Young UW-Madison alumni are the future of their communities
Nine young graduates of the University of Wisconsin–Madison making stand-out contributions in their communities are being honored with the Forward under 40 award, presented by the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA).
Presented since 2008, the Forward under 40 awards honor UW–Madison alumni under the age of 40 who are already making a significant impact on the world by upholding the Wisconsin Idea, the principle that knowledge and discovery from the university positively impact the world beyond the borders of campus.
“While their accomplishments are diverse, it’s easy to see the common threads of community woven throughout the innovations and service of this year’s honorees,” says WAA President Paula Bonner. “These young Badgers continue the legacy of a Wisconsin education as they bring sustainability to food and landscapes, empower youth across the nation, share Wisconsin warmth and hospitality, and build our state’s economy.”
The 2015 award recipients are:
Heidi Allstop ’10, San Francisco. Allstop, who earned her degree in psychology, is managing director of MeToo, and chief executive officer and founder of Spill, Inc., an online forum where students can share difficulties and receive peer responses. Allstop worked with mentors to grow Spill into an international presence with users in 24 countries.
Jason (Jay) Blasi ’00, Los Gatos, California. Blasi is one of the youngest contributing golf architects to design a U.S. Open course. He contributed design work for Chambers Bay in Washington state, which is regarded for its principles of sustainability and earned a ranking of No. 1 municipal course in the country. Blasi’s work, using his degree in landscape architecture, also includes ties to UW’s University Ridge Golf Course near Madison and SentryWorld in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Jill Carey ’08, Chicago. After graduation, Carey joined Teach for America and taught on the south side of Chicago for more than two years. In 2013, Carey co-founded Smarty Pants Yoga, a girl-power and literacy enrichment program for elementary school girls that teaches emotional, social and physical health. Carey earned her degree in journalism and mass communication, and is a former editor-in-chief of The Daily Cardinal.
Omai Garner ’01, Los Angeles. Garner is a faculty member with the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and UCLA Health System, with expertise in infectious disease and glycobiology. He earned his UW degree in genetics and bacteriology. A former Chancellor’s Scholar, he is co-founder and chair of the Social Justice Learning Institute in Inglewood, California, and is co-chair of the Chancellor’s Scholars and Powers-Knapp Alumni Community in Los Angeles.
Jonny Hunter ’05, MPA ’11, Madison. While a student, Hunter founded Underground Food collective, which now includes Underground Butcher; Forequarter Restaurant, nominated for best new restaurant by the James Beard Foundation; Underground Meats, winner of three Good Food awards and recognized for its commitment to sustainability; and Underground Catering. The company works with more than 100 small Wisconsin farms, with $2 million in returns to producers. Hunter, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree from the La Follette School of Public Affairs, has also been instrumental in fundraising through “Bike the Barns.”
Trevon Logan ’99, Columbus, Ohio. A former Chancellor’s Scholar who earned his degree in economics, Logan is now an associate professor of economics at The Ohio State University, and serves as an affiliate and research associate for three policy centers. He is the youngest-ever president of the National Economic Association, director of undergraduate studies and advisor to the Undergraduate Economics Society, and received the OSU Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2014. He has advised senior White House officials and serves on the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession.
Gabriel Stulman ’03, New York City. Stulman is a restaurateur and entrepreneur in New York who discovered his passion while working in restaurants to support his education at the UW, where he earned his degree in history and political science. While initially called “Little Wisco” because of strong representation of Wisconsinites among his staff, Stulman’s family of six restaurants is now called Happy Cooking Hospitality. He was included on a “40 Under 40” list by Crain’s New York Business and named “Restaurateur of the Year” by Esquire Magazine in 2012.
Joe Kirgues JD’08, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin; and Troy Vosseller ’06, MBA’09, JD’10, Madison. Vosseller and Kirgues are co-founders of gener8tor, a startup accelerator program that, to date, has launched more than 30 companies. Prior to founding gener8tor, Vosseller’s ventures included founding apparel company Sconnie Nation; Kirgues was an associate at the Quarles & Brady law firm and later at 94labs, an angel investment and seed incubator located in Milwaukee and Madison. They contribute their expertise to the UW Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, where they both earned their JDs. Vosseller also earned UW–Madison degrees in history/history of science, economics and political science, as well as an MBA in entrepreneurial management.
The 2015 recipients will be honored through university and alumni programs throughout the year.