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2020 Officers and Committee Members of Friends of Spy Pond Park

Jenny Aurielle Babon moved to Arlington in 2015 and has been a Massachusetts resident since 2004. Born and raised in Cebu, Philippines, she came to the US for a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and is now a Research Associate at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Spy Pond Park is her favorite spot in town and is especially memorable for her because it is where her husband proposed. She enjoys taking walks, impromptu picnics and sunset viewing with the family in the park. Her other interests include singing with the Boston College Filipino Community church choir, running, cycling, amateur photography and trying out different cuisines (both cooking and eating). Jenny volunteered to serve as Publicity Committee Co-Chair for FSSP in February 2019 doing postings on social media.

Jamie Ciocco has run, a technical consulting and software design company, since 1999. He programs interactive museum installations and designs custom software for clients across the country, including The Smithsonian, McGraw-Hill, the JFK Library and Museum, Hubbell Lighting, Inc., Waters, Inc., and the Georgia Aquarium. Prior to 1999, he was Lead Multimedia Programmer at SilverPlatter Education, where he programmed award-winning educational CD-ROMs and wrote pioneering eLearning software for the web. Jamie received his BA in English & American Literature from Harvard in 1994. He returned to Harvard from 1997 to 2004 to act as Assistant Senior Tutor and Drama Tutor in Residence, running a 90-seat theatre and publishing the House Facebook. While at Harvard, he also programmed an early online Facebook that was referenced in the movie The Social Network. He has been a FSPP VP for Communications for ten years doing newsletter design and layout.

Karen L. Grossman is from a small-town northeast of Pittsburgh, PA. She earned a B.S. from Syracuse University, an M.Ed. from Boston University and worked for 35 years as a speech and language pathologist in the Wilmington, MA Public Schools with children in preschool through high school. Karen has lived in Arlington since 1974 and currently resides on the shore of Spy Pond near the park. She enjoys her view of the pond on a daily basis and has been involved with the FSPP since 1992. She’s been President of the organization since she retired from full time employment in 2004 and was elected to the Mystic River Watershed Association Board in November of 2009, presently serving on the Outreach, Development, and the Herring Run and Paddle Committees. Her other interests include singing with the Mystic Chorale and Temple Shir Tikvah, reading, the arts, canoeing, exercising daily, and traveling the world.

Sally Hempstead grew up in New York and Connecticut. She graduated with a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in Art History and English Literature. She was married for forty-five years to an attorney and has a daughter in Somerville, a son living in Charleston, South Carolina and to her great joy, four grandchildren. Sally is now married to a fellow FSPP board member, Marshall McCloskey. She worked for thirty-five years in the real property field as a legal abstractor and researcher, ten years as a business owner and twenty-five years in partnership with a property attorney. Sally is past president of The Connecticut Association for Real Property Professionals and was the auditor of land records in her town. For many years, she was and still is very active in church work and was chairman of the board of her local church in Connecticut. On moving to Arlington, she discovered Spy Pond, fell in love, joined the FSPP almost immediately, and has enjoyed working with the other members to preserve this valuable resource. Sally also has the pleasure of reading once a week to an extraordinary woman who is sightless. She has served the FSPP for six years as VP for Communications and Outreach.

Laura Homer, a resident of Arlington for 20 years, is a video producer/videographer/photographer/video editor with extensive experience in visual storytelling for corporations, hospitals, independent artists, local cable stations, and athletes. She has expertise in all areas of video production, including pre-production interviews of talent, location scouting, camera, audio and lighting setup, as well as all phases of post-production; editing, color correction, motion graphics creation, and audio mixing. Laura absolutely loves Arlington, Spy Pond, the Boys and Girls Club and all the activity in this area. She says, “The truly diverse population is just plain wonderful!”

Daniel Jalkut is a California native who has lived in the Boston area for more than 10 years, and for the last 5 years in East Arlington with his wife and two young boys. He is a self-employed software developer who focuses on consumer-focused applications for Apple platforms including the Mac and iOS. He is involved in the Hardy Elementary PTO and has served for two years as an Arlington Town Meeting Member. In addition to his interest in technology and civic duties, he enjoys practicing guitar, piano, and singing. He is an avid runner who enjoys Arlington’s many open spaces, particularly the bike path and Spy Pond Park. Daniel assumed the position of Membership Secretary doing database entry in June of 2017.

Betsy Leondar-Wright, a longtime activist for social justice, is an assistant professor of sociology at Lasell College. She is the author of Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures (Cornell University Press 2014) and Class Matters: Cross-Class Alliance Building for Middle-Class Activists (2005). From 2010 to 2015 she served as the Program Director of Class Action ( where she is still on the board, and taught sociology courses at Tufts, Harvard and Boston College. She first participated in environmental advocacy during the nuclear power movement in the 1970s. Betsy worked as a community organizer in low-income communities for a decade, including running youth programs at an urban community garden. Betsy has been active in the FSPP since 1997, is a past President and now focuses on childrenÅs activities and public education through performance and art serving as FSPP Chair for Park Events.

Julie McBride, originally from northern New York, moved to Massachusetts after college. She began her career in printing and has been a web developer for over 15 years. Since 2010 she has worked for an environmental consulting firm with a range of clients, including the EPA, to develop websites and software applications that provide access to environmental information and data. She is particularly interested in making complex scientific data more accessible, understandable and usable. Prior to her current work, she served as web and IT coordinator for a program at Harvard where she also continued her education in computer science. Julie visits Spy Pond often and enjoys the views through different seasons. She attends Work Days and has helped maintain the FSPP website since March 2019.

Marshall McCloskey grew up in Philadelphia, PA, and earned a Masters-degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1961-62. He met and married a local girl from Medford, MA, and bought a house in Arlington in 1968, where they raised 4 sons and lived for 30 years, except for six years spent in Huntington Beach, CA. He never designed a circuit and retired from work as a software engineer in 2008. During his career, Marshall worked on navigation systems for oil exploration, which involved extensive travel, patient monitoring devices for hospitals, adaptive optics systems, and did software consulting as an independent contractor. He now lives in Belmont with his wife, Sally Hempstead, considers himself handy around the house, works as a warden at the polls, and is active in the local road running community. His children and grandchildren are still mostly in the Boston area and he gets to see them often. Marshall serves the FSPP as Recording Secretary now, and for several years previously until mid-2016 as Treasurer.

Richard Norcross and his wife, Ruth, have lived in Arlington Heights since 1985, but he grew up in Waltham, MA. Richard has fond childhood memories of coming to Spy Pond to skate on the ice with his father each winter. He considers the Pond a wonderful natural asset to the Arlington area. He has worked with the Friends of Spy Pond Park along the shoreline and in the planting beds to help control invasive plants, prune bushes and trees, clear out natural debris and trash, and other tasks as needed. He joined then Beautification Committee in January of 2013.

Lally Stowell has worked with inner city youth in NYC and Cambridge and with preschool children in Head Start programs. She taught child development and parenting for many years at Watertown High School and then switched to teaching ESL in Cambridge, first at Centro Presente and then at the Cambridge Community Learning Center where she has been teaching an ESL Family Literacy class since 1993. Lally has also tutored day care providers through ABCD in Boston, mentored/tutored high school students through the Posse Foundation and volunteered at the Food Project. She has been active in helping to eliminate invasive species in the planting beds in Spy Pond Park coordinating the Beautification Committee and was Publicity Co-Chair for the FSPP January 2010-2014. Lally maintains our Memory Books, the record of our community outreach efforts since the beginning of the FSPP.

Mithilesh Sharma was born and grew up in India and worked there as Deputy Director National Language and Publications. She has been awarded PhD in Ancient Civilization. She came to the United States in 1994 and lived in New York and Connecticut. Mithilesh works as HR Manger with a Software Technology firm and in the legal department. She resides in Arlington near the Minuteman Bike Path. She likes walking and one day discovered Spy Pond. She fell in love forever with the mesmerizing beauty of the Pond in all seasons, specially at sunset. Recently, she re-joined the FSPP and has been enjoying working with other members contributing her efforts for preservation and documenting Pond's beauty in photographs. Mithilesh loves international travels as well as within the US and is very passionate about capturing nature and different cultures through the lens.

Ram Subramanian was born and raised in Mumbai, India. He has lived on both U.S. coasts and is currently an Arlington resident. Ram holds a graduate degree in Chemical Engineering and an M.B.A. (The Wharton School). He works at a local biotech. Ram is an avid nature photographer and aspiring birder. Ram and his family love watching sunsets at Spy Pond. He often posts his images of local scenery and wildlife on his Facebook photography page and submits park photos for the FSPP newsletter and website.

Gail Teschmacher McCormick has an MSW from Columbia University and created OUR FRAGILE EARTH, a collection of paintings dealing with environmental issues, exhibited in museums, university art galleries and by the United Nations. She currently paints Arlington Street scenes and is a board member of HealthLink, a Massachusetts non-profit working to protect public health by eliminating environmental toxins and mitigating climate change. She is on the Sustainable Arlington steering committee and active with Mothers Out Front, Mobilizing for a Livable Climate. Gail has been active with the FSPP for years and is now a member of the Beautification Committee.

Joanie Walls grew up in mid-Michigan and earned a B.S.B.A in Accounting from Central Michigan University in 1999. After college, Joanie earned a C.P.A. license working in public accounting and has worked for a variety of public and private companies over the years in Virginia and Boston. She moved to Arlington in 2013 with her husband Mark and has been frequenting Spy Pond ever since. Joanie has taken her dogs swimming in Spy Pond, jogs around Spy Pond and enjoys the beautiful views. With Spy Pond in her backyard, Joanie accepted the position as FSPP Treasurer in June of 2017 to get involved and help maintain this natural gem that Arlington is so fortunate to have.

Beverly Williams grew up in Asia, the American South, and New Jersey. Bev graduated from Douglass College of Rutgers University. Now retired, she still enjoys tutoring adults who are learning English. Bev was a long-time volunteer at a Peace and Justice Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She served the FSPP for 4 years was Recording Sec’y & is a member of the Beautification Committee.

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