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1980s

Richard Garner, '80

After Carleton, I went to MIT as a graduate student in Physics, with specialization in Plasmas.  I received a PhD in 1986.  For 1986-1996, I worked for a small government contractor developing lidar and subsequently using the systems for various atmospheric remote sensing applications.  (Lidar is like radar, but uses light in the UV to IR range, instead of rf or microwaves.)  From 1996 to the present (2011 now), I have been working at the company Osram Sylvania, pursuing research on light sources.  For much of that time, that research was in the area of gas discharge based lighting.  However, now it is in solid state lighting (LED's).

I am married (since 1988) and have twin boys (born in 2003).  I have lived in the Boston area since leaving Carleton in 1980.  I currently live (since 1993) in Arlington, MA.

David Evans '82

After 25 years of teaching math and coaching, etc., exclusively in independent schools, I decided to get formally certified in secondary math.  Part of the process included taking the Praxis II math exam on content and knowledge - ETS told me I received a certificate of excellence for scoring among the highest on the ranging, 52-question test.  Thanks Carleton!  Incidentally, in 2011 I returned to top form in the triathlon and podiumed for the second time at Kona in the Ironman Triathom World Championship.  The 27 years separating podium appearances is, I believe, a Hawaii Ironman record.  Where did I do my first triathlon?  Carleton, of course, during Carleton's first triathlon in May, 1981.  Again, thanks Carleton!

Curt Wyffels, '83

I taught mathematics at Deerfield Academy from 1983 to 1986 and have been teaching mathematics at Wayzata High School since the fall of 1986.  I have been married for twenty years to Rebecca and have two wonderful children--Drew and Rachel.

Sean Keel, '84

I went to graduate school in mathematics in 1984 and have been a research mathematician ever since.  It is a wonderful and ridiculously privileged life; I spend my work days thinking about things that are really interesting to me (and of close to zero interest to most everyone else), I travel all over to talk with some of the worlds best mathematicians (and weirdest people); someone else invariably picks up the tab.  My first year at Carleton I took pre-Calculus (the lowest level math class offered), and was planning on going to medical school.  But I did not want to have anything in common with the premeds I met (quite likely my loss) and Carleton Math Professors Roger Kirchner and Steve Galovich struck me as really cool, really smart and really lucky.  Advice to undergrads?  If you like math and it comes easy to you think about doing it full time.  No boss, lots of money, do whatever you want with your hair, shoes optional.

Susannah Hopkins Leisher, '85

I graduated in '85 and after a 2-year stint teaching math with the Peace Corps in Nepal and a year as a data aide at the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, gave up the math/science track.  After getting my MA in international economics and social change & development at SAIS, I've spent nearly 20 years working on poverty alleviation, including 10 years living and working in Vietnam and 3 years in Australia.  I'm married and have three beautiful boys--Zimri, 9, Kai, 7, and Ilem, 5. My husband Craig is primary caregiver and also works half-time as poverty/policy advisor for The Nature Conservancy.  Currently I'm director of programs and strategic planning at an international NGO called Trickle Up that works to move people over the extreme poverty line in Asia, Africa and Central America.  Aside from work, I'm learning guitar and just finished an 8-day Outward Bound course canoeing in Maine.  I definitely miss math in my life and wish I had an excuse to visit Carleton again--maybe for my 25th reunion.

Kathleen Garrison, '85

After Carleton I went to law school.  I work for LexisNexis as a legal analyst.  My department publishes state codes and legal text books.  The legal pieces and parts are stored in a fielded database similar to Access.  My job is part legislative analysis and part database manipulation.  Because I search the Internet for a living, I use the BODMAS rule every day.

Michael Wittgraf, '85

After an unsuccessful year of graduate studies in mathematics at the University of Illinios, I spent four years away from school, mostly playing in rock-and-roll bands in Minneapolis-St. Paul.  Eventually I returned to school in a new field, earning the M.A. in Music Composition from the University of Minnesota in 1994 and the D. Mus. in Composition from Northwestern University in 1997.  I am currently Professor and Chair of the University of North Dakota Music Department, where I specialize in music composition, theory, technology, and bassoon.  It goes to show that you can accomplish anything with a B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton.

Chet Haase, ' 87

I joined Google in May 2010 to work on the Android platform, creating an animation library and other Ul toolkit stuff.  I'm still writing computer graphics software, - 24 years after Jack Goldfeather's inspiring class.  I'm also doing a fair bit of writing (must be that Liberal Arts thing), such as my technical blog and my comedy blog.

Lisa Langsetmo, '87

As you know life can always take strange detours.  I am now in Montreal and working for the Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study as an epidemiologist/writer.  Needless to say this has nothing to do with all the endless hours I have fretted with homotopy groups of spheres. Somewhere along the line I am learning little bits and pieces of medicine. Also managed to pick up some French, though I do wish I had learned some when I was younger.  I haven't been back to Minnesota in a while, and to Carleton even longer.  I am sure much has changed.

Steve Thorsett, '87

In July 2011, I left UC Santa Cruz after a dozen years to become president of Williamette University (and also professor of physics, though there isn't much time for teaching).  I probably don't need to say that it is an endlessly interesting job, and it is great to be back in the liberal arts college world for the first time since I left Carleton a quarter century ago.  Rachel and Laura joined me this fall, after a year as a "commuting family," and Laura is now a junior in high school and looking at colleges herself.

Unfortunately, I missed the 25 year reunion because of conflicts with my own commencement schedule.  But I look forward to finding an excuse to visit Northfield soon, and I hope all are doing well.

Chris Hastings, '88

Currently very actively involved in the planning for our 25th reunion.  I'm responsible for the web site (carleton88.org).

Carol Ormand, '89

I'm still enjoying doing faculty professional development work in the sciences and conducting research on how undergraduate students learn spatial thinking skills.  I'm also excited about our (relatively) new project, which aims to improve geoscience literacy and build a workforce that can make use of geoscience to solve societal issues.