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Harvard University, 1995, A.B., Social Studies
University of Oxford, 1999, D. Phil., Yiddish Studies
Jeremy Dauber grew up in Northern New Jersey, the oldest of three boys. Before heading to college, he studied abroad for a year at a yeshiva in Israel. He is currently an associate professor in the Germanic Languages and Literatures department at Columbia University, where he is also the director of the Yiddish studies program and director of the university’s Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies. He has written Antonio’s Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and the Birth of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature and co-edited and co-translated (with Joel Berkowitz) an anthology called Landmark Yiddish Plays. He has also written a television and movie review column for the Christian Science Monitor.
We spoke in August 2008 during the Beijing Summer Olympics.
Carolyn Conner Seepersad
West Virginia University, B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1996
University of Oxford, B.A., Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, 1998
Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2001
Georgia Institute of Technology, Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, 2004
Carolyn Conner Seepersad grew up in West Virginia, where she also attended college. She was West Virginia University’s twenty-fifth Rhodes Scholar. At an early age, she excelled in math and science. She is currently an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin.
University of the West Indies (Barbados), B.S., Accounting, 1996
University of Oxford, M.B.A., 1997
University of Oxford, M.Sc., Economics for Development, 1999
Clyde Seepersad grew up on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago, the second child of an attorney and schoolteacher. He was one of two students from the Commonwealth Caribbean in 1996 to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship. Professionally, he has worked at the Finance Ministry in Trinidad and Tobago and was a principal at the Boston Consulting Group. Most recently, he was a senior vice president at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Supplemental Publishers. He just started his own consulting firm in Austin, Texas.
Russ Feingold is a former United States Senator for the state of Wisconsin. He was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin along with three siblings. His father was a lawyer and his mother was an abstractor at the title company which Leon Feingold owned. In his teens, his heroes were John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. whom he heard speak in Chicago in 1966. In high school, he was on the championship-winning debate team. Although he was not the top student in school, he was still a very good student, whom others have described as being well-organized and disciplined. After attending Harvard Law School, he returned to Wisconsin where he worked as an attorney in two private law firms in Madison until 1985. His political career began when he became a Wisconsin state senator in 1982. He was re-elected twice. Then in 1992, he was first elected to the U.S. Senate, winning 53 to 47 percent against the incumbent Republican Bob Kasten. Feingold is probably best known for co-sponsoring the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act also known as the McCain-Feingold Act. He also stands out as the only Senator to oppose the USA Patriot Act in 2001. He makes his home in Middleton, Wisconsin.
Dayne Walling was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. In addition to winning a Rhodes Scholarship, he is also a recipient of a Truman scholarship. He has worked on the staff of Mayor Anthony Williams in Washington, D.C. and for the Urban Coalition and Ready for K in Minnesota. In 2006, he moved back to Flint. One year later, he ran for mayor. He lost by only 581 votes to the incumbent in the closest Flint mayoral race in 30 years. Despite his loss, he continues to focus on the challenges the city faces. He started a citizens group called Flint’s Future Now. He is also the founder of 21st Century Performance, a management consulting firm. He plans on running for office again.
Michael Cannon grew up in Peoria, Illinois, with one older brother. After graduating from law school, he began his career as a federal prosecutor of government corruption cases for the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division. He went on to work at several private law firms in Washington, DC. Then, in 1993 he returned to St. Louis, Missouri, where he had done his undergraduate studies at Washington University. He is currently the university’s Executive Vice Chancellor and General Counsel. He is also the uncle of Ben Cannon, who won a Rhodes Scholarship in 2000.
Maggie Little grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, the youngest daughter of a computer consultant and an insurance executive. She has one brother and a sister. From on early age, she started asking the big questions about life. Her curiosity led her to pursue the study of philosophy. Most of her work has focused in some form or another on ethics. She is currently an associate professor in Georgetown University’s philosophy department and a senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, a think-tank specializing in bioethics. She is also finishing a book entitled Intimate Duties: Re-Thinking Abortion, the Law, and Morality.
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Jonathan E. Skinner
St. John’s College, 1991, B.A., Liberal Arts
University of Oxford, 1993, B.A., English Language & Literature
University College London, 1996, M.A., Translation Studies
State University of New York at Buffalo, 2005, Ph.D., English
Jonathan Skinner was born and raised in a classic nuclear family in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has also lived in Mexico, England, Italy, and France. He is the author of a poetry collection called Political Cactus Poems and the editor of ecopoetics, a journal exploring creativity mainly in the written form and ecology. Currently, he is an environmental studies professor at Bates College in Maine. He teaches a freshman writing seminar that emphasizes experiential learning. His class included a climb of Mt. Adams in the Presidential Range in New Hampshire and a canoe float on the Androscoggin River. And when he’s at home, he has a view of a wild island populated with bald eagles.
Bonnie St. John grew up in San Diego, California, the youngest of three children of a single working mother. At the age of five, her leg was amputated, because of a birth defect. But 10 years later, after a friend invited her to go skiing, she decided to pursue competitive skiing. While in college, she participated in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. Despite falling after hitting an icy patch during one of her races, she went on to win two bronze medals in the slalom and giant slalom. She also received a silver medal for her overall ranking as the second-fastest female amputee skier in the world. Before becoming a motivational speaker and coach, she had a successful career in sales for IBM and was on the National Economic Council under the Clinton administration. She is also the author of three books: Succeeding Sane: Making Room for Joy in a Crazy World, Getting Ahead at Work Without Leaving Your Family Behind, and Money: Fall Down? Get Up! In November 2007, she published her fourth book entitled How Strong Women Pray, featuring interviews with Maya Angelou, Barbara Bush, Edie Falco, and others.
Princeton University, 1995, B.A., Religion and East Asian Studies
University of Oxford, 1998, M.A., Politics and Philosophy
Matthew Polly, the eldest of two children of a doctor and a homemaker, grew up in Topeka, Kansas. After his junior year at Princeton, he dropped out to study kung fu with the famous Shaolin monks in rural China for two years. He has documented his experience in his recently released book called American Shaolin. He has also written articles for Esquire, The Nation, Playboy, Publisher’s Weekly, and Slate. He’s currently looking for suggestions on a career that doesn’t involve any work.
The following interview was conducted by email.