Macbassador of the Month

These alumni volunteers were recognized as Macbassadors of the Month in 2015.

Rachel Austin Bernstein | Andrea Johnson | Erin Sindberg Porter | Firat Taydas | Jayne Niemi | Reunion volunteers | Suzanne Oh | Soham Banerji | Ed Deutschlander | Dr. Johanna Moore | Julie Zhu

  • Photo Rachel Austin Bernstein '09
    November 2015

    In recognition of her continued devotion to the Macalester community, Rachel Austin Bernstein '09 is our Macbassador of the Month for November.

    A theater major, Bernstein is the East Metro/Early Bridges Manager for Children's Theatre Company as well as a working actor in the Twin Cities under the name Rachel Austin. Bernstein devotes a significant amount of time to the greater Macalester community as a member of the young Macalester Alumni Connect (yMac) steering committee and a Class Agent for the Annual Fund, as well as serving on her 5-Year Reunion planning committee, hosting multiple First-Year Dinners and frequently visiting the Theatre and Dance department.

    "Mac gave me some of the most valuable experiences of my life, and opened up my thinking by creating spaces for diverse perspectives and students to connect," said Bernstein. "I support the school and its students in hopes that it can continue to do what it does best: inspire and challenge young people to become open-minded global leaders. I love being a part of the community, and proudly telling people that I am a Mac alum. I'm so glad my Mac family has only grown since I left 1600 Grand Avenue."

  • Photo Andrea Johnson '06
    October 2015

    In honor of her continued devotion to keeping the Macalester community in the Washington, DC, area connected, Andrea Johnson '06 is our Macbassador of the Month for October.

    Johnson, a political science and French double-major, is currently an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the National Women's Law Center. As the contact for the Washington, DC alumni chapter and a committed volunteer, Johnson has attended or helped organize every MAC in the City gathering for the past four years as well as participated in other alumni events in the area.

    "When I run into a Mac grad or intern in the street or at an event, I know I am meeting a good person with a good heart who likely shares my values and love of Minnesota," said Johnson. "Coordinating alumni events in DC allows me to bring all these good people together to connect socially and professionally and help grow the awesome Macalester network." On top of her substantial contributions of time and talent, Johnson has supported the Annual Fund every year since her graduation.

  • Photo Erin Sindberg Porter '00
    September 2015

    For her continued dedication to the Macalester community, Erin Sindberg Porter '00 is our Macbassador of the Month for September.

    A Communication Studies major (and Adrienne Christiansen devotee), Sindberg Porter is a partner at the law firm of Greene Espel. She lives in St. Paul with her husband Dwight and their two young sons. On top of her substantial volunteering within the legal sphere, Sindberg Porter dedicates a significant amount of time to the Macalester community. She is the president-elect of the Alumni Board, serves as a Class Agent for the Annual Fund, has chaired a Reunion planning committee, and frequently connects with current students through First Year Dinners, MacMail, campus talks, and serving as a Mock Trial judge.

    "I am better educated, more inspired, and with enhanced perspective when I am connected to Macalester staff, faculty, and students, who are remarkable people from all over the United States, all over the globe, doing amazing work," says Sindberg Porter. "I learn so much about who I want to be in staying engaged with Macalester."

  • Photo Firat Taydas
    August 2015

    In recognition of his continued dedication to connecting the Macalester community, Firat Taydas '92 is our Macbassador of the Month for August.

    An International Studies and Economics double-major from Seattle, WA, Taydas currently works as the Innovation Manager for Starbucks in Seattle. A current member of the Alumni Board and a chapter leader for the Seattle alumni chapter, Taydas has also interviewed prospective students for Admissions, served as a host for Mac in the City and connected with students for career conversations. Asked why he stays connected in the midst of a busy schedule, Taydas said "Macalester prepared me to become a global citizen. A global citizen makes a difference in the communities in which they live."

    On top of his generous contributions of time and talent to the college, Taydas is a consistent supporter of the Annual Fund. Please join us in congratulating Firat Taydas '92, our August Macbassador of the Month!

  • Photo Jayne Niemi
    July 2015

    For her outstanding dedication to the Macalester community, Jayne Niemi '79 is our Macbassador of the Month for July.

    Niemi, a French major, has been working at Macalester since she graduated. As the Registrar she is perhaps best known for her most visible role at the college: reading the names of graduating seniors at Commencement (which she takes very, very seriously). Her support for Mac students extends beyond working hours as a repeat host for the First Year Dinner program as well as an author of many inspiring and encouraging postcards for graduating seniors through the MacMail program.

    "Why do a little extra for Mac, when I spend my work-life here? It's a little bit because nice people asked me to help, and sometimes I have trouble saying no to nice people. Then I fret about dinner for 18 (!) for a while, and wonder myself—why am I doing this? But the first student walks through the door and talks about how much they LOVE being in a "real" house, or how good the food smells, or how they appreciate my tales of the "old" Mac, and I'm hooked," said Niemi. "I helped to make Mac memories with that dinner, or by coming to Dog Day, or by serving midnight breakfast. Can't beat that...well, maybe when they cross the stage at commencement."

    Niemi has also volunteered as a member of a Reunion Planning committee and as a fundraiser for the Annual Fund. On top of her generous contributions of time and talent, Niemi is a sustaining donor to the Annual Fund.

    Please join us in congratulating Jayne Niemi '79, our July Macbassador of the Month!

  • Reunion volunteers
    June 2015

    In recognition of countless phone calls and a whole lot of laughs, all 163 of our Reunion volunteers are our Macbassadors of the Month for June.

    Reunion 2015 was a special one, the largest in Macalester history. We welcomed a capella groups Sirens and Traditions back to campus for their first-ever reunion. The Class of 1990 celebrated its Silver Scots 25-Year Reunion, 1965 its Golden Scots Reunion, and Scots Pride, our lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and gender non-conforming alumni network, convened a special Reunion as well. If you knew about, felt invited to, and/or came to Reunion this year, it is thanks to the indefatigable energy of our volunteers.

    We are grateful to those who wrote e-mails, made phone calls, and sent letters. We are thankful for those who staffed hospitality rooms, made playlists, raised class gifts, and emceed class dinners. The Class of 1965 couldn't have broken records with its class gift without its volunteers. There would have been nobody to speak on Scots Pride panels without the grace of their committee. And, of course, nobody would have attended without all of the personal, informal outreach our volunteers did.

    Our vision of what Reunion is—fun, meaningful, and welcoming to all—is a testament to a small group of committed people who not only are connected to Mac but also want others to share that joy.

    Please join us in raising a glass in thanks to all of the Reunion volunteers, our June Macbassadors of the Month.

  • Photo Suzanne Oh '13
    May 2015

    In recognition of her commitment to mentoring current students, Suzanne Oh '13 is our Macbassador of the Month for May.

    Oh graduated in 2013 with a major in psychology, and currently works as a High School Coach for College Possible. Oh is one of the most involved volunteers in her class, having come back to campus four times in the past year to speak with Bonner Scholars, at a dinner about year-long service, with seniors about life after Mac, and at a networking event organized by student government.

    "No one goes through life alone and there is no such thing as too much support," said Oh. "The presence and encouragement given to me by current and former faculty, staff, and students is really valuable and was a major source of my strength through college. I know I would not be where I am or who I am today without this collection of people. So, I come back just to be another possible presence or support for those who might want it." On top of all the time and energy she gives to Mac, Oh also supports the Annual Fund.

    Please join us in congratulating Suzanne Oh '13, our May Macbassador of the Month!

  • Photo Soham Banerji '10
    April 2015

    In recognition of his commitment to supporting current students and bringing the larger Macalester community together, Soham Banerji '10 is our Macbassador of the Month for April.

    Banerji, an economics and international studies double-major, is a senior associate in the monitoring and evaluation division of Dexis Consulting Group in Washington, D.C. In addition to serving as a Class Agent for the Annual Fund and a member of his 5-Year Reunion planning committee, Banerji is also very active in speaking with current students about life after Macalester and careers in international development, including reading student papers through the Alumni Reader project and hosting students during the recent MacConnect D.C. trip.

    "I actively support Macalester as an alum because it is my responsibility to guide and support students as they prepare for life beyond Mac," said Banerji. "It's truly an honor to be a part of the Macalester community and I will endeavour to give it my all for future generations of students."

    On top of his impressive donations of time and energy to the college, Banerji is also a sustainer for the Annual Fund and a member of the Summit Society.

  • Photo Ed Deutschlander '93
    March 2015

    For his passion for fostering leadership and continued support of the football program, Ed Deutschlander '93 is our Macbassador of the Month for March.

    At Macalester Deutschlander majored in psychology, played varsity baseball, and served as the captain of the varsity football team. A nationally recognized expert in recruitment in the financial services industry and the CEO-elect for North Star Resource Group, Deutschlander returns to campus each year to speak to the football team about leadership and life after Macalester. He also makes a deliberate effort to recruit and hire Macalester students as interns, helping them make the transition to the professional world.

    "The reason that I support Macalester as an alum is because I feel it is my obligation and responsibility in that Macalester has played such a large part in my being the person I am today and in the success that I have enjoyed," Deutschlander said. "I also derive a great deal of joy meeting and assisting today's Macalester students. Their quality and character is a constant reminder of the quality and character of Macalester. It is a real honor to be part of the greater Macalester family."

    It should come as no surprise that Deutschlander is honored every year at the football banquet with the Deutschlander A.C.E. Award, given annually to honor the Macalester football student-athlete who best exemplifies the characteristics of attitude, commitment, and effort as seen by their fellow team members. On top of his generous contributions of time and expertise, Deutschlander also supports the football program financially.

  • Photo Dr. Johanna Moore '03
    February 2015

    For her tremendous contributions to the health, well-being and safety of the Macalester campus community, Dr. Johanna Moore '03 is our Macbassador of the Month for February.

    A chemistry and biology double-major, Moore began working with Macalester First Aid after it formed in spring 2010. She was instrumental in creating the Macalester College Emergency Medical Service (MCEMS) in Fall 2011, serving on-call during all MCEMS hours as medical director. MCEMS serves as a first responder service during typically high-demand periods both on campus and at select off-campus events, providing an important service to students as well as a unique skills development opportunity.

    Moore continues to be involved with MCEMS and Macalester First Aid by giving presentations, providing protocols and expert medical direction. "I like to say that I became a physician because of my incredible academic experience at Macalester," said Moore. "I want to give back what I received. Working with Mac students is always easy and fun, as I uniformly find them to be motivated, curious, and intelligent." In addition to her substantial contributions of time and talent to the Macalester community, Moore also supports the Annual Fund.

  • Photo Julie Zhu '97
    January 2015

    Julie Lehnhoff Zhu '97, a political science and communication studies double major, received her JD from American University, Washington College of Law, with a focus on immigration and international human rights law. She lives in San Francisco, where she is involved in local political campaigns. If you've attended an alumni event in the Bay Area, you've probably met Zhu — she is the main contact for the Bay Area chapter, and has attended and/or planned at least 30 alumni events in the area in the past decade. On top of her impressive work connecting Bay Area alumni, Zhu serves on the Alumni Board, is an active Class Agent, and has served on a Reunion planning committee.

    "I grew up in a small, homogenous town in a rural state (Wyoming) and never experienced much of the world until I went to Mac," says Zhu. "Fast forward nearly 20 years, and Mac still connects me to the world. I meet Mac alumni, students, and professors whenever I travel," says Zhu, who cites her experiences traveling to Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and Mongolia with the alumni travel program. "It is worth staying connected — it can broaden your world!"

Macbassador of the Month Archive