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From dance science to medical arts Janeane Flynn Lamonte ’78 showed both grace and grit when she shifted her focus from the performing arts to premedical studies at Skidmore.

“I first came to Skidmore to major in dance,” says the Long Island native, noting that former New York City Ballet star Melissa Hayden was teaching at Skidmore at the time. As a dance major, Lamonte took a course in anatomy and physiolo- gy, part of the dance curriculum aimed at deepening and diver - sifying students’ perspectives on movement and the body. “I loved the course,” she says with grateful praise for her professor, biologist Bill Brown, whom she credits with inspiring her. “It was dramatic. I realized I wanted dance in my life for relaxation and enjoyment, but I wanted science as a career.” At first, Lamonte thought she would become a dance thera- pist, but as she explored her interests and options, physical therapy seemed like a better fit. “Skidmore had no physical therapy major,” she recalls. “I considered transferring, but I loved the College.” Luckily, Skidmore was “receptive to an in- terdisciplinary degree.” So, with support from Brown, chemistry professor Parker Baum, and the faculty in the physical educa- tion program, Lamonte created a self-determined “pre-physical therapy” major. Friday afternoons were reserved for sessions with Baum: “I used to go with a list of questions, and he’d work with me for as long as it took to answer them,” she says. Her final project was a paper about PT modalities. Through Skid- more, Lamonte also had the opportunity to work with physical therapists at Saratoga Hospital.

“This is when I started to think about medical school,” she says. After graduation she took a year to study organic chemistry and work as a research associate at Dartmouth Medical College, then attended Albany Medical College. Lamonte ultimately chose to specialize in emergency medicine, which she practices

JANEANE FLYNN LAMONTE ’78 today at Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut.

Married to another physician and the mother of three, La- monte has scant leisure, but whenever possible, she enjoys cooking, travel, and reading historical fiction, sharing books with her family of avid readers. And she’s never forsaken her first love: the doctor still makes time to dance in local musical theater productions.

“I appreciate the flexibility of the liberal arts education, and I advocate for it,” she says. “I was able to combine arts and sci- ences in my degree, and I am still fulfilled by that balance.” —Helen S. Edelman ’74

Complexity and challenge Ken Vennema ’89 spent many hours in Skidmore physics labs. Whether his projects worked or didn’t, he always wanted to know why. “I wanted to see results and make sense of what was happening,” he says. Vennema’s keen eye for detail—along with curiosity, creativi-

ty, and fearlessness—has taken him far, recently to Chad, Korea, and Kazakhstan. Like his lab work, each real-world assignment has demanded he have “a thorough understanding of what it takes to do it, and what can make it fail.” Thanks to summer jobs at construction sites, Vennema landed a job right after graduating with his major that blended math and physics. He later earned a second undergrad degree, in civil engineering, from NYU’s Polytechnic Institute, and by 1998 he was ready for something big ... very big. That’s when ExxonMobil recruited him, and he found he was attracted by the “complexity, remoteness, and challenge” of its work. What could be more challenging than a project worth billions and involving thousands of people working on multiple continents? Vennema spent a decade training for, planning, designing, and executing sizable portions of just such a venture—the monumental Chad Development Project.

g WINTER 2011 SCOPE 21


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