page3
Welcome, Class of 2017 ..................................Page3
From the Director’s Desk
Alumni Advisory Board Up and Running.....Page3
Dear Scholars, Parents, and Friends of Scholars:
Fourth Anderson Scholar Named .................Page3
Congratulations, Class of 2015 .....................Page4
Kudos to Our Beacon
Participants and Winners .................................Page5
Eight Births ..........................................................Page6
Twelve Weddings and
Five Engagements!..............................................Page 7
Moving Forward in the Community —
Alumni Making a Difference............................Page8
Moving History Forward —
The James Reese Europe Project..................Page10
Inaugural Meeting of the Montgomery
Scholars Alumni Advisory Board....................Page10
Where Are You Now? .......................................Page11
Change seems to be in the air. There are a number of new initiatives taking place
in the Montgomery Scholars program, including an intriguing new assignment for
the first-year scholars, a new Montgomery Scholars Alumni Advisory Board, and a
revamping of our website. You can read about these and more in this newsletter. In
addition, our own dear Professor White retired this spring. Rest assured, he will return
as an adjunct to teach philosophy in Core for the upcoming academic year, but his
retirement after so many years at the College serves as a reminder that sometimes
change creeps up on us unawares.
This past summer I travelled again with the first-year scholars to the Swannanoa
Gathering Traditional Song Week at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, North
Carolina. With the beautiful Appalachians on the horizon and surrounded by music
all over the campus, it seemed a suitable time to reflect on tradition and growth.
The theme of our summer experience is “Roots and Branches,” and as the seasons
change and time performs its inexorable march, or occasional crawl, it serves us well
to reflect on what it means to move forward while simultaneously being tugged and
nurtured by the roots of our past. In that sense, we are all to some degree shape
shifters as we blend and mold our past, present, and future in ways analogous to the
blended traditions of Appalachia: Native American, African American, and European.
As one of the participants at the Swannanoa Gathering said, it is the harmonious
unison note at the end of the song that is often the most moving. I hope all of us can
cherish that vision of harmony as we move forward.
Bill and Jane Anderson, Montgomery College faculty retirees,
recently gifted $120,000 to the College in support of the
Montgomery Scholars program. You can read about the
remarkable accomplishments of the first three Anderson
Scholars (Sophia Venero ’13, Yael Tsitohay ’14, and Sahar
Naghibi ’15) below. We are proud to announce our fourth
Anderson scholar, Nicole Obongo ’16. A pre-medical major,
Nicole’s academic achievements are impressive. She is also
active on campus in the Honors Club and in Phi Theta Kappa.
Winter Solstice
Philo Café
Current and former scholars,
please join us for our Winter
Solstice Philo Café on
Thursday, December 18, 2015,
from 5–8 p.m. Bring your
favorite dish to share and
good tales to tell as we gather
once again around the hearth
in Professor White’s home at
13421 Valley Drive, Rockville
MD 20850. Please park on
the grass.
We encourage others to give to the program. A
gift, no matter its size, is really helpful to support the
program during these difficult financial times. You can
make your gift at our secure, online giving site: www.
montgomerycollege.edu/onlinegiving. (Click on
“Select an area of support” then click on “Other” and
type Montgomery Scholars in the box.) You can also
send a check made payable to Montgomery College
Foundation and write Montgomery Scholars on the
memo line. Send it to: Montgomery College Foundation,
40 West Gude Drive, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20850.
Thank you so much!
Our Faculty Has Talent! ....................................Page15
Desde el Escritorio del Director
Queridos Becados, Padres de Familia, y Amigos de Becados:
Parece que hay cambio en el aire. Hay un numero de iniciativas tomando lugar en
el programa de Becados de Montgomery incluyendo un nueva asignatura para los
becados del primer ano, un nuevo Consejo de Asesoría de Egresados y una moderna
versión de nuestra pagina web. Podrás leer acerca de estos cambios y mas en esta
hoja informativa. Además, nuestro querido Profesor White se jubilo este verano. Estén
seguros que el regresara como un adjunto para enseñar filosofía en el programa para
el año que viene, pero su retiro después de tantos años en la universidad sirve como
recordatorio que algunas veces el cambio se asoma inadvertidamente.
Este verano viaje otra vez con los becados de primer año a la Semana de la
Festividad de la Canción Tradicional en Swannanoa en la universidad Warren Wilson,
North Carolina. Con los hermosos Apalaches en el horizonte y rodeados por música
alrededor del campus, parecía ser el justo tiempo para meditar en tradición y
crecimiento. El tema de nuestra experiencia es “Raíces y Ramas” y al paso que las
estaciones cambian y el tiempo sigue su inexorable marcha, o gateo ocasional, esto
nos sirve para reflexionar en lo que significa seguir para adelante al mismo tiempo
que somos estirados y nutridos por las raíces de nuestro pasado. En ese sentido,
todos somos en algún grado cambiantes de forma al incorporar y moldear nuestro
pasado, presente y futuro en maneras análogas a las tradiciones mezcladas de los
Apalaches: Nativos Americanos, Afro-Americanos y Europeos. Como una de nuestras
participantes en la festividad de Swannanoa dijo, es la harmoniosa nota al final de
la canción que muchas veces el la mas conmovedora. Espero que todos nosotros
podamos celebrar la visión de la harmonía al seguir adelante. [translated by Estefany
Class of 2017 Welcome Picnic
The Montgomery Scholars program welcomes scholars from
the Class of 2017 — some of whom are pictured here at the
overnight retreat at Harper’s Ferry; at the welcome tea hosted
by the Provost of the Rockville Campus, Dr. Judy E. Ackerman;
and again at our annual picnic in May where past, present, and
new scholars met one another and faculty at Bohrer Park in
Retreat at Harper’s Ferry
Mary T. Furgol
Director, Montgomery Scholars
[email protected]
Nada Babaa ’16 and Gislene Tasayco ’16 in Asheville
On July 15, the newly formed
Montgomery Scholars Alumni
Advisory Board met for the first
time. A group representing alumni
from the first years of the program to
the present met on a warm evening
to brainstorm over ways the alumni
can support and promote the
program. A report on the first board
meeting appears on page 10.
In tandem with this event, the
Montgomery Scholars Alumni
Community Facebook page was
launched in August. Restricted to
Montgomery Scholars alumni, it is
a way for them to reach out across
the years to help one another
with internship, professional, and
academic opportunities.
Carillo ‘09]
Cover photo of Nate Parry ’04
Alumni Advisory Board
Up and Running
Class of 2017 Welcome Tea
Montgomery College
M ontgomer y Scholars Program New sletter
FALL 2015
FALL 2015
Class of 2015
Congratulations, Montgomery Scholars
Class of 2015, on your graduation from
Scholars and Montgomery College, and
your acceptances to an impressive array
of colleges. Some of the colleges to which
students are transferring this fall are American
University, Smith College, St. Mary’s College,
University of Maryland, College Park, and
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Thank you for continuing the tradition of a class
gift to Montgomery College. The Class of 2015
made a donation to the Nepalese Earthquake
Victim Fund. On behalf of the class, Robin
Denny and Rasmi Shrestha unveiled the
plaque signifying the class gift at our Scholar
graduation ceremony, the Skoal, and Emily
Christian and Seung Yeob entertained us that
night with a song.
The sophomores have been active on
campus and have definitely left their mark on
Montgomery College. Seung Yeob served on
the Student Council, and Rima Sakhawala
served on the Rockville Council. Rima has
also been accepted into the MARC U* STAR
program with a Majority Scholarship at UMBC,
and Robin Denny received a Women’s Board
of Medstar Montgomery Medical Center
In addition, scholar athlete Nicole Couturier
made Montgomery College proud yet again this
year. As a first-year and sophomore scholar,
Nicole has played for MC’s volleyball team. In
2013, the team won the Region XX and District
G titles and advanced to the NJCAA Division III
national tournament. Recently Nicole received
Honorable Mention in the 2014 Maryland Junior
College Athletic Conference. She was also
featured in the local Gazette newspaper in an
article that highlighted her major contributions
Skoal 2015
to the team this year, and in particular her
willingness to move from defense to the setter
position. At the time of the article, Nicole had
already made her mark for the Raptors with 269
of their 274 assists.
A number of the sophomores were also
instrumental in helping the new Honors Club
at the Rockville Campus get off to a flying start.
Their club advisor, Professor Effie Siegel, praised
Brian Schoem in particular at the Skoal for his
work for the club. Professor Siegel explained
that many of the sophomores had recruited
first-year honors students for the club to
ensure its continuation and were instrumental
in organizing a successful interclub dodge
ball tournament in April, which saw 23 clubs
participating and raised over $860 through a
donation by the winning club, the MC Women’s
Soccer Team, to “Charity: Water.”
Sophomore Sahar Naghibi (an Anderson
Scholar) won several awards this year,
including the prestigious Portz Award for the
Outstanding Honors Student at a Two-Year
College. (Yael Tsitohay, also an Anderson
Scholar, won this award in 2014, and Sairam
Nagulapalli won it in 2012.) Sahar was also
named to the All-Maryland Academic First
Team and is a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar. During
the summer of 2015, she did an internship in
Seattle with a naturopathic who is working to
create an integrative healing center. A special
mention should go to Sydney Axelrod, Emily
Christian, and Nicki Jackson who interned
at the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum, the Performing Arts Division of the
Library of Congress, and the Kluge Center at the
Smithsonian, respectively.
Kudos to Our Beacon Participants and Winners
In other exciting news, this past summer two
sophomore scholars were awarded two of
the seven nationwide Frank Karel Fellowships
in Public Interest Communications: Marcia
Puig-Lluch and Betzaida Nolasco. Marcia
interned for WOW — Wider Opportunities
for Women; and Betzaida for DC Vote. Read
about their experiences in “Where Are You
Now?” on page 15. They are the fourth and
fifth Montgomery Scholars to be Karel Fellows,
which is organized by the Nonprofit Roundtable
of Greater Washington. Yves Gomes ’12 was in
the inaugural class of Karel Fellows and interned
with CentroNia, Gaby Gomez ’13 worked for
the Latino Economic Development Center as a
Karel Fellow, and Sophia Venero ’14 interned
for Mary’s Center during her fellowship.
Eyvonnka Rizkallah and Lauren Ratino
Skoal Class of 2015
William Rave, Rima Sakhawala, and Betzaida Nolasco
Some from the Class of 2015 at graduation
his year, 12 of the sophomore scholars
were selected as finalists at the Beacon
Conference, a conference that highlights quality
scholarship and originality in honors students’
writing: Sydney Axelrod, Emily Christian,
Robin Denny, Nicki Jackson, Natalie Macek,
Marcia Puig-Lluch, William Rave, Eyvonnka
Rizkallah, Rima Sakhawala, Rasmi Shrestha,
Joseph Sonken, and Van Ha Le. A further
three scholars were selected to present their
capstone papers as poster presentations: Rania
Hentati, Sushant Tamraker, and Karen Seung
Yeob-Yang. Professor Siegel and Dr. Zook were
this year’s capstone mentors; Professor Rose
Piskapas was the speech coach. One of the
first-year scholars, Gabby Green, was also a
finalist with her first-year English rhetoric paper
on “Television’s New Profile Picture”. Gabby was
mentored by Professor Effie Siegel. One other
Montgomery College student was selected as a
finalist and one as a poster presenter.
Congress internship mentored by Dr. Michelle
Moran in the History and Political Science
Department. The four capstone paper winners
were: Sydney Axelrod in the communications
category for her paper entitled “Tuning in to
Globalization: A Glimpse into our Changing
Society Through the Small Screen” mentored
by Dr. Nathan Zook; Nicki Jackson for her
paper on “Working Mothers: A Shift in Gender
Roles in a Globalizing World” mentored by
Professor Shweta Sen; Rima Sakhawala in the
multicultural studies category with the paper
that was also our showcase presentation the
night of the colloquium in February: “Rethinking
Ink: The Significance of Tattoos in a Global
Context” mentored by Professor Sen; and
Rasmi Shrestha for “Technology: Bridging the
Education Gap between the Rich and the Poor”
in the education category and also mentored by
Professor Sen. Congratulations, students and
Montgomery College students won five of the
Beacon categories. All five are Montgomery
Scholars — four won for their sophomore
capstone papers and one, Emily Christian,
in the history category for her paper entitled
“Musicals and Their Art: A Feminist Perspective”.
Emily wrote the paper for her Library of
Since the Montgomery Scholars program began
sending students’ papers to Beacon in 2001,
130 scholars’ papers (over 37 percent of the
sophomore scholars’ capstone papers) have
been selected as finalists and 28 as poster
presenters; 51 scholars have won (over 14
percent of all scholars’ capstone papers).
Group from the Class of 2015
Montgomery College
Beacon winners: Rima Sakhawala, Nicki Jackson,
Emily Christian, Sydney Axelrod, and Rasmi Shrestha
M ontgomer y Scholars Program New sletter
FALL 2015
C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!
Twelve Weddings and Five Engagements!
Eight Births
Congratulations to Daniel Hurtado ’01 and his wife on the birth of their second child, a son,
Zaccheo Elijah Hurtado, on May 10, 2015, a brother for Daylen Jesiah; to Grace Sophia (Igot)
Quick ’01 and her husband on the birth of their first child, a son, Peyton James (PJ) Quick,
on June 1, 2015; to Katie (Linton) Bradley ’03 and her husband Luke on the birth of their second
daughter, Eliana Ruth Bradley, on August 5, 2015; to Maria Tondo ’04 and her husband Seth on
the birth of their daughter, Hanna Therese Silva, on March 31, 2015; to Kseniya Yarosh ’04 and
her husband Matt Carman on the birth of their son, Tatum Ripley Carman, on July 24, 2015; to
Richard Conlan ’06 and his wife Theresa on the birth of their son, Victor Joseph Conlan, on
May 16, 2015; to Nicole (Crone) Moorman ’07 and her husband Michael on the birth of their
son, Rowan Steven Moorman, on June 19, 2015; and to Todd Culliton ’08 and his wife on the
birth of their first child, a son, James Augustus Culliton, on April 20, 2015.
Congratulations to the following scholars on their marriages: Dwayne McFarlane ’01 to Caneil McDonald on
October 4, 2014; Amy Wayne ’01 to Jason William Blessing on April 18, 2015; Judy Martinez ’03 to Jude Jarrod
MacNeil on August 15, 2015; Quesia Sousa ’04 to Edwin Kengere on October 12, 2014; Kim Le ’06 to Andrew
Wierzbic on April 12, 2015; Carli McGoff ’07 to Christopher Dimopoulos on June 6, 2015; Estefany Carillo ’09 to
Alex Castro on July 12, 2015; Alyssa Hammerley ’09 to Christopher Shook on July 17, 2015; Nika Naumann ’10 to David Caprio on
June 27, 2015; Sarah (“Spiff”) Stogsdill ’10 to Joel Brunson on July 31, 2015; Kristin Hoover ’11 to Andrew McMullin on August 9, 2015;
and Rachel Czarniak ’13 to Joshua Hill on June 20, 2015.
And best wishes to the following alumni on their recent engagements: Sinead Goldman ’04 to Alex Berg-Jacobson; Jemina Cornejo ’10
to Norman Huang; Sam Cameron ’12 to Chris Lutschaunig; Daniel Garay ’14 to Jenna Fourney; and Noelle Royer ’14 to Matt
Schwarzenberg ’14 (the latter is a double scholar engagement!).
Dwayne McFarlan and Caneil McDonald
Zaccheo Elijah Hurtado
Eliana Ruth Bradley
Rowan Steven Moorman
Hanna Therese Silva
Amy Wayne and Jason William Blessing
Judy Martinez and Jude MacNeil
Quesia Sousa and Edwin Kengere
Carli McGoff and Christopher Dimopoulos
Alyssa Hammerley and Christopher Shook
Nika Naumann and David Caprio
Peyton James (PJ) Quick
Tatum Ripley Carman
Kim Le and Andrew Wierzbic
Spiff Stogsdill and Joel Brunson
Estefany Carillo and Alex Castro
Kristin Hoover and Andrew McMullin
Rachel Czarniak and Joshua Hill
Sinead Goldman and Alex Berg-Jacobson
Jemina Cornejo and Norman Huang
Sam Cameron and Chris Lutschaunig
Daniel Garay and Jenna Fourney
Noelle Royer and Matt Schwarzenberg
James Augustus Culliton
Montgomery College
M ontgomer y Scholars Program New sletter
FALL 2015
FALL 2015
Moving Forward in the Community — Alumni Making a Difference
participant the ability to be physically active
and socialize with other kids their age. Most
athletes call KEEN their home and look forward
to it every weekend. KEEN allows participants
to set aside their fears and insecurities and
start participating in activities they would
not normally do. For example, Zack normally
hates field days at school and has often had
“meltdowns” in order to avoid them. But after
a year of attending KEEN, Zack no longer feels
anxious about attending field days. As a matter
of fact, when his mother told him about two
upcoming field days, he was not nervous or
upset. Instead, he said, “It will be a lot like the
KEEN field day, it will be fun.”
The following passages are
written by Montgomery
Scholars alumni about
the ways they are moving
forward and/or helping
others to keep moving
forward in the face of
difficult challenges.
Sophia Venero ’13 is
in her final year at UMBC
EEN Greater DC is a nonprofit organization
that provides one-on-one recreational
activities to children and young adults with
developmental and physical disabilities at no
cost for families and caregivers. Through noncompetitive activities and the help of volunteers,
the program allows every child to explore
his or her physical and social capabilities.
KEEN creates an environment that gives each
Successful stories like Zack’s have made it my
mission to take my job as the Virginia program
manager to heart. My job is to supervise and
manage eight different programs. In addition, I
attend fairs and conferences in order to recruit
dedicated high school, college, and professional
volunteers to share some of their time and
expertise during KEEN days (weekends). My
ultimate goal is to continue to expand the
programs in Virginia by building community
relationships in order to recruit more dedicated
volunteers as well as to build awareness of
what KEEN can offer. To learn more about
KEEN Greater DC, please visit our website
at www.keengreaterdc.org or contact Sophia
Venero at [email protected]
DIFFERENCE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cat Calantonio ’11, BSN, works
at Virginia Hospital Center
here’s a day that every new nurse dreads,
and yesterday was my day. I lost my first
patient, and with a heavy heart I realize it won’t
be my last. It was a loss that I expected, a
peaceful one, but a loss nonetheless. A loss in
which a family lost a dear parent, and a spouse
became widowed in a matter of seconds. If
you’ve never been in the basement of a hospital,
it feels exactly the way you think it feels. The
walk to the morgue is a long one, and your
feet feel heavy, as if Danskos don’t weigh them
down enough. The air feels thick in your lungs,
almost like you’re underwater. Every hospital
employee knows what is under the box-like
cover on the stretcher, and there’s a silent
understanding when you make eye contact
with anyone passing by.
I don’t know who to thank first for yesterday:
the patient for allowing me to care for him, his
family for making me feel like I was one of their
own despite knowing them for a short while and
for letting me cry and pray with them while an
Irish jig played in the background to comfort
their loved one in his final moments, or my other
nurses who helped coach me through it and
helped me to slap a happy face on for my other
four patients after my mascara had thoroughly
been washed off by too many tears to count.
Tough days like yesterday make me want
to bury my stethoscope in the depths of my
backpack and crawl into bed with the blankets
pulled over my eyes. But with the amazing team
of nurses I work with, I know that’s never an
option. I chose this profession knowing I’d have
to stare death in the face more often than I’d
like to and knowing I wouldn’t like to at all. I
still choose this profession every day and hope
that I can make even the slightest difference in
someone’s life, even though I know I have more
days like yesterday ahead of me.
Kristin Hoover ’11, a graduate of University of Maryland,
College Park, co-founded the nonprofit organization Widow Care
veryone hopes and dreams for a fairy tale
ending. But what happens when “happily
ever after” comes to an end? Over 100,000
residents in Montgomery County have had
“forever” with their spouse cut short. For onethird of these residents, tragedy put an abrupt
end to their dreams of growing old together,
ending their spouses’ lives at the age of 45 or
Left in the web of complexities that surround
grief and loss, many widows and widowers
face difficult adjustments related to assuming
the roles of their deceased spouse. These
challenges are exacerbated in situations of
social isolation and where local family or close
friends are lacking. That is why Widow Care
was founded. The mission of Widow Care is to
provide desperately needed support services to
Montgomery County residents facing or dealing
with the loss of a spouse so they can become
empowered to carry on with their lives. While
many may think of loss as a private, personal
struggle, Widow Care is making spousal loss
a matter of community care. Since beginning
in Montgomery County in September of 2014,
Widow Care has served over 100 residents
with the help of a growing volunteer team of
30 residents. Five different states throughout
the nation have requested to host Widow Care
chapters in order to spread this mission and
model nationwide.
Widow Care volunteers put compassion into
action by conducting educational events,
providing in-home volunteer activities, and
fostering social connection among widowed
members. Volunteers are currently needed to
aid Widow Care’s developing Online Resource
Center through research, writing, content
creation, and photography. We also need
volunteers to assist in creating Widow Care
Connection events for widowed members to
enjoy peer support. Please contact Widow Care
at 301-917-4741 for more information.
Danny Mays ’08 attends
medical school at George
Washington University
CHWs. I did some training, but mostly my
work focused on the administrative aspects
of running a small health workforce-oriented
nonprofit. I was able to help enhance Omni
Med’s working capacity and efficiency as well
as develop a new site for office operations and
living quarters for US physician and medical
student volunteers.
took the 2014–2015 academic year off from
medical school and spent nine months in
Uganda, primarily working with community
health workers (CHWs) and gathering research
data for a study on CHWs. I met over 130
CHWs, and through questionnaires and focus
groups, I was able to understand the details and
nuances of their experiences, their successes,
and the challenges they encountered. I was
also able to interview several key informants,
including high-ranking officials at the Ministry
of Health and a Minister of Parliament. The
objective of the study is to better understand
how CHWs can be best supported, incentivized,
and sustained through things like better
management, education, materials, or stipends
(Ugandan CHWs are not paid). The dynamics
of development aid and political jockeying for
scarce public funding make the issue of funding
the CHW program, which is central to any plan
to enhance support for CHWs, chaotic and
challenging to navigate. For this and many other
reasons, it’s tough to identify any clear solutions
to the various challenges that Ugandan CHWs
face. The goal of my research is to provide a rich
Throughout the academic year, I took three
online courses at the London School of Hygiene
and Tropical Medicine, where I am working on a
master’s degree in global health policy.
Danny and two members of the Omni Med staff:
Edward, program director, and Elizabeth, financial officer
picture of the individual experience of CHWs so
as to inform national and development agency
policy in the years ahead.
I also spent time working with a nonprofit
organization called Omni Med, which is based
in the Mukono District, just east of the capital,
Kampala. Omni Med partners with the Ugandan
Ministry of Health to train and manage Ugandan
Montgomery College
During the month of January, I took a course in
Gulu, Uganda, on medicine and social justice. It
was a life-changing experience through which
I met amazing medical students from Uganda
and all over the world who are passionate about
equity and justice in health and in all of its
social, political, and economic determinants.
Community health workers have been my
focus this year. What they do, in essence, is to
provide essential primary health care services
to poor people, often in rural environments.
My experiences with CHWs and throughout
medical school have made me passionate about
primary care, and with the help of a substantial
scholarship from my medical school, I have the
privilege of pursuing a career in primary care
and social justice.
M ontgomer y Scholars Program New sletter
FALL 2015
FALL 2015
FALL 2015
Where Are You Now?
Below is a list of some of the scholars from
the first 15 classes and their whereabouts.
If anyone from the classes of 2001–2015
has an update for the newsletter, just drop us
a line and we will include the information in
the next newsletter.
s many of you know, over the years we have created a number of
innovative projects in our first year interdisciplinary Core class: from
students creating ‘the best of all possible worlds’ to simulations about
issues of tolerance and, our most recent, the 20th century biography
project where first-year students created a fictitious character and
‘walked’ him or her through the 20th century, using research in culture,
philosophy, and history to ground the character in historical accuracy
while also using their creative writing skills.
We are excited to launch another innovative project, the aim of which
is to ‘rescue’ people from the past and bring them more to the fore.
For a number of years we have taught about James Reese Europe
(1881–1919) in Core, and Professor Furgol also highlights him in
her other world history courses. An African American jazz musician
originally from Alabama, he lived in Washington, DC, for several years,
moved to New York City where he played at Carnegie Hall, and then
served in the US Army in World War I. The aim of our project — see
www.jamesreeseeuropeproject.com — is to popularize his impressive
story and achievements as well as those of his sister, Mary Europe, and
to provide teaching materials to Montgomery County Public Schools, the College, and the wider community. Some of our computer science majors will be
working on the website over the next two years, our arts and music majors will be working on a dramatic musical performance, our education majors will
be developing educational materials, and our business majors will be publicizing the materials we gather. We expect to find other people to rescue from
the past as we delve deeper into the project and era — stay tuned for more updates!
Jae Ware ’01
Michael Somerville, MS, BS, AA (Home School),
recently moved with his wife and children to
Harrisonburg, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley.
Jae Ware, MFA, BS (Watkins Mill HS), completed
an MFA in creative writing at Southern New
Hampshire University in May 2015.
Class of 2002
Grace Forsythia Igot, AA, BS (Albert Einstein
HS), is currently working as a lab technician at
MedImmune in Frederick.
Bert Tondo’s ’02 three children
Inaugural Meeting of the Montgomery Scholars Alumni Advisory Board
n a warm sultry evening in mid-July, eight
of the 11 members of the new Alumni
Advisory Board met in HU009 on the Rockville
Campus. Convening two doors down from
the original Core classroom, the group that
gathered that night represented a spectrum of
Montgomery Scholars classes from across the
years: Stephan Faherty and Judy Martinez
from the third class; Alex Archer and Carolina
Galeano ’07; Juan Cruz ’08; Javier Pena
’09; and Kunal Arora and Monica Young ’11.
Jeremy Collins ’02, Ceci Nicolich ’11, and
Sairam Nagulapalli ’12 were unable to attend.
The meeting opened with Professor Furgol — or
Mary, she announced they could now call her to
the alarm of many of those present — saying the
vision of a group such as this had been lingering
in the back of her mind for a while. One of the
striking features of the program is communitybuilding within each class, she went on to say,
but now she felt it was time to make a more
concentrated effort to enhance the bonds across
all the classes to facilitate their connections to
one another, their continued involvement in the
program, and their role as spokespersons for the
program and the College.
A lively meeting ensued with the constituent
members quickly breaking any boundaries of
shyness and discovering that their common
past experiences gave them a vocabulary
more reminiscent of long-lost familiar relatives
Class of 2001
Laura Vasquez ’05
Bert Tondo, BS, AA (Watkins Mill HS), has
relocated with his wife Carmen and their three
children to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. As Bert wrote,
“For many years this city was kept a secret since
it was an instrumental part of developing the
atomic bomb during WWII for the Manhattan
project …. The DOE still has a big presence here.
There is also a US laboratory that is working a lot
on 3D manufacturing together with a university
and a private 3D manufacturing company that
recently moved its worldwide headquarters here.”
Bert, an architect, continues to work for Jacobs
in their contract management division and works
remotely on contracts for jobs in the United
States and Europe. To the left is a photo of his
three children in front of a church building in Oak
Ridge that Bert admires for its “transcendental”
architectural appearance.
Class of 2003
becoming reacquainted. Before the evening
was over, roles were assigned to everyone,
including defining officer roles within the group,
approving the creation of a Facebook group
just for alumni, planning happy hours and
family events, creating a map to illustrate where
alumni have settled, as well as pulling together
ideas for marketing and mentoring.
Indeed, a mission statement had also emerged
by the end of the meeting — one that is redolent
with promise and potential: “The Montgomery
Scholars Advisory Board exists to strengthen
the alumni network and bonds, support and
enhance the student experience, and be a voice
for the program.”
The Montgomery Scholars Alumni Community
Facebook Group has already been launched
with 295 members so far. An alumni gmail
account has also been created. If you want to
be included in any of these activities, email the
Alumni Advisory Board at [email protected]
Todd Culliton ’08
Amy Gueye, MD, MPH, BS, AS (Winston
Churchill HS), recently completed her residency
at Johns Hopkins and has joined a private
practice in Columbia, Maryland (WomanKind) as
a general obstetrician/gynecologist physician. She
is working on building a Women’s Health Center
in Senegal where she plans to move eventually
and is also working on global women’s health
projects with Jhpiego, a nonprofit global health
affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.
Class of 2004
Megan Anders, MS, BA (Watkins Mill HS),
received a Post-Masters Certificate in Applied
Behavior Analysis from the School of Education
of Johns Hopkins University.
Also, check out the new look of our
Montgomery Scholars webpage, which also
includes videos taken by our own alumna
Carolina (Pena) Galeano ’07, who now works
at MCTV. Go to: http://montgomerycollege.edu/
Class of 2005
Laura Vasquez, MPH, BA, AA (John F. Kennedy
HS), left her position with the US Army Public
Health Command and is now working as an
environmental scientist and engineering officer in
the US Army. Laura was commissioned as a first
lieutenant and has moved to San Antonio, Texas,
for training.
Class of 2006
Irena Antic, PhD, BS, AS (Walter Johnson HS),
after completing her doctorate in biology at
Northwestern University, is now a postdoctoral
researcher at Carnegie Mellon University.
Charles J. Overly, BS, AA (Sherwood HS), has
just started an MBA at the University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill. CJ was also accepted into
programs at Georgetown and the University of
Virginia and chose Chapel Hill partly because of
his ability to specialize in real estate development
and finance in the Kenan Flager Business School.
He and his wife, Sara Montone ’06, moved to
Chapel Hill in July, and Sara is applying for a
job there.
Class of 2007
Hernan Francis Igot, BFA, AA (Albert Einstein
HS), is currently working as a graphic designer
for the American Society for Engineering
Education at Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.
Holly Kent-Payne, MFA, BA, AA (James H. Blake
HS), is now a permanent resident of the United
States and is living in Chicago, where she teaches
English and literature at Westwood College.
Holly is involved in political activism through the
Antiwar Committee-Chicago.
Class of 2008
Todd Culliton, JD, BS, AA (Watkins Mill HS),
graduated magna cum laude (ranked sixth out of
269 graduates) from the University of Maryland
Francis King Carey School of Law and is a
member of the Order of the Coif. Todd is now
studying for the bar and enjoying his new role as
a father.
Class of 2009
Sheena Austria, BSN, BA, AA (Churchill HS),
started working in the pediatric intensive care
unit at Children’s National Medical Center
and has moved with her husband to Arlington,
Patrick Hixenbaugh, BS, AA (Richard
Montgomery HS), is currently applying to the
Peace Corps and Chesapeake Conservation
Corps. During the summer of 2015, Patrick
worked as an environmental educator camp
counselor for the New York Department of
Environmental Conservation at Saranac Lake,
which is close to Lake Placid.
Patrick Hixenbaugh ’09
Montgomery College
M ontgomer y Scholars Program New sletter
FALL 2015
FALL 2015
Are You
Bryce Hoover ’09 in Oxford
Gracie Jones ’09
Bryce Hoover, BS, AS (Home School), after
working for the past four years for Accenture, has
just begun an MBA program at the Said Business
School in Oxford, England, the top business
school in the world for social entrepreneurship
in business. He and his wife, Rachel (Robb)
Hoover ’08, will be staying at the new graduate
student housing at Pembroke College, the college
where Tolkien was when he wrote Lord of the
Rings. Rachel intends to look for a part-time job
as a speech therapist in Oxford and do some
Gracie Jones, BA, AA (Poolesville HS),
had the lead role this summer in the Pallas
Theatre Collective’s production of Cynthia at
the Anacostia Arts Center. The performance
was acclaimed in reviews, and Gracie’s stage
presence and singing voice were particularly
Getachew Mengistu, MD, BS, AA (Sherwood
HS), graduated from Howard University School
of Medicine in May 2015. Getachew was given
the Student of the Year Award for his graduating
class and is doing his residency in internal
medicine at Howard University Hospital.
Class of 2010
Getachew Mengistu ’09
Stephannie Acha-Morfaw ’10
Stephannie Acha-Morfaw, MS, BS, AA
(Northwest HS), graduated from Drexel University
in May 2015 with an MS in interdisciplinary
health sciences and spent part of the summer
as a Dornsife Global Development Scholar fully
sponsored through the Drexel University School
of Public Health. Stephannie worked on water,
sanitation, and hygiene for World Vision in its
WASH division in Rwanda. She has just started
studying medicine at Chicago Medical School
at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and
Sciences and credits the Montgomery Scholars
program with having “helped shape who I am and
make my dream a reality.”
Kenia Avendano-Garro, BA, AA (Walter
Johnson HS), has recently returned from a year
at the Inter-University Center (IUC) program in
Yokohama, Japan. She is now in the second year
of a PhD program at the University of Wisconsin
Madison where she is teaching Japanese 103
this fall. Her capstone paper, entitled “Cultural
Champloo: Globalization of Hip-Hop Music and
Culture”, is proving useful in her graduate class
on music and film.
Sarah Lasko, BA, AA (Rockville HS), played one
of the twins, Lisa, during the past summer in
the musical version of The Parent Trap (Double
Trouble) at Imagination Stage.
Belen Marquina, BA (Watkins Mill HS), has
begun an MA in international relations at
American University, focusing on international
development. Belen is also working as an
admissions counselor at 2U, the online partner
for the MBA program at the University of North
Carolina, among other schools.
Pauline Roa, BS, AA (Watkins Mill HS), relocated
with her family to Singapore in January 2015.
Pauline has a degree in kinesiology and will
pursue a career in personal training and health
start-ups in Singapore. She has also been
traveling a lot in Southeast Asia.
Class of 2011
Neydyn Gomez, BA, AA (Walter Johnson HS),
has started a law degree at the University of
Maryland School of Law.
Diane Lameira, BA, AA (Walter Johnson HS),
recently finished up a two-year fellowship at
the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is
currently in the doctoral program in clinical
psychology at George Mason University. Diane
will continue to work at NIH during the summers.
Cecilia Nicolich, BS, AA (Richard Montgomery
HS), worked in Kenya this summer in connection
with her position at ACDI/VOCA and has recently
been promoted to project coordinator. Ceci is
also a member of our new Montgomery Scholars
Alumni Advisory Board.
Theresa Price, BS, AS (John F. Kennedy HS),
moved to Pomona, California, to study in the
College of Osteopathic Medicine at Western
University of Health Sciences.
Gretchen Winch, MA, BA, AA (Poolesville
HS), graduated from St. Mary’s College in May
2015 with an MA in teaching and is teaching
history this fall at Silver Spring International
Middle School. While completing her degree,
Gretchen conducted a research project on the
representation of diverse peoples in history
classes and plans to use her findings to inform
the way she teaches world history.
Class of 2012
Class of 2013
Sam Cameron, MAT, BA, AA (Sherwood HS),
graduated from St. Mary’s College in May
2014 with an MAT in secondary social studies
education and is teaching social studies this fall
at Bethesda Chevy Chase and Wheaton high
Nigel Britto, AA (Rockville HS), will graduate
next May with a BS in chemical engineering
from the University of Maryland, College Park
and is currently working as an intern at Materials
Yves Gomes, BS, AS (Paint Branch HS), was
recently elected to the executive board of the
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. He is the
youngest member in the history of the board.
Yves has also just started his studies at the
University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of
Danielle Kurtz, BS, AA (Yeshiva HS), will be
attending Johns Hopkins University this fall in its
museum studies master’s program. Danielle is
currently doing behavioral therapy with children
on the autism spectrum with a company called
CLCA and traveled to Ireland this summer on
holiday. In December, she hopes to intern at the
Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv.
Sairam Nagulapalli, BA, AA (Richard
Montgomery HS), graduated with distinction
from Amherst College in May 2015 with a BA
in economics and political science. Sairam has
moved to Manhattan in New York City and is
working at Morgan Stanley as an investment
banking analyst.
Nathaniel Allen Pila, BA, AA (Richard
Montgomery HS), is working for City Year, a
nonprofit organization that focuses on education.
City Year assists children in high need public
schools by improving school attendance,
behavior, and coursework in mathematics and
Mariame Sylla, BS, AS (Paint Branch HS),
graduated summa cum laude from Smith
College in May 2015 with a BS in neuroscience
and premed. She is currently doing a
postbaccaulaureate Intramural Research Training
Award (IRTA) in Dr. Sanjay Desai’s Malaria Vector
Research Laboratory at NIH.
Alisa Tsaturov, BA, AA (Richard Montgomery
HS), graduated summa cum laude from the
University of Maryland, College Park in May 2015
with a BA in government and politics and a minor
in Russian studies while still working full-time at
the U.S. State Department as a program assistant
at the Foreign Service Institute in the School of
Language Studies, Slavic, Persian and Pashto
division. She is applying for a Fulbright. Alisa
still credits the Montgomery Scholars program
as being “the most inspiring and influential” in
setting her on her current path.
FALL 2015
Rachel Czarniak, BA, AA (Home School),
graduated from the University of Maryland,
College Park in May 2015 with a BA in
Mili Diaz, AA (Wootton HS), acted this summer
at the clear space theatre in Rehoboth Beach,
Delaware, in Grease, RENT, and Seussical. Mili
attends Pace University, where she is pursuing a
BFA in musical theatre and is double minoring in
psychology and Spanish.
Kristen Emelio, AA (Home School), will graduate
in December with a BSN from the University of
Maryland Baltimore. During the summer of 2015,
she spent a month in Malawi on a research grant
with the Malawi Project run by the University of
Maryland Baltimore, and once she graduates, she
intends to work as an emergency nurse.
Jonathan Jayes Green and Sairam Nagulapalli ’12
Gaby Gomez, AA (Watkins Mill HS), graduated
with a BA in government and politics from the
University of Maryland, College Park in May
2015 and now works for the National Council
of La Raza (NCLR) as the new communications
coordinator. Gaby worked with NCLR last summer
as a communication intern.
Catherine Hoover, AA (Home School), will
graduate in December with a BS in horticulture
and crop production from the University of
Maryland, College Park. Catherine is spending
this fall as an exchange student at University
College Dublin in Ireland.
Mariame Sylla ’12
Elizabeth Le, AA (Gaithersburg HS), will
graduate in December with a BS in psychology
from UMBC.
Caitlyn Maczka, AA (Damascus HS), will
graduate this spring with a BS in biology from
Chelsea Marcus, AA, BS (Richard Montgomery
HS), graduated with a BS in animal science from
Cornell University in May 2015 and is working
as a junior business analyst with the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA). Chelsea plans to pursue a master’s
degree in public administration or public health.
Nate May, AA (Damascus HS), is completing
a BS/MS program at the University of
Maryland, College Park. He will finish his BS
in fire protection engineering this fall and will
continue in that field for his master’s degree
with a possible research focus on fire whirls/
fire tornados. During the summer of 2015 and
this fall, he interned at SmithGroupJJR, an
architecture and engineering firm in DC, where
he is working on fire protection engineering
as well as continuing to volunteer at two fire
departments in Damascus and College Park,
Montgomery College
Kristen Emelio ’13
Members of the Class of 2013
M ontgomer y Scholars Program New sletter
Where Are You Now?
Where Are You Now?
Class of 2015
Yael Tsitohay ’14 and Dr. Cosgrove, biology professor at Montgomery College
Katherine Perez, AA (Watkins Mill HS), will
graduate next year with a BS in biological
sciences from the University of Maryland,
College Park. Currently, Katherine is working
at the Children’s National Hospital for the
neuropsychology division in Rockville. In the
spring, she will be an intern doing research on
autism and is planning to apply to dental school.
Marguerite Stevenson, BA, AA (Home School),
graduated magna cum laude with a BA in honors
philosophy from Dickinson College in May
2015. Marguerite is currently working as a legal
assistant with an immigration law firm located at
Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.
Siobhan Summers, BA, AA (Watkins Mill
HS), graduated with a BS in anthropology from
Dickinson College in May 2015 and has begun a
master’s program in applied anthropology at the
University of Maryland, College Park.
Jeff Ta, AA (Northwest HS), will graduate next
year with a BS in exercise science. Jeff currently
works full-time as an orthopedic technician in
a doctor’s office and plans to apply to medical
Andrew Thron, AA (Clarksburg HS), will
graduate in December with a BS in civil
engineering from the University of Maryland,
College Park. Andrew is also working for Contech
Engineered Solutions.
Sophia Venero, AA (Blake HS), will graduate
next year from UMBC with a BS in community
health and nutrition. This summer she interned
at Community Clinic Inc., a clinic that provides
medical services to low-income families in
Montgomery County, where she worked with
the program manager on creating a program to
decrease the development of chronic diseases
in the county. Sophia also works full-time with
KEEN (see the article on page 8).
Jennifer Yeboah, AA (Northwest HS), will
graduate in the spring with a BS in accounting
from Towson University and will take the certified
public accountant (CPA) exam.
Kendall Wilhelm-Glab, BS, AA (Covenant Life
HS), graduated with a BS in kinesiology from
the University of Maryland, College Park in May
2015. While at the university, Kendall worked
with the women’s lacrosse team as an athletic
training intern in both 2014 and 2015, when they
won the NCAA Division I National Championship
both years. Kendall is working as a technician
in a physical therapy office and is applying for a
master’s of athletic training graduate program.
Class of 2014
Daniel Garay, AA (Home School), has been
interning with a nonprofit called Change
Montgomery County. The organization focuses
on community advocacy and engagement to
get local citizens further involved with county
governance. It provides online tools, information,
and advocacy to help remove the barriers (both
imagined and real) to participation in local
government and local service opportunities.
Daniel has also produced an Internet radio
show for the organization called A Miner Detail,
in which the host, Ryan Miner, discusses local
issues with various guests. The program has
featured several Maryland state senators,
Montgomery County government officials, and
people from all different walks of life within the
Montgomery County community. Daniel will
graduate from American University next spring
with a bachelor’s degree in international studies,
focusing on foreign policy/global security and
global inequality/development.
Meghan Garvey, (Northwest HS), recently
completed a gap year program called
LeapYear (www.leapnow.org). During the first
semester, she went to Central America and
built environmentally sustainable schools,
learned Spanish, scuba dived, worked on a
permaculture farm, and practiced mindfulness
and consciousness. In spring 2015, she traveled
by herself to Cusco, Peru, where she studied
Spanish and worked in a small museum (Museo
de la Coca) that specializes in the native coca
plant. Meghan is continuing her studies with
the same company, working to perfect the art of
conscious living and doing a service project.
Tiffany Wilt, AA (Richard Montgomery HS), has
completed two internships at the Smithsonian –
one with the National Museum of the American
Indian and the other with the Center for Folklife
and Cultural Heritage. In connection with the
latter, she was one of the lead volunteers for
the children’s activities area at the Smithsonian
Folklife Festival. Tiffany is transferring with a
scholarship to Smith College, where she will
major in anthropology.
Stephen Lippincott, AA (Cedar Brook
Academy), transferred to UMBC this fall to
pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science.
He is currently a marketing and communications
intern at the National Capital Area Council of
the Boy Scouts of America. His duties include
website development, social media/PR support,
and assistance in production of the quarterly
magazine, Scouter’s Digest.
Tovohaja Rabemananjara, AS, AA (Walter
Johnson HS), transferred to the Clark School of
Engineering at the University of Maryland, College
Park to study civil engineering.
Yael Tsitohay, (Walter Johnson HS), is currently
a chemistry major at Smith College, but during
the summer of 2015, she returned to Montgomery
College to do an internship through Smith’s Praxis
Program. Yael wrote, “The Smith College Praxis
Program is intended to give all Smith students
the opportunity to gain practical experiences
that build on their academic studies and enrich
their knowledge of a particular field of interest.
The program ensures that every Smithie will be
able to pursue such opportunities by providing
each student with generous funding for
internships that meet the Praxis requirements.
Using my Praxis funding this past summer, I
worked with Dr. Cosgrove, a biology professor
at Montgomery College, on his research project
on Neuritogenesis of Neuroblastoma Cell Line
In Vitro. We analyzed the expression of several
proteins in mouse and rat neuroblastoma
cancer cells under specific conditions using
immunological detection and other techniques.
Thanks to the Praxis Program, I was able to
take part in this project and to gain hands-on
experience in the field of biomedical research.”
Betzaida Nolasco ’15
Betzaida Nolasco, AA (Montgomery Blair HS),
wrote to say that, as a Frank Karel Fellow in
Public Interest Communications she “worked
this past summer with DC Vote, an organization
that fights for equality for Washington, DC,
residents in order to gain full congressional
representation and control over their local budget
and laws without congressional interference. The
Karel Fellowship focuses on communication to
drive for social change, so I have been helping
to monitor DC Vote’s social media accounts
and uploading articles relevant to our cause
onto the website. I have been going to Capitol
Hill for hearings and meetings with House of
Representatives schedulers, as well as giving
members of Congress letters about our cause
right before the Appropriations Committee brings
up a bill that pertains to one of our issues, our
purpose being to convince them at the last
minute to side with us. I have also been given
a project by my mentor, Executive Director Kim
Perry, that focuses on working to involve states
in our fight for representational equality (I’m
gathering up information they can use to spread
the word in their communities as well as knock
down the myths about DC residents’ so-called
“federal benefits”). Apart from that, I’ve been
visiting the other Karel fellows’ organizations and
going to Burness Communications in Bethesda
to learn about the strategies behind successful
Marcia Puig-Lluch, AA (Poolesville HS), worked
during the summer of 2015 as a Karel Fellow
and interned at Wider Opportunities for Women,
a DC-based advocacy group. Marcia wrote,
“We focus on employment equity and access to
nontraditional jobs, retirement, and elder security,
and the financial cost of recovering from sexual
assault and stalking. As the communications
intern, I was part of the organization’s social
media outreach, writing blog posts, updating
the contact and email list, and among many
other tasks, going to meetings and listening
in on phone calls. It has been such a learning
experience! Not only have I learned tons about
this organization and the work they do, I’ve also
been exposed to DC lobbying and professional
networking. In addition, I have been granted the
opportunity to go to different events, for example:
The Make Progress National Summit, where we
heard from speakers like Joe Biden, Secretary
of Labor Thomas Perez, House Minority Leader
Nancy Pelosi, and so many other impressive
people on the issues that affect our generation.”
Claire Ramirez-de-Arellano, AA (Damascus
HS), joined the Maryland National Guard. After
basic training in Missouri, Claire will be going
to southern Arizona to train as a geospatial
intelligence imagery analyst.
Karen Vanegas, AA (Blake HS), was a Frank
Karel Fellow in Public Interest Communications
last summer, and this past summer she was a
Dream Summer Intern, which involved working
in Los Angeles for awhile and then with the
American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, DC.
Karen is majoring in both broadcast journalism
and government and politics at the University of
Maryland, College Park.
Dr. Cheryl Tobler plays with Brian McNeill
Hannah Freeman and Chris Pacious ’05
Megan Brittle and Roberto Lara ’01
Dr. Cheryl Tobler, our own world music
professor, accompanied two well known
musicians — the Scottish folk musician
Brian McNeill, who performed at
Montgomery College in the spring, and
Cathy Jordan, the lead vocalist for the Irish
group Dervish — in a class performance
Rachel Robb ’08 music
and Brycegathering.
Hoover ’09
at the Swannanoa
Dr. Cheryl Tobler performs with Cathy Jordan
FALL 2015
FALL 2015
Montgomery College
M ontgomer y Scholars Program New sletter
FALL 2015
Nonprofit Org.
U.S. Postage
Suburban, MD
Permit No. 97
Montgomery Scholars Program
51 Mannakee Street, SV 107B
Rockville, MD 20850
Montgomery Scholars Program Newsletter
For further information about
Montgomery College, please go to
For further information about the
Montgomery Scholars program, please go to
Comments, feedback, or input, please email:
[email protected]
Produced by the Office of Communications, 10/2015
Montgomery College is an academic institution committed
to promoting equal opportunity and fostering diversity
among its students, faculty, and staff.
FALL 2015

Similar documents