Georgetown University

Alumni Spotlight Archive

Michael C. Patterson

Michael C. Patterson (C’05)

Franchise President, HR Director and Sign Spinner, AArrow Sign Spinners

In 2002, Michael Patterson helped his Georgetown roommate, Max Durovic (B’05, MBA’10), put a new spin on advertising. With help from classmate Thomas Brunet (B’05), they established the marketing company AArrow Sign Spinners. Now, businesses all over the world hire AArrow’s trained sign spinners to capture the attention of passers-by as they toss six-foot, custom-made signs around on street corners. The alumni used strategies learned at Georgetown to take their basic business model to the next level, transforming sign spinning into its own sport with a world championship in Las Vegas. They are also dedicated to using their business to help others. “We want to provide a lucrative employment opportunity as a sign spinner for all individuals ages 15 and up, while also allowing for a flexible work schedule and an exciting job environment,” said Patterson, who’s responsible for expanding the business to the East Coast region. AArrow’s clients include the Georgetown men’s basketball team and a vast array of corporations from McDonald’s to H&R Block, and their spinners have been featured in Taco Bell commercials and Disney Pixar movies.

30 Jan 2015

Steven Evangelista

Steven Evangelista (C'98)

Principal and co-founder, Harlem Link Charter School

Steven Evangelista had expected his career in education to be temporary, but instead it became a life-long calling. Evangelista is principal and co-founder of Harlem Link Charter School, a K-5 public school that strives to graduate articulate scholars who not only exceed state performance standards, but who are also active citizens serving within their own communities. Evangelista discovered his calling after graduating from Georgetown as a psychology major, when he enrolled with Teach for America. Assigned to work in New York City, he found the elementary schools in the area were in great need of a "curriculum and teaching structure that supports the development of critical thinking skills and student independence." Evangelista, initially opposed to charter schools, began researching the possibility of creating a charter school in Harlem to address these needs while earning his master's in education at Bank Street College. In 2005, with the help of a grassroots founding board and co-founder Margaret Ryan, he opened Harlem Link Charter School. Now, because of Harlem Link's impressive academic and organizational achievements, it has earned a charter renewal, extending into 2018. 

24 Nov 2014

Kendra Stitt Robins

Kendra Stitt Robins (C’94, MA’95, L’00)

Founder and Executive Director, Project Night Night

Triple Hoya Kendra Stitt Robins is making a difference in the lives of homeless children in America with her nonprofit organization Project Night Night.

Robins started her career teaching English literature and later went on to practice corporate law in San Francisco. While working as an attorney, she and her husband Billy enjoyed taking their young son on trips with them; however, Robins noticed when her son was away from home and his comfort items—his blanket and stuffed animals—it was quite hard for him to get to sleep. Those sleepless nights left both the child and the parents miserable and exhausted the next day.

It occurred to Robins that this situation is something that homeless and displaced families must face with regularity, giving her the idea to start Project Night Night. The San Francisco-based organization creates “Night Night Packages” providing children with essentials to help them feel secure, including a security blanket, stuffed animal and a children's book in a tote bag.

Today, Project Night Night distributes 25,000 packages annually with the help of more than 10,000 volunteers. The organization has received several awards including the 2013 A-List Award for Best Bay Area Charity. “There are 1.3 million homeless children in the United States, and it is our goal to help all of them,” said Robins.

7 Nov 2014

Sophia Kizilbash (F’03)

Co-Director, Native Youth Leadership Alliance
Owner, Sophia Kizilbash Coaching

In 2009, Sophia Kizilbash and a core group of elders and young leaders from Tribal Colleges set out to create a national Native American–led organization rooted in indigenous approaches to leadership and community change. As a founding co-director of Native Youth Leadership Alliance (NYLA), her extensive international development experience plays a key role in the organization’s work to support young Native American social entrepreneurs. While a student in the School of Foreign Service, she always knew that she wanted to focus on international development. Since then, her work has allowed her to partner with urban and rural communities in the United States, Jamaica, United Kingdom, Malaysia and the Philippines. True to the entrepreneurial culture of Georgetown, Kizilbash also has her own business, Sophia Kizilbash Coaching and the South Asian Sisterhood, offering leadership coaching services. “I became a coach because I experienced its power in my own life and leadership, and am passionate to share the impact of the coaching partnership with leaders at the front lines of community change,” she said.

19 Aug 2014

Deirdre Kelly Lavrakas (F’69)

Senior Manager of Production and Teaching Artist, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Having studied at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, Deirdre Lavrakas had no prior acting experience when she saw an advertisement for drama classes. “When I stepped into my first class, I knew I had come home,” Lavrakas said. She was later offered a teaching fellowship at George Washington University as part of her Master of Fine Arts studies. Today, Lavrakas works behind the scenes at the Kennedy Center, co-founding its play development program, New Visions/New Voices. She also serves as an international teaching artist and director of 85 productions, some touring South Asia for the U.S. State Department. Lavrakas also co-founded a theater training program at the Performing Arts Center in Amman, Jordan, and helped create Write Local. Play Global., an international network of playwrights for young audiences, with nearly 600 members worldwide.

22 Jul 2014

Elizabeth Hillman (C’90)

Senior Vice President of Communications, Discovery Education

Overseeing the communications plan for Discovery Education, Elizabeth Hillman is responsible for the strategic messaging for the leading provider of digital educational services to K–12 classrooms.  Although she didn’t realize it then, majoring in art history at Georgetown became the perfect prerequisite for Hillman’s work in communications by teaching her to think decisively and relate to many different types of people. In a previous position, she spearheaded a campaign for Discovery Channel’s Emmy Award-winning Planet Earth series. It was the most rewarding project she’s ever worked on. “Not only was it visually spectacular, but there was never-before-seen behavior that scientists were thrilled to witness, all shot with newly-invented HD technology,” she said. Outside of her profession, Hillman is a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and serves on the KidsPeace Board of Associates.

10 Jul 2014

Michael Litton (B’72)

Founder and CEO, Bridge Brands Chocolate

Michael Litton found his niche in the multibillion-dollar chocolate industry selling bite-sized gourmet chocolates packaged in personalized tins. Like many of his successes over the years, this is the product of “pure accident,” admits Litton, who founded Bridge Brand Chocolates in 2000. The company produces a wide variety of specialty chocolates, including its popular Wine Lover’s Chocolate, which matches different types of chocolate with complimentary wine pairings. Litton’s idea to deliver the candy in artfully-designed tins has added to its appeal as well. Bridge Brands is best known for its Landmark Tin Collection, which focuses on city icons such as the Golden Gate Bridge, making them perfect souvenirs in each corresponding location. Over the past decade, Bridge Brands has also expanded its reach on a national level, selling to retailers such as World Market and T.J. Maxx.

23 Jun 2014

Dr. Michele Dallas, DDS (C’81)

Owner, Las Olas Dental Centre

As the first African-American woman to practice dentistry in the Broward County area, Michele Dallas, DDS, is responsible for the dental care of thousands of patients. Specializing in general, cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry, Dallas enjoys improving the health and appearance of her patients’ smiles. She studied business at Georgetown before attending Howard University for a degree in Dentistry. Following Georgetown’s strong culture of entrepreneurship, after completing her residency and gaining experience working at other dental offices, she opened her own dental practice in her hometown of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, in 1992. She has been running a successful practice for more than 22 years. In 1999, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Dr. Dallas to the State of Florida Board of Dentistry where she served on the board for two four-year terms.

5 Jun 2014

Kevin McGuire

Josefina Urzaiz de Burke (MSFS’07)

Co-founder and Owner, Hammock Boutique

As an investment banker in New York, Urzaiz de Burke felt disconnected with her upbringing in Yucatán, Mexico. She missed volunteer work and wanted a more gratifying career, so in 2010, she decided to leave the financial world. Inspired by the beauty of her Mayan ancestors’ craftsmanship, Urzaiz de Burke decided to launch Hammock Boutique with her brother. The Yucatán-based company is committed to providing a sustainable business model to 700 weavers, providing the raw materials to weave custom-made hammocks. “Our craftsmen are indigenous Mayans, 90 percent women, all of whom work from home,” Urzaiz de Burke explained on her Etsy website. “This allows them to earn wages, to avoid the cost and time of a commute to work and to take care of young children at home.”

2 May 2014

Kevin McGuire

Kevin McGuire (L’87)

Founder, McGuire Associates
Founder, AbleRoad

McGuire began using a wheelchair at age 7 after being struck by an intoxicated driver. He has dedicated his life to improving access for people with disabilities, such as ensuring that businesses offer captioning, ramps and materials in alternate format. After law school, McGuire founded McGuire Associates—a consulting firm that helps its clients, including Live Nation concert venues, understand how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2013, McGuire launched AbleRoad, the first website and app that allows people to rate and review public places based on their ease of access. Let people with disabilities and their family and friends “start telling properties what’s wrong with their spaces. ...If the voices get loud enough, they will respond,” says McGuire.

24 Feb 2014

Doug Band (SCS’97, L’01)

President, Teneo Holdings

Band was President Bill Clinton’s special assistant and deputy assistant in the White House for seven years and later served as his counselor and chief advisor from 2002 until 2012. During Clinton’s post-presidency, Band helped create and build the Clinton Global Initiative, which convenes global leaders to devise and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. The nonprofit has improved more than 400 million lives nationally since its founding in 2005. Band also co-founded Teneo Holdings—a global advisory firm that helps organizations attain business objectives, protect and enhance their reputation, navigate challenges and maximize value—in 2011. Currently, Band is a professor at NYU Wagner.

18 Nov 2013

Sister Ann Durst (L’82)

Founder, Casa Cornelia Law Center

After serving as an educator for almost 25 years, Sister Ann Durst felt called to the legal profession and attended Georgetown Law. In 1991, Durst, a member of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, conducted research on behalf of the order that found that San Diego was the community in greatest need of immigrant legal services in the U.S. Southwest. Two years later, she founded Casa Cornelia Law Center, which provides pro bono legal services to people fleeing persecution in their homelands, children in federal custody and undocumented victims of domestic violence. Durst said she thinks of it “as a beacon of hope in a sea of pain and suffering. There are so many needs, and these folks are so vulnerable.”

23 Oct 2013

Phil Hardberger (L’65)

Former Mayor of San Antonio
Lawyer, Cox Smith

After a distinguished judicial career in Texas, Hardberger was ready to retire and sail the world. At that time, “municipal corruption and homelessness were on the rise in San Antonio,” says Hardberger. “People began encouraging me to run for mayor.” In 2005, he was elected mayor. During his two terms in office, Hardberger was responsible for growing San Antonio’s park space, leading the city’s downtown revitalization efforts and expanding the San Antonio River Walk. He also co-founded Haven for Hope to aid the homeless in finding jobs. In 2005, then-President Bush thanked Hardberger for being one of the first mayors to assist Katrina and Rita evacuees. Today, he practices law with Cox Smith and serves on eight community boards.

2 Oct 2013

Joe Brennan (C’12)

Founder, Smiles for the People

After traveling the world, Brennan recognized that developing countries had little access to dental care. “Proper dental hygiene can help lift people out of poverty because it leads to better nutrition, helps ward off sickness and increases self-esteem,” says Brennan. In 2012, he founded Smiles for the People—a business that sells biodegradable toothbrushes to consumers in the United States and Canada. For every toothbrush sold, the company donates the equivalent of one toothbrush to dental charities overseas. Brennan says his company was inspired by Georgetown’s mission of cura personalis. “Caring for the person’s smile means we are caring for the whole person,” he says.

10 Sept 2013

Neda Funk (C’01)

CEO and Co-founder, FITiST

Funk saw a need for a one-stop resource dedicated to the increasingly popular boutique fitness industry. In 2011, she co-founded FITiST—an online platform that has reinvented the traditional gym membership, allowing users to aggregate memberships to multiple studios instead of a one-size-fits-all fitness center. “We believe it’s more effective and fun to mix up your workouts,” says Funk, who had spent several years in the fashion industry working for top designers including Oscar de la Renta. FITiST also offers customized workout plans and online class scheduling. FITiST has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes and Vogue.

26 Aug 2013

Dr. Matthew Schmidt (G’11)

Assistant Professor of Political Science,
U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies

While earning his doctorate at Georgetown, Schmidt was exposed to design-planning concepts. In 2009, he accepted a teaching job with the Army’s premier planning school at Ft. Leavenworth. Schmidt advanced the field of strategic decision-making by bringing ideas from architecture and design to the military operations planning process. “Design is a way of thinking that’s simultaneously detailed and conceptual. You have to have a sort of detailed planning to understand what the broad concept is,” (see interview). In 2012, he was No. 22 in Fast Company’s “Top 100 Most-Creative People in Business.” He recently accepted a tenure-track dual appointment in national security and political science at the University of New Haven.

2 Aug 2013

Amina Khan (C’90, L’95)

Representative, Case Foundation
Director, McLean Furniture Gallery

Originally from Pakistan, Khan works to improve the public image of Pakistanis and American Muslims in the U.S. She was the first Muslim representative at the Buxton Initiative—a partnership formed with the Case Foundation in the wake of 9/11 to create relationships among people of different faiths. Khan was an appointee in the second Clinton administration and has spoken about Pakistani issues in the Washington Post. Today, she serves on the boards of two organizations, South Asian Americans Leading Together and the USPAK Foundation, and works at the business founded by her parents, McLean Furniture Gallery, in Virginia.

16 July 2013

George Lepauw (C’02)

President and Founder, International Beethoven Project

Lepauw performed his first concert of Beethoven sonatas at age 10 and continues to play in venues like New York’s Lincoln Center. In 2009, Lepauw and the Beethoven Project Trio, whose CD reached No. 24 on the Classical Billboard Charts, founded IBP—a Chicago-based nonprofit that, inspired by the music and life of Beethoven, promotes culture and society through music and art. Its most notable event includes the annual Beethoven Festival, which the Chicago Tribune called an "event of world-class importance," attracting audiences and renowned performers from around the world. In 2012, the Chicago Tribune named Lepauw one of its "Chicagoans of the Year."

24 June 2013

Sarah Olsen (C’09)

Founder, Silk & Ivory

Olsen loved bridal fashion but didn’t understand why mass-produced bridal gowns, made of synthetic fabrics, were so expensive. With support from the Georgetown alumni network, Olsen quit her investment analyst job at Rockefeller Financial to start a bridal gown business that showcases the meticulous handwork of artisans in the developing world. At Olsen’s New York office, brides can collaborate with her to create the custom gown of their dreams. "Designers and their teams overseas benefit from the increased business while allowing me to provide my clients with high-quality organic fabric and workmanship that has become rare and prohibitively expensive in the U.S. market."

7 June 2013

Brendan Callahan (MBA’13)

Co-founder and President, Achieve in Africa

During a service trip to Tanzania in 2007, Callahan was so inspired by the children’s enthusiasm for learning that he co-founded the nonprofit Achieve in Africa. The organization is currently building Olasiti village’s first secondary school in northern Tanzania, which is open to 600 students in grades 7-8, and upon completion, will accommodate grades 7-12. On May 5, 2013, a bomb exploded at a Catholic Church near the secondary school, killing three and injuring dozens. Undeterred, Callahan told BusinessWeek, "We are even more determined to raise funds to provide this village its first secondary school so that all children can learn together peacefully under one roof."

23 May 2013

Stacey D. Stewart (C’85)

U.S. President, United Way Worldwide

Inspired by her parents’ dedication to public service, Stewart developed a passion for community outreach during her youth. Today, she drives the strategic direction of United Way U.S.A., working with the nonprofit’s leaders to improve lives and strengthen communities in the areas of education, income and health. Prior to joining the organization, Stewart was president and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation. She is the recipient of the 2007 Leadership Award from the National Urban League and the 2006 Entrepreneurial Philanthropy Award from the Washington Area Women’s Foundation. Read more.

8 May 2013

Brian Stranko (MBA’97)

Director of the North and Central Coast Region, The Nature Conservancy

A committed conservationist, Stranko is creating innovative solutions to protect California’s land and water. By working with unexpected partners such as timber companies and farmers and understanding their needs and perspectives, "we can shape conservation solutions that allow them to stay in business, support the local economy—while protecting and restoring natural conditions," says Stranko. He credits Georgetown for preparing him to use his resources strategically, and its D.C. location allowed him to engage in government affairs—"an experience that was essential to being able to advance policy changes."

26 Apr 2013

Maya Noronha

Maya Noronha (C’05, L’11)

Deputy Director, Republican National Lawyers Association

"Submitting a well-written political science paper to your Georgetown professor can lead to the chance to work on speeches of the U.S. president," says Noronha, who landed an internship at the White House during George W. Bush's administration. In her current position, Noronha has helped host an event for presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s legal team at the Republican National Convention, as well as a legal training conference at the National Press Club. In 2012, she was featured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30: Law & Policy.

11 Apr 2013

Denis McDonough

Denis McDonough (MSFS'96)

Chief of Staff, White House

One of President Obama's closest national security advisers and trusted aides was appointed chief of staff, replacing Georgetown alumnus, Jack Lew (L'83), the new treasury secretary. One reason "we all love Denis," Obama said in the announcement, is "his decency, his respect for those around him." The Minnesota native has assisted in top security decisions including the U.S. drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan and the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Prior to his tenure in the White House, McDonough was a foreign policy specialist for former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). Read more.

15 Mar 2013

Nathaniel Disston

Nathaniel Disston (B'12)

Founder, VoyVoy

Disston's surf-inspired clothing line, VoyVoy, is a new trend in fashion with its American-made, eco-friendly, square pocket t-shirts that are convenient for carrying items such as an iPhone or sunglasses. Disston recently launched a Kickstarter campaign—a funding platform for projects—to keep production in the United States, increase consumer options and improve the website. "The Georgetown community members who have reached out to lend advice, make connections and help me move forward has been motivating and inspiring," says Disston, who co-founded the company in college. Watch the pocket square in action.

28 Feb 2013

Muriel Hasbun

Muriel Hasbun (C'83)

Chair of photography and associate professor, Corcoran College of Art and Design

Hasbun's literature studies at Georgetown inspired her to explore and interpret the world through photography. Photography is "about the layering of memories," says Hasbun, who incorporates personal memories and family images that depict her multi-cultural background. Her exhibits have sparked new questions about identity and place across the world, including at the 50th Venice Biennale and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Hasbun was selected as the lead artist for a project grant funded by the U.S. Department of State and the American Association of Museums. View her portfolios.

14 Feb 2013

Suki Shah

Suki Shah (B'05)

Co-founder and CEO,

Shah has reconstructed the way job seekers and employers connect in the world of technology by creating an online video-based hiring platform. At 24, Shah founded his first business, which exposed him to the difficulties in hiring top talent. Today, job seekers can submit video resumes, while employers can post jobs and track the applications of high-quality candidates at low cost and in less time. "It is especially helpful for client-facing, customer-facing jobs, like sales," says Shah. has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company.

25 Jan 2013

Sarah Tucker

Sarah Tucker (F'11)

International consultant, World Wildlife Fund project

Tucker, a Fulbright scholar, empowers Cameroonian indigenous forest hunter-gatherers, the Baka, through an innovative approach to education. The project engages nonprofits, the Cameroonian government and local communities in dialogue to understand perceptions of success among the Baka people, as well as the education necessary to achieve their goals and the barriers they face in learning. Her team hopes to better enable the Baka to defend their rights, adapt to their surrounding changes and improve their quality of life. Read more about her journey.

14 Dec 2012

Steve Silvestro

Steve Silvestro, M.D. (C'02, M'06)


Inspired by the movie Patch Adams, Silvestro met with Mr. Adams and together they formed a clown troupe, bringing laughter to hospitals and nursing homes in the D.C. area. During Silvestro's residency at Georgetown University School of Medicine, he traveled with Adams and 40 clowns to Russia, visiting children's hospitals and orphanages. Today, he maintains a pediatric practice in suburban Maryland and works at the Georgetown University Hospital. Silvestro was listed in the Washington Parent magazine "Favorite Docs 2012." In 2011, he was honored as a "Top Doctor" and "Top Pediatrician" by

30 Nov 2012

Margaret Sullivan

Margaret Sullivan (C'79)

Public editor, The New York Times

Sullivan says her job as The New York Times' first female public editor "is to serve as an in-house critic as well as the readers' advocate in matters of journalistic integrity." Her opinions are published in the Times' Sunday Review section and on the Public Editor's Journal blog. Prior to her appointment, Sullivan was the editor and vice president of The Buffalo News. In 2011, she was appointed to the Pulitzer Prize Board and elected twice as a director of the American Society of News Editors.

6 Nov 2012

Michael L. Chasen

Michael L. Chasen (MBA'95)

President, CEO and co-founder of Blackboard

Chasen co-founded Blackboard, a D.C.-based online educational platform that enhances the academic experience for millions of learners and educators. Over a decade, the company grew into an international powerhouse in education technology. He was recently noted by Washington Techway Magazine as one of D.C.'s most-admired bosses, and Washington Business Forward named him one of the area's rising stars. At the end of this year Chasen will be stepping down from his position to pursue new opportunities.

26 Oct 2012

Keishia Kemp

Keishia Kemp (C'99)

Nutrisystem Spokesperson

Kemp, a full-time director at KIPP Through College (a nonprofit organization that operates elementary and middle public charter schools in under-resourced communities in Los Angeles) and part-time Zumba fitness instructor, was chosen to be Nutrisystem's new featured spokesperson. Kemp, now seen in a commercial that airs about 100 times a day across all major cable stations, says her weight loss empowered her to start a fitness coaching program. Read her story.

12 Oct 2012

Jim McCormick

Jim McCormick (C'90)

Country songwriter and singer

A New Orleans native and top-line Nashville songwriter, Jim McCormick discovered his passion for music while studying at Georgetown University. English professor "Roland Flint [who died in 2001] conducted a workshop that was extraordinary... It was really a place where I started to see how much I loved writing." McCormick co-wrote "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" with Brantley Gilbert, which hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart in July. Soon after, "Take a Little Ride," co-written with artist Jason Aldean, reached No. 1 on iTunes' all-genre singles sales chart. Watch this interview.

27 Sep 2012

Marilyn Milian

The Hon. Marilyn Milian (L'84)

Judge, The People's Court

Marilyn Milian is currently the judge on The People's Court and the first Latina to litigate small claims cases on national television. According to an interview, she still remembers watching the show with her Georgetown classmates: "We were just like, wow, this is the bomb." Outside the courtroom, Milian is a wife and mother of three and a prominent philanthropist in the Hispanic community. She is also recognized for her strong voice against domestic violence and active involvement in Florida's Children's Cancer Center's Summer Camp, hosting mock trials.

14 Sep 2012

Kate Dieringer (NHS'05)

Peace Corps Volunteer, Malawi

Dieringer wanted on-the-ground experience fighting some of the world's toughest health challenges, so she signed up for the Peace Corps in 2011. She credits Georgetown's global and values-based teachings for providing inspiration. Dieringer is currently stationed in Malawi, in southeast Africa, working on CDC malaria projects to improve prevention and treatment of the disease. Read more.

31 Aug 2012

Conor B. French (C'03)

CEO, Indego Africa

Conor French's sights are set on breaking cycles of generational poverty through market access and education. Indego Africa is an award-winning nonprofit social enterprise that connects African women artisans with global supply chains and business skills training. Watch him on Fox News Live. Named a Top 99 Under 33 Foreign Policy Leader, French is a Truman National Security Fellow and a member of the California, Massachusetts, New York and District of Columbia bars.

20 Aug 2012

Chase W. Rynd (F'67)

President and Executive Director, National Building Museum

It's a challenge to be in charge of Washington, D.C.'s National Building Museum, but "it's so rewarding it's worth the hard work," says Chase W. Rynd. The museum, which is dedicated to advancing the quality of the built environment, is a standout in a city famous for its museums; its programs for both children and adults are renowned. Rynd, who has been in his current position since 2003, credits Georgetown for teaching him self-discipline—the "key to being successful in any endeavor." Learn more about Rynd.

30 Jul 2012

School of Nursing & Health Studies

Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda (N'02)

Professor and Community Health Advocate

Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, assistant professor at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, attributes her interest in health advocacy to her undergraduate years at Georgetown, where she worked with underserved communities in Washington, D.C. "The value of social justice was reinforced by Georgetown and the Jesuit tradition," she says. Watch her talk about her current research as co-author of The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, a report commissioned by the Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

11 Mar 2012

Photo by Lori Heddinger,

Traci Lester (F'87)

Educator and Childhood Literacy Activist

As a former public school teacher, Traci Lester is intimately aware of the educational needs of school children. She uses her knowledge to have an impact on underprivileged communities in her role as executive director of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York. Lester's branch of the nonprofit reaches out to 280,000 children a year and helps children succeed in school by partnering with doctors who prescribe books and encourage families to read together.

15 Feb 2012

© World Economic Forum

Sushant Rao (F'96)


As senior director and head of Asia for the World Economic Forum, Rao is involved with international economic policy planning at the highest level. A graduate of the School of Foreign Service, Rao most recently organized the India Economic Summit, bringing together delegates from 40 countries to discuss economic development for the region. Read his comments on how the summit addresses India's most pressing challenges today.

23 Jan 2012

CNN International

Ellana Lee (C'94)

Vice President and Managing Editor, CNN International Asia Pacific

Ellana Lee credits her time at Georgetown as instrumental to her career, explaining that it helped her understand where she fit in the history of the world. Lee began interning at CNN while a senior at Georgetown and worked her way up from there to vice president, overseeing 10 news bureaus. She was recently named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and helped launch The CNN Freedom Project.

6 Jan 2012

Courtesy Dan Addison

Tyler Spencer (G'09)

HIV/AIDS awareness advocate

Motivated by his volunteer experience with HIV prevention programs in South Africa, Tyler Spencer recruited 40 student-athletes from Georgetown and began what has grown into The Grassroot Project. The program uses sports, games and student-athlete mentors from Division 1 teams to promote HIV/AIDS education among at-risk youth in Washington, D.C. A Rhodes Scholar and Udall Fellow, Spencer has also served as coach of the United States Deaf Tennis team.

21 Dec 2011

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Susan Hockfield, Ph.D. (G'79)

President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In 2004, Susan Hockfield was selected as the first woman and first life scientist to hold the title of president at MIT. Under her guidance, MIT is pursuing an energy research initiative to help transform the global energy system and anticipate the energy needs of the future. In her illustrious career as an educator and neuroscientist, her research has focused on brain tumors and cancers. Hockfield previously served as professor of neurobiology and dean of the graduate school at Yale University, and more recently as the university's provost.

7 Dec 2011

Peter Holden (C'76)

Community Health Advocate

Peter Holden is the current President and CEO of Jordan Hospital and Jordan Health Systems. This summer, Mr. Holden participated in the DreamRide campaign to raise funds for the Plymouth Education Foundation to support local schools. Using DreamRide as a start, Mr. Holden is now focusing the hospital's resources on developing community-wide health and wellness initiatives for "better health, better healthcare, and better value".

21 Nov 2011

Alexandra Cousteau (C'98)


Alexandra Cousteau grew up in a family that fostered her love of the environment. She was educated on water ecosystems and conservation by her grandfather, the illustrious Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Having travelled extensively with her family on environmental expeditions, Cousteau's recent projects have focused on creating awareness about water supply and conservation issues. Through Blue Legacy, the organization that she founded, Cousteau has focused on documenting environmental change, and using emerging technologies to inspire and shape social dialogue around critical water issues.

7 Nov 2011

Masaharu Nakagawa (F'73)


Nakagawa is currently the minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) in the cabinet of Yoshihiko Noda, the newly-appointed prime minister of Japan. Nakagawa has also served as the senior vice education minister under the two preceding prime ministers. Having spent his early career at the Japan Foundation, an organization that promotes international cultural exchange, Nakagawa continues to work on improving overseas education and language education.

26 Oct 2011


James C. Duff (L'81)

Museum president and legal educator

James C. Duff recently became president and CEO of the Freedom Forum, an independent, nonpartisan foundation that champions free press, free speech and free spirit. The foundation operates the First Amendment Center, the Diversity Institute and the Newseum, a Washington, D.C., museum dedicated to the role of news, media and technology. In addition to his previous role as chief administrative officer of the U.S. court system, Duff has taught constitutional law at Georgetown for 10 years.

20 Sep 2011

Scott Council

Clarence "Chuck" Baker (B'91)

Founder and CEO, Fileblaze

Featured on the August cover of Black Enterprise Magazine, Chuck Baker is a digital media entrepreneur. His company, Fileblaze, a cloud-based file storage and streaming service, is attracting attention from advertisers to music producers as a way to securely share content. Baker credits his Georgetown friends, including investors Rhahime Bell (B '91), Alonzo Mourning (C'92), Malcolm Lee (C'92) and Adrian Mebane (C '91), for his company's successful launch. Hear his start-up advice.

31 Aug 2011

Stephanie Seek Onguka, M.D. (M'07)

Doctor and missionary

Stephanie Seek Onguka and her husband founded OneLife Africa, a nonprofit Christian mentoring and scholarship program to support at-risk young people in high school. With a background in family medicine and HIV care, Onguka is serving on a mission trip to Nairobi, Kenya, where she will provide health care to slum communities and displaced groups of people while also continuing her youth ministry.

5 Aug 2011

Issa Jeries Albandak (G'10)

Hospital CEO

Originally from the West Bank, Issa Jeries Albandak came to Georgetown through a Pedro Arrupe Scholarship for Peace to pursue a master's degree in health systems administration. In May, Albandak became CEO of Caritas Baby Hospital, an 84-bed children's hospital in Bethlehem. With a long history of dedication to health system reform and improving emergency services, the father of three says that he hopes to apply global best practices to helping young patients.

29 Jun 2011

Lt. Gen. John R. Allen (G'83)

Future commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan

Lt. Gen. John R. Allen was recently appointed to take command of the war in Afghanistan, succeeding Army Gen. David Petraeus. Lauded as a strategic thinker, Allen likely will be tasked with reducing troop levels and handing over responsibility to Afghan security forces. He is a graduate of the national security studies master's program and if confirmed by the Senate this summer, would be the first Marine to take the helm in Afghanistan or Iraq.

24 May 2011

© 2011 Erica Leone & Erin Kornfield/Elk Studios

Soraya Darabi (C'05)

Digital strategist

Soraya Darabi is co-founder and head of business development at Foodspotting, "a visual food guide that makes it easy to share and discover good foods around you." Darabi helped launch the site—named one of TIME's 50 Best Websites 2010—after successfully leading the social media presence of The New York Times. Today, Foodspotting has nearly one million users and partnerships with the Travel Channel, Bravo Network and Zagat.

6 May 2011

Aimee Mullins (F'98)

Global Ambassador for L'Oréal Paris

Aimee Mullins' career as an athlete, model and actress is a testament to what she calls "the opportunity of adversity." While attending Georgetown on a full academic scholarship, Mullins became the first woman with prosthetic legs to compete in the NCAA. From setting world records in track at the 1996 Paralympic Games to walking the runway for Alexander McQueen, L'Oréal's newest spokesperson leads by example as an advocate for positive self-image.

13 Apr 2011

Frank Jones (L'48, L'52)

Founder, Georgetown Chimes

Former college football player Frank Jones might seem an unlikely founder of Georgetown's most iconic singing group. Jones played for Yale before heading into the service during World War II and then enrolled at Georgetown Law. He missed the harmony and brotherhood of Yale's a cappella groups, so he recruited the best singers on campus and started the Georgetown Chimes.  Shortly after his 90th birthday, Jones led a rousing rendition of the Georgetown Fight Song at this year's Cherry Tree Massacre, the Chimes' annual concert series.

24 Mar 2011

Tara Handron (G'08)

Addiction awareness advocate

After graduating from the Communication, Culture & Technology program, Handron expanded her master's thesis into a one-woman play, Drunk with Hope in Chicago. The play humorously yet poignantly explores the path women take from alcoholism and addiction into recovery. Handron was recently named regional vice president for Caron Treatment Centers in the Washington, D.C., area, where she will continue to raise awareness of the disease.

9 Mar 2011

Mary Ann Forbes (G'91)

Senior Program Officer for Iraq and Palestine, AFL-CIO Solidarity Center

Organizing workers after the fall of an autocratic regime is risky business, but Mary Ann made it her life's work. She logged 19 years traveling across five continents, helping once-imprisoned activists rebuild their unions and training the poorest of laborers to negotiate for safe working conditions. Meeting Nelson Mandela and supporting Iraqi oil workers during the American occupation are just a few of her inspiring career highlights.

16 Feb 2011

Brian Westerholt/Sports on Film

Tom Walter (B'91)

College Baseball Coach

Tom Walter is Wake Forest's head baseball coach, but for one college freshman he's also a lifesaver. Walter recruited rising talent Kevin Jordan to play baseball last year, but a devastating kidney disease forced Jordan on the sidelines to wait for a transplant. Remarkably, Walter was a match, and on Feb. 7 he donated his kidney to his player. Read their amazing story.

10 Feb 2011

Christine Brown-Quinn (SLL'82)

Author and Consultant

Balancing a high-powered career with an active family life is no easy task. Christine Brown-Quinn recently wrote the manual on this—Step Aside Super Woman! Her consulting business, The Female Capitalist, helps professional women achieve career-family success and guides organizations in maximizing the benefits of their female talent. Watch her recent Georgetown webinar, or join her in London on Feb. 8.

4 Feb 2011

Courtesy the Washington Post

Tom Sietsema (F'83)

Food critic

Tom Sietsema is the undercover food critic for the Washington Post. After studying language, economics and political history at the School of Foreign Service, he landed a job testing thousands of recipes for the newspaper's food section. Find his recent dining reviews or join in the Ask Tom Live Q&A.

11 Jan 2011

Taryn Voget (B'97)

Model Learning

Taryn Voget is founder and CEO of Everyday Genius Institute, which creates educational products that tap into masters of a craft and teach their strategies to others. The company's newest release, Straight A+ Students, features Georgetown freshman Alex Freeman (C'14). Watch a video about the program or read about the students.

13 Dec 2010

David Francis (G '10)

Olympic Sport Liaison

Sports Industry Management alumnus David Francis serves as a government relations coordinator on the U.S. Olympic Committee, where he develops policy initiatives and stages events that build relationships between the White House, Congress, federal agencies and Olympians and Paralympians."I am working to put together the world's largest athletic event that unifies us all through sport," Francis says. Read about the Georgetown School of Continuing Studies' SIM program.

24 Nov 2010

Photo © Katja Reich

Christopher Reich (F'83)

Suspense writer

New York Times best-selling author Christopher Reich graduated from Georgetown in 1983 and later attended business school. With no job offers in sight after the stock market crash of 1987, Reich moved to Switzerland, got a position at a bank and started writing espionage thrillers. "It was the best move I ever made," he says. Visit his website to read about his recent book, Rules of Betrayal.

9 Nov 2010

Courtesy Compass Partners

Neil Shah (B'10) and Arthur Woods (B'10)

Social entrepreneurs

Inspired by their own experience trying to start a business, Georgetown alumni Arthur Woods (B'10) and Neil Shah (B'10) formed Compass Partners, a venture that provides education, training and networking for undergraduate social entrepreneurs. The newly-launched company gives 15 freshmen at five universities, including Georgetown, the chance to launch their own socially conscious businesses during college. Compass Partners is featured in Fast Company.

21 Oct 2010


Claudia Gilmore (C'09)

Breast cancer advocate

Faced with a dangerous genetic mutation that gives her an 85 percent lifetime risk of contracting breast cancer, Claudia Gilmore chose to take preventative action. Gilmore plans to undergo a double mastectomy on Jan. 11, 2011, and is documenting her journey with the help of fellow Georgetown grads Maureen Dolan-Galaviz (C'08) and John Scanlon (L'92). Visit Gilmore's previve campaign and watch her on NBC's Nightly News and Today shows.

7 Oct 2010

Carol Padden (C'78)

Linguist and "genius" grant winner

Dr. Carol Padden recently won a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award for her pioneering research on the unique structure and evolution of sign languages. Padden, a professor at the University of California, San Diego and the first deaf MacArthur Fellow, says her interest in linguistics and culture is rooted in her early experiences of "moving between different worlds and languages." Read about Padden's research and watch a video profile of her.

30 Sep 2010

Photo by Judith Burrows

Rupa Marya (M'02)

Doctor and musician

Dr. Rupa Marya spends half her year as a practicing physician in San Francisco, and the other half touring with her band, Rupa & the April Fishes, whose mix of French chanson, Latin grooves, Gypsy swing and Indian ragas has been called "ecstatic and powerfully evocative" by the Los Angeles Times. Watch an ABC News profile of Marya, listen to her songs and watch a video of the band.

15 Sep 2010

Courtesy Food Network

Melissa d'Arabian (MBA'93)

Winner of The Next Food Network Star

As the winner of the Food Network's summer cooking challenge, The Next Food Network Star, d'Arabian is the host of the new show Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d'Arabian. Read more and about her big win here.

28 Aug 2010

Kim Askew (L'83)

Head of the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary

This top Dallas lawyer testified at Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing. 

7 Aug 2010

Billy Sherry (C'75)

Abstract artist

Billy Sherry, an abstract artist who works primarily with steel sculpture, has been living and working in Nantucket, Mass., for more than 30 years. A retrospective featuring his work will show at Art Cabinet Nantucket August 13-17. Read more about Sherry's work and show and watch a YouTube video of Sherry discussing his life and craft.

2 Aug 2010

Jim Whitaker (C'90)

Filmmaker and Director, Project Rebirth

When Jim Whitaker visited New York City Shortly after 9/11, he saw an opportunity to chronicle the strength of the human spirit coping with disaster. In Project Rebirth, a feature-length documentary, he combines time-lapse photography recording the minute-by-minute redevelopment of the World Trade Center site with the intimate stories of 10 people grieving from the trauma. Read more.

20 Jul 2010

Missy Schwen Ryan (F'94)

Member of the National Rowing Hall of Fame

Former Georgetown Rower Missy Schwen Ryan was recently inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame. Read more about this accomplished athlete who donated a kidney to her brother between winning Olympic medals in 1996 and 2000.

30 Jun 2010

Courtesy Chicago magazine

Tim King (F'89, L'93)

Founder and CEO, Urban Prep Academies

Tim King founded Urban Prep Academies, a nonprofit operating the only all-boys public schools in Illinois, in 2002. The first senior class graduated this year with great success: 100 percent of Urban Prep seniors were admitted to a four-year college. Watch the recent Good Morning America interview with King and some of the 107 graduating seniors who describe the success of the school and its students.

17 Jun 2010

Patricia Grady (N'67)

Director, National Institute of Nursing Research, NIH

Patricia Grady is marking her 15th year as director of the National Institute of Nursing Research, one of the 27 institutes that comprises the National Institutes of Health. Read more about how she helps shape policy that places nursing research at the forefront of health care.

4 Jun 2010

Courtesy Save the Children

Mary Beth Powers (F'84)

Campaign Chief for Survive to 5 Campaign

Mary Beth Powers leads Save the Children's initiative Survive to 5, which seeks to reduce the number of child deaths worldwide. She has worked for nearly 20 years to support child and maternal health programs around the world. Recently, Mary Beth initiated a national multimedia Ad Council campaign that highlights heroic female health workers and their daily quest to save children's lives. Read more about the "Good Goes" campaign that launched just before Mother's Day.

10 May 2010

Courtesy Smith College

Stephanie Cutter (L'97)

Assistant to the President for Special Projects

Having spent the last two decades in public service, Stephanie Cutter has most recently focused her efforts on White House initiatives. She served as an advisor to the First Lady surrounding the First Lady's Let's Move initiative and as the political and communications strategy advisor to President Obama around the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Read more about her latest appointment as assistant to the president for special projects.

28 Apr 2010

George Mishtowt, M.D. (C'38, M'42)

Former Medical Director, U.S. Department of State

George Mishtowt, first in his class all four years at Georgetown School of Medicine, went on to become medical director at the U.S. State Department. Read more and watch a video of Dr. Mishtowt describing his career and life in the 1930s during the Great Depression, World War II and his service in the 82nd Airborne.

6 Apr 2010

Col. Francis X. Kane (G'49, G'53, G'60)

50th Inductee into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame

Col. Francis Kane, known as the father of military GPS and a pioneer in the development of many space programs and systems, was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame on March 2. Read more about his work on Air Force air, missile and space strategies and his contributions to flight and space education.

17 Mar 2010

Laura Chinchilla (G'89)

President-elect of Costa Rica

Laura Chinchilla, a 1989 graduate of Georgetown Public Policy Institute, was voted President-elect of Costa Rica on February 7, 2010. Previously serving as vice president, she will be the first female leader of Costa Rica when she assumes the presidency in May. Read more.

1 Mar 2010

Joseph Almeida (C'05)

Winner of Teach for America's National Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award

More than 320 Georgetown alumni have completed or are currently in the Teach For America program that places recent college graduates in underserved urban and rural public schools. Joseph Almeida is one such alumnus and the recipient of the 2007 National Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award. Read more and watch a video of Joseph describing his experiences.

17 Feb 2010

Courtesy Gothamist

Missy Robbins (C'93)

Executive Chef at A Voce Restaurant in New York City

Acclaimed young chef Missy Robbins began her career cooking at 1789 while she was a student at Georgetown. Since then, she has risen to high esteem in the restaurant world, peppering headlines in the last year as she moved from Spiaggia in Chicago to A Voce in New York. Read this New York Times article about Missy's latest venture and watch a video of her preparing a mouth-watering pasta dish during a recent appearance on The Today Show.

21 Jan 2010

Courtesy SustainUs

Therese Miranda (F'09)

Fellow for Energy and Climate Change at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Delegate to the United Nations Climate Change Conference

SustainUS, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of young people advancing sustainable development and youth empowerment in the United States, selected Therese Miranda as one of 25 people, ages 19 to 26, to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen from December 7 to 18. Read more about Therese here.

14 Dec 2010

Joan Burggraf Riley (N'76, G'97)

Professor of human science and nursing at the School of Nursing and Health Studies

Selected from a pool of more than 300 top professors in the United States, Joan Riley was named the 2009 District of Columbia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Read more about Joan and the tribute to her teaching here.

3 Dec 2010

Courtesy Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C.

Prince Turki al-Faisal (B'68)

Saudi Arabia's Former Ambassador to the U.S.

Read more about what this former ambassador and current head of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies envisions for achieving Middle East peace.

4 Nov 2009

Andrew Natsios (C'71)

Former Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 2001–2006; Former U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, 2006-2007; Distinguished Professor, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Watch a video of Andrew Natsios and learn how early lessons at Georgetown prepared him for a career in international relations specializing in the diplomacy of disaster response.

13 Oct 2009

Courtesy HBO

Michael Sucsy (F'95)

Director of the Emmy-Winning HBO Film "Grey Gardens"

On September 20, Sucsy's "Grey Gardens" won six Emmys including best TV movie, lead actress Jessica Lange and supporting actor Ken Howard. Read more about Sucsy and his adaptation of the 1975 Maysles brothers' documentary.

28 Sep 2009

Ted Leonsis (C'77)

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Vice Chairman Emeritus of AOL

Watch a video interview with Ted to learn more about the achievements he credits to Georgetown and how his philosophy on creating a successful company, sports team and film stem from the teachings of Georgetown's Joseph Durkin, S.J.

15 Jul 2009