Vista • Fall 2009 • Volume 14 • Number 2
Katey Walter Anthony ’98 | Aquatic Ecologist and Biogeochemist
University of Alaska at Fairbanks
Named a National Geographic 2009 Emerging Explorer, Katey Walter Anthony ’98 goes to the ends of the earth to research global warming.
Anthony spends five months a year in some of the most inhospitable places on the planet: Alaska, Siberia, and the Arctic Circle. Such fieldwork is not for the faint of heart—Anthony regularly faces the perils of walking on thin ice (she’s fallen through several times) and always carries a gun to fend off marauding polar bears and grizzlies. These days, she usually has at least one person with her and is “too busy to be lonely.” But when she started her doctoral research in Siberia in 2000, she said, “I was often alone, and even when I was with people, I was the only American.”
Anthony planned to major in geology at MHC but found it wasn’t “alive” enough for her. She added some biology and ecology courses and ended up with an independent major in biogeochemistry. “I didn’t think that these disciplines individually told the complete story,” she said. “Seeing how they relate to each other and where they cross over is a better way of understanding the environment.”
As an aquatic ecologist and biogeochemist at the Institute of Northern Engineering at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, Anthony researches the effects of global warming on the Arctic’s frozen soil, or permafrost. She explains that when permafrost thaws, lakes form, and the enormous amount of carbon that had been frozen for tens of thousands of years is released into the water. Microbes digest the carbon and convert it to methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, which is essentially burped out into the atmosphere.
Reflecting on her MHC education, Anthony is grateful for the small classes. They enabled her to develop close, mentoring relationships with her professors, who encouraged her to work independently: “They supported me and were invested in me.”
Jade McCarthy ’02 | Sports Reporter
Philadelphia’s NBC 10
Like many of her fellow alumnae, Jade McCarthy ’02 has been a “first woman” in a male-dominated profession. When she joined the sports team at NBC 10 in 2006, she became the first female sports reporter in the history of Philadelphia’s major television networks.
Having grown up near Boston as an avid Red Sox fan, McCarthy wrote her first piece for an MHC journalism seminar on Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez. Her professor, North Cairn, was so impressed, she urged her to pursue a career in television journalism. “In part because of her encouragement, I interned at Fox News Channel in New York City, and I was hooked,” McCarthy said. “I realized that this was what I wanted to do with my life.”
McCarthy cut her teeth in broadcast news reporting during her senior year at WGGB in Springfield, Massachusetts, and went on to an ABC affiliate in Huntsville, Alabama. That experience set her up perfectly for the Philadelphia job. “When I first spoke with NBC 10, they said, ‘We’re looking for someone with a news background. We don’t want a stats geek,’ ” she said.
“When I was interviewing, they asked, ‘Do you think you can handle going into the locker room or the clubhouse and asking the tough questions? Can you handle the light that will be shone upon you as the first woman in this city to do this?’ ” She assured them she could, and has earned the respect of Philly’s sports fans. “Once you’ve proved that you know what you’re talking about and you can do the job, people embrace you,” she said.
Laboratory to Law School
Katie Kraschel ’06 | Associate Scientist
Pfizer Global Research and Development
After spending three years working on the cutting edge of pharmacological research at Pfizer Global Research and Development, Katie Kraschel ’06 is hanging up her lab coat and heading to law school to study bioethics and health law. Although she has enjoyed her work at Pfizer, she wants to pursue a career at the interface between science and society. “I may be working on a drug that will cure diabetes, but I want to ask, ‘Who will this drug benefit?’ ”
Kraschel, who graduated cum laude with high honors in biochemistry, credits Mount Holyoke for giving her not only a first-rate education in research and technology, but also a broader, more holistic perspective on the role of science in society. Thought-provoking interdisciplinary courses such as Medical Ethics taught by philosophy professor James Harold, and Disease, Debates, and Dilemmas, cotaught by Harold and biologist Craig Woodard, expanded her sights beyond the test tube. “I love thinking about science in a broader social context. The interdisciplinary part of my liberal arts education is at the core of why, when I do experiments, I think about things like, ‘Who can afford this drug?’ ”
Kraschel embarks on her legal career with a desire to “hone the leadership skills” she gained at MHC while serving as president of the Student Government Association, cocaptain of the varsity soccer team, and a mentor in the chemistry department.
Her dream job is to start a boutique law firm specializing in reproductive rights. “There are so many issues involving in vitro fertilization, frozen embryos, the parental rights of gay and lesbian couples. There’s a whole body of law waiting to be figured out, and I’ll do it.”
Mount Holyoke College • Vista