Sarah Langs's (AB’15) Topps Allen & Ginter trading card
(Illustration courtesy Topps)

A selection of UChicago alumni whose names are in the news.

Topp of her league

Sarah Langs, AB’15, is featured in this year’s Topps Allen & Ginter set of collectible trading cards. The set includes Major League Baseball players and staff, athletes from other leagues, and pop culture figures. A reporter and producer at MLB Advanced Media who is known for her encyclopedic knowledge of baseball history and statistics, Langs publicly announced in October 2022 that she has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). Since then Langs has advocated for ALS awareness and research. She and six other women in baseball with ALS were honored at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 2023, the 84th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech.

One of the president’s men

In August Ed Siskel, JD’00, was named White House counsel by President Joe Biden. Siskel worked in the Office of White House Counsel for nearly four years during the Obama administration, where he helped manage the White House’s response to the Solyndra and Benghazi investigations while also working on congressional oversight and the Affordable Care Act rollout. Most recently he served as chief legal officer for a Chicago-based investment firm. In his new position, Siskel will lead a team that advises President Biden on legal matters affecting the White House and public policy.

Physics adviser

Kenneth Bloom, AB’92, was appointed to a three-year term on the US Department of Energy’s High Energy Physics Advisory Panel. Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Bloom focuses on top-quark physics, weak interactions, and the Higgs boson. Since 2021 he has served as deputy manager of operations for the US Compact Muon Solenoid Operations Program, which includes stewardship of a $51 million National Science Foundation grant that goes through 2026. As one of 19 members on the panel, Bloom will review the nation’s high energy physics programs and offer recommendations on priorities, long-term strategies, and funding.

Performance artist

As part of the UCLA Hammer Museum’s biennial exhibition Made in LA 2023: Acts of Living, Young Joon Kwak, AM’10, took part in two October events: the variety show “Weirdo Night with Dynasty Handbag” and the panel “The Feminine Absurd: The Queer Body.” Kwak is a Los Angeles–based multidisciplinary artist who works in performance, sculpture, video, sound, and community-based collaborations. They founded Mutant Salon—a roving beauty salon and platform for performances with Kwak’s queer-trans-femme-BIPOC community—and perform in the drag-electronic-dance-noise band Xina Xurner. Kwak teaches at California Institute of the Arts and serves on the boards of both the Feminist Center for Creative Work and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.

Study abroad

College grads Amala Karri, AB’23, AM’23; Isabelle Russo, AB’23; and Donna Son, AB’23, form the second class of Arley D. Cathey International Graduate Study Fellows. Established with a gift from Arley D. Cathey, PhB’50, in honor of his father, the fellowships provide financial assistance to pursue a research-focused master’s degree abroad. Karri headed to the University of Oxford this fall to undertake refugee and forced migration studies; she plans to work as an asylum lawyer. Russo studies environmental policy at the University of Cambridge, focusing on how safeguards and policies might be applied to the extraction and storage of natural resources. Son, who plans to pursue a PhD in French history, is studying history at the Paris Institute of Political Studies.

Cosmic collection

Physics professor and Nobel laureate James Cronin’s (SM’53, PhD’55) papers are now available for study at the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center. Cronin, who died in 2016, is best known for his 1964 discovery of the charge-parity violation phenomenon (known as CP violation). It helped physicists understand a long-standing mystery—why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe. For this discovery he and collaborator Val Fitch were awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physics. Papers in the collection focus on Cronin’s discovery of the CP violation, his research on cosmic rays, and his work building the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina to further the study of cosmic rays.