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People & Profiles

Our Class of 2019 "Grads to Watch" feature includes Alessandra El Chanti, the Northwestern University in Qatar Dean’s Award recipient; cricket club founder and business leader Ali Qureshi; pre-med and journalism double major Courtney Zhu; trumpeter, pianist and composer Sam Wolsk; equity advocate Madisen Hursey; and Darby Hopper, a speechwriter for Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.

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john girotto2
After three years spent dreaming about the hike, Elizabeth Weingarten decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro the week of her 30th birthday — the perfect moment to figure out what she was doing with her life.

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elizabeth weingarten uhuru peak mount kilimajaro
Twenty years ago, Ryan DuVal ’02 moved into his room in Bobb-McCulloch Hall a few days early. Inspired by a trip to Italy, he decided to paint three scenes from the Sistine Chapel ceiling in his dorm room — and inadvertently became a national sensation.

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ryan duval in bobb-mcculloch dorm where he painted sistine chapel
In fall 2018 New York Times investigative reporter Barstow and his colleagues Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner wrapped up an 18-month investigation into President Donald Trump’s personal finances.The investigative pieces earned Barstow and his colleagues the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting. It is Barstow’s fourth Pulitzer.

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barstow 4
When he was 13, Balu Natarajan ’92, ’96 MD, ’99 GME became the first child of South Asian immigrants to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word “milieu.” “When I was competing, I had no idea that I was representing a community,” Natarajan says. “I quickly learned that the victory was embraced by the Indian community in particular.

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spellingbee baluatman
When Jody Reeme ’01 MS purchased her first classic car, a 1939 Ford De Luxe Fordor Sedan, she expected it to be a one-off. Sure, she had always been interested in classic cars — Reeme grew up in Detroit, shares a birthday with Henry Ford and loved playing with slot cars as a kid — but she didn’t expect to wind up with a collection of almost a dozen vehicles.

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jody reeme
John Stroup, CEO of the global manufacturing company Belden, helped launch a first-of-its-kind program to help job applicants break the cycle of substance abuse and find employment. A mechanical engineering student at Northwestern, Stroup says the University's emphasis on the humanities helped him become a more well-rounded person.

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john stroup
Marla Paul, the blogger behind the Instagram feed @rebellewithmarla, photographs street fashion in Chicago. She scouts the sidewalks for distinctively stylish humans or critters, then shares their outfits and personal fashion stories.

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marla
As Garry Cooper ’14 PhD prepared to throw out used equipment at a Feinberg School of Medicine lab in 2015, an idea hit him: Lightly used, expensive research equipment could be reused rather than trashed. “I kept seeing reports about the funding problems in scientific research — how really smart and innovative junior faculty members are leaving academia and going into industry because of the job and funding prospects,” says Cooper, who studied neuroscience.

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gary cooper lab

Messi & Me

Spring 2019
When Matt Eliason ’11, the all-time leading scorer for Northwestern men’s soccer, buried a bicycle kick during a July 2013 charity match with soccer star Lionel Messi, the highlight earned the No. 1 spot on SportsCenter’s “Top 10 Plays” and changed the trajectory of his life.

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