Notable Alumnae and Alumni
Wells graduates go on to exciting work in a variety of fields. Here are some examples.
A Lives-Changing Experience
For Keela Dates ’06 (Psychology), it started with a two-month volunteer teaching opportunity in Kenya. Her experiences there soon became a passion that continues to grow. Impressed with the need to provide shelter and create educational opportunities for children in developing countries, Keela founded the non-profit organization Reason2Smile, Inc. in 2009.
Reason2Smile started with Jambo Jipya Academy and Children's Home—a school and orphanage that educates, feeds, and provides medical care and a safe environment for over 300 children—and is actively working to raise funding for a second project. Meanwhile, Keela continues to travel, grow her organization and spread awareness in the U.S. Her efforts were recognized this year by Glamour Magazine’s Sally Hansen Best of You contest, resulting in a trip to New York City, a photo shoot for the magazine, and funding for Reason2Smile.
Cut, Print, Check the Gate
Russell Bailey ’09 (Economics and Management) started his career in filmmaking before even leaving college, tackling any and every side of the industry: directing, writing, acting, editing, producing—even contributing columns and editorials to papers and websites. His enthusiasm and talent has led to positions consulting for Script Pipeline and assisting development for Abbot Management and Benderspink productions. Russell’s also appeared as an extra in the film Iron Man 2 and national television shows including How I met Your Mother and NCIS.
This year, Russ took another step forward, combining his working knowledge in order to write, produce and direct an independent feature-length romantic comedy called Barmy. He managed to cover production expenses through the popular crowd-sourced funding website Kickstarter, completed the project, and Barmy premiered for a standing-room-only crowd at the 2012 Feel Good Film Festival in North Hollywood.
Writing for the Writers
As a literary agent and editor, Laurie Munroe Abkemeier ’92 (Individualized: Journalism) has a peculiar place in the world: to spend her career making the talents of others stand out. At this, she’s proven wildly successful—her projects have included five New York Times bestsellers by authors like George Carlin, Chris Rock, and Jeff Foxworthy and television and movie negotiations for the authors behind Marley & Me (starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) and the novel Cheer!, the basis for The CW series Hellcats.
An agent with a literary agent with DeFiore and Company in NYC, Laurie currently represents an eclectic mix of more than fifty journalists, bloggers, poets, academics, and artists. She’s stayed on the forefront of new media, creating an original publishing advice app called “Agent Obvious” with hundreds of tips for up-and-coming writers.
Darrell Bullock ’10 (History) didn’t waste much time during his two years with the Wells men’s basketball team. His skills were integral to building the young program into a respectable team: Darrell earned 1,010 career points at Wells (an average over 20 per game), led the team in assists, set 31 schools records and was named team MVP and two-time NEAC 1st-Team All-Conference. During his time, the Express fought to two straight NEAC championship game appearances.
After graduating in 2010, Darrell went on to his professional debut for the Baskets 98 Völklingen in the German professional basketball league. The league is made up of players from all over the world including former Division I, II, III players from the United States. Darrell is currently looking at either playing in the NBA Development League or playing professionally in Peru.
A Pioneer in Genetics
Margaret Pericak-Vance ’73 has spent years building her solid reputation as a global leader in the field of human genetics. A board-certified Ph.D. medical geneticist, she leads the Miami Institute of Human Genomics, and is a founding fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics. The pioneering research that Peggy conducted in these positions has greatly advanced understanding of the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, autism and other conditions.
She’s published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers, including a 1993 work that remains one of the most-cited papers in biomedical research. Peggy has been honored in her field with the 2011 Alzheimer’s Association Bengt Winblad Lifetime Achievement Award, election to the Institute of Medicine, and acclaim from the Institut de France, Newsweek magazine, and others. In the future, we know we’ll see many more science-minded students carry on Peggy’s style of influential research.