Class Notes

Updates from our Alumni

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Helene Scherer (BA ’72) has retired after 20 years in technology development and organizational management for companies including IBM, AstraZeneca, Pep Boys and DeutscheBank. Prior to this she spent 25 years in nonprofit administration. 


Eric Brodfuehrer (MArch ’01, BPS ’99) works in Philadelphia-based Navigant Consulting as an owner’s representative for construction projects. In this role, he also provides construction claims expert witness analysis for the legal defense in settlement construction disputes. He is a member of the AIA, NCARB and is LEED BD+C certified. 

Kevin Trout (BPS ’98) is a project architect in Burlington, Vt. Licensed in New York and Vermont, he works on health care, multi-family housing, municipal, and commercial projects. He is married and has a four-year-old daughter. 


Quardean Lewis-Allen (Architecture BS ’09), an activist architect who brings design education to at-risk youth, has been named to the 2017 Forbes list of 30 Under 30 — Social Entrepreneurs. Lewis-Allen founded Made in Brownsville in 2013 to address the issue of minority underrepresentation in design and tech fields and youth unemployment in his native Brownsville, a troubled and crime-ridden section of Brooklyn. Made in Brownsville brings mentors working in creative fields in New York City to Brownsville to train teens in science, technology, math, art or design. Working with Brownsville community leaders, participants are also given the opportunity to rebuild their community through projects in the neighborhood. Prior to his work in Brownsville, Lewis-Allen worked for Perkins Eastman; developed affordable housing typologies for an eco-sustainable town in Anam, Nigeria, with the Chife Foundation; and studied social housing under Anne Lacaton in Paris and public art under Krzysztof Wodiczko. He earned his Master of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. 

Benjamin Siegel (MArch ’08, Architecture BS ’04) founded BMS Design Studio in Buffalo
in 2011, offering specialized services in historic preservation, multi-family housing and hospitality. He married in April 2014 and recently purchased his first home in North Buffalo. 

Rana Abu Ghazaleh (MUP ’08) has been recognized as one of “Fi y+ Under 50: Innovative Leaders and Ideas Transforming Metro DC’s Food System.” As project manager for the Old Town Farmer’s Market in Alexandria, Va., Ghazaleh has increased food access for low-income residents through a pilot program that makes bike deliveries of excess market produce to local shelters and food pantries. She previously worked as a consultant for the International Planned Parenthood Federation in Tunisia and as a program manager at the International Peace and Cooperation Center in Jerusalem. 

Patrick Dafchik (Architecture BS ‘04) is founder of One Batch, which designs and fabricates custom products, from signage to beer taps. Inspired by his father to pursue woodworking, Dafchik diversified his material range as an architecture student at UB. Upon graduation he founded Rusted Grain, using reclaimed wood to complete such projects as a games cart for Canalside and fixtures and furnishings for restaurants throughout Buffalo. 

Leslie Vishwanath (MUP ’06), has joined the City of Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency, where she supports the city’s housing rehabilitation and development programs. The position builds on Vishwanath’s 12-year career with the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center on Buffalo’s East Side. As the center’s housing and community development director, Vishwanath oversaw affordable rental unit developments, homeownership programs and owner-occupied and tenant-occupied housing rehabilitation services. Among her key accomplishments with the Matt Urban Center was implementing trauma-informed building design for the center’s homeless housing developments and establishing a Receivership program with the City of Buffalo Housing Court to support rental housing repairs while addressing quality of life issues. A Buffalo native, Vishwanath says equal housing opportunities for all are a critical factor in the city’s continued renaissance. Vishwanath is a long-standing board member of HOME (Housing Opportunities Made Equal), a civil rights and fair housing organization committing to promoting diversity in Western New York. 

Alex Bitterman (MArch ’02) was recently appointed chair of SUNY Alfred State’s Department of Architecture and Design. As a professor of architecture, he oversaw the formation of the first AIAS chapter at SUNY Alfred State and established CARS, the Center for Architecture and Remote Sensing, which is working to create high-resolution point-cloud meshes and virtual models of buildings and sites across North America and Europe. He is also the co- chair of STRATCOMM—the college’s campus-wide strategic planning committee. Meanwhile, Bitterman continues to advance his research on the social responsibility of designers. 

Dale White Jr. (BAED ‘05) is project manager for New York City’s Jonathan Rose Companies, where he oversees development of Bedford Green House, an affordable housing development for transitioning homeless families in the Bronx. Previously, White was a development associate at Full Spectrum of New York, a sustainable development firm focused on affordable housing projects. White says he developed a passion for urban revitalization during his time in Buffalo, which included a position with the city’s Good Neighbors Planning Alliance to engage youth in the planning process. He holds an MBA and MS in Real Estate Development from NYU. 

Dane Danielson (Architecture BS ’05) is director of education for the Gould Turner Group, an architecture, planning and interior practice based in Nashville, Tenn. The group recently partnered with Branch Technology to design the first large-scale 3d printed open-cell structure in the country. The exhibit, Casa L’Espanya, was showcased during the Cheekwood International Playhouse Design Competition in Nashville. The use of a 3d printing robot arm and open-matrix cellular fabrication technique resulted in a freeform, lightweight structure — and ultimately a visually mesmerizing playspace. Danielson says the project demonstrates the importance of cross-pollination with fields such as material science to the future of high- performance building design and construction. 


The master’s theses of Kristen Gabriele (MArch ‘14, Architecture BS ‘12) and Daniel Nead (MArch/MUP ‘13) were recently featured by the Design for All Institute of India. Gabriele’s research proposed micro-housing as a safe and community-based “transitional village” for homeless individuals. She is currently an architectural designer at Elkus Manfredi Architects in Boston. Nead’s featured research examines the viability of re-using residual military equipment in Afghanistan for mobile classrooms for young girls. Nead is project architect and engineer for Clark Patterson Lee in Rochester. 

Kyle Vliet (BAED ’15) is a sale and design consultant at Bristol Botanics in Denver. 

Jessica Kruse (MArch ’11, Architecture BS ’09), recently licensed, serves as LEED coordinator for LaBella Associates, D.P.C. in Rochester, N.Y. A LEED Green Associate and construction document technologist, Kruse serves on the boards of the local Construction Specifications Institute chapter and the ACE Mentor Program of Rochester. She married David Kruse (MUP ’11, BAED ’07) in June 2014. 

Kimberly Schueler (MUP ’14, BAED ’12) is an assistant planner for the Town of Amherst, N.Y. 

Jeffrey Amplement (MUP ’15) is assistant manager of grants and government affairs for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

Elyse Sigal (MArch ’16), recently joined Shepley Bulfinch Design in Boston, where she applies inclusive design to the firm’s work on the new clinical care tower for the Boston Children’s Hospital. “Every three weeks we go to user group meetings with the surgeons, nurses and others to discuss the design from their perspective,” says Siegal, who studied in the Inclusive Design Graduate Research Group at UB. “We even bring models and moveable parts of the equipment to have the users place them where they think is optimum. The firm designs from the specific culture and needs of the place... education at UB more than prepared me for this job by teaching me to design from the perspective of helping people."

On a September 2016 trip to China’s Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology to present his research on energy- efficient building renovation in Eastern Europe, urban planning faculty member Daniel B. Hess met with UB alumni Jing Dai and Jia Xie. Both are pursuing exciting careers as urban planners in Shanghai. Jing Dai (MUP 2012), left, is with the Shanghai Urban Planning and Land Use Management Bureau, and Jia Xie (MUP 2013), right, is with the China State Construction Engineering Company. 

Christopher Snyder (MUP ’15, BAED ’13), among the school’s first students to complete the Advanced Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation, is the neighborhood and historic preservation planner for the City of Binghamton, N.Y.

Andrew Connorton (MArch ’13) is manager of planning and development with the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

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