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Welcoming the Newest Alumni Board Members

By John Pope, SIS/BA ’13, SIS/MA ’15

AU quad

The new year brings four new members to American University's Alumni Board. Their diverse perspectives and insight will continue to strengthen our dynamic alumni leadership. Started in the 1950s, the AU Alumni Board leads the Alumni Association and provides advice and insight to professional staff in their outreach to alumni. Board members advise the university on how to improve the student experience. On the board, all five schools and colleges are represented, as are a variety of industries and careers, five decades of graduating classes, plus eight states and the District of Columbia.

New members include the following alumni.

Rachel Weiner Cohen, SPA/BA '04, WCL/JD '08, is counsel in Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP's Litigation/Controversy Department. She's a member of the firm's award-winning Intellectual Property Litigation and Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice Groups.  

Rachel was a student commencement speaker at both of her graduations. At AU, Rachel worked tirelessly for both the AU and D.C. communities, and in 2005 she received the Stafford H. Cassell Undergraduate Student Achievement Award for "total, selfless dedication to the university, profound energy, and reliability as well as intellectual curiosity, friendliness, and helpfulness."  

Kristen Eastlick, CAS/BA '95, SPA/MA '96, has served as chief administrative officer of Berman and Company since 2005. Berman and Company is a 25+-year-old public affairs and issue advocacy firm that engages in public awareness campaigns for a variety of issues. The firm's campaigns promote free market solutions to policy questions and defend a limited government approach to policy outcomes. Her diverse duties there span from internal operations to external outreach and client relations. While at AU, she earned a BA in literature and an MA in political science.

Chris Kalna, Kogod/BSBA '08, has spent his entire career in the public and private consulting industries, most notably with Booz Allen Hamilton and Deloitte. He took a new career path in 2014 when he joined The Carlyle Group in Washington, D.C. Carlyle is a private equity firm specializing in alternative assets and asset management. His role covers business, IT, and fund management strategies. He currently lives in northwest Washington with his wife, Catherine, and their dog, Dolly.

Christopher Quintyne, SPA/BA '07, has been dedicated to public service since his time at AU. In September 2013, Christopher joined the Town of Capitol Heights as assistant town administrator of the municipal government. Prior to this, Christopher served as a law clerk in the Louisiana House of Representatives for the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, where he worked with elected officials to assist in implementing policy initiatives. He has also worked with the National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Justice, and the District of Columbia Superior Court. 

While at AU, Christopher was an active member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., Beta Beta Theta Chapter. A Maryland native, Christopher also holds dual JD and MPA degrees from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA.

Jorhena Thomas, SIS/MA '04, serves as deputy director and operations manager for the Washington Regional Threat Analysis Center. She is primarily responsible for ensuring that the information needs of public safety leaders within the District are anticipated and met. 

Ms. Thomas is a Chicago native. She currently resides in the District, is an enthusiastic AU supporter, and remains engaged as a proud alumna in a number of ways. In her free time, she enjoys planning domestic and international travel adventures with her two children, and crossing off places on their travel bucket list.

Returning to the board with renewed two-year terms are Keosha Varela, SOC/BA '07, SOC/MA ' 08, Penny Pagano, SOC/BA '65, and Sara Nieves-Grafals, CAS/BS '75, CAS/MA '79, CAS/PhD '80. 

All the above representatives join the following other board members:

Andrea Agathoklis Murino, SPA/BA '98, president

Chip Griffin, SPA/BA '94, immediate past president

Joe Vidulich, SPA/BA '08

Larry Pockers, SPA/BA '96, secretary

Robert Johnson, SPA/BS '81

Amy Jones, SPA/BA '99, WCL/JD '03

Nick Kuhn, Kogod/MBA '85

Amy Lampert, SOC/BA '94

Travis Lay, Kogod/BSBA '08

Kevin Malecek, SPA/BA '01, SPA/MA '02

Alexa Pappas Zannetos, SPA/BA '90

Lisa Rosenthal, SPA/BA '97, Kogod/MBA '01