Lt. David Botwin, a graduate of High School South, has been stationed to serve aboard the the USS New Mexico, one of the U.S. Navy’s newest attack submarines. U.S. Navy Lt. David Botwin, a 2000 graduate of High School South, has been stationed to serve aboard one of the Navy’s newest attack submarines, the USS New Mexico.

Botwin is a supply officer aboard the Groton-based boat, one of only 12 Virginia-class attack submarines in the Navy’s fleet. The Virginia class is comprised of the Navy’s newest and most advanced subs. With a crew of 130, the submarine is 377 feet long and weighs approximately 7,800 tons. A nuclear-powered propulsion system helps push the submarine through the water at more than 25 mph.

In his job as supply officer, Botwin is the businessman for the boat responsible and is for $4.5 million of provisions for the submarine. “Being on a sub allows me the unique opportunity to be involved in the tactical place on the boat,” Botwin said.

Attack submarines are designed to hunt down and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; strike targets ashore with cruise missiles; carry and deliver Navy SEALs; carry out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions; and engage in mine warfare. Their primary tactical advantage is stealth, operating undetected under the sea for long periods of time.

“The submarine community has one of the highest operational tempos in the Navy, our missions are extremely technical and demanding,” said Capt. Ollie Lewis, commodore, Submarine Squadron 12. “We can’t maintain the success that we have experienced without having the most exceptional people serving with us.”

According to Navy officials, because of the demanding environment aboard submarines, personnel are accepted only after rigorous testing and observation. Submariners are some of the most highly trained and skilled people in the Navy. The training is highly technical, and each crew has to be able to operate, maintain, and repair every system or piece of equipment on board. Regardless of their specialty, everyone also has to learn how everything on the ship works and how to respond in emergencies to become “qualified in submarines” and earn the right to wear the coveted gold or silver dolphins on their uniform.

“This is the hardest job I have ever done and it’s been the most rewarding,” said Botwin, who had also worked as a substitute teacher at High School South for several years. “Every day is unique and different within a changing environment. It is the complete opposite of mundane.”

Challenging submarine living conditions build strong camaraderie among the crew, who live a busy life of specialized work, watches and drills.

“Serving in the Navy means being part of a team and sharing a common goal of defending our country,” Botwin said.

South grad to appear in ‘Spelling Bee’

Hannah Leventhal, formerly of West Windsor, is appearing as Logainne in the Sierra Madre Playhouse production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

Leventhal, who now resides in Los Angeles, is a 2010 graduate of High School South and the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts.

Earthquake relief volunteer

Arya Jha, 16, of West Windsor worked with several organizations tgi syear to help better the lives of the victims of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

Jha volunteered for Rotary International (Club of Dhulikhel), National Society of Earthquake Technology, Raksha Nepal and Voice of Children. This is in addition to visiting Nepal last year to help provide on-the-scene assistance after the earthquake.

“I accomplished my main purpose of helping the people I worked with and the people of Nepal, but I feel that the best way to help from abroad is if there were a way to showcase my story to inspire others,” she said. “I have two younger sisters who are already planning their own trip to Nepal in the near future after seeing the work I did while I was there.

McGill’s punk rock film shown at film fest

“Punked,” a film directed by Princeton Junction native Adam McGill was one of the works chosen to be screened at this year’s Princeton Student Film Festival at the Princeton Public Library last month.

The comedy, which runs more than 10 minutes long, is about punk rock singer and guitarist Dale, whose allegiance to his music is challenged when a new romance enters his life.

This film was shot in the fall of 2015 on 16mm film as a senior thesis project at Wesleyan University. McGill said that, “With only a few near disasters,” Punked was completed this spring after spending days cutting the film by hand on a Steenbeck editing table. The film was inspired by equally by punk rock and Howard Hawks, he said.

McGill recently completed his undergraduate film studies at Wesleyan, and said he spends his free time listening to loud rock music and complaining about how “parents just don’t understand, man.”


Jacques I. Pankove of Princeton Junction died on July 12. Born in Chernigov, Ukraine, in 1922, Pankove and his parents immigrated to Constantinople, Turkey, in 1923 to flee czarist Russia. A year later, the family immigrated to Marseilles, France, where they lived for nearly 20 years until the Nazi invasion.

In 1942, he moved to Oakland, California, and he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where he spent his service time in the Philippines.

Pankove was a distinguished engineering alumnus of the University of California at Berkeley for his exceptional achievement in the discovery of Light Emitting Diodes. His scientific pursuit of LEDs and many other devices started at the RCA Lab in Penns Neck where he spent most of his scientific career.

Pankove earned his BS in electrical engineering in 1944 and MS in electrical engineering in 1948 from the University of California at Berkeley, followed by a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Paris in 1960. He returned to Berkeley in 1968 as a visiting McKay Lecturer and, using his class notes, he authored a textbook, “Optical Processes in Semiconductors,” in 1972.

He was a prolific inventor, author, speaker and served as an editor of several research journals. He was awarded more than 90 U.S. patents. Upon his retirement from RCA in 1985, Pankove relocated to Boulder, CO, for a joint appointment to the Solar Energy Research Institute and the Department of Engineering and Computer Science at University of Colorado. He was later appointed to a research chair at the University of Colorado College of Engineering. In 1998, he received a Rank Prize in Optoelectronics.

Later, he was Professor Emeritus and founded the Boulder research company Astralux. In 2010, Pankove relocated back to West Windsor to be closer to family. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Ethel; sons, Martin (Caroline) of Alexandria, VA, and Simon (Melissa) of West Windsor; a sister and two grandchildren.

Dr. Lester M. Bynum, 68, of Atlanta, GA, died on July 9. A former a former member and president of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Board of Education, Bynum was a native of New Orleans and a long time resident of Plainsboro, before moving to the Atlanta area.

He is survived by wife, Juanita; son, Reginald (Lindsay) Bynum; daughter, Lesley (Jerhome) Petway; and two granddaughters.

Catherine Sophia Zimmer, 97, of Hamilton, died on July 2. Born in Plainsboro, Zimmer retired in 1983 from Fort Dix where she was a finance clerk for 26 years, and prior to that she had been employed at Camp Kilmer as a Graphotype/Addressograph operator.

Daughter of the late Charles “Karl” Frederick and Sophia Wellhauser; sister of the late Mary Wellhauser, Albert Wellhauser, Anna Clevenger, Ida Sassman, and Gladys Hambleton. Zimmer is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews.

Joan Baumann-Jones, 87, of Shelburne, Vermont, died on June 24. Survivors include a daughter, Kristen Cook of Princeton Junction.

John L. Matts, Jr., 79, of Edison, died on July 4. Survivors include a daughter, Kelly Jones of Plainsboro.

Tanya G. (Pilecki) Boardman, 85, of Blue Bell, PA, died on July 12. Survivors include her sister, Constance Coscia and her husband, Alfred, of Princeton Junction.

Wilmot B. Shropshire, 86, of Ewing died on July 18. Survivors include a granddaughter, Heather Shropshire of West Windsor.