This Alumni Weekend, Emerson College will honor five alumni who have made their mark in fields as diverse as filmmaking, autism education, fiction writing, virtual reality, and arts advocacy.
Film producer Dorothy Aufiero ’80, speech-language pathologist and educational consultant Emily Rubin, MS ’97, and novelist Olen Steinhauer, MFA ’99, will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards on Saturday, June 3. Virtual reality media executive Barry Pousman ’06 and filmmaker and arts advocate Jae Williams ’08, MA ’16, will be presented with Young Alumni Achievement Awards.
Every year, Emerson honors alumni who have excelled in their chosen professions and who share a commitment to the College’s students, programs, and initiatives. This year’s awards will be presented at the Best of Emerson Bash Saturday, June 3, 7:00 pm, in the Emerson/Paramount Center. The evening will include performances by students, alumni, and faculty, as well as dancing, drinks, and dinner. Register here.
Aufiero has 25 years of television and feature film experience, most recently producing Patriots Day, the story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings directed by Peter Berg and starring Mark Wahlberg. She also produced The Fighter, an Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated film about Lowell boxing brothers Dicky Eklund and Micky Ward that featured Best Supporting Actor and Actress performances from Christian Bale and Melissa Leo.
Some of her projects currently in production include Animals, about the war between Bobby Kennedy and New England crime boss Raymond Patriarca; A Simple Thrill, written by novelist (and Emerson’s 2017 undergraduate commencement speaker) Dennis Lehane; and Spymistress, the story of World War II British spy agent Vera Atkins.
She has won a number of industry awards (Women in Film and Video Image Award for Vision and Excellence, Imaginaire Award for Vision and Excellence, Pirandello Lyceum Award) and is an active supporter in the disabled community.
Rubin is director of the Educational Outreach Program at the Marcus Autism Center, an academic affiliate of Emory University and an NIH Autism Center of Excellence. She turns developments in neuroscience into practical solutions for teachers, school systems, and social service providers to support social and emotional engagement in classrooms. She also directs Communication Crossroads, a private practice specialized in supporting people with autism and their caregivers and teachers.
A co-author of the SCERTS Model, a multidisciplinary framework for children with autism, Rubin lectures internationally and has supported schools and service providers in North America, Europe, and Asia. Rubin is a former adjunct faculty member at Yale University, where she was a member of its Autism and Developmental Disabilities Clinic. She also taught in Emerson’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Department, where she developed courses to prepare graduate students to help children with autism and their families.
Since his debut novel, The Bridge of Sighs, in 2003, Steinhauer has published 10 spy thrillers, including several bestsellers and one Hammett Prize winner for best literary crime novel of 2010—The Nearest Exit, the second in an espionage trilogy centered on the post-9/11 world. His work includes a five-book series chronicling Cold War Eastern Europe that was nominated for five awards, and 2014’s The Cairo Affair, set in the midst of the Arab Spring, which drew wide acclaim and landed on the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.
He wrote a screenplay based off his most recent novel, All the Old Knives (2015), which is being produced by Chockstone Pictures and Nick Wechsler Productions. Steinhauer is also the creator, writer, and executive producer of Berlin Station, an Epix series starring Richard Jenkins, Michelle Forbes, and Rhys Ifans.
As co-founder and CEO of Variable Labs, a media company focused on fostering empathy for positive behavioral change, Pousman creates virtual reality content for clients as large and diverse as Google, the United Nations, and XPRIZE.
Prior to starting the company, Pousman was chief digital strategist at the UN, helping to implement new media initiatives to promote sustainable development around the world. His work has screened at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; the White House; and the Sundance Film Festival; and has won the Interactive Award at Sheffield Doc Fest. Prior to that, he was director of programming at Discovery Digital Networks and a founding member of Discovery VR, where he oversaw four digital networks.
After graduating from Emerson he served with the U.S. Peace Corps in Senegal and received two Fulbright Hays grants from the U.S. Embassy for documentary work.
An award-winning filmmaker and arts advocate, Williams serves as a mentor to film and media production students. In 2008, he founded Forever Ink Productions, which produces short films, puts on a monthly film series celebrating diverse artists called Reel Life Experience, and hosts an annual fundraising event called the Celebration of the Arts Red Carpet Experience. He also created the Forever Ink Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at showcasing the arts and film industry in Boston, educating youth, and supporting young artists.
Most recently, Williams launched Culture Key Agency, a social media management and digital marketing agency that helps small businesses grow by leveraging authentic social insight and brand aspiration.
Earlier in the day, at 3:00 pm in the Semel Theater, four alumni will be inducted in the WERS Hall of Fame: Linda Coombs ’77; Debra Daigle, MA ’83; Roger Lifeset ’67; and Dave Thomson ’69. To attend the Induction Ceremony, register here.