Business & Entrepreneurship

On, Wisconsin Idea!

Meet the 2017 Forward under 40 Award winners.


We salute this year’s Forward under 40 Award winners, who were chosen based on their exceptional career accomplishments before the age of 40, as well as their commitment to the Wisconsin Idea, which seeks to spread the benefits of the university to the world. To suggest a young alum for next year’s awards, complete the nomination form at by July 1, 2017.

Matthew Aliota ’05, PhD’10, a research scientist at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, is on the front lines of battling the Zika virus. He is developing a mouse model to study how the virus affects the brain, as well as confirming that a particular type of bacterium can prevent transmission of Zika in mosquitoes. He has also served as a research ambassador, sharing his findings at UW outreach and continuing- education events.

Shana Hazan ’02 is the chief development officer at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, where she and her team raised more than $14 million last year to support services ranging from free parenting workshops to a home-delivered meal program. She also launched youth efforts such as kindergarten readiness, service learning for girls, and teen leadership development, and she founded the Hunger Advocacy Network, a coalition that works for policies that increase food security.

As a science and technology policy fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Katherine Himes MBA’01 led programs to improve access to water, support economic growth, and increase international research partnerships. Working at the intersection of diplomacy and development, she served in the USAID Office of Science and Technology and lived overseas as its regional science adviser to Central Asia. She is now a freelance foreign policy scholar and author.

An attorney with the U.S. Department of State, Neha Lugo ’06 earned her JD at Harvard Law School. As an attorney for the Legal Adviser’s Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, she works on multilateral treaties that protect marine environments, prevent wildlife trafficking, and promote biodiversity. She also teaches International Human Rights Law at Georgetown University Law Center.

Stacy Igel ’99 is the founder, creative director, and fashion designer for Boy Meets Girl USA. Her BMG line is worn by major celebrities, sold online and at Nordstrom stores, and was recently featured at the Colette boutique in Paris. She also launched Boy Meets Girl University, a hands-on learning experience for fashion industry hopefuls, and she has collaborated with charities on breast cancer and anti-bullying designs. She was featured in UW–Madison’s Big Apple Badgers video series (see page 7).

Steven Olikara ’12 is the founder and president of the Millennial Action Project, a national, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering millennial policymakers to champion collaborative governance. He spearheaded the creation of the nation’s first and only bipartisan caucus for young members of Congress. His work has been featured by NBC, ABC, CNN, the New York Times, theWashington Post, and many other news outlets.

Peter Tempelis ’01, MPA’06, JD’06, an assistant Wisconsin attorney general, previously served Milwaukee County and was named Wisconsin Assistant District Attorney of the Year in 2015. He commissioned a UW study that led to a law aimed at reducing the high turnover rate among assistant DAs, and he implemented a program to support domestic-violence victims at the greatest risk of homicide. He now prosecutes cases of Medicaid fraud and elder abuse.

Yee Lee Vue ’10, MA’12 is an adult services and engagement librarian at the Appleton, Wisconsin, Public Library. Previously the library’s first Hmong outreach specialist, she taught Hmong families how to access library services and cultivated a love of learning and reading in children. She also helps her husband run an Appleton restaurant called City Cafe where she began City Cafe Cares week, inviting local residents experiencing homelessness to enjoy free meals.

Published in the Spring 2017 issue


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