"Cornell students dream bigger dreams."

--Frank H.T. Rhodes, Cornell University Commencement, May 28, 1995

Monday, October 28, 2013

83. Erika Eason

Rockville, Maryland · Arts and Sciences


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
I'm currently working as the Instructional Technologist at an independent school in Washington, DC. This is my third year in that position; prior to that, I taught middle and upper school Spanish for 14 years (ten at a private school in Baltimore, my hometown, and four here at my current school). My job is to help teachers integrate technology into their curricula, and to train my colleagues to use tech tools they are unfamiliar with. It's a great job, and I'm glad I was able to transition into something that marries all of my years as a classroom teacher with learning and using technology. Speaking of marriage, I got married almost four years ago to my awesome husband, Mark. No kids, but we do have a crazy cat. I recently began studying belly dance and am enjoying learning more about that expressive art.

What advice would you give to a student starting at Cornell this year?

Take advantage of the opportunities that being at Cornell can provide. Go outside of your comfort zone and try something new and scary. If you are having problems in a class, talk to your professor—it doesn't mean you're stupid. And in the name of all that is holy: whenever the sun decides to make an appearance, take the time to sit there and soak it in... it might be days (or weeks) before you see it again.

What does being a Cornell alumnus mean to you?

It means I get to annoy my husband frequently with the celebration I do every time I hear about someone or something from Cornell doing something great. In all seriousness, I feel connected to something much bigger than myself, to an institution that was founded on such a simple yet almost revolutionary principle—and I am a part of its legacy.

What are you most looking forward to at Reunion 2015?

While Facebook has been a godsend because it allows me to stay in touch with far-flung Cornellian friends, I am most excited about seeing people in person, getting to know their kids, meeting some new people, reacquainting myself with the campus, and just being in the real, physical world, together. There is no substitute for face-to-face time.

Monday, October 21, 2013

84. Melissa Billington

Wellington, New Zealand · Arts and


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
I am the creatrix of MYOGA--freedom to unfold, a fusion yoga practice, currently based in Powa Centre, Wellington, New Zealand. This year I published the MYOGA Basics Series in photobook/audio form and taught at an international yoga conference. 

I've been focused on these two wellness businesses for the past five years, but am now writing a play, PocaHAUNTus not your Disney princess. As 13th lineal descendant of Pocahontas, I share stories of madness, murder, mayhem, marriage and mothers. With an aim to transmute ancestral poison into potion, the relativity of truth and simultaneous time are explored. This is a solo theatrical performance of song, dance & multi-media story-telling & is part of the 2014 Wellington Fringe Festival. 

Before moving to New Zealand, I lived in India & the Caribbean. 

Next year I hope to visit family & friends in the US & conceive a child (god/dess willing!). 

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?

Working in the costume shop! It set me up to design shows there, to work at the Santa Fe Opera for four seasons and then as a full-time milliner to the stars in NYC. It was like a second home where I could indulge in my love of fabrics while recreating time periods through clothing. One of the first pieces I made was a codpiece, and the male actor was not shy about enjoying his costume fitting...

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?

Since I've been exploring my ancestral connection to Pocahontas from a very young age, I was stoked to meet Frederic Gleach while at Cornell and read his research on the Powhatan people. I was also pleased to be able to create a mask play while an undergrad that was informed partly by his anthropological perspective.

What random or surprising encounters with Cornell or Cornellians have you experienced since you left?

I lived in Puerto Rico for a few years & was listed on the alumni grouping there. When I moved to New Zealand I connected in to see if there were any Cornellians in New Zealand & there were! I have since done business & shared meals/good times with a few of them, both in Wellington & in NYC.

Monday, October 14, 2013

85. Michael Stroud

Every few weeks, Cornell '95 Faces will feature a profile of one of our class officers. This week, meet one of the two class reunion chairs who, along with co-chair Lisa Powell Fortna, will spearhead the planning of our 20th Reunion in June 2015. 

Washington, DC · Arts and Sciences


Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
By day, I work for the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in its Private Sector Office, where we advise the Secretary on homeland security matters that impact the private sector. By night, I'm father to a wonderful 8 year old daughter named Quinn Stroud.

What are your duties as class officer and what have you enjoyed about the job?
I am one of the Reunion Chairs and I've enjoyed reconnecting with classmates from long ago.

Which Cornell classmates do you keep in touch with?

Tom Parker, Susan Gross, Atena Rosak, Chris Muldowney, Michael McKean, Ryan Masterson, Greg Bloedorn, Justin Ochs, Seth Meinero, Gerry LaJoie, Jared Konstanty, Pat Grady, Bryan Draga, Pat Cullen, David Weinstein, Kevin Maney, Chris Hanson, and there are more, I'm sure.  

What extracurricular activity or hobby from your time at Cornell was the most meaningful?

The most meaningful activity at Cornell was playing varsity football. Those four years with the team are and were irreplaceable. Besides the obvious workouts, long practices, road trips, games, memories, lifelong friendships, and life lessons, playing for Cornell taught me one thing and that is accountability matters on the field and in your life. In short, be accountable to those in your life and you must rely upon your "teammates" in life to be successful too.

What random or surprising encounters with Cornell or Cornellians have you experienced since you left?

There have been so many they are hard to quantify, but here is a summary. One year after leaving Cornell, I ran into a classmate and dorm-mate and we passed each other in the departure/arrival lounge in Grand Cayman, BWI airport. While attending law school at George Washington University, which I did with three other classmates, I went to San Francisco, there I met an old classmate and ate in a restaurant owned by another Cornellian. Finally, while running a half-marathon in NH with a classmate, I/we saw another classmate - Cornell and Cornellians are everywhere :).

Monday, October 7, 2013

86. Amy Rosenow

Chicago, Illinois · Arts and Sciences

Name at Cornell
Amy Kaplan

Tell us about what you're doing with your life.
I have been Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer of Sheffield Asset Management for the last eight years. I oversee a variety of functions including operations, client service, investor relations, marketing, risk management, and compliance for the $750-million investment management firm. 

I am involved in a number of charitable initiatives supporting a variety of healthcare, educational, and community service organizations and I am a member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women and our Class of 1995 Council.

The dual working parent life is crazy but good. In my somewhat non-existent spare time, I love to travel, read, see movies, and cheer for my NY sports teams (after a decade in Chicago, I’ll root for the Cubs, Blackhawks, Bulls and Bears…as long as they are not playing the Yankees, Rangers, Knicks or Giants…)

What is your favorite memory of your time at Cornell?

I have so many great memories, it’s really hard to choose. But I think one of my favorites was seeing all the seniors walking around on Wednesdays when we had wine class with the little “lunch boxes” that held the glasses. Was a little rough for me though as my Daily Sun column was often due the next day and heading down to the Sun office to write after that class was not easy!!!

Which Cornell classmates do you keep in touch with?

My freshman roommate Erika Lintner Thomas ’95 actually lives in Chicago now, so we see each other when our crazy working mom lives allow. I also see my former roommate Ralane Randolph Bonn ’94 a few times a year. I had a great time at Jazz Fest in New Orleans this year with Stacy Scavo Cerone ‘95. I also was able to grab lunch in Toronto this year with Jake Karam ’95.

What are you most looking forward to at Reunion 2015?

Showing my kids Cornell before Josh brainwashes them about Washington University in St. Louis or Yale!