Making a difference
Editor’s note: The alumni listed here make a difference in the world around them. Do you know alumni who should be included on this list in the online magazine? Send us feedback. Provide us with the name and a brief description of how that person makes a difference.
More alumni who make a difference:
Glenn Bridger ’65 nominates Afifa Ahmed-Shafi ’00 to the list of Whitman alumni who make a difference. Bridger, in his role as a member of the Portland Public Involvement Advisory Council, works with Ahmed-Shafi, the public involvement standards coordinator for the Office of Neighborhood Involvement in Portland.
Ahmed-Shafi represents both Portland and Whitman extremely well, Bridger writes. “As I watch her in action, I am pleased to have such a delightful young leader in our community.”
Ahmed-Shafi also works as a cultural competency workshop facilitator on the issues of privilege and oppression, intercultural communication and mediation, conflict resolution and American Muslims after 9/11. Bridger is the past chair of Southwest Neighborhoods Inc., a nonprofit representing 17 southwest Portland neighborhood associations.
Kirk Adams ’83 — President and CEO of The Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle, a nonprofit that offers training and employment for the blind, Adams is the first blind person to take the helm of the organization.
Peter Dunlap-Shohl ’81 — Awarded the 2008 Alaska Press Club First Amendment Award for his political cartoons, Dunlap-Shohl is known for visiting school classrooms to demonstrate his work. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2002, he maintains a blog about living with the disease.
Ann Beasley Easterly ’65 — Founder of African Children’s Libraries (ACL), a nonprofit that supplies children’s books and reading materials to village libraries in Liberia, Easterly was a public school librarian for many years and founded ACL in her retirement.
Julie Edsforth ’88 — Founder emeritus and former executive director of Powerful Voices, an organization that works to improve the lives of girls in Seattle public middle schools and in the juvenile justice system, Edsforth also serves on the Whitman Board of Overseers.
Pat Courtney Gold ’61 — Founder of the Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association, Gold received the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award, a lifetime honor, for her work to preserve her Native American heritage.
Nancy Sanford Hughes ’64 — Founder of StoveTeam International, an organization that works to solve medical and ecological problems by bringing fuel-efficient stoves to the indigenous population of Guatemala, Hughes created the organization after traveling to Guatemala with a volunteer medical group. She encountered an 18-year-old who had lost the use of her hands after falling into an open fire at age 2. The cook stoves provided by this project replace open fires and help reduce deforestation.
Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg ’01 — Founder of the nonprofit Akili Dada, an international organization that provides secondary-school scholarships and career mentoring for young Kenyan women, Kamau-Rutenberg directs the organization with a board that includes several Whitman alumni. See Whitman alumna founds scholarship program for Kenyan girls.
Katie Turner Masferrer ’03 — Founder and executive director of MEJOR Communities (Managing, Executing and Joining Opportunities for Rural Communities), a nonprofit based in Portland, Ore., that works to promote the health of people living in rural communities in Peru. Katie and her husband, Roberto Masferrer ’04, served in the Peace Corps in Peru after college. For more information, visit the Web site of MEJOR Communities.
Nola Nahulu ’75 — Executive and artistic director of the Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus and co-director of the Hawaii Opera Theatre Chorus since 1986, Nahulu has been involved in the choral music scene there since 1979. The Hawaiian native is founder and director of the Kawaiolaonapukanileo ensemble, a group dedicated to the preservation of the Hawaiian choral music genre.
Kris Nyrop ’79 — Executive Director of Street Outreach Services (SOS) from 1997 to 2007, Nyrop was a visiting professor at Whitman in fall 2008, teaching two interdisciplinary studies classes on the history of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and responses to it. His current project involves analyzing racial disparity in Seattle drug arrests.
Darren Pritt ’90 — Founder and president of Neighborhood Cooking Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to feeding the homeless in the Seattle area, Pritt also is a board member and treasurer of The Friends of Lewis County Animal Shelter.
Dr. Richard Simon Jr. ’72 — Board member of and musician in the Walla Walla Symphony and co-founder of the Walla Walla Jazz Society, Dr. Simon is medical director of the Kathryn Severyns Dement Sleep Disorders Center in Walla Walla. A nationally known sleep specialist and researcher, he participated recently in a ground-breaking study on treatment for sleep apnea, a disorder in which the individual stops breathing repeatedly for brief periods of time during sleep.
Anna Taft ’02 — Founder and executive director of the Tandana Foundation, a nonprofit that offers scholarships to rural students of highland Ecuador and Mali’s Dogon Country to continue their secondary education, Taft has taught in traditional and wilderness classrooms around the world. The Tandana Foundation also coordinates service projects and volunteer vacations in the region.