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People & Profiles

Longtime audio engineer and professor Benj Kanters now focuses on hearing conservation.

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benj kanters NYT
Miki Sawada '09 is a nomad, often spending a month or more on the road. But wherever she goes, she is never far from a piano. During three weeks in August and September 2017, Sawada crisscrossed the largest U.S.

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miki sawada
The former viola performance major turned Broadway star won the 2018 Tony Award for best performance by an actress in a musical for “The Band’s Visit.” In this interview she shares how she transitioned from music performance to theater, how she focuses her creative energies and the life lessons she learned at Northwestern.

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tony award winner katrina lenk
Throughout a life dedicated to education and the struggle for equality, Johnnetta Cole ’59 MA, ’67 PhD, ’92 H has drawn on her training as an anthropologist to ask fundamental questions about humankind.Questions like “What makes us similar and different?” and “Where do systems of inequality come from?” have shaped a remarkable career in education and the arts. “Even today, when I’m not teaching cultural anthropology and doing fieldwork in some part of the world, I continue to wear what is like a pair of glasses — anthropological lenses through which I see and try to understand the world,” Cole says.

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johnnetta cole 2018 alumni medalist
A few years back, classmates Hana Schank ’93 and Elizabeth Wallace ’93 met for dinner and realized that they were both orbiting around a crisis. Since their undergraduate days, they had been told to dream big.

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schank and wallace
Philadelphian Sam Ballam fell in love with surfing as a teenager at his home break in Ocean City, N.J. After earning his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management, he spent five years working and surfing in Hawaii, where he was president of the Northwestern alumni club during the late 1970s.

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sam ballam
In the fall of 1986, Northwestern offered Timothy Stevens ’82 MA, ’90 PhD the job of acting University chaplain, an appointment intended to last one year. “It’s been a long year,” says Stevens.

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tim stevens
On the outer edge of the color spectrum of visible light lies a mysterious place on the far side of violet. As red morphs to orange and then fades to yellow and so on, the wavelengths become shorter and shorter.

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vadim backman in lab

'Shroom Art

Fall 2018
The San Francisco–based art collective FoldHaus enlisted tech help from then-undergrad Bomani McClendon ’17 when it was building Shrumen Lumen for Burning Man 2016. McClendon, now a software engineer for Facebook, worked as a programmer on the 12- to 18-foot tall mushrooms, which are now on display at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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shrumen lumen
People often ask Robert Simonson, the New York Times cocktail writer for more than a decade, what drinks he makes at his home bar. His latest book, 3-Ingredient Cocktails: An Opinionated Guide to the Most Enduring Drinks in the Cocktail Canon, helps answer that question.

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robert simonson three-ingredient cocktails