Caltech Class of 1983

April 1999

Thanks to everyone who dropped me a postcard or e-mail! These gave me plenty of news to put in this, my first report, and it sounds like everyone is excited to hear about one another. Getting your messages has been a lot of fun. For those of you who haven't had a chance to write yet, or only sent me your contact information, we're anxious to hear from you! Email to is easiest, but the postcards are fine.

First, news from people that I put in the "having too much fun" category. Cheryl Robertson reports that she spent a "fantastic year... in a 4x4 Campervan seeing Australia" as well as traveling around the United States and New Zealand. She liked Australia so much she moved to Perth, and is now working as a safety consultant in the offshore petroleum industry. "Most weekends find [her] at the local drop zone where [she's] a skydiving instructor," when she isn't at the beach, bushwalking tracks, or touring wineries. Cheryl offers to "shout a drink" at the local pub for classmates planning to visit Perth.

Tom Berto reports that he married Monica Boettcher in April, and is working as a mechanical engineer at Hewlett Packard, at Lightwave Division in Santa Rosa. He also owns "a 21 acre parcel of rugged forest land," where he's built a studio and workshop, and plans to build a house this winter "in the spirit of the Gamble House in Pasadena." Tom and Monica use the studio for his painting and her fused glass art. Tom's also playing Ultimate Frisbee three times a week.

Russell Quong says he is "proud to report, I've driven to work safely ten times in a row. And I discovered the hummus dip from Trader Joe's is very good." Mike Weston took some time off work last year to bicycle across the country and learn to fly an airplane pictures of both available at

Now, turning to the family updates. A. J. Capowski reports that he and his wife, Kirsten, just had their third child, Erik Robert. Erik joins his brothers Brian (6) and Steven (4), and Kirsten complains to A. J. about "the house being awash in testosterone." Wendy (Rasmussen) Hall is doing her best to offset this testosterone poisoning, with three ten-year old daughters (really!), Dallas, Victoria, and Jessica. Wendy reports all her daughters are "ten going on forty." Wendy and her husband Michael recently moved to a new house in Newbury Park. Ken Shrum also offsets A.J.'s boys with two daughters. He is married to Sarah Jamieson Shrum, and their second daughter, Anne Elizabeth, was born in July.

Rusty Schweickart is doing his best to keep the children gender balance even, with two sons, Eric (10) and Eston (6), and a daughter, Sarah, (1). Rusty is married to Sue VandeWoude '82, working for Ball Aerospace in Boulder, and living on 35 acres north of Loveland, Colorado. Rusty says he works "in a cryogenics group designing liquid helium and solid nitrogen dewars for NASA spacecraft," and is "just joining a group now that works on a superfluid helium dewar for the SIRTF (Space Infrared Telescope Facility) spacecraft."

Turning now to the career category: Lynmarie Thompson has received tenure and been promoted to associate professor of chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Richard Pogge has also been promoted to associate professor with tenure, in the astronomy department at Ohio State University. Richard is "maintaining a busy research program studying active galaxies and ionized nebulae with ground-based observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope." I'll put myself in this category as well I was promoted to professor of government, with tenure, in the government department at Harvard University in 1996. I work on international relations, especially topics in international political economy and international institutions. If anyone wants to be convinced that social science is really a science, just let me know! More importantly, I'm halfway to my goal of hiking the fifty highest peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Noemi de la Puente has returned to graduate school, "but this time in something I like." She is in the MFA acting program at the University of Iowa, with a Patricia Roberts Harris Fellowship. She is married to Ron Cohen, and has made appearances on television ("One Life to Live") and in a few films, including "The Devil's Own" and "Carlito's Way." Carlos Valencia III completed a secondary teaching credential program at Fresno Pacific University in April. He was quickly hired as a mathematics teacher by Reedley High School. T. S. Michael is currently an associate professor of mathematics at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Ri-Chee Chou has recently moved from San Diego to the Bay Area, where he is working on a satellite telecommunication system. He has temporarily left his wife, Elaine, behind in San Diego, while she finishes up her PhD in biology. They're looking forward to being reunited in October. Björn Matthias is living in Heidelberg, Germany, working as a "group leader for electromagnetic computations at the German corporate research center and program manager for electromagnetic computations for ABB corporate research internationally." He is married to Susanne Matthias and has two children, Jessica (9) and Philip (6). Philip Albert has moved to Alameda, gotten married, become a patent lawyer, and made partner at his law firm this year.

Finally, everyone should send their best wishes to Chris McKinnon, who reports that "I am about 120 days post-bone marrow transplant in an effort to cure leukemia. Things are going well, but it is still too early to tell if the procedure was successful in eradicating the leukemia." Good luck, and stay strong, Chris!

I'll be writing again for the newsletter in six months, so keep those messages coming! (It will save me the effort of tracking you down, hint, hint.)

Lisa (Flitz) Martin
225 Waltham Street
Lexington, MA 02173-4903