Alumni Updates

Marcia Franklin (GJ89)

Marcia FranklinMarcia Franklin (“Real Life in Focus,” fall 2004) received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, the association’s highest media honor, for her documentary The Color of Conscience: Human Rights in Idaho. The documentary recounts the more than two-decades–long effort by Idaho human rights leaders to shut down the Aryan Nations, a white supremacist group that operated a compound in northern Idaho. The hourlong film also takes a closer look at various human rights issues in the state. For more than 20 years Franklin, who lives in Boise, has been a producer and host at Idaho Public Television, where her programs have won many honors. 

Janessa Goldbeck (J07)

Janessa GoldbeckJanessa Goldbeck (“Close Quarters,” summer 2009) was named to the “99 Under 33,” a project of the Diplomatic Courier and the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy that ranks the 99 most influential -foreign policy leaders under the age of 33. As a spokesperson for the Make Us Strong Campaign, Goldbeck completed a 4,200-mile solo cross-country bicycle ride, appearing in the media, holding events and meeting with elected officials along the way to focus national attention on how international development keeps America safe. Goldbeck, a second lieutenant with the U.S. Marine Corps, lives in Quantico, Va.

Michelle Grabner (WCAS89)

Michelle GrabnerMichelle Grabner (“Portrait of the Artists,” summer 2001) of Oak Park, Ill., was recently named one of the three curators of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s flagship exhibition. Each of the curators will oversee one floor of the exhibition. Grabner is chair of the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A survey of her work, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, will travel the United States later this year.  

Ryan Haggerty (J07) and Lisa Wayland (WCAS07)

Haggerty and WaylandRyan Haggerty and Lisa Wayland wrote the “Marriage 101” feature in the fall 2007 issue about their experience taking the popular course together. They tied the knot Sept. 29 in Chicago. “It was an incredible day, and one we’ll treasure for the rest of our lives,” Wayland said. “Almost every member of both of our families was able to attend, as well as many good friends, including quite a few Northwestern alumni. We are truly blessed.” Haggerty is a reporter with the Chicago Tribune, and Wayland is a data asset manager at Anthem Marketing Solutions in Chicago.

Gita Pullapilly (GJ01)

Gita PullapillyGita Pullapilly (“Plot Points Toward Peace,” summer 2007) and her husband, Aron Gaudet, executive produced the national PBS program Lifecasters, with her sister, Kavita Pullapilly (KSM03), serving as producer. The program presents the stories of Americans who have found creative ways to realize their dreams a bit late in life. Gita and Aron tell the story of Albert Hurwit, a retired doctor who, at 80, couldn’t read or write music but composed an award-winning symphony. The Film Society of Lincoln Center hosted the Lifecasters premiere in February at the Walter Reade Theater in New York City, and the program aired on PBS in the same month. Gita, Aron and Kavita are also in postproduction on their feature film Blue Potato. The movie, slated for release this year, focuses on Dominic Roy, a teen who hopes to earn enough from potato harvests to finally escape the monotony of his hometown in Maine. He’s also fighting to save his reckless friend, Casper, from the dangers of smuggling prescription drugs across the Canadian border with Casper’s outlaw father.

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