2012-2013 Distinguished Alumni Visitors

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John Sullivan '93
Sr. Lecturer, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University
Assistant Director, Medill Watchdog

John Sullivan, class of 1993, a reporter formerly at the Philadelphia Inquirer who now teaches at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, was on a team that won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service reporting.  Sullivan, who majored in politics and philosophy and minored in classics, wasn’t thinking about becoming a journalist when he was at Cornell, but, he said, the lessons he learned in class served him well.

After graduation, Sullivan became interested in journalism through his brother, who was a reporter. He went to graduate school at the University of Missouri and got a job at the News and Observer in Raleigh, N.C. After that, he moved to the Inquirer, where he served as an embedded reporter in Iraq, covered Gov. Ed Rendell and Philadelphia’s city government, and wrote for the paper’s science desk.

In July 2011 Sullivan joined the faculty at the Medill School of Journalism. He’s the assistant director of Medill Watchdog, an initiative where students write public interest news stories.

John Sullivan's visit included a workshop, "Great Stories are Gray: Telling Investigative Stories in Black and White," a publish lecture on "Public Service Journalism in a Declining Media Landscape: A new model for producing investigative reporting," and he dined with students for a Careers in Journalism dinner.

Visit date: October 3-5, 2012

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Harper Reed '01
Chief Technology Officer
Obama for America

Harper Reed graduated in 2001 with majors in Computer Science and Philosophy.  Reed is an engineer who builds paradigm-shifting tech and leads others to do the same. Harper loves using the enormity of the Internet to bring people together, whether as CTO of Obama for America, CTO at Threadless.com, or on his own projects. Harper and his team created Dashboard, a site that connects volunteer teams and acts as an online component of the field office. You can often find Harper playing with new technology, looking for something to hack, or enjoying life in Chicago with his amazing wife, Hiromi.

Harper Reed's visit to Cornell included a workshop on "Marketing Me: Networking, Personal Branding, and Entrepreneurship.", a public lecture on "Revolutionalizing Presidential Campaigns with Technology", and he dined with students for a Careers in Technology dinner.

Visit date: December 10-11, 2012

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David Hilmers '72
Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. David Hilmers is a 1972 graduate and majored in math.  He is now an associate professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.  In addition to teaching medical students and residents, his clinical pursuits have included international HIV, pediatrics special needs, emergency medicine, tropical medicine, international nutrition and inpatient internal medicine.

He has worked with a number of international research agencies including the United Nations, the Centers for Disease Control, the Medical Research Council, and numerous non-governmental organizations.  He is involved in the selection and evaluation of biomedical equipment and countermeasures for long-term manned space flight, including the International Space Station and is an advisor to the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.  He devotes a great deal of his time to international and local volunteer service and disaster relief. 

Prior to going to medical school he was a Marine Corps Colonel, aviator and electrical engineer, and served as a NASA astronaut on four space shuttle missions, including the first mission after the Challenger accident.

Hilmers' visit to Cornell included a public lecture,"Space is not the final frontier," classroom visits, and lunch with students from the Dimensions Program.

Visit date: April 1-3, 2013