Northwestern always has a brilliant graduating class, so we thought we'd put a few in the spotlight.

Elena Barham

Writing for academic journals, meeting high-level officials and testifying before Congress will all be in a day’s work for Weinberg senior Elena Barham as a Carnegie Junior Fellow.

Junior fellows work alongside senior ones at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. in one of the institution’s eight programs. The year-long position is highly competitive, accepting roughly 5 percent of applicants (10-12 a year) nominated by their universities. Barham will assist with research on the Democracy and Rule of Law program, which focuses on the evolution of democracy, human rights and law around the world.

“I’m not really scared about any dimension of this,” says Barham, who was also an Academic All-Big Ten cross-country runner at Northwestern, in an email. “I look forward to being challenged by the experience and to learning everything I can from this opportunity.”

Evan Rindler and Jon Rizik

Even before finishing their final classes last fall, Evan Rindler (Comm ‘16) and Jon Rizik (Comm ‘16) had started making a movie. The two have been working on The Living End, a feature-length home invasion thriller, since last summer.

“[The choice to make a movie] was deceptively simple,” Rindler says. “We wanted to challenge ourselves and see what it was possible to do ... We wanted to be the creative and productive minds behind the film.”

But Rindler says in the last few months they’ve been “closer to entrepreneurs than filmmakers.” The process has been less creative and more analytical, with constant fundraising headaches, pitches to production companies and negotiations with agents. They’ve even had to hire a fundraising consultant to help out. But the challenges haven’t stopped them yet.

“I hope that people [at Northwestern] who hear about my projects are encouraged to take risks too,” Rindler says in an email. “Both Jon and I can’t imagine being anything but filmmakers. It’s that simple.”

Casey Kendall and Jonathan Bauerfeld

During their freshman year, Jonathan Bauerfeld (Bienen ‘16) and Communication senior Casey Kendall dreamt up a musical. And this past March, DEVOTED premiered on campus.

“It’s an irreverent comedy that follows two candidates for president – a Black Republican and female Democrat – that fall in love with each other on the campaign trail,” Bauerfeld says in an email.

After graduation, Kendall and Bauerfeld will move to New York to pursuit careers in musical theatre, and to find a way to produce DEVOTED on a bigger stage.

“[Moving to New York] can be a little daunting,” Kendall says. “But if there is even the slightest chance that it will all work out, there isn’t a thing I wouldn’t do to make it happen. Hopefully we write something awesome and live off the royalties forever.”