Alumni Achievements

Sherwood Best '73 Receives California State University's Uutstanding Professor Award

Sherwood Best '73, a leader in special education in California with expertise in physical and health impairments, received the Outstanding Professor Award from California State University, Los Angeles. The annual awards primarily recognize excellence in teaching, along with citing significant achievements in scholarly inquiry or creativity, professional activities and service to the campus and community.

Sherwood, who earned a BA in psychology at Pitzer College, is currently professor of education in the Cal State L.A.'s Division of Special Education and Counseling–Charter College of Education. She is the author of numerous journal articles, book chapters and the only textbook of its kind in the field of physical and health impairments. Among her many achievements, Sherwood traveled to Bangalore, India, in 2004 to help establish an early intervention program for infants and young children with special needs at the Vydehi Institute of Medical Rehabilitation.

Karen Hochman Brown ’79 Named Sisterhood of Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center Woman of the Year

Sisterhood of Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center (PJTC) has selected Karen Hochman Brown '79 as their Chay'ay Olam (Woman of the Year) honoree for 2007-08.

Karen has served in a variety of positions at PJTC including Publicity, Torah Fund Vice President, Executive Vice President and most recently Sisterhood President for the years 2005-07. She has been a member of the choir for thirteen years. Karen currently serves both the temple and Sisterhood chairing their Communications Committee and is the art director and an editor for The Flame, their monthly newsletter.

Karen, who majored in art at Pitzer College, is pursuing a career as a digital artist and continues to enjoy painting and drawing.

Steven Fenton ’92 Elected to the Beverly Hills Board of Education

With Gary and Linda Briskman P'05 chairing his steering committee, Steven Fenton '92 was elected to the Beverly Hills Board of Education in November 2007. According to a local newspaper, he won by the widest margin in the Board’s history. Steven and his father Frank are the first father-son team to serve the city of Beverly Hills at the same time. Frank currently serves on the city council and became vice mayor in March.

“I've seen firsthand how our schools shape our lives as individuals, families and as a community,” said Steven, himself a product of the Beverly Hills public school system. “I truly believe that great schools make for great communities.”

Over the years, he has remained involved in the city's schools by founding the Beverly Hills Athletic Alumni Association. Likewise, having played on the Pitzer-Pomona baseball team for four years, Steven is an enthusiast of Sagehen sports and believes he owes a lot of his success to his experience at Pitzer. He currently co-sponsors the annual Pitzer Athletic Dinner and endowed the Judie and Frank Fenton Athletic Leadership Award in honor of his parents.

David Straus '90: Alumnus' media company expands audiences for festivals and filmmakers

David Straus '90, CEO and co-founder of Withoutabox Inc., announced that the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has agreed to acquire his worldwide media company dedicated to advancing independent film and connecting artists with audiences.

Co-founded in 2000 by Straus and Joe Neulight, Withoutabox empowers all stakeholders in the independent film arena, from aspiring and established filmmakers to film festival organizers and audiences. “For eight years, Withoutabox has enabled filmmakers and festivals to reach the widest audience possible,” Straus said. “Now, they will be able to connect directly with the 50 million film lovers who visit IMDb each month.” Withoutabox will continue to function as a stand-alone operation based in the Los Angeles area.

Michelene Esposito '85 & Deborah Bogen '90: Alumnae Writers Return To Share Their Craft

This fall Pitzer College alumnae Michelene Esposito '85 and Deborah Bogen '90 returned to campus to lead workshops with current students as well as to read from their latest works at the Grove House.

Michelene Esposito '85 (standing) leads a master class on writing fiction.

Michelene's master class on writing fiction was held in November and was the second of four master classes sponsored by Pitzer's Writing Center. She published her first novel, Night Diving, in 2002 and her most recent novel, Mermaid, was published in 2007. After earning a BA from Pitzer, Michelene went on to receive an MA and PhD in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. In addition to the workshop, Michelene also had a reading at the Grove House, where she fondly remembers participating in readings as a student herself.

“It was so fun to return to Pitzer and see how things have changed—and stayed the same,” Michelene said. “I so enjoyed the opportunity to lead the fiction workshop. The students were talented and enthusiastic and so respectful of each other. There was wonderful diversity in the group. It was an honor to have the chance to teach at Pitzer.”

Professor of English Al Wachtel introduces Deborah Bogen '90 for her poetry reading at the Grove House.

In December, Deborah read from her work Landscape with Silos, winner of the 2005 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize and a 2004 National Poetry Series finalist. Her poetry can be found in Shenandoah, The Gettysburg Review, Field, Margie and Poetry International.

Returning to the Grove House and a room full of students and old friends was especially poignant for her as it was the setting for the start of her writing life when poet Doug Anderson taught a writing workshop there. “I took my first real poetry steps in the Bert Meyers Poetry Room—my book truly began in that room,” Deborah recalled. The next day she gave a workshop in Professor of English Al Wachtel’s Introduction to Creative Writing class where she noted “the talent and enthusiasm the students displayed lifted me up.”

A Warm and Fuzzy Campaign: Pitzer Alumni and Community Members Donate Blankets and Onesies

Born out of requests from Pitzer College alumni to have meaningful opportunities to demonstrate their values for service to the community, they and other community members donated more than two hundred blankets and onesies to the Black Infant Health program in Pomona, California, in December.

Black Infant Health was created to reduce infant mortality and morbidity in African American communities throughout California. The program meets the needs of African American women who fall below the poverty line and consists of fortyfive women who are provided baby clothing and other items as well as mentoring and support for good parenting.

“Pitzer's alumni are unique. They don't just want to socialize. They want their activities to have meaning and this project did just that,” said Director of Alumni Relations Jean Grant. “Many alumni have asked us to continue doing projects such as this and we plan to continue our efforts to live out what we believe as a community.”

For Claire Milam '92 participating in this drive was important because it allowed her to share the blessings she has been given. “I do a lot of service work, particularly through my faith community, and remember how much it meant when Hurricane Katrina evacuees here in Austin received donations from far away,” Claire said. “I liked the opportunity to help out with a tangible need like this blanket and onesie drive even from a distance.”

Yuisa Gimeno '02: Her Letter to the Editor Published in L.A. Times

Yuisa Gimeno '02 submitted a Letter to the Editor in response to the L.A. Times' December 31, 2007, article on Ted Hayes and the anti-immigrant Minutemen Project. Her letter was printed in the January 7, 2008, issue of the Times.

Yuisa has been active in immigrant rights, abortion rights, anti-war and many other movements in Los Angeles since graduating from Pitzer. Currently, she is president of the L.A. chapter of Radical Women ( and was recently appointed as the new assistant manager of the Screen Actors Guild's Affirmative Action/Diversity Department. “It’s been a great experience in developing my leadership as a feminist of color and doing critical community organizing,” Yuisa said.

Visit to read the full text of Yuisa's letter.