Mini Profile

Christina and Willie Geist with their two children, George William, 7, and Lucie Joy, 9 (COURTESY THE GEIST FAMILY)

Message Delivered: Christina Sharkey Geist, BS’97, Adds Entrepreneur and Author to Her Résumé

Christina Sharkey Geist is many things: a mother, wife, brand strategist, small business owner, “mompreneur” and, now, a children’s book author.

Wes Powell, BA’91: Crusader for Justice

Wes Powell, BA’91: Crusader for Justice

After his law firm agreed to represent Guantánamo prisoners in 2004, Powell—a corporate litigator and antitrust lawyer for 20 years—received a phone call from the partner in charge of pro bono work at his firm. Hours later he was lead counsel to three French citizens who had been held in Guantánamo since early 2002.

Sykes Wilford (COURTESY SMOKINGPIPES.COM)

Sykes Wilford, BA’02: Smoking the Competition

Wilford launched Smokingpipes.com in the summer after his sophomore year. It was the dawn of the Internet era, and technology promised to jolt an industry bound by its tweedy tradition. Eighteen years later Smokingpipes.com is among the world’s top pipe retailers, with $15 million in sales in 2016—and this at a time when smoking is at an all-time low in the United States.

Sylvia Bozeman (KAY HINTON)

Math Master: Sylvia T. Bozeman, MA’70, Honored with National Medal of Science Committee Appointment

Bozeman’s tireless efforts to encourage women from underrepresented groups to pursue graduate degrees in mathematics were recognized by President Obama when he appointed her to the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science. The 12-member committee is responsible for identifying nominees for the president’s consideration in selecting recipients for the prestigious award.

Storey at her April book-signing event on campus (SUSAN URMY)

Stephanie Storey, BA’97: A Tale of Two Rivals

Storey, a self-described art fanatic who has worked as a writer and television, film and news producer in Hollywood for the past 15 years, embarked on a national book tour last spring to promote her debut novel. In April she stopped at the Barnes & Noble at Vanderbilt Bookstore for a signing and reading—coincidentally on the same weekend that a film she helped produce, called Broke*, was screened at the Nashville Film Festival.

Amanda Havard, BS’08, MEd’10: High-Tech Medicaid Management

Amanda Havard, BS’08, MEd’10: High-Tech Medicaid Management

Drawing on her passion for technology solutions, Havard launched Health:ELT in 2014 with her business partner and father, L. Cade Havard.

Miles Barr, BE’06: Solar Power Innovator

Miles Barr, BE’06: Solar Power Innovator

As a Ph.D. student at MIT, Barr came up with the idea of creating transparent coating that would convert light into power. Today his company, Ubiquitous Energy, is in the business of making “solar technology invisible,” as Barr puts it.

Austin Schiff, BA’12: The Virtues of Squash

Austin Schiff, BA’12: The Virtues of Squash

In 2014, Austin Schiff was named the first executive director of the Cincinnati Squash Academy, a nonprofit that seeks to transform talented students in underserved communities into scholar-athletes. He was only 24 years old. His charge: to build an organization from the ground up.

The BonnaGrannies: They are the coolest grannies at Bonnaroo—and the twenty-somethings love them

The BonnaGrannies: They are the coolest grannies at Bonnaroo—and the twenty-somethings love them

Decked out in matching red “#BonnaGrannies” T-shirts and sparkly red and blue cowboy hats, the women, all in their late 80s and early 90s, pose for photos and take selfies with many of the 80,000 tattooed festival-goers one-fourth their ages.

Perry Brandt, who for years has given his time and talents to Vanderbilt, is the new president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors. (BRYAN CAVE LAW FIRM)

Perry Brandt, BA’74, JD’77: Lifelong Loyalty

Forty-six years ago Perry Brandt arrived at Vanderbilt for a seven-year experience that remarkably changed the trajectory of his life.