Four Pace people – a student, two alumni and a professor – are among Westchester Magazine’s 22 People to Watch.
Taylor Vogt – environmental science major and IBM “Smarter Planet” student blogger.
Jennifer Powell-Lunder – psychology professor and “teen speak” author and expert.
April Bukofser and Marin Milio – fashion entrepreneurs.
From Westchester Magazine:
The Environment’s Savior
Taylor Vogt hasn’t yet graduated college, but the 21-year-old Croton-on-Hudson resident and Pace University student is already the president of an international student sustainability organization, and he has chaired a student advisory council, both for IBM. As if that weren’t enough, he may change the whole way our society produces alternative fuels.
The international organization that Vogt runs is IBM Students for a Smarter Planet, a 50-member organization that hopes to attract a 1,000-student membership. “I’ve always been interested in the environment,” Vogt says. His interest grew early, in large part because of 9/11. His father, Glenn Vogt, today the manager of Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua, had worked at Windows on the World at the World Trade Center. And though his father wasn’t at work that day, “as an eleven-year-old boy, I took a big step back and was like, ‘Why is this happening?’” Instead of getting angry, he wanted to find—and stop—what he saw as the root causes of the terrorists’ actions.
“They didn’t have certain things that they needed to survive; that’s why they were lashing out. I want to get them what they need,” says Vogt, who believes struggles for existence—exacerbated by environmental degradation—radicalized many who became members of Al Qaeda. “I decided to go into the field of environmental sustainability so this would never happen again.”
His work in sustainability recently has led him from studying the deer population at Teatown Lake Reservation and local cleanups to an internship at a composting firm producing methane gas out of organic waste. “Taylor has a unique visionary sense of an improved future—socially, environmentally, and economically,” says Michelle Land, a professor of environmental policy and director of Pace’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies. “And he doesn’t simply talk about how things should be but ambitiously applies himself toward his vision.”
One big idea is to use cities’ sewers to produce hydrogen fuel. “We have flowing rivers underneath our cities in our sewers. If you can sequester the water, electrolyze it, and harness the hydrogen, you have a new, clean fuel source.” A self-described “ideas man,” Vogt admits he’ll need to find someone with an engineering background (preferably another young person) before this could become a reality, but he’s hopeful. In the future, he’d love to work as a grant-maker for the EPA or found a professional’s version of Students for a Smarter Planet. First, though, he’s going to work on that undergraduate degree.
The Adolescent Psychologist
Jennifer Powell-Lunder, PsyD
Of the thousands of parenting and family books that come out each year, only a few hundred pertain to teens, and most of those gather dust. But Four Winds Hospital’s Jennifer Powell-Lunder, PsyD’s Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent’s Guide to Becoming Bilingual is an international best seller. It’s so far been through its second printing and has been a Top 100 seller on Amazon. Powell-Lunder and her co-author, Barbara Greenberg, PhD, have lectured at Harvard and have been featured on Yahoo! and AOL, in the Chicago Tribune, and on Fox. Mickey and Minnie have posed with the book, and the collaborators’ website, talkingteenage.com, receives up to 10,000 hits monthly.
“Teens in conflict are not communicating well with their parents,” says South Salem resident Powell-Lunder, 44, a clinical child psychologist. “Even though they are speaking the same words, it is as if parents and kids are speaking a different dialect.” She is out to help parents and teens understand one another.
“Last Christmas, we saw a lot of kids buying this book for their parents,” says Powell-Lunder. She’s already started writing two follow-ups, one for parents looking for guidance in specific situations and one for teenagers who want to learn to “speak parent.”
The Fashion Entrepreneurs
April Bukofser and Marin Milio
April Bukofser of Pound Ridge and Marin Milio of White Plains met at Pace University, where they were both studying marketing. But it wasn’t until they went their separate ways for their first full-time jobs (Bukofser doing PR and design at Cynthia Rowley; Milio, event planning at MTV) and returned to Westchester to raise families that they teamed up for their successful custom clothing line, AprilMarin.
The two often talked about starting a business together, but they couldn’t settle on a concept. Finally, they decided to create custom clothing. “There aren’t a lot of places out there that do women’s custom clothing,” Milio says. “There are a lot of places that do men’s tailoring.” There was nothing stylish and contemporary.”
Enter AprilMarin, the line the duo launched in 2008, which now operates out of a showroom in White Plains and an office in Yonkers. “The line was created to reinvent the old classics,” Bukofser says. “We recreate dresses that are going to look good on every body type. Then we add adornments like a ruffled sleeve or a ruffled collar to make it modern.”
Their clothes have been featured on the Today show and have been worn by Wendy Williams during her daytime talk show. “Her stylist calls us frequently to ask us what’s new,” Milio says. By November 2011, the line had sold between 25,000 and 30,000 pieces—and the business is still growing.
The custom-made clothing is available primarily through their website, aprilmarin.com. “We’ve been approached by tons of stores all over the country that want our clothes, but you can’t make custom clothing for a store,” Bukofser says. “Still, we’ve heard the store market and want to respond to them. We launched a whole line of accessories, and we’re looking into doing dresses in more standard sizes.”
“It’s good to have the interest from stores,” Milio says. “But we still want to have that small-business feel. We have a huge repeat-customer base, and we know what our customers want. We want to say to them, ‘We’re not going to be too big for you.’”