Steering Committee

As an AASC Community, we do not have a formal board of directors. The leadership of this group consists of those who can step forward and organize events such as those at reunion, and think about the role of this group going forward.

Sheryl Howard ’97 and Jennie Abbingsole ’95 are currently co-chairs. Would you like to join us? For job descriptions of board members, see Board roles. Use our Contact page if you are interested in filling a vacant role or if you have questions!

Jennie Abbingsole ’95 – co-chair

JennieAbbingsole_smWebmistress in a blue dress.

I live in Oakland with my wife, Janis, and, since 1997, work as a staff technical writer for a software company. I volunteer for local causes and also do websites for the East Bay Smith Club and the Class of 1995. I am passionate about public transit, and read on my bus commute to the office, usually books for our monthly EBSC book club.

I grew up in New Jersey, but since 1996 I’ve built my community here, including 4 years in a co-op that Karuna Jaggar ’95, her partner Dave, and I started in a sweet Berkeley house into which both their daughters were born, and 7 years singing with Voices Lesbian Choral Ensemble. I spent 2002 traveling the world (instead of going to grad school) and returned, deliberately, to this community.

At Smith I lived in Park House, majored in Women’s Studies (with a minor in Economics); sang Soprano II with the Noteables; served on the LBA Board, as first-year class president and later VP of the Student Government Association; rowed a bit with the novice crew team and played JV lacrosse; and worked at the Admissions office and for tech services (but not as a technician). My sister’s family and my mother live in Northampton, now, so I visit Smith a few times a year.

Sid Arens ’03

SidArens_smI graduated in January of 2003 with a degree in psychology. While at Smith, I was involved with the LBTA and T-Committee and was a member of Residence Life for two years.

I have had a number of jobs since graduating; my favorite was mentoring and teaching independent living skills to young adults with cognitive disabilities. My least favorite was working as a substance abuse counselor for a mental health agency.

I am still in Northampton and live with my partner and our dog in an apartment near Smith’s Center for Early Childhood Development. At the moment I am working from home managing my partner’s music career, but would very much like to go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner or Physician’s Assistant.

Jessica Chesnutt ’06

JessicaChesnutt_smJessica Chesnutt ’06 (right) is a New Media Editor for Bedford/St. Martin’s, a leading humanities publisher, where she develops pedagogically-rich technology for college Communications courses. She majored in English Language & Literature but spent most of her time in Capen Annex working as Editor in Chief of The Sophian. She lived in Ziskind and in Sessions Annex her senior year and worked at the Boathouse. Now she lives in Brooklyn, NY with her wife, Natalie Sauro ’06, a Master’s student at Columbia University’s School of Nursing, and their pug, Olive. Jessica and Natalie were the first same-sex couple to exchange vows in the Empire State Building where they held a commitment ceremony on Valentine’s Day 2009. In her spare time, Jessica plays football, kickball, volleyball and soccer which she also referees for a charity league. She serves on the Kings County Committee of the Democratic Party.

Crystal Daugherty ’98 – “Sass Master”

CrystalDaughterty_smCrystal has her own fundraising consulting business that creates development strategies and solicits donors for small non-profit organizations in New England and the Philadelphia, PA areas. As well, she consults with colleges and universities on fundraising strategies and grant-writing. She was a Senior Development Associate at MIT from 2004 to 2008, and before that worked as Development Director for a number of Boston area political non-profits, including MassEquality and BostonVote. She was a Development Associate at the Sophia Smith Collection from 1996 to 1999. Crystal expects to receive an MBA in 2009 from the Simmons College School of Management. At Smith she double-majored in Women’s Studies and Government.

Sheryl Howard ’97 – co-chair

SherylHoward_smSheryl (pictured here with her grandma, a huge source of support) is an attorney at a Boston law firm with a non-profit and real estate practice. Among her many community service activities, she serves on the board of directors of VISIONS, Inc., which provides consulting and training on diversity goals and multicultural workforeces. She was a Public Interest Leadership Program fellow of the Boston Bar Association and one of a group of attorneys receiving a Pro Bono Excellence Award from the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in 2005 for their work in connection with the development of an affordable housing project for artists. An American Studies major at Smith (Cutter & Park Annex), Sheryl received her law degree cum laude from Cornell.

Rosemary Reed ’85 – Acting Treasurer

RosemaryReed_smRosemary Reed ’85 was an Economics major. Originally from Connecticut, she moved to Colorado after graduation and got an M.S. in Finance from the University of Colorado. She lives in Winter Park and has worked in the financial planning industry for over 20 years, practicing as a solo advisor since 1998. She’s a NAPFA-registered Financial Advisor and has been studying socially responsible investing for the past several years. Rose is known to play hooky and go skiing on powder days. In June 2008 she completed Ride the Rockies, bicycling 435 miles across Colorado with 2000 other nutty people. And, oh yes, her great uncle was a famous communist, John Reed, the subject of Warren Beatty’s 1981 movie, Reds.

Brooke Trent ’57 – ex officio, listserv moderator, membership tracker

BrookeTrent_smBrooke was enjoying a restful and inconsequential retirement when she decided to go to her 50th reunion and call a meeting that would turn out to be the beginnings of this group. She stopped reading novels and started organizing , bringing her full circle from her undergraduate organizing activities, among them, directing a Rally Day show and heading up the (extinct) House of Reps, while majoring in Russian History. Brooke’s career was in the public sector where her jobs included management & budget director of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the late 70’s and commissioner of child welfare in NYC in the late 80’s. She lives in her native New York City with her partner, Karen Kee. They are waiting impatiently for the NYS legislature to act so they can turn in their NYC domestic partner certificate for a marriage license…

Susan von Salis ’79 – Archivist

SusanvonSalis_smAfter her Smith years, where she was a double major in Religion & Afro-American Studies, lived in Clark House and was a member of the Lesbian Alliance, and a post-college stint as a house builder, Susan attended Northeastern University for an MA in Public History and entered the Archival profession. She was at the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College for 17 years, specializing in 19th & 20th century African-American women’s history. For the past five years she’s been the curator of archives at the Harvard Art Museum. She’s the author of numerous publications on archival science as well as women’s and African-American history, among them, “An Activist’s Roots: The Family of Pauli Murray”, Gender and History, April, 1996.

Susan also serves on the Executive Committee of the Friends of the Smith College Libraries which, she says, “has been a highly rewarding experience, allowing me to reconnect with Smith and focus on the aspects of the College that enriched my life, setting aside the more disturbing or painful ones of having been a lesbian at Smith in the mid-1970’s.” She lives in Massachusetts with Kim Brookes, her partner of 20 years, and their son, pictured with them. (Susan’s on the left)