A 200-acre tract of woodland nestled amid the farms of Whately, Massachusetts, about 15 miles from campus, will serve as a living laboratory for teaching and conducting research about the environment. In early May, the board of trustees dedicated the site as the Ada and Archibald MacLeish Field Station in honor of two friends of former Smith President Jill Ker Conway. Along with Jill and her husband, John, the MacLeishes shared a deep appreciation for the beauty of the Pioneer Valley. Alexandra Webster ’08 spoke to the importance of hands-on work in conducting her senior thesis on ecohydrology: “All of my field experiences have not only taught me more about scientific investigation and the natural world than all my classroom studies combined, but have also been essential to inspiring my passion to learn and in reminding me how to stay grounded throughout all the craziness of the defining years of my life.” For more, go to:

Natalie Sullivan ’07 was recently named a 2008 Humanity in Action Fellow. She’ll spend her summer in Poland, studying the conditions of minorities there and developing solutions that meet their needs. Sullivan is among 59 scholars from 35 colleges and universities around the country who were awarded fellowships this year. Nick Farrell, director of the HIA American Program, said, “Natalie’s selection is a testament to her keen intellect and strong commitment to human rights issues.” For more on the Humanity in Action Foundation, visit http://www.humanityinaction.org.

Formalizing a practice of de-emphasizing the role of standardized test scores in admission, Smith will make the submission of SAT/ACT scores an optional part of the admission process, beginning with the class that enters in 2009. The change comes at a time of increasing national concern about the validity of standardized tests in predicting academic potential and success. Smith takes “a holistic and individual approach to each application,” noted Audrey Y. Smith, dean of enrollment. “Recognizing potential across a range of dimensions ensures that we will continue to admit exceptional women and educate them for lives of distinction.” The decision, endorsed by the faculty, comes at a time of record-high application numbers. Seventy-five percent of students admitted this year were in the top 10 percent of their graduating class. For more information, go to http://www.smith.edu/newsoffice/releases/SAToptional.html

When Smith marks its 130th commencement on Sunday, May 18, among the 710 graduating seniors will be Allison Bellew, a computer science major whose childhood was spent shuttling between relatives’ homes and in foster care. One of just 3 percent of foster children who graduate from college, Allison recently described her journey to Newsweek columnist Ellis Cose, who wanted to know how she beat the odds. “I was lucky not to fall through the cracks like so many foster kids I’ve met,” she explained. “And I chose a college where I could not fall through the cracks. I knew people would notice if I did.” After graduation, Allison is embarking on a career in programming at Microsoft. For more, go to: http://www.smith.edu/newsoffice/releases/allisonbellew.html

Traditional modes of delivering news, such as newspapers and magazines, are losing their relevance, and if media companies expect to survive they’re going to have to invest in new technologies or risk alienating their audience. That was the conclusion of five alumnae journalists and media executives who were on campus in April as part of the panel discussion “Doing the News in the Age of New Media.” “It’s a nuclear implosion out there,” said Susan Greene ’68, a veteran of the cable television industry. “All the old models are being shattered left and right. News is moving across platforms at lightning speed and [media outlets] need to keep up.” For more coverage of the discussion, visit http://saqonline.smith.edu/article.epl?issue_id=21&article_id=2178.

More than 50,000 books—from bestsellers to bargain bin finds—were on display at the Baltimore Smith Club’s annual community book sale, held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in early April. This year’s event was of particular significance, given that it was the 50th anniversary of the sale. Proceeds over the past half century have created a $1.2 million endowment at Smith. This year, two incoming students from Baltimore will split $44,000 toward their first-year’s tuition. For more about the Baltimore club, visit http://smithsites.alumnae.net/homepages/clubs/baltimore/. Watch for full coverage of the book sale in the Summer Smith Alumnae Quarterly.

A new online discussion group is being formed to connect alumnae who hold MBAs. Called SAMBA (Smith Alumnae with MBAs), the group will use a Yahoo! group to network and share expertise on a variety of topics, including business school and career advice, required reading for women in business, and information about business travel. To join SAMBA, contact Kimberly Hess ’96 at smithie96@aol.com. If you’re thinking about enrolling in business school and have questions, e-mail Kimberly your questions and contact information and she will post to the group page and ask a few alumnae to contact you directly. 

Author and poet Rebecca Foust ’79 recently won the seventh annual Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize for Dark Card, her book of poetry about parenting a child with Asperger’s syndrome. The book, which is being released this month by Texas Review Press, was Foust’s first. Her poetry will also appear in upcoming issues of Atlanta Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Main Street Rag, and North American Review. For information about Dark Card, visit www.rebeccafoust.com.

Hampshire College is creating a new community adjacent to its campus for adults who wish to live in an intellectually oriented community in the Five College area. Homeowners at Veridian Village at Hampshire College will have access to Hampshire facilities, programs, and classes. Smith alumnae are encouraged to find out more at www.VeridianVillage.com.

More than 100 alumnae and students took part in panel discussions, workshops, and networking events as part of the Alumnae Association’s “Building Community” conference and reunion for students and alumnae of color, held at Smith in late March. Click here to view a gallery of photos.
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