People & Profiles
“Have you ever really wanted something, really dreamed of it, but thought it was utterly unattainable — so unattainable that you didn’t actually consider what it might be like if it actually happened?” That’s how Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams ’81 MS describes winning a Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2021. “It has been such a whirlwind that I really haven’t had time to sit in it,” he says.
Institute for Policy Research Director and professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach reflects on her Northwestern direction — and the value of interdisciplinary research.
Once a shy high school student in suburban Washington, D.C., Jack Kang credits Northwestern for awakening his social side. More than three decades later, Kang’s once-latent outgoing spirit endures.
Writer and scholar Lauren Michele Jackson often gets her best ideas when she ventures outside academia. For the assistant professor of English, staying receptive to a variety of art forms sparks inspiration and ideation.
Izzy Scane’s offensive dominance on the lacrosse field earned her the nickname the “Scane Train” — and for good reason. The attacker has gone full steam ahead through some of the best defenses in the country.
Author’s note: We are honored that Ned Smith was willing to share his story with us earlier this year. Unfortunately, Ned's tumor recurred during the summer, and he transitioned to hospice care in September.
Gabriel Neely-Streit ’16 is co-owner of Colores Mexicanos, an importer of handmade art, clothing and accessories from Indigenous communities across Mexico. By working directly with dozens of artisans and artisan cooperatives across 11 Mexican states, Colores Mexicanos aims to help preserve the cultural diversity of Mexico, which is home to more than 60 living Indigenous languages and a wide variety of folk art.
Kate Zambreno ’99 considers herself a late bloomer. She began her career as a journalist with Chicago alt-weeklies before delving into more experimental fiction, pushing the boundaries of traditional forms. “Much of my writing goes past fact into the realm of fiction,” says Zambreno. The author of eight books, she is now nationally recognized for writing that “troubles genre,” as she puts it.
Nancy Johnson ’93 worked for more than a decade as an award-winning television reporter for CBS and ABC affiliates before moving into corporate communications and public relations. “Still,” she says, “I always wanted to tell the stories of my own imagination, particularly those about the Black experience in America.” Johnson has accomplished just that in her debut novel, The Kindest Lie, named one of the most anticipated books of 2021 by Newsweek; O, The Oprah Magazine; and Elle.
If you’re a fan of John Legend’s hit song “Conversations in the Dark,” you’re already a fan of Kellen “Pom Pom” Pomeranz too. A songwriter and producer based in New York City, Pomeranz has worked on some of today’s most popular songs, such as “Novocaine” by the Unlikely Candidates, which topped Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart for 33 weeks.