Young Alumni Demonstrate Global Reach

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Forward under 40 Award-winner Jarius King ’09 demonstrates a dramatic dance move. King has led workshops in dance and art with youth groups at home and abroad. He also helped start the International Festival of Urban Movement: Breakin’ the Law, a weeklong annual festival in Madison that draws artists from around the globe. Photo: Daniel Chen/CHENNERGY.COM.

The 2014 Forward under 40 Award-winners are bettering lives around the world.

Seven Badgers have received 2014 Forward under Forty Awards from the Wisconsin Alumni Association. The awards program, now in its seventh year, recognizes UW alumni under the age of forty who are already making a significant impact on the world by upholding the Wisconsin Idea, which emphasizes applying the expertise of the university to the world around it.

  • Peter Drobac ’96 is executive director of Partners In Health-Rwanda, part of a renowned nonprofit focused on providing health care and social services in economically disadvantaged countries. He also chairs the Rwanda Biomedical Center board of directors and teaches global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School. Drobac, who majored in psychology, divides his time between Rwanda and Boston.
  • Ayse Gurses PhD’05 recently became the first industrial engineer with a specialization in human factors engineering to be promoted to associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. There she has developed an innovative research program focused on health care quality, nursing, patient safety, and health information technology. Gurses earned her doctorate in industrial and systems engineering.
  • Jarius King ’09, a Chicago resident, is a performance artist who established the annual International Festival of Urban Movement: Breakin’ the Law. The event draws artists from around the world to Madison to study and showcase hip-hop and other urban movement styles, while creating a dialogue about inclusiveness and art as mechanisms for community engagement. King majored in Chinese.
  • Tom Koch PhD’05, who is based in Westfield, Indiana, is the vice president of research at AgReliant Genetics, one of the leading independent seed companies in the United States. Koch manages genetics that are tested annually in thirty-five countries, and he has developed three corn lines that will soon be in use in the United States, Canada, and Ukraine. Koch earned his degree in plant breeding and plant genetics.
  • Anil Rathi ’97 is the founder and CEO of Skild, which offers software to manage online competitions. He also created the Innovation Challenge, the world’s largest online competition, which matches teams of MBA students from around the world with global companies to solve brand and business challenges. Rathi, a Los Angeles resident, earned his degree in marketing.
  • Jessica Sack ’96 is the Jan and Frederick Mayer Associate Curator of Public Education at the Yale University Art Gallery where she develops programs to enhance K–12 curricula and provides cultural enrichment opportunities for children and adults. Sack, who majored in English, history, and history of culture, has made it her life’s mission to provide access to the arts for all. She is currently based in New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Luxme Hariharan ’04, MD’09 is a pediatric ophthalmology fellow at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida. After helping to establish a blindness prevention program for children in Mysore, India, she made it her goal to become a leader in the filed of pediatric ophthalmology and international childhood blindless prevention. Hariharan majored in biology and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies.

Learn more about the Forward under Forty Awards program and this year’s recipients here.

Published in the Spring 2014 issue

Tags: Alumni

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