Ten Year Reunion: Snapshots from the Class of 2001

collected by Sheila Xiah Kragie '01

The Class of 2001 recently came together for their ten-year reunion, and many of them shared their stories for the Magnet Foundation newsletter:

Lora ArmstrongHans AroraBenjamin AurichDaniel BatesRachel Carlson
  • Lora Armstrong (Bristol, UK): I got a PhD in geology from the University of Bristol in 2010, doing high-pressure experiments that reproduce the conditions of the Earth's deep interior.  I use the experiments to study the mineralogy and properties of rocks hundreds to thousands of kilometers deep in the Earth. When I'm not doing that, I spend most of my time cooking, hiking, hula hooping (with and without fire!) and planning out the tiny ecohouse I hope to build someday when I have a permanent job.
  • Hans Arora (Chicago, IL): At Northwestern University finishing a PhD in Cancer Biology and preparing to return to my third year of medical school in September after a 4-year hiatus for graduate school.  Got married this past May to the most amazing person I've ever met, and planning for a delayed honeymoon in Hawaii in December!
  • Benjamin Aurich (Denver, CO): I’ve been married seven years to a wonderful woman about whom I can't say enough good things. I've made cabinets professionally, worked for the EPA (5 years), a Capitol Hill lobby (3 years), and am now a businessman in Denver. In 2004 a drunk hit me and broke my jaw, shoulder, and both legs; I now have various titanium bits, including a rod in one femur. I still bike, hike, and generally enjoy an active lifestyle, especially out West. I have a Math degree, with supports in Economics and Statistics. I’m a landlord, with properties in Rockville and Colorado.
  • Daniel Bates (Los Angeles, CA): After taking a ridiculously long time to graduate from MIT, I settled in the greater Los Angeles area working as an aerospace engineer for Boeing on unmanned helicopters – totally awesome. I have recently decided to pursue my dream and started working as a prep cook at Michael Voltaggio’s new restaurant in West Hollywood. With the little time that leaves me, I enjoy biking, running, and repeatedly repairing my car.
  • Rachel Carlson (Silver Spring, MD): I'm a freelance musician!  After way too much college, I moved back to Silver Spring and am now singing in professional choral ensembles throughout the country, teaching private voice lessons, and started Six Degree Singers, a young professional community choir in Silver Spring (check us out at singsix.com). We are now over 2 years old and became an official non-profit this spring!  But you probably know all this already because of my snazzy write-up in the Magnet Foundation Newsletter.
Joanne ChanDani ChurchBret CohenBenjamin EiserikeLandon Fraser
  • Joanne Chan (Washington, DC): Attorney in the FDA & Life Sciences group of King & Spalding LLP.  My practice focuses on advising drug, cosmetic, and medical device companies on advertising, promotional, and labeling issues.
  • Dani Church (Rockville, MD): These days I'm living on my own in Rockville, working as a software architect for a small Reston-based company called ScienceLogic.  You're equally as likely to see me riding a motorcycle as driving a car, and I'm currently in training to get my pilot's license so I can take to the skies as well.  I'm a woman now, having transitioned shortly after college, and I spend more than a little bit of time teaching people about what it means (and what it doesn't!) to be transsexual.
  • Bret Cohen (Silver Spring, MD): I am currently a lawyer living in Silver Spring and working in D.C., practicing assorted areas of Internet and e-commerce law but primarily privacy, data security, and other areas of consumer protection.  I have been happily married for almost two years.  Surprising Fact: I have had 10 surgeries in the last 10 years (including 4 reconstructive on my right cheek -- soccer injury)
  • Benjamin Eiserike (Washington, DC): After successfully graduating from University of Maryland with a degree in American studies I've held a number of both interesting and uninteresting jobs in and around the DC area. I currently live in NW DC and work for a small government consulting firm in Takoma Park. I spend much of my free time playing and listening to music. I’m in a band called Club Scout and it is spectacularly fun and I am very proud of our songs.
  • Landon Fraser (Columbia, MD): Currently I'm working as a computer programmer for the federal government. Finished 2nd masters degree May 2011 in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins, 1st masters is in Information Security from Carnegie Mellon May 2007.
Julian Goldman & Masha GorodetskayaRishi GuptaJohn HaworthSei-Gyung KimJackie Kirchhoff
  • Masha Gorodetskaya & Julian Goldman (with a future member of the Magnet class of 2028)
  • Rishi Gupta (New York, NY): Worked for a few years after graduating from Univ of MD, then went to business school. Now working in finance. I've made my parents proud, hit one of the three - doctor, lawyer, finance. Yes, they use "finance" as if it’s a title.
  • John Haworth (Chicago, IL): I recently switched jobs from the SEC and am now working for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. I work in a group that regulates Financial Market Utilities. I have a year and half old rescue dog named Ponzi. He's a bit dumb, but fun to have around.
  • Sei-Gyung Kim (New Haven, CT): I'm a 2nd year pediatrics resident at Yale.  My next step is pediatric hematology/oncology, if they'll have me.  It is long hours but I love my job!!  I recently reconnected with Jane Bernstein and Azad John-Salimi who are also residents here -- go Blair!
  • Jacqueline Kirchhoff (Charleston, SC): Been working as a software engineer for the past 5+ years for Blackbaud, a company that makes software for nonprofits.  Spend my evenings either taking dance and voice lessons or rehearsing/performing with Charleston Stage (a local theater).  Currently am in a production of Chicago.  Belong to a couple wine tasting groups and go to the beach almost every weekend.
Jennifer KirchhoffSheila Xiah KragieBernard NgSoumik PalChristina Prather
  • Jennifer Kirchhoff (Baltimore, MD): I got my PhD in physics from Florida State University in 2010 and am now a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University.  I study phase transitions during rapid heating and plan on becoming a faculty member at a research university.
  • Sheila Xiah Kragie (New York, NY): I just finished 2+ years as a rural water engineer in Peace Corps Honduras and now live in Manhattan as a PhD student at Columbia where I study mining and its health impacts.  I miss my goats and coffee-covered mountains but this concrete jungle will do. Otherwise I’ve spent a lot of time traveling in god-forsaken parts of the planet and, more recently, getting my fixes of acroyoga.
  • Bernard Ng (Jersey City, NJ): Working in New York, been in the finance industry since graduation.
  • Soumik Pal (San Francisco, CA): Since graduating, I found the world of advertising and moved home to work at Discovery Communications. I was there for about 4 years and founded their social media department before leaving to start independently consulting to them and a handful of other brands. In 2011 I joined a creative agency in San Francisco called Mekanism and was instrumental in our AdAge-Gold winning year of work. Some of you might have seen one of our videos of an ape with an AK-47 shooting some African soldiers (YouTube). I just started as Director of Marketing at a silicon-valley startup called “FlickMe” where I hope to help socialize the online video viewing experience.
  • Christina (Pernia) Prather (Durham, NC): Loving life in the North Carolina Triangle with my husband and boxer puppy.  When not working as a resident in Internal Medicine at UNC, I spend most of my time here running and biking the trails and feasting on the culinary delights.
Maria StoicaBrinda ThomasDaniel VlacichKristina VuongErica Yu
  • Maria Stoica (St. Louis, MO): I'm a fourth year PhDland resident; my thesis relates to theoretical design of materials for solar energy and waste heat capture and conversion. I'm also doing an apprenticeship in urban agriculture at EarthDance farm in Ferguson, MO, and working on starting a school-run farm to provide fresh fruit and veggies to urban youth. I'm very happy.
  • Brinda Thomas (Pittsburgh, PA): I graduated with a B.S. in Physics from Stanford University and worked for three years in D.C. in energy consulting. I then joined Carnegie Mellon’s Engineering and Public Policy department as a Ph.D. student with a focus on energy efficiency. I’ve traveled to Sweden, Costa Rica, Bangladesh and cities across the U.S. for business and to Mexico, Canada, Norway, and India for pleasure. Along the way, I ran a marathon, learned to scuba dive, and biked from D.C. to Pittsburgh. At CMU, I met a fantastically nerdy former video game programmer and wannabe video game executive, Neil, and we got engaged in August! Life is good.
  • Daniel Vlacich (Fairfax, VA): I live in Fairfax, Virginia and I currently work as a mobile and wireless security consultant, meaning I help secure corporate smartphones and tablets.  Work is all over the place, right now I split my time between Reston and Baltimore.  I’m about a year into home ownership, so it seems like I spend all my time fixing stuff or buying crap at Home Depot.  I also just got married earlier this year.
  • Chi Ngoc (Kristina) Vuong (Silver Spring, MD): I am currently still in MD, living in Silver Spring. I live with my husband, Rich, and my puppy, Cookie. This has been a busy year for me as I spent the first half planning my own wedding (Helpful Tip: Hire a wedding coordinator) and the second half opening up a new business. I own ShowMeSmart which is a beforecare-aftercare program for children with autism. I am hoping to open my doors in January of 2012. Since high school, I went off to college to get my BS in Chemistry. I then used my degree to bartend at Dave and Busters in Rockville. This is where I met my husband, Rich. I then got my Masters in Education with a focus on Special Needs and I have been working with children with autism for the past 4-5 years.
  • Erica Yu (Washington, DC): I am back in the DC area, getting on quite happily. I am currently a post-doc at the University of Maryland in the psychology department where I research judgment, decision making, memory and learning using human subjects experiments and computational modelling. For my PhD, I studied judgment and decision making on a scholarship funded by a gambling research fund. 
More updates:
  • Christopher Williams (Cambridge, MA): I'm finishing up my PhD in Physics at MIT, working on building a low-frequency radio telescope array in Western Australia. A few facts: one of my office-mates was a magnet from '99 (Robyn Sanderson), I spend large chunks of time in the Australian outback for my research, and I've been around the world twice (just got back from a trip around the world taking the trans-Siberian railroad through China, Mongolia and Russia).
  • Aaron Weiman (NJ): I live in the shadow of New York, in New Jersey with my wife of 2+ years, and a whole lot of pianos. We are both pianists, myself a jazz pianist and Hsin-Yi a classical pianist. I spend most of my time playing, teaching, and writing music. We run a crazy summer program in NJ, Piano Summer Workshop that gets kids composing and playing music together. Otherwise, I am huge F.C. Barcelona fan and spend lots of time swimming and eating good food. And we have chickens, living in the backyard.

Share your own updates!