WDCSA Newsletter – April 2019

This month’s newsletter is available for download in PDF format.

Events Calendar

Keeping Up With…
Fireside Chat with Craig Allen, President of the US-China Business Council
Beyond the Farm: Alumni Day of Service
MAY 12
DC Book Club Discussion
MAY 13
Baltimore Book Club Discussion
Parents Connection Spring Social and Care Package Party
PAC-12 Night with the Nationals

WDCSA Member Spotlight: Helene Myers

Photo of Helene Myers

Helene Myers’ (Parent ’14) son, Ethan, graduated from Stanford in 2014 with a degree in EE and CS. Helene has been involved with WDCSA since Ethan was a freshman. She leads both the Stanford Parents Connection, a local group of parents of past, present, and incoming Stanford students, as well as the Baltimore Book Club. She conveniently lives in Columbia, halfway between DC and Baltimore.

As a child of a parent in the foreign service, Helene was born in Taipei and moved to Paris before her 1st birthday.  Her family eventually settled in Montgomery County, where she graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School before heading off to Virginia Tech. 

Helene majored in Geology and earned an MS in CS. She followed her husband to Fort Hood, Texas, where she worked as a programmer for Bell Aerospace Textron. They next moved to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, where she worked as a Scientific Analyst with InterNorth, then a Systems Development Analyst with Northern Natural Gas.  She concurrently earned her MBA from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. They returned to Maryland at Fort Meade, and Helene subsequently earned a PhD in Information Systems from the University of Maryland. 

Helene had her first child after a nine-year odyssey. Jubilant with motherhood and all that it has to offer, she home-schooled her two sons. When Helene became an empty nester, she went back to school and earned an MS in Cyber Security from Johns Hopkins and even did a stint at NASA as an intern where she wrote an iPhone App called CassiniMIMI, which should excite anyone interested in science, space, and Saturn’s magnetosphere. 

Implementing the principles of Designing Your Life, Helene decided to focus her next phase on spending lots of time with her 101 year old father.

When asked what advice she would give to other Stanford Parents, Helene replied, “Don’t be afraid that your child is moving across the country. Everything will be fine. Attend Parents Weekend every year, go to Stanford bowl games, attend the home Big Games, attend Parents Connection socials, and take advantage of WDCSA events where parents are warmly welcomed.” 

Please reach out to Helene directly at cedarhouse@comcast.net if you would like to get involved with the Stanford Parents Connection or the Stanford Book Club

If you have suggestions for other alumni in the DMV area to profile in upcoming newsletters, please send them to Jasmaine McClain (jasmaine.mcclain@gmail.com) or Stephanie Tan (stephanie.tan@stanfordalumni.org). 

WDCSA Member Spotlight: Chris Shinkman

Photo of Chris Shinkman

Chris Shinkman (Parent ’98) has a daughter and a son-in-law who are both Stanford alumni. Elizabeth graduated from Stanford in 1998 with a degree in Human Biology (aka HumBio). She met her husband (Todd Carter, ‘99, Political Science) here in Washington.

Chris’ path to Stanford started in Bethesda. As a local resident, Chris attended Bethesda Chevy Chase High School before earning his BA in French from Thiel College. He soon found his calling in counseling and earned his M Ed in counseling from Westminster College, and PhD in administration from University of Pittsburgh.  

After spending time in the career centers or provosts’ offices at Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and Trinity in Hartford, he moved out to The Farm in 1982 to accept the role of Director of the Career Planning and Placement Center, or the CPPC. Chris fondly recalls his time on campus, meeting with undergrads as he tried to help them determine their post-graduation plans. 

Chris left The Farm in 1986 and moved his family back to the DMV area where he continued his work in higher ed at Georgetown and UVA in administrative and teaching positions.  He also worked as a consultant to help individuals with career transitions.

When Chris returned to the DMV area, he continued his association with Stanford as an active board member of the Buck / Cardinal Club and the Washington DC Stanford Association. For 15 years, he served as co-vice president of the WDCSA. Given Chris’ unique perspective of comparative information acquired at various colleges, Chris has a wealth of knowledge to share with all who are interested in Stanford and collegiate sports. Come out to an upcoming event and say hello to Chris!

When asked what advice he would give to other Stanford Parents, he replied, “Don’t be a helicopter parent.”

If you have suggestions for other alumni in the DMV area to profile in upcoming newsletters, please send them to Jasmaine McClain (jasmaine.mcclain@gmail.com) or Stephanie Tan (stephanie.tan@stanfordalumni.org). 

Event Spotlight: WDCSA Alumni Potluck Dinner Series

On Saturday, March 23rd, Stanford alumni gathered at the home of Lucy and Ceasar Lopez (P’14) to meet, eat, and network.  There was a wide range of classes represented, along with a good mix of individuals who were relatively new to the DC area, as well as long-time residents.  

The theme of the Potluck Dinner was “Wellness” and the discussion revolved around various modes of relaxation and healthy eating. The majority of attendees preferred cardio-based relaxation activities such as swimming and running, while others enjoyed reading and caring for small pets, particularly kittens.  The list of favorite healthy snacks included pink grapefruit, nuts (specifically almonds and pistachios), mangoes and popcorn. The poll on favorite vegetarian topping on a protein bowl ran the gamut from avocados, tomatoes, mushrooms, and feta to hummus, hummus, and more hummus!

Laetitia Walendom (BA’15, MA’18) was the lucky recipient of the door prize – a Stanford baseball cap, perfect for the upcoming warmer weather. 

Mark your calendars for the next Alumni Potluck in June. We look forward to seeing you there! 

If you would like to host or volunteer to plan the next event, please reach out to Stephanie Tan at stephanie.tan@stanfordalumni.org.

WDCSA Book Club Corner

Washington DC Book Club DiscussionSunday, May 12, 5-7:45 pm,Annandale, Va

The book group will discuss Bretherton: Khaki or Field Grey?, by W.F. Morris.  All are welcome to join the discussion and participate in the potluck dinner.

The Germans are in retreat as a British raiding party follow the eerie sound of piano music to a deserted chateau. There a German officer and a beautiful woman both lie dead at the piano keys. The man is the spitting image of a British officer missing in action. Is the dead body a British spy in the German army or a German spy in the British army? The unexpected plot is thrillingly narrated with the gallows humor of the English Tommies.

For more information, contact Ann Cowgill ’82 atann.m.cowgill@gmail.com.  

Baltimore Book Club Discussion

Monday, May 13, 7:30 pm,Mother’s Federal Hill Grille, 1113 S. Charles St., Baltimore, Md

The May selection is The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, winner of the 2018 Goodread’s Choice Award under Historical Fiction, rated 4.6 out of 5.0 stars by over six thousand Amazon readers.  With a backdrop of extraordinary beauty and unforgiving harshness of Alaska, this story explores the strength, depth, and irrationality of love amidst domestic violence. 

The July selection is The Threat:  How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump by Andrew McCabe.

Questions/RSVP: Helene Myers, Ph.D., P’14, at cedarhouse@comcast.net.


Keeping Up With…

Thursday, April 18, 7:15 pm,Private Residence, Washington, DC

Keeping Up With… is the modern-day monthly salon for Stanford Alumni in the DC area to discuss articles and podcasts.

This month, the salon will be “Keeping Up With….How I Built This” and discuss the podcasts about Stitch Fix and Bonobos.

Link to the podcasts:

To RSVP, email Patricia Arty’10 patriciaarty@alumni.stanford.edu or Melissa Runsten ’10, JD’15 melissa.runsten@gmail.com.

Fireside Chat with Craig Allen, President of the US-China Business Council 

Tuesday, April 23, 6:15-8:00 pm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, 1111 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC

WDCSA is co-sponsorsing a networking event focused around key issues related to global business, regulatory requirements, and recent legislative changes in the United States that may affect cross-border investments. 

Mr. Craig Allen, President of the US-China Business Council, will be interviewed by Giovanna M. Cinelli, a partner at Morgan Lewis and head of the firm’s International Trade and National Security Practice. Geopolitical circumstances over the last five years have affected business and investment practices from a national security and transaction perspective. Managing these changes and anticipating additional changes are key to continuing business success.

They will discuss the current trade dispute, economic and political changes in China under Xi Jinping, and the diplomatic relationship between China and the United States.

The networking portion will last from 6:15 – 7pm,  and will be immediately followed by the Fireside Chat. Beverages and heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Tickets are $15 until April 15th and $20 after that date.  The dress code is business casual.

See the location map and register here.  Contact Yuhsien Wu at ywu@uscecc.org with questions.


  • Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance-DC 
  • Harvard Law School Association
  • Harvard Club of Washington, DC
  • Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Council of DC
  • Washington DC Stanford Association

Beyond the Farm: Alumni Day of Service

Saturday, April 27             

One day can make a world of difference. Join WDCSA in one of the following local community service projects as more than 200,000 alumni around the globe participate in an annual day of service.

A-SPAN Homeless Services Center 

Saturday,  April 27, 10 am – 12 pm, 2020A 14th Street North, Arlington, Va

Volunteers will meet at A-SPAN to prepare 100 bagged meals that will be distributed later that evening to people who are experiencing homelessness in Arlington County. The morning will also include a tour of the services center. 

This project welcomes volunteers ages 12 and up.

Sign up / additional info: https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/events/details?event_id=29612. 

Potomac Heritage Trail National Park Clean Up 

Saturday,  April 27, 8-10 am, Donaldson Run Trailhead, 30th Street North, Arlington, Va

Participants will locate and remove trash (depositing in bags that separate recyclables) from Donaldson Run stream/trail area leading to the Potomac River and in two directions up/down the Potomac Heritage Trail. They will note types of trash collected to identify the most common items. Will include in-stream trash removal. 

If anyone has a boat, we’d love to include a shoreline trash pick up point. The Potomac is heavily trashed with litter that mostly washes up or is left by fishermen. Birds like bald eagles and blue herons use this habitat, as do deer, foxes and other mammals.

This project welcomes volunteers age 5 and above with parental supervision.

Sign up / additional info: https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/events/details?event_id=29381.

Parents Connection Spring Social and Care Package Party

Sunday, June 2, 2-4:30 pm,Private Residence, Great Falls, Va

Join the Stanford Parents Connection for our spring social to welcome the new Stanford Class of 2023 parents.  

This event will also include the popular care package party.  We ask that you bring a snack to share and multiples of one item for the care packages.  We will provide USPS medium flat-rate priority boxes, so come prepared with the address and $15 towards the costs.  All the boxes will be delivered to the Post Office on Monday morning and should get to Stanford in time for final exams.

Come to fellowship, ask questions, and share your experiences and insights.

Questions/RSVP:  Helene Myers, Ph.D., P’14, at cedarhouse@comcast.net

PAC 12 Night at the Nationals

Saturday, June 15, 4:05 pm,Nationals Park, Washington, DC

Join the rest of the PAC-12 Alumni of DC for our 4th annual PAC-12 Night with the Washington Nationals! This year, the Nationals will be facing off against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Nationals will also be celebrating Star Wars Night, with an Obi “Sean” Kenobi Bobblehead for the first 10,000 fans.


We have arranged for special discounted tickets ($23) that include an $8 concession credit that can be used at the game. Seats are reserved in Section 238 in Center/Right Field. We sold out of our ticket allotment twice last year, so be sure to get your tickets early as we expect to sell out again!

Buy Your Tickets Here: https://groupmatics.events/event/DCPac12. Wednesday, June 12 is the deadline to purchase tickets.

If you have questions, email PAC12DC@gmail.com.

Get Involved

WDCSA Intramural Softball Team

The WDCSA softball season starts in mid-April. Join your fellow alumni for fun weeknight games played on the National Mall (all skill levels welcome). Contact Ingrid Jernudd (ingridj@alumni.stanford.edu) or Nathan Keegan (nathanjkeegan@gmail.com) if interested in joining the team.

Stanford In the News

  • Stanford Athletics has put in place a new protocol in which a member of the executive leadership of the Athletics Department responsible for each of Stanford’s 36 varsity men’s and women’s sports will review and confirm the athletic credentials of all recruits who are proposed by a coach to receive an athletic recommendation. This will provide a second, higher-level verification of the athletic credentials of recruited student-athletes before that information is shared with the admission office, to be considered as one factor in a comprehensive review of each student’s qualifications for Stanford admission.
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad – an activist and entrepreneur whose participation in the Olympics helped make her a prominent voice for religious tolerance – has been named speaker for Stanford’s 2019 Baccalaureate. The multifaith, end-of-the-year celebration for graduating students, their families and friends, and others in the university community will be held on June 15, the day before Stanford’s 128th Commencement ceremony.
  • Stanford officially opened its Redwood City campus — which will house 2,700 employees and three of the University’s eight vice presidents — at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 21st. The 35-acre property was developed to centralize the operations of certain non-academic University departments that were previously “scattered in various locations on and off campus.”
  • This winter quarter, the Program in African and African American Studies marked 50 years since its first cohort of 13 Stanford undergraduates began their coursework. The interdisciplinary program offers a major and a minor in the study of history, culture and sociology of African Americans and people in the African diaspora. It is the oldest ethnic studies program developed at Stanford and the first African and African American Studies program created at a private institution in the United States.