UW alumni among the world’s best and brightest innovators and citizens

by Kate Dixon, UW-Madison Communications

They are innovators in business, champions for education and dedicated international volunteers — and they’re all under age 40.

The Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) is honoring 23 University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates with the new Forward Under 40 Award.

“These young Badgers are among the world’s best and brightest innovators and citizens,” says Paula Bonner, WAA president and CEO. “Half majored in the liberal arts, half have founded nonprofit organizations, and two-thirds are teaching or mentoring the next generation.”

The award recipients are living the Wisconsin Idea — the 103-year-old guiding philosophy of UW-Madison outreach efforts to touch the lives of people in Wisconsin and throughout the world.

Honorees are featured in “Forward Under 40,” a publication to be distributed in March to 100,000 UW-Madison alumni and WAA members. Interactive profiles of the award winners are available online.

The 2008 award recipients are:

  • Josh Bycel ’93, Los Angeles. President of OneKid OneWorld, an international education- and sports-based grassroots organization.
  • Lisa Peyton-Caire ’96, MS’99, and Kaleem Caire ’00, Bowie, Md. Founders of Next Generation Education Foundation, a nonprofit committed to increasing school success by adolescent males of color.
  • Anand Chhatpar ’05, Madison. CEO and founder of BrainReactions, a company that taps in to the creativity of college students to brainstorm innovative ideas for companies.
  • Ryan Christianson ’96, Edgar, Wis. Associate principal of Lincoln High School and co-creator of Digital Time Travelers, a tech-based learning tool.
  • Kenny Dichter ’90, Livingston, N.J. Founder and CEO of MarquisJet and MarquisCare, which supports more than 50 charities.
  • Leslie Goldman ’98, Chicago. Author and speaker about women’s health and body image issues.
  • Claire Herrick MD’07, San Francisco. Obstetrics and gynecology resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and health advocate in Tanzania and areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.
  • Adam Jeske ’00 and Chrissy Jeske ’99, South Africa. International development volunteers, writers and teachers.
  • Ben-Tzion Karsh ’93, MS’96, PhD’99, Madison. Associate professor of industrial engineering at UW-Madison, where his research focuses on preventing medical errors.
  • James Kass ’91, San Francisco. Founder of Youth Speaks, the nation’s leading presenter of spoken-word performance.
  • Paula Kluth ’92, PhD’98, Chicago. Author and independent consultant in the field of autism education.
  • Jose Lerma MA’01, MFA’02, Brooklyn, N.Y. Internationally recognized artist and professor of art.
  • Marc E. Lewis ’94, Boston. Middle-school teacher who provides training for staff and students in school districts throughout Massachusetts on GLBT and other diversity issues.
  • Timothy Miller ’06, Milton, Wis. Former teacher of physics for girls in Rwanda, Africa; he will return to graduate school at UW-Madison this fall.
  • Janet Olson ’92, New Brighton, Minn. Veterinarian and founder of Basic Animal Rescue Training (BART) , to provide emergency first-response care for companion animals.
  • Neil Peters-Michaud ’93, MBA’99, Madison. Founder, president and CEO of computer-recycling firm Cascade Asset Management.
  • Amanda Rockman ’01, JD’05, Black River Falls, Wis. Associate trial judge for the Ho-Chunk Nation.
  • Mary Rohlich ’03 and Lesley Feinstein ’03, Los Angeles. Founders of the Hollywood Badgers, which helps UW-Madison alumni living in the Los Angeles area and UW-Madison students get a start in the entertainment industry.
  • Ben Schumaker ’03, MA’06, Madison. Founder of the Memory Project, a nonprofit program that has provided more than 15,000 hand-painted portraits for orphaned children worldwide.
  • Eric Wilson ’98, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Administrative officer for the Peace Corps, training volunteers to provide HIV/AIDS relief in rural villages.

Founded in 1861, the Wisconsin Alumni Association offers UW-Madison alumni and friends a wide variety of services, including the award-winning On Wisconsin magazine, Badger Insider magazine, career services, student scholarships, international travel opportunities and lifelong-learning events.

Participation and membership in WAA and its chapters are open to all graduates, students and friends of UW-Madison.