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University of Connecticut Recognizes
40 Alumni Under Age 40

Released: September 15, 2008

Release # 08066

Karen Grava, Media Communications
(860) 486-3530



STORRS, CT — The University of Connecticut is highlighting the achievements of 40 outstanding alumni, all under the age of 40, who will be recognized during activities on the weekend of Sept. 19-20.

The 40 will be featured in the fall/winter edition of the alumni magazine and will be recognized during a halftime ceremony at the UConn-Baylor football game on Friday night, Sept. 19.  UCONN Magazine, scheduled for publication on Nov. 1, is sent to 195,000 alumni as well as parents of students and friends of the University, reaching a circulation of  200,000.

“The achievements of these remarkable UConn alumni demonstrate the ability of our students to make a real difference in their professions, their communities, our nation and the world,” says UConn President Michael J. Hogan.

“All of these talented young alumni have distinguished themselves in a wide range of disciplines within just a few years of earning their degrees. We are proud of the role the University of Connecticut has played in their exciting and successful careers. They set a great example for our next generation of UConn students.”

 The 40 Under 40 group returning to campus will participate in a variety of activities including interactions with student groups about their careers, experiences and achievements. The 40 alumni represent graduates from each of UConn’s 14 schools and colleges.

Several of the young alumni being recognized by UConn are familiar names to the public -- such as U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy (D-5) of Connecticut and basketball star Emeka Okafor of the Charlotte Bobcats -- but many are known as prominent figures within their professional worlds of science, education, business, the arts, law, engineering, social services, medicine, agriculture, health care, philanthropy, government and athletics.

 Editors: The complete UConn 40 Under 40 is followed by a geographic listing:

Klaus Abels, 37, (’02 M.A., ’03 Ph.D. in linguistics) London, England: lecturer and leading researcher in the Department of Phonetics and Linguistics at University College.

Jeanne Allgood, 38, (’92 B.A. in political science and journalism) West Hollywood, Calif.: executive, Wonderland Sound and Vision, whose credits include “We Are Marshall” and “Terminator: Salvation.”

Jennifer Barnhart, 36, (’94 B.A. in acting) Brooklyn, N.Y.: actress and puppeteer featured on Broadway in “Avenue Q.”

Keith M. Bellizzi, 38, (’03 Ph.D. in human development and family studies) Berlin, Conn.: assistant professor of human development and family studies, University of Connecticut, formerly with the National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Survivorship.

T. Scott Case, 38, (’92 B.S. in computer science and engineering) Wilton, Conn.: co-founder of Priceline.com and Rewards for Justice Fund, founder of Direct Help and today is executive director of Malaria No More.

Swin Cash, 28, (’02 B.A. in communication sciences) Seattle: professional basketball player and founder of Swin Cash Enterprises and Cash for Kids.

Kevin Clarke, 31, (’04 M.D. in medicine) Dallas, Texas: AIDS physician, member of Baylor College of Medicine Pediatric AIDS Corps and co-founder of Friends of Zambian Orphans.

Stacey Violante Cote, 36, (’00 M.S.W. in social work, ’01 J.D. in law) Collinsville, Conn.: staff attorney at the Center for Children’s Advocacy, Inc., and project director for the Center’s Teen Legal Advocacy Clinic in Hartford.

Margaret Drozdowski, 35, (’98 D.M.D. in dental medicine), Farmington, Conn.: dental director, Community Health Centers, Inc. of New Britain.

Bryan Dumont, 35, (’97 B.A. in political science) Alexandria, Va.: senior vice president, APCO Insight, opinion research and strategic communications services firm, Washington, D.C.

 Stefanie (Pratola) Ferreri, 34, (’97 B.S. in pharmacy) Durham, N.C.: clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and experiential education and director of the community pharmacy residency program, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Lani Fortier, 26, (’04 B.S. in exercise science) Rye, N.H.: co-founder Charity Global, which works to bring clean drinking water to people in developing nations.

Chunlei Guo, 37, (’99 Ph.D. in physics) Rochester, N.Y.: associate professor of optics and pioneering researcher in black metals, University of Rochester.

Christopher S. Hattayer, 28, (’02 B.A. in political science and international relations) Washington, D.C.: foreign service officer, U.S. Department of State, Krygyz Republic in Central Asia.

Tabitha Hitchcock, 37, (’93 B.S. in civil engineering) Mystic, Conn.: Principal Process Engineer for General Dynamics Electric Boat, submarine contractor for U.S. Department of Defense.

Kristin Hoffman, 38, (’98 J.D. in law), Marlborough, Conn.: attorney with a practice in federal immigration law, member of the Board of Governors and Connecticut chapter chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

M. Scott Holcomb, 35, (’94 B.A. in political science), Atlanta: general counsel, J.P. Turner & Co. LLC and former chief of international and operations law, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps in Kuwait.

James N. Hormuzdiar, 38, (’94 B.S. in electrical engineering and mathematics) Hayward, Calif.: co-founder of Robot Genius, security software company in Oakland, Calif.

Rebecca Lobo Rushin, 34, (’95 B.A. in political science) Granby, Conn.: broadcaster for ESPN, author and active in a variety of philanthropic organizations. Member of the UConn Board of Trustees.

Brett McGurk, 35, (’96 B.A. in political science) Washington, D.C.: director for Iraq at the National Security Council in the White House and former clerk to William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States.

Mikki Meadows-Oliver, 36, (’06 Ph.D. in nursing) Hamden, Conn.: assistant professor at the Yale School of Nursing and clinical director for the pediatric lead poisoning and asthma outreach programs at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Kevin Molloy, 37, (’93 B.S. in resources economics and ’98 M.S. in agricultural economics) New York, N.Y.: senior vice president of distribution finance at AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co, a leading financial protection company.

Irina (Tsikhelashvilli) Moore, 36, (’04 M.B.A. in business) New Haven, Conn: vice president of risk management for GE Money, the consumer and small financial services unit for General Electric.

Christopher Murphy, 35, (’02 J.D. in law) Cheshire, Conn.: member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the 5th Congressional district in Connecticut.

Ilia M. O’Hearn, 37, (’93 B.A. in business, ’04 J.D. in law) Manchester, Conn.: associate in the financial restructuring group at Bracewell & Giuliani, an international law firm, and president of the Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association.

Emeka Okafor, 25, (’04 B.S. in finance) Charlotte, N.C.: professional basketball player and spokesman for One Million African Lives, which raises funds to help screen blood transfusions for AIDS in Africa.

Eric Owles, 34, (’98 B.A. in journalism and political science) Brooklyn, N.Y.: chief multimedia producer for NYTimes.com and war correspondent covering Iraq for the blog, “Baghdad Bureau: Iraq from the Inside.”

Jonathan A. Plucker, 38, (’91 B.S. in chemistry, ’92 M.A. in special education) Bloomington, Ind.: prolific researcher and professor of educational psychology and cognitive science at Indiana University.

Althea Marshall Richardson, 38, (’91 B.S. in human development and family studies) New Haven: president and CEO of Empower New Haven, a nonprofit that administers more than $27 million in federally-funded development grants to low-income neighborhoods.

Craig M. Rodner. 34, (’00 M.D. in medicine), Simsbury, Conn: assistant professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery in the New England Musculoskeletal Institute at the UConn Health Center, specializing in hand, wrist and upper extremity problems.

Carlos J. Rodrigues, 34, (’95 B.S. in accounting) Naugatuck, Conn: principal and chief financial officer of Pequot Capital Management and CFO of Pequot Ventures in Westport, Conn.

Richard Ruiz, 36, (’98 M.F.A. in acting) Astoria. N.Y.: actor who has performed at many of the nation’s leading resident repertory companies, including The Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, at the New York Public Theatre and who has performed in leading roles with national touring theatrical productions.

Christine Sansevero, 36, (’95 B.S. in engineering) Roslindale, Mass.: senior enforcement officer in the Air Technical Unit of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Elizabeth Flynn Scott, 38, (’91 B.A. in psychology) Wynnewood, Pa.: co-founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, named in memory of her late daughter, which has raised more than $18 million to support research and awareness for childhood cancer.

Matthew H. Small, 36, (’98 M.B.A., ’99 J.D., combined business and law degrees) Washington, D.C.: chief legal officer and secretary, Blackboard, Inc., provider of enterprise software and systems integration services to host online classes at universities and corporations.

Peter Tesei, 39, (’91 B.A. in political science) Greenwich, Conn.: First Selectman of Greenwich after serving 18 years in the banking industry.

Anthony Uliano, 38, (’93 B.A. in finance) Richmond, Va.: co-founder, president and chief technology officer of AMC Technology, named one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States.

Fahd Vahidy, 34, (’95 B.S. in human development and family studies, ’98 M.A. in educational psychology) Bridgeport, Conn.: executive director of Public Allies Connecticut, which prepares young adults for careers working for community and social change.

Marcela de Jesus Vergara-Jimenez , 39, (’98 Ph.D. in nutritional sciences) Culiacan Sinaola, C.P. Mexico: professor of nutrition sciences and department head of nutritional sciences at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa, Mexico.

Alicia A. Young, 36, (’95 B.A. in communication sciences) New York, N.Y.: executive vice president and head of the consumer technology division for Ruder Finn Group, second-largest independent public relations firm in the world.

Geographic Listing:

California: Jeanne Allgood, West Hollywood; James N. Hormuzdiar, Hayward and Oakland.

Connecticut: Keith M. Bellizzi, Berlin; T. Scott Case, Wilton; Stacey Violante Cote, Collinsville and Hartford; Margaret Drozdowski, Farmington & New Britain; Tabitha Hitchcock, Mystic and Groton; Kristin Hoffman, Marlborough and Hartford; Rebecca Lobo Rushin, Granby; Mikki Meadows-Oliver, Hamden and New Haven; Christopher Murphy, Cheshire; Ilia M. O’Hearn, Manchester and Hartford; Althea Marshall Richardson, New Haven; Craig M. Rodner, Simsbury and Farmington; Carlos J. Rodrigues, Naugatuck and Westport; Peter Tesei, Greenwich; Irina (Tsikhelashvilli) Moore, New Haven and Stamford; Fahid Vahidy, Bridgeport.

Georgia: M. Scott Holcomb, Atlanta.

Indiana: Jonathan A. Plucker, Bloomington.

London, England: Klaus Abels

New Hampshire: Lani Fortier, Rye.

New York: Jennifer Barnhart, Brooklyn; Chunlei Guo, Rochester; Kevin Molloy, New York; Eric Owles, Brooklyn; Richard Ruiz, Astoria; Alicia A. Young, New York.

Massachusetts: Christine Sansavaro, Roslindale.

Mexico: Marcela deJesus Vergara-Jimenez, Culiacan Sinaola, C.P.

North Carolina: Stefanie (Pratola) Ferreri, Durham & Chapel Hill; Emeka Okafor, Charlotte.

Pennsylvania: Elizabeth Flynn Scott, Wynnewood.

Texas: Kevin Clarke, Dallas.

Washington: Swin Cash, Seattle.

Washington, D.C. area: Bryan Dumont, Alexandria, Va.; Christopher Hattayer, Washington; Brett McGurk, Washington; Matthew H. Small, Washington; Anthony Ulinao, Richmond, Va.


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