Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Alumni Notes

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Jeff Burnstein,
Jeff Burnstein is President of Robotic Industries Association, the North American trade group reprsenting some 275 companies involved in robotics. He recently appeared on CNBC to discuss how Robots Can Save and Create Jobs in America, which was the subject of a guest editorial he wrote for Bloomberg Business Week.

Tom Cohen,
1992 LS&A Grad Tom Cohen is the Executive Producer of Cash Cab and Cash Cab Chicago on Discovery Channel. For his work he's won three-3 Daytime Emmy Awards, which now sit on the top shelf of a bookcase that houses some of his old U-M textbooks. Talk about a visual representation of achievement.

Alan C. Wilde,
is now a lifetime member of the Cambridge Who's Who, and is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Chemical Society, the Planetary Society, the National Space Society, the National Air and Space Society, the National Academy of Sciences, and also Strathmore's Who's Who, for which he received a plaque. He published 17 papers during his career, of which 14 were reviewed by math reviews. As co-chair of the Committee to Aid Disabled Students, Mr. Wilde spoke to Ann Arbor city council to call for curb cuts instead of bike paths, and as a member of the Homeless Action Committee he spoke against the Kline's parking structure.

Karen Rae (Forsyth) Mehaffey,
After 20 years in academic libraries, including 14 as a Director, Karen joined Cengage Learning, a global publisher out of Farmington Hills, MI. Cengage purchased Gale Publishing, a well known reference publisher that had offices in the Penobscot Building in Detroit for many years. Karen started at Gale right out of graduate school at U of M, worked as the Research Coordinator for several series. She returned to Cengage Learning in 2008 as a Library Consultant, and is now the Manager of the Name Authority Team, which handles Name Taxonomies for Cengage products. Karen has also published three books and numerous articles on Victorian American women and culture, and is working on a biography of Emily V. Mason, Confederate nurse and sister of Michigan governor, Stevens Mason.

Alisea Williams McLeod,
I have developed a new website on the little discussed topic of America's Civil War contraband camps. Records concerning the camps hold key genealogical information for perhaps millions of African American families. On the site, visitors can learn about The Freedpeople's Transcription Project, which is an effort to make camp records, called registers, freely available to the public. Visit the site at

Roger S. Cohen,
Roger Cohen (A.B. '76, Ph.D. '85 University of North Carolina) has been appointed director of the State of New Jersey Office of Revenue and Economic Analysis. The Office produces the State's official estimate of State revenues and economic growth and performs economic and financial analysis for pending and proposed legislation. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Cohen served as Director of Data Resources in the New York State Tax Department, Director of Fiscal Policy for the New York State Senate Democratic Conference, and Chief Economist for the New York Legislative Tax Study Commission.

Andrew Berg,
Andrew Berg and his wife, Margarita Valbuena,'02, moved to Guatemala in January 2011 to work as Intercultural Encounter Facilitators at CEDEPCA, an ecumenical not-for-profit agency. They will be in Guatemala for three years facilitating study tours in Central America for groups from the US, Canada, and Europe. Join them at

James A. Burns Jr.,
For the fifth consecutive year, James A. Burns, Jr. (B.A. '77, J.D. '80) has been named an Illinois Super Lawyer, an honor given to the top 5% of the attorneys in the state, in the area of Employment and Labor. Jim is a partner at Reed Smith LLP in Chicago.

Daniel Rubenstein,
Daniel Rubenstein (MBA 2003) has been appointed to the newly created position of Development Director at The Family Learning Institute (FLI), a community non-profit that provides free, individualized after-school tutoring to low-income students. FLI's mission is to close the achievement gap in Washtenaw County. Before coming on staff, Dan had served on FLI’s board of directors for six years, during which time he was a manager at Ford Motor Company. FLI's executive director is Amy Rolfes (BA 1981, MA 1983). The Family Learning Institute is located at 1954-D S. Industrial Hwy. in Ann Arbor. For information on how to enroll or refer a student, volunteer, or contribute, phone 734-995-6816, e-mail, or visit

Keith Carlton Heidorn,
Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science, which was then known as Meteorology and Oceanography, alumnus Keith C. Heidorn (BS 1969, MS 1971) has written his third book "The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena," published this Autumn by Firefly Books, with coauthor Ian Whitelaw. The book is available in bookstores or online through Amazon and other book sellers. Now semi-retired in Valemount, British Columbia in the beautiful Robson Valley, Keith continues to produce his long running website "The Weather Doctor" and is active in the local arts community as an artist.

James Wolk,
is featured in Lonestar, Fox network's new one-hour drama that launched in September. Set in Texas, the show is about "a good-looking, charming, charismatic con artist who also happens to be a bigamist." Yes, that's Wolk, in the lead role of Robert Allen. He was most recently seen in Hallmark Hall of Fame's Front of the Class, about a young man with Tourette's syndrome.

Merilynne Rush,
Michigan School of Nursing alum Merilynne Rush has left midwifery and is now a home funeral guide. What's that? Someone who helps folks care for their loved one at home in the hours or days after death. Conventional funerals cost thousands of dollars. More and more people are wanting to do things differently, in a way that is more consistent with the simple and natural way they have lived their life. A 'home funeral' is a noncommercial, family-centered response to death that involves the family and friends in the care and preparation of the body for burial or cremation. Embalming is not required, nor is a fancy, and costly, casket. To learn more, visit

Andy Matthews,
University of Michigan alumni John Burnside (EECS, 2002) and Andy Matthews (SM, 2002) have joined forces to create, a new and innovative flight planning utility for the general and business aviation communities. By developing a simple guided process that helps pilots ensure that they are completing critical pre-flight tasks, John and Andy are helping pilots plan more efficiently and fly safer. Based in Ann Arbor near the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport, offers both FREE and subscription based services and can be reached via their website,

Paul Gogulski,

Using methodology developed and utilized by DOD and NASA, University of Michigan alumnus Paul Gogulski (BSCE,’60) and Rob Wagner (MSME, Case Western ’74) have joined together in developing programs for integrating systems engineering into the construction industry. Requirements-driven, model-based programs are being developed to analyze the possibility of conflicting requirements of various components of existing systems with the objective of simplifying the process of design, and promoting communication between individuals and teams working both on the design and execution of construction projects.

Paul Gogulski is President of Gogulski & Associates, Inc., a forensic engineering and construction consulting firm with offices in Beaufort, SC and Las Vegas, NV. Paul wishes to connect with Michigan Alumni in Abu Dhabi, Jeddah and Jakarta, where he scheduled to present seminars on the Construction Claims Process. He can be reached at (702) 249-3350.

Website: email:

Herbert H. Dobbs,
Herbert H. Dobbs, Ph.D. ME 72, has been elected to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) College of Fellows and will be recognized at the SME Awards & Installation Banquet at the the Henry Hotel, Fairborn Plaza, 300 Town Center Drive, Dearborn, MI 48126 on November 13, 2010. Dr. Dobbs also is a fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and the Michigan Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE). He is a retired Colonel, USA, and Secretary of the Board of Directors of Torvec, Inc., Rochester, NY. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1983 after serving 28 years and later served with the U.S. Army Science Board (ASB) from 1994-2006.

Jon Schram,
BS IOE '90 Alumni Jon Schram founded a company called "The Purple Guys" in 2001. They were recently recognized in Kansas City as a "Best of Kansas City Business" in the Computer/IT Consulting category.

John H. Wilde,
Dear Editor, My memoir. "Michigan Days". has gone to the publisher. I hope that it will be ready by class reunion in October. I was not a "typical student" (if there was such an animal). I was an Army veteran who had knocked around Europe for a year and a half before enrolling at Michigan. I worked full time. I lived and boarded in a cooperative house. I did'nt participate in student activities. Nevertheless, I believe that my story is worth recording. Because there seems to be a dearth of more or less contemporary student memoirs, I encourage other alumni to flesh out the picture by telling their stories. I'm willing to give a copy to alumni who want one. In return I'd ask that recipients consider contributing to the John H. Wilde Scholarship that I set up at the School of Engineering in memory of my father, Edward H. Wilde, Engineering 1925. The scholarship benefits a deserving student from the Upper Peninsula. I plan to attend the 1960 class reunion. Or I can be contacted at: 308 Hunting Road Greenwood, S.C. 29646 Sincerely, John H. Wilde

Carol Peterson VanDerWoude,
My book, Aliisa's Letter: Legacy of Faith, was published in June of 2010. A young nurse discovers her Finnish heritage in the Keweenaw peninsula of Michigan. The stories of a Finnish immigrant woman and a contemporary nurse are intertwined. Chilbirth, midwifery, abortion and medical technolgy are part of the plot. My website is

Paul H. Gross, CCM, CBM,
Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science alumnus Paul Gross of WDIV-TV in Detroit has written the first-ever book about Michigan weather, and sales have been so strong that just two weeks after "Extreme Michigan Weather: The Wild World of the Great Lakes State" hit bookstores, Paul's publisher (University of Michigan Press) already had to order a second printing! "Extreme Michigan Weather" is available at all major bookstores, or through the U of M Press website (

Nicholas Azzaro,

Mainly known for his futuristic photographs and projection work, artist Nicholas Azzaro is delving into his next medium: subway tunnel art. Raising funds independently through the generosity of private donations and public grants, Azzaro's vision is to entertain, engage and spark conversation among the 150,000+ daily riders on the Chicago Transit Authority (or CTA) Blue Line, the line with the second highest ridership in the city. The projected installation of this project when funding is complete will be in December 2010.

Between the Clark/Lake and Washington stops, a series of advertising panels owned by Submedia World lies dormant. This technology works similarly to the method in which a flipbook is experienced with hundreds of still images mounted to the subway tunnel. As the train goes by at 30 mph or faster, lights expose Azzaro's imagery on the wall, allowing viewers to experience the art work as a moving animation. The images are of the unmistakable Chicago skyline in the background with the likeness of Azzaro's fictional public figure in the foreground known as a "Blo-got."

"I question what the future is going to bring and the societal positions and decisions we make. That's why I'm seeking to produce this project on my own. It's not through a gallery or a city-funded project. I wanted to show the community as an artist there is worth in public art and what my message brings," says Azzaro.

A graduate of the University of Michigan's School of Art & Design, Azzaro's fine art photography background has been foundation for his socially and politically charged work.

H Robert silverstein, MD,
My book "Maximum Healing" will be published 9/14/10 &is available @ presale discount @

Quentin Holmes,
All-New Tween Book Series, Real Street Kidz, will have kids Chasing Action On July 6, 2010, author, entrepreneur, and brand creator Quentin Holmes will release Chasing Action, the first book in the Real Street Kidz Middle Grade Book Series for “tween” boys and girls. Quentin Holmes (known to his friends as Q) has dedicated his life to empowering the world’s youth through trendsetting literature, media, and fashion. “I strongly believe that preteens need time to grow at their own pace, and they deserve positive messages, relatable characters and supportive communities along the way,” says Quentin Holmes. Parents, teachers, and youth workers know all too well the frustrations of finding entertaining yet empowering fiction for tweens who are enamored with social media. Filled with colorful characters, rising action and page-turning suspense, the Real Street Kidz series and its accompanying website,, makes it easier than ever for 8-12 year olds, as well as anyone involved with young people, to access easy-to-read and entertaining lessons on friendship, teamwork, social diversity, and overcoming adversity.

Robert E. Wilson,
Robert E. Wilson (B.S. in Engineering 2003) has been promoted to Senior Consultant at Mars & Co, a management consulting firm specializing in business strategy and operational improvements. Rob, who majored in Industrial and Operations Engineering while at Michigan, joined Mars & Co’s New York City area (Greenwich, CT) office in January of 2009 immediately after earning his MBA from the University of Chicago-Booth. At Mars & Co Rob has worked on a broad range of strategic engagements for some of Mars & Co’s global clients including projects in various consumer products segments. In addition to his work on behalf of Mars & Co’s clients Rob has also been a key part of the offense for the firm’s East Coast softball team with an impressive 0.679 batting average!

Terry M. Silver, MD,
professor emeritus of radiology, University of Michigan, received the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from the Alumni Association, College of Medicine, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center. The award, bestowed annually, honors Silver's distinguished service to American Medicine and is in recognition of significant contributions to the welfare of mankind.

David Kaufman,
has been elected vice chair of the InterContinental University Governing Board. He will serve in this role while maintaining his position as chair of the Colorado Technical University Board of Directors. Both institutions provide career education. Kaufman also serves as co-vice chair of Duane Morris' Corporate Practice Group and sits on the firm's governing Partners Board. His practice focuses on mergers and acquisition, public and private securities, private equity and general corporate counseling. Kaufman was recognized by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Corporate/M&A. He served on the editorial board of the Michigan Journal of International Law and as editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Political Science. Kaufman is a 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and a graduate of the University of Michigan

Wendy Chapin Ford,
I have just published a book, "TO GET BACK HOME - A Mysterious Disease: A Fight for Life" From the book jacket: "This is a medical thriller of the first order, a true story of triumph of survival over astronomical odds, as an otherwise healthy and active young woman fights for her life after being suddenly stricken by a rare neurological disorder, Acute Demyelinating Encephalomyelitis (ADEM). TO GET BACK HOME takes you on a harrowing journey as Ms. Ford forges her way back from a coma and quadriplegia, desperate to return to her family and young children." In addition to the publisher's "Editor's Choice" award, it has been getting some great press -- in one recent review, a chief from Children's Hospital, Boston, wrote, "This survival tale is not designed to be 'self-help,' or 'inspirational,' though in the end, it can't help but be both. Reading such a precious book is, in its own way, a 'natural high.'" For more info:

Michael Baran,
I am a cultural anthropologist now teaching at Harvard University. Recently I finished a project that I am extremely excited about. I have just released two new iPhone / iPod / iPad apps that integrate art, technology, and game play into teaching adults and children about race and diversity. The apps have the potential to elevate the discourse about racial issues in this country as well as create an increased dialogue with our children about these important issues. The apps are called "Guess My Race" and "Who Am I? Race Awareness Game." Check them out!

Catherine Stevens McClure,
Catherine Stevens (McClure) is now serving as the Senate Democratic Counsel to the Michigan Senate. She also serves as a policy analyst for the Senate covering Judiciary, Families and Human Services, Campaign and Election Oversight, and the Government Restructuring and Reform Committees.

Jeremy W. Peters,

will take over the publishing beat for the New York Times as a reporter covering both newspapers and magazines. He began working for the Times in 2001 when, as a senior at U-M, he just happened to be sitting by the phone at the Michigan Daily, where he was an editor, when the Times called looking for a stringer. Jeremy did a brief stint as intern in the Detroit bureau before shipping off to St. Thomas, where he was a reporter for two years at the Virgin Islands Daily News. He returned to the States, and to the Times, in 2004 as a stringer in the Detroit bureau, focusing on the disintegration of the auto industry. In 2006 he moved to New York where he worked several beats including Metro and business.

Ryan Donnelly,

Ryan Donnelly took first prize for web-based applications in the Mobile Application Innovation Challenge competition. His application, Lokuu, is a location-based social networking application that allows you to see what your friends are doing and where they are. Donnelly is a U-M Web Application Developer for Information and Technology Servuces Campus Computing Sites. The competition promoted entrepreneurial thinking and encouraged the U-M community to develop innovative mobile applications.

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