Class Notes, Summer 2016

July 2, 2016

Constance Beninghove (Strickland), MA ’04, recently changed jobs to be an Assistant Registrar at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.  I am working on both donations and loans related to the opening of the museum this year.

Kathleen Brian, PhD ’13, Katie is a Lecturer at Western Washington University. An article drawn from her book project is forthcoming from the Bulletin of the History of Medicine; she is also co-editing a volume on disability and masculinity that will be published by Oxford in 2017.

Scott Chidgey, BA ’08, is excited to be returning to America this summer after teaching English in Seoul, South Korea and Prague, Czech Republic for the past six years. He also founded FreedomThinkers, a community of artists, travelers, and charities to inspire.

John Cole, MPhil ’70, PhD ’71, after a 50-year career at the Library of Congress, including serving as the founding director of the Library of Congress Center for the Book (1977), he has been appointed to the new position of Library of Congress Historian.  

Monta Lee Dakin, MA ’83, is the director of Mountain-Plains Museums Association which provides services to museums in 10 states in the west. She plans training programs for museum staff and has been very involved with advocacy efforts at all levels.

Shari Diamond (Newman), BA ’05, and her husband Evan Diamond welcomed a baby girl, Arielle Maya Diamond, on September 19, 2015! The couple is also planning a big move to Atlanta, GA, this summer, after 10 years in New York City.

Donna Dodenhoff, MA ’91, will be awarded a PhD in American Studies from the College of William & Mary this May. She plans to conduct post-doctoral research leading to publication of her dissertation on the Shenandoah Valley's Reconstruction era.

Katherine Ross Dominick, BA ’06, worked at CNN for 6 years, most recently as a producer/writer for AC360 when she left in 2012. She then came to CBS to work as a producer for CBS This Morning. She is now the Transportation Producer for the network.

Marc Eisenberg, BA ’94, is the founder and host of DC Music Salon and the Executive Director of the Washington Bach Consort. 

Sarah Feldman, BA ’05, now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Casey. She received her law degree from GW in 2010 and works for the Oregon Judicial Department.

Stacy Flaherty, MA ’86, is a community volunteer in Portland, Oregon.

Scott Gilbert, BA ’00, has been appointed the new director of capital planning for the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation.

Maggie Unverzagt Goddard, MA ’14, is a PhD student in American Studies and Public Humanities at Brown. She recently received the William E. Brigman Award at PCA/ACA, and her article will be published in The Journal of Popular Culture.

Cassandra Good, BA ’04, MA ’05, wrote Founding Friendships (OUP ’15), which received the 2016 Organization of American Historians Mary Jurich Nickliss Prize in U.S. Women's and/or Gender History.

David Heinzmann, BA ’90, is an investigative reporter on the Chicago Tribune's government investigations team. He is also currently finishing revisions on his third crime novel, a genre first suggested to him by the late GW professor Robert H. Walker.

Carl Lounsbury, MA ’77, PhD ’83, will retire in November after 35 years at Colonial Williamsburg as an architectural historian. Hw will continue consulting working on research projects for museums and historical societies and continue to publish on early American architecture.

Betsy May-Salazar, MA ’91, recently celebrated 20 years at the National Building Museum where she is Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.

Akiko Murakata, PhD ’71, is publishing Helen Vendler’s Seamus Heaney (1998), edit/translation into Japanese, in memorial of the Irish poet who passed away in 2013, with updated chronology and additional essays.

Eid Mohamed, PhD ’11, received the Qatar National Research Fund, National Priorities Research Program Award to support his research for 3 years on "Transcultural Identities: Solidaristic Action and Contemporary Arab Social Movements"

Frederick Quinn, BA ’14, is a JD candidate at Cardozo law school in NYC. He will be working at a private trusts and estates firm as a summer associate this summer.

Madiha Ragala, MA ’81, is a Senior Lecturer in the Casablanca Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences. She is also active in the University online platform where she has been offering courses. In parallel, she is taking MOOC courses and enjoying them tremendously.

Aliza Schiff, BA ’05, is working on a variety of public humanities projects for Arlington Cultural Affairs, just across the river, including oral history projects and running the search for Arlington's 1st poet laureate!

Colleen Shalby, BA ’11, left Washington, D.C. and moved back to my home state of California for a job with the L.A. Times, after three years at PBS NewsHour. She is working with the politics and social media teams, covering the election.

VivianLea Stevens Solek, MA ’87, has been hired by the Knights of Columbus Museum as an Archivist. The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal benefit society and has grown to more than 1.9 million members around the world. In her role, Mrs. Solek will manage the collection of the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council Archives, located in New Haven, CT. She holds an MS in Library and Information Science Simmons College, an MA in American Studies at GW, with a material culture concentration, and a BA from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

Robert Solomon, BA ’72, just had the third edition of his widely read and well-respected book, The Art of Client Service, published by John Wiley & Sons, which is available in bookstores, at Amazon, and by visiting

Caroline H. Spurry, MA ’15, since completing the Historic Preservation Masters program within the American Studies department, she joined the Historic Preservation and Collections department  at George Washington's Mount Vernon as an Architectural Historian.

Rusty Stahl, BA ’98, launched Talent Philanthropy ( in 2014, a national campaign to maximize foundation investments in the nonprofit workforce. He married Sarah From in 2013, moved from NYC to Beacon, NY in 2015, and they had their daughter Ruby in early 2016.

Elizabeth Staz (Betsy Debevoise), BA ’61, raised 4 wonderful children, graduated from York Academy of Art, and taught at Pennsylvania School of Art and Design. She is a watercolorist represented by Red Raven Art Company and has products at Elizabeth loved GW.

Jason Steinhauer, BA ’02, is creating the new field of History Communication in conjunction with the University of Massachusetts and Purdue University. He continues to work at The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

Kelly Straw, BA ’09, is currently living in Los Angeles working as an artist manager for the UK-based Modest! Management.  Kelly oversees the west coast outpost of the management team for global #1 artists including 5 Seconds of Summer and developing band Hey Violet.

Catherine Tatum, BA ’10, represents indigent criminal defendants as an Assistant Public Defender for the Newport News Public Defender's Office in Newport News, VA. She will also be getting married in September 2016 to her wonderful fiancé, Justin.

Isabelle Dee Wedemeyer, BA ’65, took early retirement from The New York Times, graduated from Fordham University School of Law and on April 11, was sworn into the New York State Bar.

Marilyn Yakowitz (Cohen), MPhil ’74, PhD ’80, was re-elected by The GW Alumni Association to its Board of Directors, where she serves on the Executive Committee and heads the Working Group for Alumni Abroad.

Thomas Yanni, MA ’94, has been teaching U.S History and American Studies courses at Riverside City College in Riverside, CA for nine years. A resident of Palm Springs since 2002, he was recently appointed Vice Chair of the city's Public Arts Commission.