Class Notes: Undergraduate Alumni

Jul 13 2017 | By Jesse Adams

Class Correspondent:
Gloria Reinish

Class Correspondent:
Ted Borri

Class Correspondent:
Don Ross

Class Correspondent:
Leo Cirino

Class Correspondent:
Lou Hemmerdinger

Robert Paaswell, distinguished professor of civil engineering at the City College of New York, has been selected by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey to serve as one of eight international jurors to evaluate proposals for the new Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. Robert previously served as executive director of the Chicago Transit Authority. In a statement released in June, Port Authority Chairman John Degnan said: “The selection of this prestigious group of jurors is another step in honoring the commitment of the board to include in its capital plan the funds necessary to erect a replacement bus terminal on the west side of Manhattan. I look forward to reviewing the conceptual design of a facility endorsed by this jury and sharing it with the city, the community, and most importantly, the commuters currently consigned to an outmoded and overcrowded structure, which had languished for far too long without Port Authority steps to replace it. Thankfully, that process is now underway.”

Robert Drucker writes, “The most significant recent event that I am proud to report is that my grandson Brian Ross Albert, Columbia Engineering Class of 2010, received his Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT in June 2016. Future family plans include exploration of arctic areas around Svalbard, Norway, to see the wildlife and other points of interest. A return to the Caribbean in the late fall is also a possibility via New Orleans to see what changes have occurred since the time I worked there in offshore oil and gas platform construction activities.”

Class Correspondent:
Betsey Altman

Peter Demetriou MS’60, PhD’63 is one of the founders of MBC Research in New York, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. He conducts marketing research for Fortune 500 companies and travels quite a bit for work as well as pleasure. Peter recently came back from China, where he was supervising a study for a multinational client. He and his wife, Mary, also spent time in Fiji over the Christmas holiday and planned to visit St. Croix and Greece this summer. In addition to traveling, Peter enjoys reading, listening to classical music, and attending classical music concerts, ballets, and operas at Lincoln Center.

Besides his BS in industrial engineering, Matthew J. Sobel ’59CC, ’64GSAS earned an AB (Columbia College), an AM (Columbia’s Department of Mathematical Statistics), and a PhD from Stanford University (Operations Research). He was a faculty member at Yale, Georgia Tech, SUNY Stony Brook, and Case Western Reserve University, where he is now an emeritus professor. Matt retired in 2014 to devote more time to research, to visit his children and grandchildren more often, and to spend more time road bicycling and cross-country skiing. He remains passionately devoted to research, but he is slower at it than decades ago! He and his wife live near Cleveland, where classical music ensembles are outstanding, road bicycling is excellent, and in some winters skiing is too.

He celebrated retirement with a weeklong bicycle ride in the mountains and high deserts of Northern New Mexico. This year, Matt will participate in Cyclon (in Kingston, Ontario) and the Hilly Hundred (near Bloomington, IN), and he plans to bicycle several thousand miles in his home region.

Class Correspondent:
Doug Kendall

Ray Bode and Doug Kendall recently reconnected after being out of touch for 55 years. Ray is retired and cultivating a social life in Long Island

John (Jack) Pett moved to Sunnyvale, CA, in 1966. Jack worked in his field on classified programs and retired from Watkins Johnson in 1995. He did some consulting work afterward. Now Jack travels a bit, putters around the house, and watches the grandkids grow! His e-mail is, for those who want to get in touch!

Class Correspondent:
Marshal (Mickey) Greenblatt

Class Correspondents:
Chuck Cole
Mark Herman

Class Correspondent:
Tom Magnani

Larry Shaper
 writes, “I just finished building an electricpowered launch, my fifth boat, but it is the only one that my family cares to be on board, mostly because there is a graceful place to sit down with a table for food and drinks. The only times that I have enjoyed myself on a power boat are when the engine is at very low power so that it is possible to have a civil conversation, and the 2KW electric motor is just fine for that.”

Dawn of the Techno-Social Age

“Humanity stands at the cusp of a new technological and social renaissance,” said pioneering computer scientist Lynn Conway BS’62, MS’63 at Columbia Engineering’s annual Magill Lecture, held March 23.
Professor emerita of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, Conway helped lay the foundations of microelectronics chip design. Fresh out of the Engineering School, she solved a fundamental architecture problem in supercomputers, enabling more powerful machines with dynamic instruction scheduling (DIS). Later, she developed scalable metal oxide semiconductor (MOS) design rules, spurring a revolution in fitting more transistors onto ever more complex chips.
Conway is also an advocate for transgender people, having endured much adversity when she decided to undergo gender transition in 1968. She subsequently lived in “stealth mode” for decades but, as historians sought to chronicle her early work, she went public in the 1990s to help innovators foster more inclusive environments.
Quoting Churchill, that “the farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see,” Conway highlighted the age of discovery in the 1400s, when advances in navigation, shipbuilding, and the printing press spread knowledge and began truly global trade. Later, railroads and telegraphy further accelerated change, compounding over time. Inspired by studies in history, anthropology, and sociology at Columbia, Conway sought in her career to maximize diffusion of her open-ended method for better and smaller chips.
“The idea was to use computers to design new chipsets for more powerful computers for more sophisticated chipsets, and so on, and do ever more with ever less,” Conway said.
Coauthoring the textbook Introduction to VLSI Systems and serving with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Strategic Computing Initiative, she advanced “the freedom of the silicon press,” helping chips progress from holding a few thousand transistors to several billion today.
Looking ahead, Conway predicted that our time marks “the dawn of the techno-social age.”
“These aren’t frivolous playthings,” she said. “They illuminate a vast frontier for human empowerment and amplification.”
—by Jesse Adams

Investing in the Future, with a Global Eye

Noha El-Ghobashy BS’96, MS’00, is fostering the next generation of engineers— and equipping them to solve today’s global challenges.
El-Ghobashy was appointed the associate executive director of programs and philanthropy for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) last October. She oversees The ASME Foundation which in 2014 funded $1.8 million in university scholarships, K-12 STEM initiatives and other programs benefitting the global engineering profession.
For elementary and high school students, ASME wants to inspire students to think about engineering differently. “We talk about it as a field you enter to make an impact on society,” El-Ghobashy explained.
She said she also wants to change the way groups think about youth outreach.
“There’s often a misconception with foundations that they’re ultimately in the business of charity,” she remarked. “What we’re trying to do is invest in the future workforce: We’re really trying to build the talent pipeline and ensuring that those students are equipped to solve the challenges we face as global citizens.”
Keeping the focus firmly on global needs is critical, she added.
“Billions of dollars are invested in solving global poverty, and yet in some places it’s on the rise,” she said. “We think there’s a role for engineering to play that ultimately lifts communities out of poverty.”
To that end, El-Ghobashy is incredibly proud of the work of E4C, Engineering 4 Change, the group she is now president of. E4C was founded more than five years ago with ASME, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Engineers Without Borders. Their goal is to work together to create and share ideas and solutions for global challenges. And they also want to make sure engineering is included in the discussion happening with policy makers.
“Over the past five years, we’ve really been able to articulate what’s working and not, and to take a position on the idea of engineering rigor in a space where you have a lot of talk of politics and policy,” she said. “We speak to not just the engineering community but the development community.”
Bringing an engineering perspective to the table when the worldwide political discussion turns to issues in water, energy, health, housing, agriculture, sanitation, and information systems is E4C’s goal.
“We are mobilizing a community of people eager to solve global challenges and do it in a responsible way,” she said.
—by Jennifer Ernst Beaudry

Steve Wolfson
 writes, “In May I won the Gold medal for the 1500M race (for age group 70–75) at the recent CT Senior games. Note the Columbia shirt that I wore to race in.”


To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Jack Reilly at or 212-851-0734.

Steve Nahmias
 went from Columbia to Northwestern and completed a PhD in operations research in 1972. He taught at the University of Pittsburgh for six years and at Stanford for one year, and has been a professor at Santa Clara University since 1979. He was elected a fellow to the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society in 2011 and a fellow to INFORMS in 2014. Steve is the author of Production and Operations Analysis, published by Richard D. Irwin and later by McGraw Hill. The book, originally published in 1989, is currently in its seventh edition (2015) and published by Waveland Press. The seventh edition (only) is coauthored with Tava Lennon Olsen of the University of Auckland. More than 100 colleges and universities including Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, and the Harvard School of Business have adopted the text. It is used in both schools of business and schools of engineering and has been translated into Spanish (two editions), Hebrew, and Chinese.

Class Correspondent:
Ron Mangione

Larry Ellberger writes, “I’ve been happily married 47 years to Barbara (née Julius), whom I met in summer camp when we were about 13. We have three sons, Eytan, Ruven, and Shai; and two granddaughters so far, Maya and Liana. We lived most of our married life in Livingston, NJ, but also in Houston, TX, and Boca Raton, FL. We are now Florida residents, spending the summer in NJ. I have had a very satisfying corporate career in the pharmaceutical/biotech/ vaccine industry, on the business side including over 100 corporate M&A transactions. I have been CEO of WR Grace and PDI and have served on the boards of several life-sciences companies, including several in Israel. I’ve retired from full-time corporate life and spend much time involved in helping Israeli biotech companies become as successful as Israel’s hi-tech industry. “Columbia education was key to my career. In addition to the benefits of the Core Curriculum, I was fortunate to be allowed much flexibility in my Engineering years (because of the school riots in ’68 and ’69) to take many classes in Columbia Business School, which set me on my career path. I also had great fun co-producing (with Paul Shapiro ’67CC and Jim Weitzman ’69CC and also with Barnard ladies Bea Skolnick and Shelley Jaskell) Songs of the Sabras, which at the time was the most popular Israeli music/ culture program on U.S. radio. I would love to hear from Paul, Jim, Bea, and Shelley.”

Chester Lee
 writes, “My son Douglas BS’06and his wife, Kiki, became the proud parents of Owen Clark Lee on March 4, 2016. He’s my third grandson and a future Columbian!”

Bob Schwartz writes, “After retiring from American Water, I’m now enjoying retirement to the fullest. Days are full of community service as secretary of the Montclair, NJ, Rotary; on the board of the Montclair Inn, a nonprofit senior residence; as a member of the applications review committee for the Community Engineering Corps; and tutoring for Streetsquash Newark. Leisure-time activities include travel, fishing, and single malt whisky. I lost Leslie to cancer in 2009 but am happily remarried. My daughter and son are both grown and busy with their own careers.”


To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Star Sawyer at or 212-851-2402.

Allan Cytryn MS’79, ’75GSAPP is now a member of the executive board of the Boston Global Forum, where he advises on cybersecurity policy. In this role, he recently coauthored the G7 Ise-Shima Cyber Norms, which were incorporated, in part, into the G7 Cyber Declaration—the first-ever cyber declaration by the G7 leaders. In August, he will be traveling to Vietnam to advise government and industry on cybersecurity policy.

Neil Marmor writes that he “continues to enjoy the benefits of good genes [Thank you, mom & dad] and a good education. Last summer he cruised the Northwest Passage from Greenland to Nome, Alaska. As opposed to all those courageous sailors who died trying, sometimes after eating their starved comrades, he gained several pounds and communed with the spirits of past expeditions. This past winter he skied, with modest success. He continues to jog, more slowly with each passing season.

“Neil invests some of his time reading to kids, providing free financial counseling to veterans at SDSU, and teaching budgeting to situationally homeless people. He continues to support taxes for the local library and the police department. He plans to sustain his streak of never having missed an election, but this coming November will present a unique challenge. As a reminder of the joys of the climate in San Diego, he always keeps an ice scraper in the trunk of his car. He does not miss driving in snow. He is always glad to visit family and friends and New York and go into Manhattan to enjoy the great culture of a great city.

“Life is good. Neil considers himself an extremely fortunate fellow. It’s been a great trip and it ain’t over yet.”

David C. Kjeldsen MS’75 writes, “After receiving my BS and MS in 1975, I went to work for Estée Lauder cosmetics for a couple years. In 1985, I started a mail-order business selling platform tennis equipment. In 1995, I started manufacturing platform tennis equipment here in Lindenhurst, Long Island. In 2008 I was inducted into the American Platform Tennis Hall of Fame. I sold the last of my businesses in 2015 and I am now retired, looking to retire in Maine.”


To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Star Sawyer at or 212-851-2402.

Lawrence Pohlman MS’80, ’80BUS has had a distinguished career over 30 years of experience in equity, fixed income, and asset allocation. He regularly speaks at professional conferences and is widely published in prominent journals.

Larry is currently the director of quantitative research at BMO Global Asset Management. Before BMO, Larry was the chief investment officer at BNP Paribas Quantitative Strategies, director of the Quantitative Investment Group at Wellington Management, director of research at PanAgora Asset Management, senior vice president and the director of fixed income research at Independence Investment Associates, vice president at Blackrock Financial Management, and an associate in mortgage securities research at Goldman Sachs & Co. Larry holds his PhD in finance, a master’s in finance, MBA in finance and management science, MS in operations research, and BS in nuclear engineering, all from Columbia University. He is a member of the American Finance Association, Boston Security Analysts Society, Econometric Society, the Chicago Quantitative Alliance, and MENSA. He is also an instructor in finance at Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts, Boston campus.

Class Correspondent:
James Reda

To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Star Sawyer at ss3858@ or 212-851-2402.
Class Correspondent:
Dan Libby

Susan C. Bacas MS’83 is a homegrown New York City talent. Educated in the New York City public school system and having earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil and structural engineering at Columbia in 1983, she has embarked on a profession that few women entered. Susan became a managing partner at Ysrael A. Seinuk, P.C., a prestigious NYC-based structural engineering firm, where she began her successful career in 1982. She has built up an impressive project portfolio. Susan has also created a successful internship at her firm, dedicated to selecting exceptional Columbia Engineering students. Susan enjoys spending quality time with her wonderful family by traveling the world, enriching their cultural awareness. She contributes to the community by participating in the Greek National Philoptochos Society, which serves people with disabilities. She also spends her free time volunteering as the baking chairperson for the Staten Island Greek Festival, as a part-time STEM tutor, and as an advisor to the NYU Steel Bridge Team.

Mike Hagan
 writes, “Yes, there is life after Corporate America! Retiring in 2015 was the best thing that I ever did. My wife and I have been traveling the world. Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego are spectacular destinations. Since childhood I wanted to sail through the Magellan Straits and on this trip I did. We’ve been traveling through Central and Eastern Europe looking for a pied-à-terre in that part of the world. I feel truly blessed to live this life. Thank you, Mort Friedman.”

Greg Morea writes that he and his wife, Barbara, “spent a lovely two weeks in the Canadian Maritimes. Nova Scotia is breathtaking, and we had a blast at the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with injecting ink into human bodies. It’s a performance by military bands, display teams, and dancers with lots of bagpipes, Highland dancers, and acrobatics. “I celebrated my 32nd anniversary with Electric Boat this past summer. Who would have thought that the young man who loved NYC and swore to return would still be in southeastern Connecticut after three-plus decades? I received a promotion from the Knights of Columbus and now serve as Grand Knight of the council. Of course, I only agreed to take the job if I was allowed to continue running my baby, the Lenten Fish Fry. Barbara is still singing with all four of her choirs, and our son and daughter-in-law Joseph and Alicia recently celebrated their first anniversary as a married couple. Both Joseph and his sister, Rebecca, are engineers working at Electric Boat.”

To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Star Sawyer at or 212-851-2402.

Chris Kalish began service with the U.S. Peace Corps in Botswana, Africa, in July 2015 and has been assigned to the district with the highest HIV prevalence rates in Botswana in the 15–49 year old range. He works at the District AIDS Coordinator’s Office and Voice of Women Centre in Mahalapye as a Local Government Capacity Builder. In this highrisk region, Chris is leading five important projects to support the community: a District Female Condom Study (FC2), construction of the country’s third Women’s Shelter, development of a Film and Arts Center, an implementation of One Laptop per Child (leveraging technology for education), and a project to convert fly ash from the country’s coal plant to asphalt.

Class Correspondents:
Caryn Frick
David Shofi

David Shofi, vice president, IP Strategy Solutions, and Chief IP Counsel for CPA Global, was recently named to the IAM300 list of The World’s Leading IP Strategists. CPA Global is a leading partner to thousands of organizations throughout the world, providing innovative technology and service solutions across the IP lifecycle. After spending more than 20 years in the IP industry practicing law and developing improved strategies and processes for IP generation, protection, monetization, and enforcement, David joined CPA Global in June 2015. His mission is to aid clients in identifying opportunities for improvement in IP strategy and portfolio management, driving process efficiencies, developing new strategic and innovative solutions, and facilitating greater return on their investments. His experience has provided great perspective and appreciation for the challenges facing IP professionals today, and his role as a strategic and trusted IP partner to colleagues across the industry is proving to be timely and impactful. Whether it is through extending teams and capabilities, identifying opportunities for process improvement, or implementing technology for advanced portfolio management and analytics, David enjoys having a positive effect on clients in the increasingly complex and challenging area of intellectual assets. He has been an active speaker at IP and legal conferences across the world, sharing his best practices with others. David and his wife, Leanne, are proud of their Baldwin Wallace University–bound son, Michael, and their daughter, Mallory, who just finished her sophomore year of high school!

Class Correspondent:
Shreosee Roy

Shawn Kolitch MS'90 recently testified as a physics expert in federal bankruptcy court to provide an opinion about whether electricity should be considered a “good” or a “service” in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy action. The outcome of this inquiry determines whether an electricity provider will get paid for the energy it provided just before the bankrupt company declared bankruptcy. Drawing on his experience as a physics professor, Shawn arrived in federal court with a suitcase full of electricity demonstrations. He used these to demonstrate how electrical energy is generated, how it moves from place to place, and how it is identified by an electricity meter.

In a remarkable twist, the attorney who cross-examined Shawn is the son of Nobel Prize– winning physicist Lars Onsager. At one point, Shawn found himself explaining that all of the atoms in the courtroom had been created from energy, either during nucleosynthesis or in the center of an evolving star. Rarely has testimony in a federal bankruptcy action delved so deeply into questions of fundamental physics!

Class Correspondent:
Laura Cordani Christopher

Class Correspondent:
Radhi Majmudar


To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Star Sawyer at or 212-851-2402. 
Class Correspondent:
Janneth Ignacio Marcelo

Class Correspondent:
Herbert Kreyszig

Class Correspondent:
Enrico Marini Fichera

To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Beth Manchester at or 212-854-4472.

David Chung
 writes that he and his wife, Eliza, welcomed Caden to the world in February 2016! The family is healthy and well.

Class Correspondent:
Daisy Chow

Stephen Del Percio writes, “My wife, Allison; daughter, Charlotte; and I welcomed another daughter, Elisabeth Suzanne Del Percio, on April 18, 2016.”

Lev E. Givon MS’03, PhD’16 writes, “I completed my doctorate in computational neuroscience at Columbia’s Electrical Engineering Department in May, where I developed a novel graph database platform called NeuroArch and a collaborative modeling framework called Neurokernel for emulation of the fruit fly brain on multiple graphics processing units (GPUs). I’m happy to report that both open source projects continue to be actively developed by a growing international team of researchers at Columbia and other institutions—see for more info! After graduation, I joined the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a computational modeling and machine intelligence scientist, where I’m currently working on other fun projects.”

Class Correspondent:
Catherine Marcinkevage


To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Beth Manchester at or 212-854-4472. 
Class Correspondent:
John Morris

Class Correspondent:
Amar Doshi

Heather (Balsky) Weiss writes, “My husband, Scott Weiss ’04CC, and I welcomed a baby girl (Charlotte) to our family in February. My husband and I are both working in finance and have stayed close by on the Upper West Side.”

Class Correspondent:
Eric Rhee

Eric Rhee writes, “Hello, Class of 2004! It’s been a pretty hot summer in the New York area. As we get older, it seems family news is the most common and most important type of update. A big congratulations to Justin Saechee and his wife Veronica on the birth of their son, Owen. Please send updates to, whether you have a new job, new family member, or even fun memories from our time at Columbia.”

Class Correspondent:
Devang Doshi


Class Correspondent:
Nick Jennings


To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Jack Reilly at jr2813@columbia.eduor 212-851-0734. 
Class Correspondent:
Tamsin Davies

Alex Baumel writes that he is getting married in August! After getting his PE license in civil engineering and working as a structural engineer at Robert Silman Associates in NYC, he now works at SunLink in California analyzing, designing, and testing prototype mounting racks and solar trackers for large PV solar power arrays. His two-year-old dog, Cali, recently survived a nearfatal oleander poisoning and she is making a great recovery. Alex is still on the board of SlantShack Jerky, a small beef jerky company founded by seven Columbia alumni (and three others). At press time, he was still deciding whether to go to Burning Man again this year.

Dan Gant is building ComboDeck, a popular new Magic: The Gathering search engine, at

Class Correspondent:
Amy Lin

Class Correspondent:
Heather Lee

Ravi Chacko writes, “My sophomore year at Columbia I got a knee infection after an ACL surgery. That’s when my good luck really began! My hospital stay left me puzzled by the body’s effect on the mind, and vice versa. A year later, I was studying this puzzle at the NIH. I continue to study the mind-body problem in the MD/ PhD program at Washington University in St. Louis. We develop brain-computer interfaces to enhance attention. My colleagues and I started a student-run biotech incubator called IDEA Labs. Through it, I cofounded a company that makes the Mindset app. The app detects stress using wearables and manages it with evidence-based therapies. It’s like a Fitbit for mental health. We set out to improve the mental health of veterans. Two years later we were funded and pitching at the largest startup event in the world. Better still, my college sweetheart, Nisha, is still by my side. I met her in Señora Gloria’s classical Spanish dance class. She’s still dancing with me, with a ring.” Ravi would like SEAS alums to reach out, ravi@, and check out

Evan Roth MS’11 has been living in Philadelphia for the past five years. He recently completed his structural engineering PE exam and is now licensed in Delaware and New Jersey. This achievement, however, has not stopped him from pursuing his other goals. Evan is in the process of opening a brewery in his neighborhood in South Philadelphia. With a little math humor and relevant concept he has chosen the name Cartesian: Local Origin Brewing. The business is currently in the planning phase, so check out Cartesian Brewing on social media.

Class Correspondent:
Justin Merced

Nathan Dadap writes, “After working for four years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency office in San Francisco, and a one-year stint volunteering with an NGO in the Philippines, I will be starting a PhD in Earth System Science at Stanford University in the fall.”

Tejas Kumar has been living in New York since leaving the Morningside campus and is currently working at Citi, where he is an assistant vice president in the Corporate Banking division. Over the past two years, he has seen New York through a runner’s perspective—by completing the New York Road Runners races in each of the five boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island half marathons; Bronx 10 mile, and Queens 10K).

Kimberly Lipman-White writes, “It’s funny how life often only makes sense when reviewed in reverse. It’s been five years since my days as an undergraduate ended, and what a journey it has been since then. Reflecting on my journey thus far, it is only now that I realize that my passion to serve the underserved and marginalized began with my observations as a child, immigrating to New York from Jamaica. This kindling was reignited during my final design project geared towards developing countries. I was inspired by the challenge of creating the plan of how our equipment would be used effectively; it’s this inspiration that guided my journey. “Within no time I found myself aboard the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital on a whirlwind global tour! The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is a mobile teaching hospital used to train local healthcare workers and broadcast public health messages in support of a mission to treat and prevent avoidable blindness. My experience with working in various countries drove me to pursue an MSc in Global Health and Public Policy at the University of Edinburgh. I wanted to complement the practical skills gained with the knowledge of the wider, often complex, environment that health interventions work in, as to better address the needs of the populations and countries I want to serve. I am anticipated to graduate fall 2016 and hope to continue to develop my career in public health and international development.”


To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Jack Reilly at jr2813@columbia.eduor 212-851-0734.
Class Correspondents:
Rebecca Frauzem
Hannah Cui

Akshay Purohit writes, “Inspired during my time at Columbia, I did the Teach For India Fellowship postcollege. The challenges were immense, the experience was rewarding, and I joined my family-owned enterprise, Neptunus Power Plant Services Pvt. Ltd., armed with invaluable learning. In April of this year, Neptunus was awarded the India SME 100 award by the India SME Forum, backed by the government of India. This award recognizes the top 100 small- and medium-sized enterprises in the country, of 49,023 nominations this year! Neptunus specializes in engine and mechanical equipment services to the Marine, Offshore and Industrial Sectors. We have offices in India, UAE, and Tanzania; and customers in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We realize that this is just the start of our journey from Good to Great, but we are immensely thankful to our customers, stakeholders, employees, business partners, and well-wishers.”

Class Correspondent:
Mary Byers

After working at Wheelabrator Technologies Inc., David Ling Qiu relocated from Hampton, NH, to Hong Kong in September 2015 to become senior manager of project management and environmental management at China Everbright International Limited, a Chinese environmental and renewable energy conglomerate.

Class Correspondent:
Victoria Nneji

Mycheal Crafton writes, “Since graduation I have hit some notable career milestones. The most notable are becoming a certified Engineer in Training and being accepted in the Civil Engineering MS Program at Columbia Engineering. I genuinely look forward to being back on campus as a SEGUE Scholar, where I will study topics on sustainable building. On a more personal note, I hope to continue connecting with students of underserved communities who can benefit from a little extra help. As of late, I’ve also gained an interest in cycling— so get ready, Morningside!”

Tolu Akinade writes, “Looking back it’s hard to believe that I graduated from SEAS just one year ago. The past year has been filled with a mixture of new developments, experiences, challenges, and triumphs. After graduation, I went home to Qatar for my sister’s high school graduation, and then my family went on vacation in Italy to visit Rome and Florence. I had the pleasure of working as a Research Assistant for Dr. Antonio Fojo after graduation at the National Institutes of Health and then at Columbia University Medical Center. The lab has an interest in the biology and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors as well as how the trafficking of proteins on microtubules is affected by cancer therapies. I completed my MD/ PhD application and interviews during my year off school, and I’m happy to announce that I will be matriculating as an MD/PhD student at Columbia University Medical Center this fall! This past year has been a wonderful transitional year for me, and being in the real world has allowed me to grow as an individual. I’m looking forward to what the next chapter in my life holds.”

Andres Smith writes, “After graduating from SEAS having majored in Electrical Engineering, I moved back to my hometown of Caracas and started working as a Presales Engineer for ZTE Corporation in Venezuela. My experience began in a different way as I spent five months working with RF Engineers learning how to plan and optimize (2G/3G/LTE) cellular networks, and afterwards I finally started getting involved in a Transport Network project in the presales department, where I have learned how to take requirements and deliver solutions to the client exposing the pros and cons of each option. Also, this year during the Easter Holidays I traveled back to New York as every time I think back about my time in the Big Apple I feel nostalgic. I felt right ‘at home’ once more when I landed, surrounded by exciting Broadway musicals, world-class museums, some amazing weather, and the freedom I can’t have in my country. Visiting my Alma Mater, and of course taking a ride on the 1 train again to 116th Street, was a must. New York is magical!”


To take an active role in your Class Reunion activities, please contact Beth Manchester or 212-854-4472.

Olachi Oleru writes, “I promised myself that I would take it easy after graduating in May, but that hasn’t really been the case. Instead, I found myself exploring the world of entrepreneurship, as three of my friends/classmates and I launched Luso Labs LLC! After receiving funding from the Columbia Venture Competition, Jahrane Dale BS’16, Stephanie Yang BS’16, Ritish Patnaik BS’16, and I chose to pursue this venture to alleviate the threat of cervical cancer worldwide. Our team aims to do this with the cerVIA system—a medical device that we created for our senior design project that can provide automated, accurate, and accessible cervical cancer screening for women in low-income areas. With additional funding opportunities and a pilot study in the future, we feel excited for what’s to come and appreciate the support and guidance that the Columbia community has provided. Check us out at www. and look for us in New York City and Palo Alto!”