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Alumnae Spotlight

September 2014

  • Upward Bound

    by Debra Michals

    What’s the difference between rising in the ranks and getting stuck at ground level? For women, it can be a mentor or sponsor who will make sure she gets noticed. Successful alumnae in business, government, science and education reflect on the role of mentors and the importance of paying it forward to the next generation.

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  • Path of Good Intentions

    by Nina Munk ’88

    Nina Munk ’88, a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, writes about her experiences traveling around Africa to observe the ups and downs of economist Jeffrey Sachs Millennium Villages Project in his quest to end poverty.

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  • Code Word: Girls

    by Erin Peterson

    As founder of CompuGirls, Kimberly Scott ’91 gets girls excited about high-tech careers. For opening the sciences to underrepresented minorities, the White House named Kimberly Scott ’91 a “Champion of Change.”

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August 2014

  • Fate and Family

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    In “Postcards From Cookie: A Memoir of Motherhood, Miracles, and a Whole Lot of Mail,” Caroline Clarke ’85 writes about discovering her birth mother and the universal issues of identity, faith, loss and love.

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  • Vintage Vanguard

    by Kathy A. McDonald '80

    Inspired by vintage clothing, actress turned designer Shareen Mitchell ’80 runs a million-dollar business based in Los Angeles, dresses celebrities and has even had her own reality show.

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July 2014

  • The Enchantment of Imagining

    by Jane Falla

    Andrea Hairston ’74, the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and professor of Afro-American studies, talks about imagination as the fuel for science, art and culture.

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  • The Ultimate Long Weekend

    Louisa Loring ’13 talks about her new business venture, Il Magazzino, a unique arts and culture retreat in the Medieval village of Camporsevoli at the foothills of Mount Cetona in southern Tuscany.

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June 2014

  • Schools Spell Opportunity

    by Allison Ellis ’92

    Philanthropist Janet Wright Ketcham ’53 has been a longtime supporter of women’s education and empowerment and has since overseen the construction of six schools and helped develop teacher-training programs.

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May 2014

  • 'The Ladies of Gilbert and Sullivan'

    by Abe Loomis

    A sophomore at Smith, Elizabeth Anne Biddle ’13 was inspired by Victorian comic-operas to create a musical revue, The Ladies of Gilbert and Sullivan.

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April 2014

  • Breaking Barriers

    “Breaking Barriers: Smith Alumnae Dialogue” featured alumnae working on the cutting edge of race, class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality in a range of fields, including education, media, arts, activism, politics and philanthropy.

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  • The Art of Buddhism

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Even as a young child, Cynthea Bogel ’80 was captivated with all things Asian—a harbinger of the life she leads now. Bogel, who specializes in Buddhist visual culture and Japanese art and architecture, is on the faculty of Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, where she teaches Buddhist visual culture of

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March 2014

  • 'Be the Light of the Wall'

    by Andrea Cooper ’83

    ll around me, hundreds of women are singing a Hebrew prayer for peace, in clear voices that rise as one. That these are women’s voices is all the more powerful because we are gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Judaism’s most sacred site.

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  • The Good Government Sleuth

    by Linda Kramer Jenning ’72

    Danielle Brian ’85 is executive director of that small organization, now known as POGO (Project on Government Oversight), a leading nonpartisan watchdog group. Under her 20-year leadership, POGO has exposed a breadth of problems.

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  • ‘What it means to be Muslim’

    by Christina Barber-Just

    At Smith, Halimat Ipesa-Balogun ’16 has found her niche as the social chair of Al Iman, the campus chapter of the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada.

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  • The Glitter Gene

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Lots of little girls are born with what children’s book author Jane Abramson O’Connor ’69 playfully calls the “glitter gene,” a love of all things glamorous. For them there is Fancy Nancy, the precocious heroine of O’Connor’s blockbuster series.

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  • Power of Positive Play

    by Ali Benjamin

      After-school programs—an important part of the school day for many children of working parents—have a long history of boosting children’s self-esteem, achievement and sense of community, but only if they’re run well. That’s where Emilie Phillips Smith ’82 comes in. Smith has devoted much of her scholarly work and

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  • Born This Way

    by Abe Loomis

    Grammy Award–winning music video producer Nicole Ehrlich ’98 makes visions come to life working with superstars like Usher and Lady Gaga, contributing her ideas from conception to production to editing.

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  • Solving the Kidney Donor Shortage

    by Abe Loomis

    Kidney donors are in short supply worldwide, but Iran claims to have found a solution. Bioethicist Sigrid Fry-Revere ’83 traveled to Iran to investigate that country’s kidney donor system and discusses the implications.

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February 2014

  • Talk to My Agent

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Getting an agent is just as critical for children’s authors as it is for novelists. Susan Hood ’76—former children’s magazine and book editor turned writer—explains why and how to get one.

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December 2013

  • The Long Road to ‘I Do’

    by Brooke Hauser

    Alumnae on the front lines of the marriage equality movement, such as Jo Deutsch ’82, federal director of Freedom to Marry, rejoiced when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Learn where we stand.

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  • The Mystery of Memory

    by Ali Benjamin

    Suzanne Corkin ’59, emerita professor of behavioral neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has spent nearly 50 years conducting research on the world’s most comprehensively studied patient in brain science. What did she learn?

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  • Sheer Expression

    by John MacMillan

    Young designer-to-watch Yvette Elfawal ’10 is in demand for her attention-grabbing evening wear, even showing her collection during New York Fashion Week—every designer’s dream.

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  • ‘Summer Memories’

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Louise Peabody ’63 attempts to “transcend physical presence” in her paintings. Learn more about her work as she talks about “Summer Memories,” her new exhibit at the Alumnae House Gallery, and her life as an artist.

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November 2013

  • Piper Kerman ’92 Honored

    Piper Kerman ’92, author of the best-selling “Orange Is the New Black,” will receive the 2014 John Jay College Justice Trailblazer Award for her effort to raise public consciousness about the prison system.

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  • Sex Therapist Has Thriving Practice at 99

    Shirley Zussman ’34 started as a psychotherapist, but moved into sex therapy after attending a lecture by legendary sex researchers Masters and Johnson. And she’s been helping people with their sex lives ever since.

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October 2013

  • How Native Americans Are Rescuing Our Food Culture

    Sarah Khan ’87, founder of The Tasting Cultures Foundation, talks about Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT) and how this organization is transforming North America into separate and distinct food nations.

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September 2013

  • Unraveling the Mystery of MS

    “With any autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks healthy tissue. With multiple sclerosis, the target of the attack is the central nervous system—the brain and spinal cord. It’s an absolutely brutal disease.”

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  • Designed to Impress

    by Jennifer Maddox Sergent ’91

    “New Orleans is a florid kind of place, flowery and Gothic,” designer and architect Toby Schermerhorn ’80 says, describing her inspiration for a French Quarter hotel where the fitness center is covered in wallpaper with black-velvet skulls and guest rooms feature hot-pink chandelier silhouettes over the beds. The chandeliers, in

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  • Shedding New Light on Florence Nightingale

    by Jane Falla

    Judith Lissauer Cromwell ’57 shares details on her latest book, “Florence Nightingale, Feminist.” Cromwell says that while Nightingale epitomizes the nurturing female, she supersedes the stereotype.

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August 2013

  • Bravo!

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Conductor Arianne Abela ’08 has spent the summer performing on America’s Got Talent with with viral favorites 3 Penny Chorus and Orchestra. Find out how the group came together, and the mission behind Abela’s music.

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  • Kate O’Brian ’80 to Head Al Jazeera

    ABC News senior vice president Kate O’Brian ’80 has been named president of Al Jazeera America. O’Brian has been with ABC News for 30 years, heading headed the network news division since 2007.

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  • Gloria Steinem ’56 Awarded Medal of Freedom

    Gloria Steinem ’56 is among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, which goes to men and women who have dedicated their lives to enriching the lives of others.

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  • J. Courtney Sullivan '03 Advises Young Writers

    Best-selling author J. Courtney Sullivan ’03 dropped by to give some writing and publishing tips to students in the Young Women’s Writing Workshop held on the Smith campus over the summer

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July 2013

  • Start-up Strategist

    Dawn Lepore ’77, former CEO of Drugstore.com, talks about businesswomen in leadership positions and says, “I do think you need a lot of resilience and commitment—and I’ve always been a sucker for a challenge.”

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  • The Future of Leadership

    Jane Harman ’66, director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, spoke recently about the importance of women in public service and the vital role Smith plays in educating women leaders.

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June 2013

  • Under Dr. Judy’s Wing

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Judy Kuriansky ’68 has mentored dozens of Smith students over the past ten years, including Shuyao Kong ’13, who feels a very special connection with the psychologist, humanitarian and TV/radio commentator.

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  • "Tea for Three"

    Elaine Bromka ’72 takes her one-woman show, “Tea for Three: Lady Bird, Pat & Betty,” Off-Broadway, where she portrays the three first ladies at the end of their time in the White House.

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  • Sara Howard ’03: In Her Own Words

    Sara Howard ’03, state senator for Nebraska’s 9th district, talks about her childhood—including the loss of her father and sister—her love of reading and her new job working for the citizens of Nebraska.

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  • They Should Dream Big

    by Tzivia Gover

    With funding from a Helen Gurley Brown Magic Grant, Cassandra Holden AC ’10 uses a vibrant sculpture project to help teen mothers find creative strategies for confronting difficult situations in order to set their sights on a better future

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  • Nation to Nation

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Lisa Berrios AC ’02 promotes environmental accord between Environmental Protection Agency and American Indian and Alaska native tribal areas, working to ensure that environmental protections are serving the needs of the tribes.

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  • Strategist to Commentator

    Stephanie Cutter ’90, formerly President Obama’s deputy campaign manager, will join CNN as a political commentator, including appearing on CNN’s new morning show scheduled to launch in June.

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  • Saving Planet Earth

    Wendy Schmidt ’77 has become a powerhouse in the world of environmental philanthropy. “Everything I do feeds into it,” she says, “the boards I sit on, the kind of intellectual life that I get to be part of.”

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May 2013

  • Noted Breast Cancer Activist Dies

    Barbara Brenner ’73, former head of Breast Cancer Action—which she took from a grassroots nonprofit to a national organization that changed the conversation about breast cancer—has died of complications from ALS.

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  • New Drafts Shed Light on Plath's Demons

    Drafts of one of Sylvia Plath ’55’s last poems will soon go to auction. These papers include a fragment from an earlier short story that Plath discarded, and it illustrates what haunted the poet for most of her life.

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  • The Windy City’s Money Manager

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Chicago City Treasurer Stephanie Neely ’85 not only oversees billions of dollars in city assets, she also uses her office to support small businesses and educate the public about the importance of financial literacy.

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April 2013

  • An Homage to Shelly

    Shelly Lazarus ’68 has been named a 2013 Advertising Hall of Fame inductee. In “Love Letter to Shelly Lazarus,” Liz Olsen writes, “Years before Sheryl Sandberg, Shelly Lazarus was out there as living proof of what leaning in looks like.”

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  • The Battle Over Blasphemy

    Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman ’85 is fighting intolerance and battling her country’s controversial blasphemy laws—but at what risk? Read the DailyBeast/Newsweek story.

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  • Art and the Self

    Artist Rebecca Shapiro ’85’s TEDxConcordiaUPortland talk is titled “Untangling the Stories, Beliefs and Behaviors that Bind,” She says, “My current work is about releasing stories that are no longer true to us.”

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  • When We Were Special

    Meg Wolitzer 81’s latest novel, “The Interestings,” tells the story of a group of teens, who meet at an artsy summer camp in the 1970s, and follows them through adulthood to lives they did not plan. Read the NPR review.

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  • Advocating for Global Citizenship

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Gillian Sorensen ’63—dubbed the diplomat’s diplomat by The New York Times—shares her thoughts on the United Nations today and the need for more women leaders.

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  • The Power of the Smith Network

    by Alana Muller ’93

    Business consultant and networking expert Alana Muller ’93 views the Smith alumnae global connection as one of the most valuable aspects of her education. Here she recommends how to make the most of it.

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March 2013

  • Fresh Starts

    by Jennifer Maddox Sergent ’91

    Everything in our culture tells us to hang on to our dreams. But what if those dreams lead us in the wrong direction? Alumnae reflect on times they had to start over, give up, let go or turn around to find a better, more satisfying path.

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  • A Groove of Her Own

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Merrill Garbus ’01 catapulted onto the music scene in 2011 with w ho k i l l, the second album from her tUnE-yArDs project, which made more than 100 critics’ top-10 lists and captured the raw, experimental zeitgeist of indie-pop music.

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  • Compelled to Help

    by Winifred Neidecker Constable ’76

    Eight years ago physician Winifred Neidecker Constable ’76’s then 13-year-old daughter decided she was going to save the world, starting with an orphanage in Uganda. Constable had no idea that she would be part of the deal.

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  • Ready… Set… Network!

    by Alana Muller ’93

    Effective networking is a necessity in today’s professional world, says business consultant and networking blogger Alana Muller ’93. Here she offers some tips on how to create your own networking style.

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  • The Mark of a Mentor

    In an essay on the Huffington Post, Xiomara Iraheta ’07 writes that having a mentor made her feel “valued, important and worthy” and changed the course of her life, including leading her to Smith.

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  • Conversations with the Smith Medalists

    Watch video interviews with this year’s Smith Medalists, including scientist Anne De Groot ’78, zoologist Kay Holekamp ’73, philanthropist Janet McKinley ’76 and Shakespeare scholar Gail Paster ’66.

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January 2013

  • Person of the Year

    Tammy Baldwin ’84, Wisconsin’s first female senator and the first openly gay U.S. senator, is The Advocate’s 2012 Person of the Year.

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  • Breast Cancer in Words and Pictures

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    A Google search of “breast cancer books” yields more than 68 million results, but two alumnae recently published books that deal with the topic in new and innovate ways.

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  • Blueprint for a New Life

    by Jane Falla

    Erin McCormick ’83, author of “A Year of Action: How to Stop Waiting & Start Living Your BIG, Fabulous Life,” shares some practical advice on how to create the life you want—one step at a time.

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  • WordSmith

    WordSmith is an ongoing list of titles penned by Smith alumnae—a perfect resource for your next Smith book club selection. Pictured is Ruth Ozeki ’80, whose latest novel, A Tale for the Time Being, is getting rave reviews.

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December 2012

  • New Life for Neighborhoods

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Monique King-Viehland ’99 talks about an exciting project to revitalize college neighborhoods in Newark, New Jersey, and why American cities need to be creative to survive.

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  • Asian Collections in Focus

    by Elise Gibson

    Back in 1913, when Americans widely understood art to mean European paintings and sculpture, wealthy industrialist and art collector Charles Lang Freer gave a gift of Asian art to Smith College’s Hillyer Art Gallery. That gift—made at a moment when America’s aesthetic tastes were beginning to look to the East—formed

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  • The China Connection: Opportunity Calls

    Smith College’s long and meaningful connection to China extends back to 1915, when Smith alumnae helped launch Ginling College in Nanjing, China’s first college for women. The same year, Fung Yan Liu became Smith’s first Chinese alumna.   Since then the connections have steadily built, especially in recent decades as

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  • License to Practice

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Attorney Erin Masson Wirth ’90 know how difficult it is to be a military spouse and maintain a legal career—so now she helps others in the same situation.

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  • Her Own Finish Line

    by Jane Falla

    Jess Mencer Peláez ’05 spent months preparing for a grueling ride across Mongolia, and an entrance fee of $10,000. Was it worth the risk?

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November 2012

  • Volunteers: Smith Women Changing the World

    Watch a video that shows how alumnae are changing the world, from building sustainable schools in Africa to making a difference in their local communities.

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  • Tammy Baldwin ’84 Makes Election History

    Tammy Baldwin ’84 makes history in Wisconsin, as she win the U.S. Senate seat, becoming both the state’s first female senator and the first openly gay candidate to be elected.

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  • The Work of Art

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    As the daughter of Pulitzer Prize–winning author Bernard Malamud, Janna Malamud Smith, M.S.W. ’79, grew up surrounded by writers, painters and musicians …

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  • Virtual Book Club, Real Connections

    by The Chapin Book Club*

    As recent Smith graduates in the fall of 2010, we Chapin housemates (as well as a classmate from Parsons and one from Haven) decided to start a “virtual” book club.

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October 2012

  • Sylvia and Marty

    Three weeks before she died on July 25, 2012, Marcia (Marty) Brown Stern ’54 sent me a registered letter, which began, “What is enclosed may astonish you.” Indeed it did.

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September 2012

  • A Coveted Prize, a Touching Tribute

    by Mika Provata-Carlone

    What was meant as a touching tribute has turned into one of the most prestigious and meaningful prizes for women in contemporary drama—the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. It was established in 1978 in memory of Susan Smith Blackburn ’55 …

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  • Behind the Book: “Secrets of a Wedding Night”

    Yes, I went to Smith and I’m a romance novelist. And I already know what some of you are thinking. Let’s be clear. I’m a card-carrying feminist. In fact, I like to think my “card” is my degree from Smith. But I also believe passionately in two things: that the

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  • Drawn to Philanthropy

    by Laurie Bouck ’88

    Janet Clarke McKinley ’76 remembers the first time she saw something as small as a $20 loan change a woman’s life. It happened about twenty years ago …

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  • Commanding the Stage

    by Elise Gibson

    In her sixty years on the stage, Lois Markle ’52 has played just about every kind of female role a playwright can imagine: overbearing mothers, drug addicts …

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  • Champion of Change

    by Debra Michals

    Andrea Perry ’93 doesn’t watch the evening news quite like the rest of us. For her, every story about a teen in crisis is a call to action. Having spent more than a decade working for YouthConnect, a program of the Boys & Girls Club of Boston …

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  • Lasting Bonds

    When Smith women meet up, the years simply fall away. Throughout both Reunion weekends, you’ll see them, laughing and sharing stories as they gather in …

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August 2012

  • Behind the Book: “The Not Yet”

    by Moira Crone ’74

    Moira Crone ’74’s new novel paints a future where the one percent have achieved immortality—at a very steep price

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July 2012

  • Make Your Boss Look Good ... And Other Career Advice for Young Alumnae

    by Terri Tierney Clark ’81

    Terri Tierney Clark ’81, creator of the website Advice for the New Careerist, shares some career tips for new alumnae.

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  • Aging Gracefully

    by Jane Falla

    Margaret Dyer-Chamberlain ’80 talks about the movement toward “aging in place” and the implications for individuals and communities.

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June 2012

  • Grabbing Life by the Reins

    by Jane Falla

    Jess Mencer Pelaez ’05 gears up to race this August in the Mongol Derby, a 10-day horse race billed as the longest and toughest in the world. For her day job, Pelaez is a geologist with a specialty in volcanology, who works for a mine-planning software company.

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  • Glimmers of Gladness

    by Jane Falla

    Anne Kubitsky ’05 has created a unique community art project with a focus on gratitude that has gained the attention of people from all over the world.

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  • A Different Vision

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Documentary filmmaker Michelle Medina ’05’s focuses her lens on the stories that bring her beloved adopted country of Morocco to life.

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May 2012

  • The Shape of Things

    by Jane Falla

    Seventy years into a brilliant career, sculptor Isabel Case Borgatta ’43 still has a passion for taking a piece of stone and carving it into something beautiful.

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  • Crimes of Fashion

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    Business journalist and fashionista Hitha Prabhakar ’98 talks about her career in the industry and her investigation into the dangerous world of organized retail crime and why it affects all of us.

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  • Charting Culture

    Renowned craftsperson Jaya Jaitly ’63 talks about the business, artistic,and cultural aspects of maintaining the integrity of the arts and crafts traditions of India while making them accessible.

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  • Gloria Steinem: A Woman Like No Other

    New York Times writer Sarah Heploa looks back on the legacy of Gloria Steinem ’56 and wonders, “Where is the next Gloria?” Is there a comparable leader for the women’s movement in 2012?

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  • Behind the Book: “The Guilty Ones”

    by Joanna Crispi ’78

    Novelist Joanna Crispi ’78 draws on her high-profile legal defense background to write a new novel that explores the fine line between guilt and innocence during the excess of the 1980s.

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April 2012

  • Behind the Book: The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School

    by Whitney Joiner ’00

    Whitney Joiner ’00, co-author of “The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School,” talks about why we need to find out what girls today are really going through.

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  • Influentials

    Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy ’02, who won a 2012 Academy Award for her documentary, “Saving Face,” about acid attacks on Pakistani women, is on Time magazine’s list of The 100 Most Influential People in the World.

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  • Keeping Up with Dr. Miller

    Cindy Miller ’80—a radiologist at Yale-New Haven Hospital and an associate professor at Yale Medical School—wanted to be a doctor since she was 4 years old and even congenital muscular dystrophy couldn’t stop her.

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  • Remembering Isabel Brown Wilson '53

    Following Isabel Brown Wilson’s death on March 27, members of the Smith community and classmates remember her as a champion of the arts and a generous philanthropist responsible for one of Smith’s largest gifts.

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March 2012

  • Smith Networking Made Easy

    by Cheryl Dellecese

    The Alumnae Association and its volunteer leadership are making it easier for alumnae to connect professionally in their hometowns with Regional Professional Gatherings. Local alumnae leaders host the events, which center on a professional discipline, such as law or energy.

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  • Green is Good

    by Christina Barber-Just

    By appealing to their bottom lines, ecostrategist Aimée Christensen ’91 is helping corporations see that reducing their environmental footprint is smart business…

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  • Early Adopter

    by Jane Falla

    In a new book, Susan Spoehrer Elliott ’58 reflects on her successful career in the male-dominated technology trade…

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  • Framing Their Lives

    by Lindsey Rowe Roberts ’06

    Buying a camera on a trip to Japan in 1975 inspired Susan Gilbert Tileston ’63 to become a professional photographer. Now, after a twenty-year career, she gives cameras to refugees on the Thailand-Burma border.

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February 2012

  • Philanthropic Powerhouse

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Every year, the Washingtonian magazine comes out with its list of “Washington’s 100 Most Powerful Women.” The 2011 list includes some very big names: Michelle Obama …

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  • A Leap of Food

    by Jane Falla

    What happens when three New York meat and cheese lovers adopt a vegan diet? That’s what Marisa Miller Wolfson ’98’s first feature-length film, Vegucated,is all about. The documentary, which Miller Wolfson wrote, directed …

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January 2012

  • A Stitch in Time

    by Jane Falla

    Kim Taylor Kruse ’97 opened Sew Make Do, a modern sewing and craft studio in Gainesville, FL. Classes such as “Get Started with Sewing” and “Learn to Work with Patterns” are designed to get people together to learn, share ideas, explore their creativity.

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  • From Teacher to Painter

    by Jane Falla

    Peg Lee Bachenheimer ’66’s mixed media and encaustic paintings offer such inviting and reflective titles as Warm Glow at the End of the Day and Walk in the Winter Woods. The encaustic technique …

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  • Behind the Book: Margaret Wurtele ’67

    I can trace my novel back to a June day in 2004. My husband and I had rented a vacation home in Tuscany with some California friends. One day we went with them to a villa near Lucca …

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  • Slope-side Humor

    by Christina Barber-Just

    As a thesis student in NYU’s graduate film program, Desiree Akhavan ’07 had an assignment last year to make a short film for a directing class: no parameters, no requirements, just make something…

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  • Behind the Book: Shana Corey ’96

    I’ve had a thing for olden-day girls ever since I read my first Little House on the Prairie book—the bonnets, the corncob dolls, the maple syrup candy! One thing I learned at Smith …

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December 2011

  • Time to Recharge?

    by Rita Foley '75

    When I graduated from Smith in 1975 with a major in psychology, I had passion, determination and a bunch of women’s voices in my head saying, “There is nothing you can’t do.” As I built my career, I learned that, yes …

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  • School of Hope

    by John MacMillan

    One day last spring, Erinn McGurn ’94 found herself in the front seat of a dusty car driving along the dirt roads of rural Mfuwe, Zambia, on her way to the Chiutika Basic School, which she’d first visited about five years ago …

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  • It's All About the Beat

    by Christina Barber-Just

    In her latest documentary, All I Wanna Do, Casablanca-based filmmaker Michelle Medina ’05 follows Moroccan father and son Simohamed and Ayoub Rouguiyag as they chase their musical dreams …

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November 2011

  • The Enamelist in Action

    by Jane Falla

      From bowls to plates to jewelry, contemporary enamelists know that the process to create decorative objects celebrating the beautiful color and light of enamels can be demanding and unforgiving. To turn out pieces like those by Averill Brockelman Shepps ’53 requires the right combination of patience, determination, and sense

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  • All Fired Up

    by Jane Falla

    When Averill Brockelman Shepps ’53 was introduced to enameling, an ancient, exacting craft of firing glass onto metal, she was instantly taken by the beauty of the colors and the play of light. That was more than 50 years ago …

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October 2011

  • Solving the Mystery of Autism

    by Karen Brown

    When Margaret Bauman ’60 first entered the field of autism brain research in the early 1980s, she was practically alone. At the time, she was training in Boston as a neurobiologist, interested in learning disabilities, and working for a laboratory that analyzed postmortem brains.

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  • A Glass of Sherry with Mr. Donald

    by Benjamin O. Sperry

    Historian Benjamin Sperry, whose mother is Robbie Oxnard ’51, writes about her time in New York City with her good friend Rosey Wilcox Dickerson ’51, and a special afternoon with one of their Smith professors.

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September 2011

  • A Way of Life

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Kecia Brooks-Smith Lowe ’88 and Malaika Brooks-Smith-Lowe ’08 are the mother-and-daughter team behind Spice Harmony Yoga Studio,the first and only yoga studio on the Caribbean island of Granada …

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  • The Landscape Come to Life

    by Christina Barber-Just

    The Smith College Museum of Art has a 1995 oil painting by Joellyn (Joly) Duesberry ’66 in its collection. Titled “Above Taos Valley, New Mexico,” it’s a subtly colorful landscape …

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  • Behind the Book: Linda Carroll ’78

    by Linda Carroll ’78

    People often ask what inspired me and my co-author, writer and former managing editor of Neurology Now, David Rosner, to write our book, The Concussion Crises …

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  • Wanted: A Few Good Volunteers

    by Kate Carlisle ’83

    Shirley Sagawa ’83 is sipping a cup of chai tea at the Bombay Club, a luxurious, but comfortable, restaurant a block from the White House. Fresh from publicizing her recent book, The American Way …

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  • Ringmistress of the Word

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Erin McCauley ’00 (pen name Erin Morgenstern) is living the debut novelist’s dream: Her book, “The Night Circus” (Doubleday, 2011), about a nocturnal Victorian circus and pair of dueling magicians …

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  • From the Fringe

    by Jake Lipman ’00

    Jake Lipman ’00 founded Tongue in Cheek Theater Productions in 2006 after earning her MFA in 2004 from the Actors Studio Drama School at the New School in New York City. This summer …

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  • Behind the Book: Jessica Brody ’01

    For many years, I’d heard writers talk about their “aha!” moments. When an idea for a book just popped into their head and they cried out, “aha!” But I’d never experienced that for myself …

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  • Life as They Know It

    by Jenny Hall AC ’04

    Every alumna who returns to Smith for Reunion has a story to tell—about the things she’s seen, what she’s done, and the woman she’s become. During this year’s celebration, we asked a handful of Smith women to reflect.

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August 2011

  • Writing in the Digital Age

    by Christina Barber-Just

    After years spent watching the caliber of writing decline “precipitously,” Susan Leigh Babcock ’76 finally decided to do something about it. Babcock, a professional writer and editor with Wall Street experience to boot, is the CEO …

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  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

    by Christina Barber-Just

    As a serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, Sramana Mitra ’93 has experienced multiple booms and busts over the years. The financial crisis of 2008 got her thinking …

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  • First Job: Teaching in Chile

    by Christina Barber-Just

    “Most Chileans have never heard of my town,” says Woodman-Russell, who is volunteering with the Chile Patagonia Sur Year program …

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  • A Promising Year

    by Jane Falla

    Last October, while visiting The Lake Austin Spa Resort for her work as a marketing consultant, Jamie Eslinger ’96 had an epiphany…

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July 2011

  • Playing for Patients

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violist Penny Anderson Brill ’71 always knew music helps heal—she just didn’t know how much until she herself got sick. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, Brill experimented with using music

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  • A Mother Lode of Deals

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Plum District CEO Megan Gardner ’98 likes to describe her Website as “Groupon for moms meets Mary Kay without the lipstick.” A daily-deal site for mothers, Plum District offers discounts on family-friendly products and services to moms in more than thirty-five urban areas, or “districts.

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  • How She Got That Job: Product Tester

    by Christina Barber-Just

    As the number-two member of America’s Test Kitchen’s four-person tasting-and-testing team, Graves identifies supermarket ingredients and kitchen equipment worth rating; evaluates them on a scientific basis …

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  • ‘I thought I might have wrecked the Peace Corps’

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Margery Michelmore Heffron ’60 graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Smith, joined the Peace Corps in its first year, and distinguished herself as an outstanding trainee, according to one account.

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June 2011

  • Gone With the Wind's Unsung Heroine

    by Ellen Brown

    In 1927, Lois Dwight Cole ’24, a bright and bookish young woman from New Jersey, landed a job as the office manager of the Atlanta branch of the Macmillan Company …

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  • In My View: Smith Is

    by Emily Markussen Sorsher ’04

    I know that everyone looks back at their college years with a certain amount of nostalgia, but I wondered what it was that made Smith such a compelling place for those of us who attended.

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  • Making Science Fun

    by Jane Falla

    Sixteen years ago when Stephanie Urban ’78 volunteered in her son’s first-grade class, a light bulb went off. Armed with a hair dryer and ping-pong balls to demonstrate the Bernoulli principle of velocity and pressure …

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  • ‘A Greater Purpose’

    by Christina Barber-Just

    John F. Kennedy stood before students at the University of Michigan and asked, “How many of you who are going to be doctors are willing to spend your days in Ghana?”

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  • Founding Feminist

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Florence Rosenfeld Howe, MA ’51, holds her own among modern feminists. A leader of the women’s movement, she is founder of the Feminist Press …

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  • 'I Should be There'

    by Karen Brown

    It never occurred to Anjana Shakya ’91 not to return to her native Nepal after she graduated from Smith. “I felt that if I wanted change in my country, I should be there,” says Shakya.

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  • In My View: Our ‘Uncommon Hours’

    by Katherine Chao Evans ’64

    When I was a junior at Smith in the early 1960s, we had to attend an assembly every Wednesday morning in John M. Greene. One speaker in particular stands out in my mind.

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  • Society Girls Go West

    by Jane Falla

    In 1916, Dorothy Woodruff Hillman and Rosamond Underwood Carpenter, both class of 1909, bravely traveled west from their privileged lives in Auburn, New York …

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May 2011

  • Times of Turmoil and Transformation

    by John MacMillan

    Alumnae on campus for Reunion discuss the tremendous cultural shifts that shaped their college years and influenced their lives.

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  • A Passion for Protecting the Planet

    by Jane Falla

    Two children, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren have shaped Anita King ’37’s life, but it’s King’s interest in people and the planet that have …

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  • Help on the Breast Cancer Journey

    by Jane Falla

    Elesa Commerse ’76, a meditation teacher, is the founding president of Forever Whole, a nonprofit created to alleviate the suffering of people with breast cancer.

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April 2011

  • In My View: Growing Pains and the Defense of Marriage

    by Jen VanderWeyden ’93

    Six years ago I married my longtime girlfriend, Kris Martini ’95, in western Massachusetts where we first met as Smith soccer teammates a decade and a half earlier.

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March 2011

  • Got Art?

    by Jane Falla

    Wendy Cromwell ’86 has some simple advice for anyone who wants to turn her passion for art into collecting: Don’t be intimidated. Art collecting is accessible to anyone.

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  • Teaching with a Mom's Touch

    by Jane Falla

    Anne Stevens Frost ’98, who now lives in the Philippines, began thinking about homeschooling five years ago while living in Arizona, before her oldest daughter, Kai, was ready to be enrolled in kindergarten.

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  • A Mission to Teach

    by Jenny Hall AC ’04

    Jennifer Carter ’04 remembers with startling clarity the first day of her stint with Teach for America. At 22, with a fresh new anthropology degree in hand, she had arrived on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the Badlands of South Dakota …

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  • Singing Lessons

    by Leslie Talmadge

    Dorry Schalk Brown ’65, a wide-eyed, youthful grandmother, sits on the floor of a large, airy classroom at Boston’s Emerson College. She sings in her clear, alto voice: “Oh, five kids came to group today.”

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  • Freedom to Teach

    by Ileana Jimenez ’97

    I went into teaching because I wanted young people to learn that they have the power to make the world a better place. I wanted to teach them that reading, writing, and activism can have far-reaching effects on the way we live.

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  • Teachers of Today

    Each of the alumnae educators profiled here is determined to find solutions to nagging problems in the nation’s schools. For Rachel Willis ’04 it’s insisting on high expectations for her third-grade students.

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  • A Treasure in Panama

    by Christina Barber-Just

    One of the key players who has worked to make Panama’s Biodiversity Museum—or BioMuseum—a reality is Pilar Arosemena Aleman ’79.

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  • Mika El-Baz ’85: Music Publicity Executive

    by Christina Barber-Just

    As executive vice president, publicity at RCA Music Group, Mika El-Baz ’85 is responsible for overseeing a staff of publicists to promote the labels groups artists.

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  • Dressed for Success

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Meredith Duncan ’08 launched Cubicle Chic in April 2010 with the mission of inspiring creativity in young professionals’ everyday corporate style

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  • Game On

    by Christina Barber-Just

    The game-design curriculum Terrasa Ulm ’99 created for Becker College is currently ranked fourth in the nation and first in New England by the Princeton Review.

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  • Balancing the Old and the New

    by Jane Falla

    Linny Blumer AC ’89 is a free spirit. Just after graduating from Smith, she followed her new husband to Russia, where he moved to work for the American Embassy. From there they created a family life in Switzerland and enjoyed plenty of travel. Nine years ago, Blumer, her husband, and

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February 2011

  • Legion of Honor

    by Christina Barber-Just

    For Denise Silber ’74, attending Smith meant she had one big thing in common with Julia McWilliams Child ’34. Now, make that two. Almost a decade after Child received the French Legion of Honor, Silber is set to receive …

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  • The People’s Revolution 2011

    by Hala Kamal, DIPL ’00

      I am an Egyptian, living and working in Cairo and currently appointed as assistant professor in the English department at Cairo University. I spent a year at Smith College enrolled in the American Studies Diploma Program for international students (1999-2000), during which I focused on developing my knowledge of

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  • Cairo Timeline: From Pyramids to Protests

    by Judith Bronstein Milestone ’66

    As a former vice president at CNN, Judith Bronstein Milestone ’66 is used to thinking fast in crisis situations. Those skills were put to the test for three days last month when she served as the Alumnae Association representative on a Smith Travel trip to Egypt that very quickly turned

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  • ‘We hope for the very best’

    by Mary Ellen Ellsworth ’62

        Click here to view a photo gallery On January 26, my husband, Mike, and I set off on a Smith Travel trip to Egypt with a planned extension to Jordan. The trip’s itinerary was quite wonderful, with several days in Cairo, cruises on the Nile River and Lake

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  • ‘We had wandered into a war’

    Photos courtesy Mary Maples Dunn and Bruce Hauck  

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  • Bird’s-eye view of a revolution

    by former Smith College President Mary Maples Dunn

    On January 26, former Smith College President Mary Maples Dunn joined twenty-four alumnae, their spouses, and friends on a Smith Travel trip to Egypt. They arrived in Cairo just as the country erupted and demonstrators against President Hosni Mubarak filled the capital city. For two tense days, Smith Travel and

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  • Witnessing modern history in the making

    by Gardi Pedersen Hauck ’65

        It’s almost impossible to put our Egypt experience into words. By Saturday, I was keeping my journal by the hour.   Click here to view a photo gallery Our group of twenty-four was kept out of harm’s way by our amazing guide, 29-year-old Nora, who was so bright,

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  • ‘We had wandered into a war’

    On January 27, twenty-four alumnae, their spouses, and friends on a Smith Travel trip to Egypt arrived in Cairo just as the country erupted and demonstrators against President Hosni Mubarak filled the capital city. For two tense days, Smith Travel and the tour company, Odysseys Unlimited worked the phones to

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January 2011

  • The Happiness Paradox

    by Andrea Cooper ’83

    Sometimes happiness thrives under surprising conditions. Consider Lynne Thomas ’96. Her daughter, 8-year-old Caitlin, was born with a rare congenital disorder…

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  • Good Eggs

    by Christina Barber-Just

    For Phoebe Potts ’92 and her husband, four years of fertility treatments yielded nothing but a depressing tally: three unsuccessful artificial inseminations, four failed in vitro fertilizations, and at least five miscarriages.

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  • The Blessing of Alzheimer’s

    by Christina Barber-Just

    In 1995, Harrison (Hob) Hoblitzelle, the man Olivia Ames Hoblitzelle ’59 calls “my buddy, my husband, my lover, and companion in life,” received a catastrophic diagnosis: Alzheimer’s disease.

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  • Tiffany Montague ’96: Space Commander

    by Christina Barber-Just

    A business development manager in Google’s New Business Development group, the title on her business card reads “Intergalactic Federation King Almighty and Commander of the Universe.”

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  • Remaking a Classic

    by Jane L. Levere ’72

    When landscape architect Signe Nielsen ’72 took on the massive job of transforming the exterior spaces of New York City’s Lincoln Center, her vision for one section of the grounds started with a request from Peter Martins.

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December 2010

  • Guiding Caregivers

    by Karen D. Brown

    Jamie Spooner ’87 became a long-distance caregiver when her mother called from across the country to say her father had not been out of bed that week.

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  • We Know She’s In There

    by Debra Michals

    In her room in the rehabilitation center where she’s lived since late summer 2006, Margaret (Maggie) Worthen ’06 is answering an interviewer’s questions as best she can.

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  • Wear It Well

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Andrea Shapiro ’88 had long been perplexed by the fact that organizations serving the homeless and poor in her Massachusetts community had piles of donated clothing but no efficient means to distribute them to those in need.

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  • A Force in China's Art Scene

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Megan Connolly ’00 and her sister are the self-described expat “New York City gals” behind a two-year-old Beijing-based art venture called ChART Contemporary.

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  • All the Right Notes

    by Maida Pineda ’96

    Back when Jeannie Cho Lee ’90 was still a student at Smith, she went to Oxford to study for her junior year. During breaks and holidays, she and a friend would spend their days traveling around France and Spain …

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November 2010

  • Eating Well

    by Jane Falla

      One of Laura Trice ’90’s aha moments came when she was working as a set medic for the show 7th Heaven; she noticed that   people who headed for the donuts often came to her with headaches later in the day. That only reinforced what she had witnessed as

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  • Live on "Today"

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Sara Haines ’00 may be the only person in television who started at the top. An NBC News contributing correspondent, Haines appears daily (live and in taped segments) on the fourth hour of “Today,” her first paying on-camera job.

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  • Faith Moore ’70: Event Planner

    by Christina Barber-Just

    “Ancillary skills are a very good side door through which to enter the event world,” Moore says. Graphic designers, caterers, tour guides, and those in the hotel industry all have an edge as aspiring event planners.”

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  • Sixteen Candles Revisited

    by Aimee Swartz ’98

    It’s been twenty-six years since the iconic coming-of-age film, Sixteen Candles, was first released, and, with its shy, gawky heroine played by Molly Ringwald, it may seem like an odd source of inspiration for a new novel. But author Ernessa Carter felt the moment was perfect.

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  • Freedom Fighter

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Human trafficking is often described as modern-day slavery. It applies to any person or groups of people forced into servitude for sexual, labor, or other reasons.

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  • A Self-Publishing Success Story

    by Jane Falla

    “I was never going to self-publish. I was taking the book around to agents—a couple were Smith contacts—and for one reason or another, it wasn’t along the lines of what they were doing at their agency.”

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October 2010

  • The Lives We Lead: Lisa Slavid ’90

    by Jenny Hall AC ’04

    Initially, I had some hesitation about coming to a women’s college. Although I might have known at the time I was gay, I wasn’t sure, and I thought, where am I supposed to meet guys?

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  • The Lives We Lead: KP Perkins ’85

    by Jenny Hall AC ’04

    Coming to Smith was my “aha” moment because it was the first time I had been exposed to the variations within my own culture, to “my” history. My background was different than that of most of my peers. They had grandparents who had been slaves, who had a history of segregation and oppression. My grandparents were voluntary immigrants from the Caribbean, and my parents were first-generation Americans.

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  • The Lives We Lead: Evelyn Boyd Granville ’45

    by Jenny Hall AC ’04

    We had to have a “posture picture” when we entered, and when I saw myself I thought, my god, that girl is as thin as a rail. I’ve got to get a little weight on me.

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  • The Lives We Lead: Sandra Laney AC ’96

    by Jenny Hall AC ’04

    Smith gave me a place to redefine myself. When I was at Green Street studying, I was nobody’s mother, nobody’s wife, just me. Smith gave me a place and space to figure out who I was.

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  • A Horse-Racing Phenom

    by Jane Falla

    What’s refreshing about the film, “Secretariat,” which opened across the country earlier this month, is the attention it pays to the personal story of Secretariat’s owner, Helen (Penny) Chenery ’43.

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  • A Voice For Understanding

    by Linda Kramer Jenning ’72

    Since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named Farah Pandith ’90 to the newly created position of special representative to Muslim communities, Pandith has met with Muslims of all ages and backgrounds.

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  • Photographer Alison Shaw ’75

    by Christina Barber-Just

    The Boston Globe has called Shaw “one of the island’s signature photographers,” and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Stan Grossfeld has said that “she is to the Vineyard what Georgia O’Keeffe is to the American Southwest.”

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  • Come On, Get Happy!

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Women tend to sweat the small stuff, and it can chip away at our happiness. But you can work on being happier, says psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf ’88, Self magazine’s mental-health expert and co-author of The Nine Rooms of Happiness: Loving Yourself, Finding Your Purpose, and Getting Over Life’s Little Imperfections (Voice, 2010).

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  • Estrogen and Memory

    by Christina Barber-Just

    As a new study conducted by neuroscientist Emily Jacobs ’04 shows, estrogen has a direct effect on cognition during a woman’s menstrual cycle.

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  • A Diabetic’s Best Friend

    by Christina Barber-Just

    The accuracy of glucose meters used by diabetics has been questionable. But, Lisa Horween-Kelly ’81 has a solution, thanks to some “furry continuous glucose monitors.”

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  • Trading Up

    by Karen Brown

    Shahnaz, a former investment banker and publishing executive and mother of two, is the founder and chair of Singapore-based Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), the first socially responsible stock exchange in Asia.

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September 2010

  • Decoding Disease

    by Aimee Swartz ’98

    “We took our vaccine from village to village and brought the sickest children back to the bush hospital in our medical truck,” recalled De Groot, now an infectious disease doctor specializing in vaccine development.

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  • “I see poetry everywhere”

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Poet, playwright, and performance artist Lenelle Moïse, MFA ’04, is already a triple threat, and now the Haitian-born Moïse is Northampton’s new poet laureate, selected for the two-year post by the Northampton Arts Council.

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  • Chapters of a Life

    by Elise Gibson

    Her books celebrate the quiet moments of family life, moments so small, so ordinary that they might otherwise be overlooked. Katrina Kenison Lewers ’80 likes to say that “ordinary gets a bad rap,” and when you see how she lives you understand what she means. “Ordinary” doesn’t mean “second-rate” or “mediocre.”

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August 2010

  • Found At Sea

    by Christina Barber-Just

    A Pearl in the Storm, McClure’s memoir about her solo journeys across the ocean, is being hailed as a story of adventure, courage, and personal discovery.
    McClure’s day job is a little tamer: She serves as vice president for external relations, enrollment management, and student affairs at Spalding University, in Louisville, Kentucky, where she lives with her husband, Mac.

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  • Ode to an Alumnae Magazine

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Joan Prusky Glass ’98, MEd ’99, has a stressful job (administrator in the Norwalk, Connecticut, schools) and a hectic family life (married, two preschool-age kids). So for her the Quarterly—especially the class notes section—is her main link to Smith and her former classmates, as it is for many other alumnae.

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  • Julie Bowers ’94: Pilot

    by Christina Barber-Just

    With a captain, Bowers flies an MD-88—a 142-seat McDonnell Douglas twin-engine jet airliner—on two- to three-hour flights departing from and returning to Atlanta. She pilots as many as five flights a day, working three or four days at a time (including lots of weekends and holidays), then enjoys several days off at home in Powder Springs, Georgia.

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  • Green’s Best Messenger

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Environmental journalist Simran Sethi ’92 is everywhere these days. Maybe you’ve seen her on the Sundance Channel’s The Green, which she co-hosts, or on news programs and talk shows, dispensing eco-advice.

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  • Wearable Electronics

    by Christina Barber-Just

    Electronic textiles (or e-textiles) have come a long way since 2003, when Burton Snowboards and Apple teamed up to create a snowboarding jacket with iPod controls built into the sleeve. While most of these “smart clothes” are technology focused, Lynne Bruning ’87 has found her niche at the intersection of high science and high fashion. As she says, “What’s very different about what I do is I make it look good.”

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  • My Hope for Haiti

    by Elizabeth Gibbons ’76

    The news that Haiti had been hit by an earthquake came to me in a text message from a former colleague of mine in the UNICEF-Haiti office. My first reaction was, “This can’t be true!”

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  • First Responder

    by John MacMillan

    Melinda Miles ’98’s work in Haiti is all about bringing people together. Those connections were vital in getting aid to the country immediately after the earthquake and may be key to building a new, stronger Haiti.

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  • Higher Purpose

    by Tzivia Gover

    Frequent fliers take note: The next time you get on an airplane, consider giving a nod to Gloria Heath ’43, a pioneer in flight safety whose work, according to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has contributed to saving tens of thousands of lives.

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