Announcing the New Members of Our Board of Trustees
Cat Dawson ’04
Cat Dawson ’04 (they/them) is the managing partner of Diver Collective, a software development and digital strategy company; a research affiliate in the Department of Art at Smith College, their alma mater; and a consultant in the diversity, equity and inclusion space. Cat is also a founding board member for Project Empty Space, a Newark-based arts nonprofit. They earned a PhD in visual studies from the University at Buffalo and an MBA from IE Business School. Cat lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Wayne A. I. Frederick
Wayne A. I. Frederick was appointed the seventeenth president of Howard University in 2014. He previously served as provost and chief academic officer. A distinguished scholar and administrator, Wayne has advanced Howard University's commitment to student opportunity, academic innovation, public service, and fiscal stability. Following his post-doctoral research and surgical oncology fellowships at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Wayne began his academic career as associate director of the Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut. Upon his return to Howard University, his academic positions included associate dean in the College of Medicine, division chief in the Department of Surgery, director of the Cancer Center and deputy provost for Health Sciences.
Wayne has received various awards honoring his scholarship and service. In April 2020, he was chosen as the first-ever recipient of the Educator Award by the Lowell F. Hawthorne Foundation, Inc. Last year, Wayne was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for his contributions to the medical field. In January 2017, the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors elected Wayne to the Federal Reserve Bank Fifth District of Richmond. Most recently, Wayne was appointed to the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Humana Inc. Wayne is a member of surgical and medical associations, including the American Surgical Association and the American College of Surgeons.
Wayne resides in Washington D.C. with his wife, Simone, and their two children, Kirie ‘24 and Wayne II.
Ali Mohamadi ’94
Ali Mohamadi ’94 is a pediatric endocrinologist and executive director of global patient advocacy and engagement at California-based BioMarin Pharmaceutical, where he serves as the primary liaison between the company and the patient communities it serves. At BioMarin, which develops medications for people with rare and life-threatening conditions, Ali leads a global team that collaborates with patients, their caretakers and the advocacy groups that support them to ensure their voice is included in the company's decision-making process. Their perspective is used to understand community priorities for research and drug development, build clinical trials that study patient-centered outcomes, and ultimately bring safe and effective therapies to those with few, if any, available options.
Prior to starting at BioMarin, Ali started his career at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he worked in physician and patient engagement and served as a clinical reviewer for new endocrine drugs. He remains an active practitioner in pediatric endocrinology. Ali earned his undergraduate degree at Yale and completed medical school at George Washington University. He completed his residency and chief residency in pediatrics at Mount Sinai before completing his fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Johns Hopkins.
Ali joined the Sidwell Friends Alumni Association Executive Board in 2013 and served as clerk from 2017–2020. In 2020, he was awarded the School's Newmyer Award for volunteerism and commitment to service to Sidwell Friends. Ali and his wife, Sara Depew, live in Chevy Chase, MD and are parents of four children, including Madeleine ’23 and Caroline ’26.
Belinda Elvan Nixon is a practicing attorney and is an acting deputy division chief at the Federal Communications Commission. Her current work helps to expand wireless telecommunications services and high-speed Internet access for communities throughout the US. Belinda has also worked to bring funding to rural health care providers for telecom and broadband services, and she has counseled foreign governments seeking to privatize their nationalized telecom monopolies. Prior to the FCC, Belinda practiced securities and corporate transactional law at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
Belinda has a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a member of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. She is a member of the Maryland State Bar Association and the Federal Communications Bar Association.
Belinda has served Sidwell Friends in a number of volunteer capacities, including as co-clerk of the Parents Association, co-chair of the annual fundraiser A Night for Scholars, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, and she is especially proud of her contributions to the development of a center for ethical leadership, inquiry and action. In addition to her volunteer activities at the School, Belinda is on the Board of Trustees of CONNECTdmv, a non-profit organization committed to closing the opportunity gap for students of color at local independent schools, and from 2010-2016 she served as a leadership team member for Stanford Admissions. Belinda and her husband, Gregory Nixon live in Washington, DC, with their two sons, Garrett ’17 and Jonathan ’23.
Channing Paller ’97
Channing is a translational researcher and associate professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins where she treats patients and focuses her research on developing more effective and less toxic therapies for prostate cancer and other solid tumors. To translate laboratory discoveries into new treatments, she developed a portfolio of investigator-initiated clinical studies involving immunotherapy, precision therapy, and natural products. She has published more than 60 articles and book chapters and was recently named associate director of oncology for the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network.
Channing has long had an interest in determining whether dietary supplements, vitamins, and other natural products, on which Americans spend more than $14 billion dollars each year, are helpful or harmful for cancer patients. Her studies in this and other areas have earned her honors throughout her career including the Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the ECOG Paul Carbone Award, and a multi-year clinical research training grant from NIH. She is currently the national principal investigator for a randomized placebo-controlled phase III clinical trial, accruing patients at 12 cancer centers around the country, that seeks to determine whether popular antioxidants delay cancer growth in the 25% of cancer patients who carry a specific germline genetic profile.
Channing recognizes how much her career has been shaped and enhanced by excellent mentors at Sidwell and all through her undergraduate years and medical training. To “pay it forward” she mentors trainees from the high school level through junior faculty at Johns Hopkins.
While she was a student at Sidwell, and through her college years at Bowdoin, Channing interned at the National Institutes of Health. During her medical studies at Harvard, she spent time at the Weizmann Institute in Israel’s Department of Biological Regulation, Massachusetts General Hospital’s Endocrine Unit, and McCord Hospital in South Africa, where she participated in the Harvard AIDS project. During her oncology fellowship at Johns Hopkins, Channing spent time at both the US Food and Drug Administration and the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program.
Channing and her husband, Brian Toll, live in Chevy Chase, Maryland with their sons, Alex and Teddy.
How a traditional classroom activity got a virtual makeover—and the surprising benefits that resulted.
This summer, we welcome five new trustees: Cat Dawson ’04, Wayne A. I. Frederick, Ali Mohamadi ’94, Belinda Nixon, and Channing Paller ’97.
When Sidwell Friends science teachers had to leave their classrooms behind, they discovered more than they bargained for.
In a meeting with Perkins Eastman architects, students make the case for native plants.
With end-of-year performances cancelled, one Sidwell Friends senior found a way for students to showcase their talents while helping others.