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PGSS 1986 Virtual Reunion

posted Mar 21, 2021, 4:15 PM by Janet Hurwitz

Seventeen members of the PGSS class of 1986 met for a 35th reunion via Zoom on March 20, together with Program Director Barry Luokkala, who first joined the PGSS faculty as the physics lab instructor in 1986. They included Darren Blue, Ann Corsi, Matthew Fisher, Brian Hart, Yumi Ijiri, Souheil Inati, David Jablonski, Susan (Jackson) Quick, Richard Junod, Lisa (Kreger) Hetrick, Timothy McHugh, George Moellenbrock, Michael Pirrello, David Reiley, Michelle Szpara, and Akila Viswanathan. In a 90-minute meeting, we had time for each attendee to share for several minutes about what they've been doing for the past 35 years. We learned about each other's families, careers, hobbies, and side hustles. A sampling of our careers includes radio astronomy (George Moellenbrock),  IBM Watson deep learning (Brian Hart), nanoparticle physics (Yumi Ijiri), venture capital (Scott Lenet), environmental health and safety (Michael Pirrello), healthcare project management (Richard Junod), cell biology (Ann Corsi), and ophthalmology (Susan Quick). Our geographic distribution included California (3), Arizona, New Mexico (2), Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania (4), Maryland (3), and North Carolina. Because it was a rare sunny day in March in Erie, Lisa Hetrick shared views of her yard, including a creek, ducks, and chickens, giving many of us nostalgia for Pennsylvania. Barry Luokkala shared with us that questions from our PGSS class inspired him to return to graduate school to earn his PhD in physics. David Reiley, a scientist for SiriusXM Pandora, closed the meeting by singing a rendition of Cole Porter's 1933 song "Experiment." --David Reiley

Thank You Karin Tsai (PGSS 2006)

posted Mar 21, 2021, 7:33 AM by Janet Hurwitz

Thank you to Karin Tsai (PGSS 2006) who was the March speaker for our PGSS 2020 Speaker Series. Karin spoke about "Learning About Learning at Duolingo: From 0 to Director: Lessons in Navigating a Career in Tech. From her change from medicine to tech and her trajectory in programming to the use of A/B testing in facts of Duolingo's product development, Karin held the interest of our younger alumni. The Q&A went longer than we'd imagine, and Karin was incredibly generous with her time. We only wish all PGSS 2013-2020 govies could have heard her.

PGSS 1991 Virtual Reunion

posted Mar 17, 2021, 6:38 AM by Janet Hurwitz   [ updated Mar 17, 2021, 6:43 AM ]

The PGSS Class of 1991 held a virtual reunion on March 13th. There was a good turn out including both Guvvies who have kept in touch and those who haven't been to a previous PGSS reunion. It was a fun time finding out where everyone is living, what they've been up to, and swapping pandemic survival stories.  Janice Lee snapped a shot of us talking while we also learned about how the PGSS program has been progressing, new sponsors, and better virtual tools for this year's upcoming class. Eric Wong won the prize for most organized as he sported this original PGSS t-shirt that he found by consulting a spreadsheet of boxes he has in storage. Not to be outdone, several others brought out actual pictures and we're hoping some scans of those photos will be headed our way soon.  We all decided that we should gather more often and hope to set up another virtual gathering later this year.  In addition, some alums expressed an interest in helping with career talks for young alumni and outreach for future PGSS recruitment. Overall it was a really great time. (one person is missing from the photo) We thank Janice Lee, Maggie vanDiehl and Ankur Garg for planning the reunion)

PGSS 1988 Virtual Reunion

posted Mar 15, 2021, 9:01 AM by Janet Hurwitz   [ updated Mar 17, 2021, 6:33 AM ]

PGSS Class of 1988 met for a virtual reunion on March 14, 2021. They shared their various paths since PGSS including careers in research, journalism, medicine, law, culinary arts, and religion. Many have taken pivots at points in their lives, all seemed to be doing well. In attendance were Ethan Andelman, Jamie Cannone, Di McMahon Cannone, Alan Chang, Sonya Chmielnicki Dore, Karin Finberg, Peter Garbes, David Halstead, Eric Morton (TA), Nicole Nazzaro, Chien Oh, Bert Robertson, Hadi Sasmita, and Joseph Shieh.
Thanks to Alan Chang and Sonya Dore for planning.

PGSS 1983 Virtual Reunion

posted Mar 7, 2021, 11:35 AM by Janet Hurwitz   [ updated Mar 7, 2021, 11:35 AM ]

Our thanks to Tom Pavel for planning a very successful PGSS 1983 Virtual Reunion. There were 13 alums and 2 TA's who shared a little about what has been happening in their lives since spending five weeks on the Carnegie Mellon campus and heard an update from PGSS Campaign Board member, Al Cangahuala. They've decided to make this an annual event. They have some jeopardy questions ready for next year and look forward to more discussions.

Natalie Morris (PGSS 2007)

posted Feb 21, 2021, 6:15 AM by Janet Hurwitz

Our thanks to Natalie Morris (PGSS 2007) for being our February PGSS 2020 Speaker. Natalie shared many of her experiences as a Computer Scientist with SpaceX with govies from PGSS 2013-2020. Thanks to Prateek and Taran from 2020 for making the arrangements.

Rahmah Abdulaleem (PGSS 1992)

posted Jan 17, 2021, 7:00 AM by Janet Hurwitz

Many thanks to Rahmah Abdulaleem (PGSS 1992) for a wonderful talk during our PGSS 2020 Virtual Speaker Series. As with some of our alumni, while she loved the PGSS experience and the people she met there, she found science was not what she was going to do with her life. But then what? She promised our govie attendees that "It's ok if you don't know what you want to do now. You're not locked in. Your life can go in so many different directions." Rahmah found her direction in law but it took her 20 more years to land her dream job at Karamah!

Our Original Year Had a Year-End Virtual Reunion

posted Dec 30, 2020, 1:51 PM by Janet Hurwitz

Members of the original PGSS class (PSS in 1982) held their second Zoom meeting of 2020 to catch up, share their experiences through this unprecedented year, and discuss this year's and next year's PGSS programs. From top to bottom, left to right: Alberto Cangahuala, Karen Van Dusen, Stephen Engel, Steve Sisak, Mark Ettinger, Tom Liu, and Joel Bader. A fun Zoom call with which to end the year! Thanks to PGSS Campaign Board Member Al Cangahuala for hosting the virtual reunion.

PGSS 1984 Virtual Reunion

posted Nov 21, 2020, 6:04 PM by Janet Hurwitz   [ updated Nov 21, 2020, 6:05 PM ]

Thanks to Jen Lloyd (PGSS 1984) for hosting a Virtual Reunion. PGSS Class of 1984 met for an impromptu reunion on Saturday Nov 21st. Class agents Jen Lloyd and Heidi Wald were joined by Tim Chinowsky,  Matt Goda, Trevor Feldman and Elizabeth Hofmeister, along with Andrew McGuier from the Class of 2004. (Andrew Denker, our 3rd class agent, was not able to make it and Lisa Valentovich also sent apologies). Andrew gave us an update on the 2020 program, fundraising and other ways that we can all participate in PGSS going forward.  We had fun talking about our careers (we have 2 MDs, and several PhDs just in this crew alone!) and where we live (none of the above are still living in PA!).   We did some photo sharing (yes by holding old 3x5 photos up to the web cams!) and we now have a plan to scan and share from a Google folder. Trevor Feldman seems to have a wealth of mementos including our very own "face book". We also plan to share a document for all classmates to provide an update.  And finally, we did some reminiscing about PGSS - classes we had (largely similar to the current program), projects, where we ate, what we ate, where we worked and played, and so on.  We all remembered the fun and games in the common area (of what we believe was Hamerschlag Hall ....). Overall we had fun reconnecting and hope more will join us next year!

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