Archival library photo

Class Notes


David Hathaway says, “Greetings to classmates from ’53: Currently enjoying our summer home on the Island of Islesboro in Penobscot Bay, Maine. We never knew back in 1947 what island living would be like and took the chance to invest in land and then property with an abandoned large home. This home has been constantly improved by our sweat and tears, where I have personally—alone—sided the building with the rear three levels and built a garage large enough to house our 20 ft. O’Day Mariner on a trailer, so it is 24 ft. deep. In the recent years, we have shared this with many of our family and friends. I have survived aplastic anemia and also—with a new hip—escaped from an arthritic hip holding me down.


A note from Jack McHugh: “I noticed that the WPI Journal does not list any class in the Alumni section before 1960. Our class is still active and still has potential for WPI.”

—Ed. note: In the past year the Journal has published 10 notes from pre-1960 classes. But, we agree, thats not enough! We encourage graduates from every class year to send in their news. 


John Kraska started helping out in his father’s auto parts store at age 7, rolling tires into the building. On Saturday, July 31, 2021, the tires had to go somewhere else—Kraska Corp., the last mom-and-pop auto parts store in the city, closed its doors after 67 years. “As my grandfather said, there are two things money can’t buy: health and time. While I’m healthy, I want to use my time wisely.” Read the full story in the July 26, 2021, Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Subscription required).

John Kraska

Phi Kappa Theta brothers Cary Palulis, Bob Pleines, and David Hopkinson got together (as they do every year) for some fishing and a boat ride. “Great day for the old timers who are finally slowing down just a bit,” they say. “We are looking forward to meeting at WPI for our 55th reunion in 2023!”


Bill Kamb

Bill Kamb, a coin collector since the late 1950s, has received the Paul Fiocca Award from the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association. Beginning in 1990, Bill typically attended three RCNA events a year; in 2002 he was elected an RCNA area director, a role in which he continues today.


Donald Polonis writes, “Recuperating after open heart surgery at University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville. After five weeks, feel like a 50-year-old again. Ellen and I bought a place at Lake Monticello in 2020 to be near her first grandson and my sixth grandchild. Loving the lake life!”


Stephen Rusckowski, chairman, CEO, and president of Quest Diagnostics, was honored as a New Jersey Business Hall of Fame 2021 Class Laureate. 


Tony Sophonpanich was featured on the July cover of Forbes Asia for his bank’s landmark deal acquiring Indonesia’s Bank Permata.


George Oliver, chairman and CEO of Johnson Controls, was featured in July on Meet the Leader, a podcast from the World Economic forum that features the world’s top changemakers. 

Supawan Tantayanon (PhD CH), chair of the Council of Science and Technology Professionals of Thailand, has been awarded the 2021 Distinguished Woman in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. She also chairs the Science Society of Thailand under the patronage of His Majesty the King, and was one of 12 women from around the world recognized with awards at the IUPAC World Chemistry Congress 2021.

Supawan Tantayanon

Rob Oshana has been named general chair of the 59th Design Automation Conference. Rob is vice president, software engineering, R&D, at NXP Edge Processing. 



Paul Nowak has joined Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. as sales manager. He is responsible for leading OEC Specialty Carbon Black sales in the Northeast, developing and implementing new regional sales strategies and leading selected global key accounts.


Chris Coulter recently joined VMEC as advanced manufacturing technology advisor. He has been instrumental in developing new products and implementing manufacturing technology throughout his career as well as working in regulated industries including defense, medical device, and the FDA. His focus is assisting companies with Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing technologies to increase growth and competitive advantage.


Steve Farr has been elected one of three new vice presidents at Nitsch Engineering and serves on its Board of Directors. His 30 years of experience in the engineering field has centered around designing roadway improvements that balance multi-modal safety with operational efficiency, while integrating green infrastructure. He is a member of the Conservation Commission in Needham, Mass., and has been a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers since 1988.

Steve Farr


Suresh Doki has been appointed a member of the Board of Directors at Futuris Company, Fairfax, Va. He began his career as a systems administrator at WPI, and has held positions of CEO of Cambridge Systems, and CEO of Paragon Systems. Most recently, Suresh has served as an independent merger and acquisition consultant for various clients.


Derek Adams has been named chief operating officer at PlateletBio in Watertown, Mass. He previously served as chief technology and manufacturing officer at bluebird bio, a leading lentiviral gene therapy company in Cambridge.


Alan Assner is now assistant vice president of Individual Annuities at The Standard, a life insurance company in Portland, Ore. He is responsible for oversight of actuarial, sales distribution, operations, service, and strategy for the line of business. 


Natalie Grace, a partner at Gardella Grace, LLP, earned a 2020 IAM 1000 ranking for patent prosecution.


Henna Karna joined Creative Destruction Labs as a mentor; she currently serves as managing director, Re/Insurance & Risk Management Solutions at Google.


David Proia has joined ROME Therapeutics as vice president of oncology to advance oncology strategy and accelerate the application of repeatome insights to cancer research. Previously he was senior director of In Vivo Pharmacology at C4 Therapeutics. He earned his PhD in molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine.


Kuthan Toydemir is head of homologation and technical compliance of Koenigsegg Automotive AB. He recently was appointed president of ESCA (Exhibition Services and Contractors Association).

Kuthan Toydemi


Alex Castano is vice president of marketing at Healthcare Network in Greater Naples, Fla. Previously, he worked for the global advertising agency GREY, where he applied data science to make marketing campaigns more effective for such clients as Febreze, Gillette, and Pfizer, among others. He earned his MBA, specializing in brand and product management, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Doug Foley (MS PSM) has been named president of Eversource’s New Hampshire operations. In his previous role, Doug was responsible for leading the team that maintains and constructs Eversource’s electric transmission and distribution systems in Massachusetts and served as incident commander for major power restoration efforts. 


Laura-Ashley Alegbeleye has joined the Center for Excellence in Education in McLean, Va. As a member of its STEM Teacher Enrichment Program, she helps to increase the program’s reach to connect even more rural and urban middle and high school underserved teachers and students with leading experts from industry and academia. 


Sarah Gile

Sarah Gile (’14, MS MGT) is a physician assistant at Mountain View Family Practice, Baldwinville, Mass. 


Worcester Business Journals annual 40 under 40 lists two alumni from the Class of ’14 who are co-founders of Solvus Global in Worcester, Leominster, and Webster, Mass.: Aaron Birt (MS; 17 PhD), CEO of Solvus Global and Kinetic Batteries in Worcester, who is working with the WPI Venture Forum to build up the Worcester entrepreneurial ecosystem; and Sean Kelly (16 MS; 18 PhD), who is COO of Solvus Global. According to the WBJ, Kelly “helped convert the company’s first Small Business Innovative Research grant with the National Science Foundation from a $250,000 Phase I to a $1-million Phase II grant, significantly expanding its funding, and focusing on developing a scrap recycling optimization tool based on research Kelly completed as part of his graduate and doctoral studies.”

Diana Nguyen has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation. As Project Manager at MilliporeSigma in Burlington, Mass., she provides critical support to the Integrated Supply Chain Operations leadership team, manages strategic projects, and develops a global talent pipeline of aspiring and curious leaders.


Matias Campus (19 MS) is founder and CEO of Astralintu Space Technologies, a start-up focused on providing in-orbit services that look to grant space access to new actors in Latin America and the world.


Cherie Cain (MS SYS) is a principal systems engineer for Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies. She leads cross functional teams for the development and sustainment of air management systems for commercial aircraft.

Sierra Palmer

Sierra Palmer is an undersea warfare analyst in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport’s Undersea Warfare Engineering and Analysis Department. She recently won the Society of Women Engineers 2021 Helen Martha Sternberg Award.


Irene Wong (MS MGT) is a junior analytics specialist at REQ, where she strives to use her knowledge and experience in data analysis to help clients succeed in the marketing world. 

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