Don Casperson was recognized as a “living treasure” in Los Alamos County, N.M. As a devoted Kiwanis member who has had a tremendous impact on kids in Los Alamos County, he has not only promoted service to the community with kids, he has promoted STEM education through numerous science fair judging. Philo Shelton ’87 writes, “I met Don through Kiwanis and learned we are fellow alumni of WPI. He is a humble man and he would not let others know of this major recognition.”
David Hathaway writes, “As a survivor of 90 years, I am amazed because of the dangers I faced in my life. I have scars from first jumping out of the baby carriage and more scars from other scary things, but NO scars from learning to fly in Panama, nor a year in the war in Vietnam, nor even a scar from 37 years of wonderful adventure motorcycling, (seven great trips with my son on my second bike).
“Recently survived a bout of aplastic anemia. Doctors gave me a 50/50 chance of survival. I made that and got a new hip at 89. COVID has really restricted movement at my Senior Living Retirement—Carleton Willard Village. Now using YouTube—I listen to classical music, fly large planes, and even take wild motorcycle trips … vicariously.
I would like to hear from my surviving classmates what their life is like now. Email me, please: firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Norm Taupeka and Stan Graveline write, “… hosted (sort of) our 20th annual Cape Cod WPI season-ending gathering at Sesuit Harbor in Dennis on Sept. 19. The outdoor gathering with picnic tables near the water, all kinds of seafood and much wine was a great time. Other attendees were Mike Stephens ’57, Charley Stasey ’57, Joe Gill ’58, Roger Jolicoeur ’58, Solon Economou ’58, and Gene Graveline ’58 (honorary), Al Levesque ’59, Paul Sledzik ’61, Ron Pokraka ’60, and Mike Davis ’62.”
Don Peterson writes, “My wife, Judi, has Alzheimer’s and we have been on the Alzheimer’s ’Trail of Tears’ for the last 16 years. Fortunately, I retired from IBM at age 55 and our first 15 years of retirement was a grand adventure together before Alzheimer’s began to interfere in a serious way. Had I waited another 10 years to retire, most of that adventure would never have happened.
“Early in our retirement adventure we were full-timers in a 38-foot motorhome for five years and we drove across the USA 19 times. Four of our eight grandkids have crossed the country with us on various trips. For the last three years, Judi has been living in an Alzheimer’s Memory Care Facility. In March 2020 I got locked out of the facility—for a year I connected with her on FaceTime for about an hour almost every day. Since she can’t have a conversation, I sang to her instead. In March 2020 it was the subject of two short human interest stories on two local TV stations that were running stories about how people were connecting with their loved ones during the COVID lockdown.”
Stephen Wilkinson writes, “Retired from Gillette and Amgen and living in The Villages, Florida. Doing lean consulting to help businesses improve efficiency and productivity. In The Villages, I’m a member of the Community Emergency Response Team and the Red Cross. Who else is in The Villages? Contact email@example.com.”
Rajeshwar Narain Mathur (PhD PH) writes, “Motivated by reading others’ notes and my own desire, I am jotting down a few words. My education at WPI has helped me in rising to the level of Professor of Physics. I have enjoyed working in several teaching and R&D institutions. Also, I contributed to the launching of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), which is now one of the largest in the world. I am retired for some years now and spend quality time with my grandchildren. In order to exercise my brain muscles, I sometimes go to the nearby college to tutor, which is provided free to the students.”
Jay Schnitzer is senior vice president, chief medical and technology officer at MITRE, managing more than 200 independent R&D programs annually. MITRE president Jason Providakes said, “Over the last 18 months, Jay’s leadership and expertise co-leading the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition with Mayo Clinic have been unparalleled.”
Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, has announced her retirement.
Judy Nitsch was elected and installed as chair of the Boston Architectural College Board of Trustees in September. Now retired, she is founding principal of Nitsch Engineering, the largest women-owned business enterprise civil engineering firm in Massachusetts. She says she’s proud that the company has completed projects on over 90 college campuses across the United States. A tireless mentor of female engineers, Judy served on the WPI Board of Trustees for over 20 years.
Mike Abrams recently visited Steve Mezak ’78 at his home in Reno, Nev. He writes, “Steve and I were housemates in an Ellsworth apartment during the ’75–’76 school year. We spent a fun weekend catching up and reminiscing about the fact that six of us managed to live in E04 without killing each other! Steve is still working a bit at consulting and business development in the software industry. I am retired after 40 years of designing seismic data acquisition systems, analog circuit design, and digital signal processing.”
Patrick Donahue reports that he is starting a new position in the field of nuclear medicine.
Rob Pierce writes, “Pleased and honored to be back on campus to watch my youngest son (Michael) graduate with the Class of 2020. A beautiful day, an inspiring group of young men and women crossing Earle Bridge and out into the world.”
Steve Rusckowski was recently inducted into the New Jersey Business Hall of Fame, among several who have consistently demonstrated throughout their professional lives high ethical standards, mentorship, community involvement, and innovative leadership.
Dave Huhtala and his wife, Kathie, welcomed their first grandchild in August 2021. Casey David Meszaros was born in a hospital room overlooking campus, so his mother, Abby, predicted that he would be attending WPI as a proud member of the Class of 2043.
Michael LaFleur reports that Songalong, a tool he created with Anthony Topper ’20 to automate virtual music performances, was used in a production that won an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award. The chorus in which he sings, VocalEssense, produced the holiday special “Welcome Christmas with VocalEssence,” which aired on Twin Cities Public Television in December 2020. The show won in the Entertainment-Long Form category.
According to a story published by WPI in June 2021, “The Songalong platform enables a conductor to upload sheet music and to create or upload accompaniment, conducting, and part-dominant tracks. This process allows performers to see and hear everything they need to perform using only a single device. The work of each individual performer is collected into a single repository available to the conductor. The conductor selects the video and audio tracks they want to use for the production, and all performances are automatically synchronized into one rendering.”
Watch “Let the River Run”: www.youtube.com watch?v=TIPW3I7n42w
Scott Mathews writes, “After seven-and-a-half extremely rewarding years as a line manager at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I have returned to project work. In what may be the closing chapter of a richly fulfilling career, I have accepted the position of lead systems engineer for mechanical integration/ground support equipment on the Mars Sample Return-Sample Retrieval Lander (SRL) project, the program element being managed by JPL for the Mars Sample Return campaign. The SRL mission’s goal is to retrieve the rock and soil samples currently being collected and cached by the Perseverance rover, place them into a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), and rocket them into Mars orbit. Once in orbit, the samples will be transferred to an Earth-return vehicle for a journey back home, and re-entry in New Mexico. SRL launch is currently scheduled for 2028. I look forward to completing my career ’in the trenches,’ working on this amazing mission, and so proud to carry my WPI roots with me into this role.”
Scott Brazina has been appointed president and Board of Directors member at SquadLocker, Warwick, R.I.
Tunji Taiwo has been elected to Wikoff Color’s Board of Directors. Founder and managing partner of Tratus Group, he is currently serving as the chief digital officer of JEM Advisors.
David Andrade has been promoted to business development manager, Google Services, at CDWG, where he is responsible for working with internal teams and customers on their Google (Workspace and Chrome) projects and services around them. He spent 10 years as an engineer before getting into educational technology and was CIO for the Bridgeport Public Schools before joining CDWG in June 2015. He also spent 22 years as a paramedic and EMS instructor—starting at WPI with WPI EMS—before retiring with a back injury. He was a NYC 9/11 responder as well. He lives in Stratford, Conn., with his wife, Cori, a high school science teacher, their daughter Abby (8 years old) and their cats.
David Cortese has been named to the board of EspriGas, an industrial gas company.
Teresa Duprey was promoted to vice president and is leading technology delivery for the Travelers Insurance Claim Analytics Value Stream; she is also program lead for the Technology & Operations Culture Journey at Travelers. She lives in West Hartford, Conn., with her husband, Kevin Duprey ’91. They have three children—Elliot is a senior at the University of Chicago, Ava is a sophomore at Boston College, and Aleksandr is a sophomore in high school.
Ted Dysart was named (for the 14th year) to the National Association of Corporate Directors Directorship 100 for his “exemplary leadership in the boardroom.”
Joseph Maraia, co-chair of Burns & Levinson’s Intellectual Property Group, has been named a Go To IP Lawyer by Mass Lawyers Weekly. The list recognizes the top intellectual property lawyers in the region—the ones other lawyers refer clients to because of their expertise, accomplishments, and creative thinking. He received his J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.
Eric Amodio, creator of GitLens, has joined GitKraken as its chief technology officer, leading both companies’ suite of collaboration and productivity tools.
Chris Cammack and his wife, Jaime Cammack, welcomed their fifth child, a boy named Christopher Corbinian, in Hanover, N.H., on Sept. 2, 2021.
Aswin Phlaphongphanich was awarded “Under 50 Financial CEO of the Year in Thailand” by International Investor Magazine.
Jody Staruk was honored by Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester with its 2021 Golden Hammer. She joined Consigli Construction Company in 2003 as a project engineer and was promoted to its first-ever female project executive in 2017. She recently completed the YWCA of Central Massachusetts facility renovation, where she led Consigli’s first-ever all female team.
Amit Diddee has been promoted to director of product management at AdminaHealth.
Daniel Roop was honored as a 2021 Young Professional of the Year by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts, which recognized his accomplishments by highlighting his “interesting and unique work, and its resulting impact on society. Since joining Tighe & Bond in 2012, he has become a standout leader among his peers, a top new-hire recruiter, and an integral part of our Water Business Line. As an environmental engineer, he specializes in coastal resiliency for water and wastewater infrastructure.”
Daniel Pelaez and Bryan Licciardi ’03 were featured in a Telegram & Gazette story about Roadgnar, a remote sensing technology company founded with fellow alumni Noah Parker ’21, and Noah Budris ’20. According to the story, the company is “testing the beta version device that they hope will help the city [of Worcester] map out and monitor infrastructure conditions for assets such as pavements and sidewalks in real time. The device uses various sensors to collect data including light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology.” In January 2022, the company announced it was changing its name from Roadgnar to Cyvl.ai.
Victoria Kahler, midshipman in the U. S. Navy Holy Cross Battalion, was presented with the Massachusetts Bay Council sword award for outstanding leadership by John Benda ’01, commanding officer of the USS Constitution, who was also a member of the U. S. Navy Holy Cross Battalion when he attended WPI. The ceremony took place during the ship’s first harbor cruise in 18 months and just before the long-awaited afternoon reopening to public visitors.