Vista • Spring 2011 • Volume 16 • Number 1
It’s a fact: Mount Holyoke students have big plans.
They come here to pursue their ambitions—and to discover new ones. In turn, MHC’s rigorous academics, accessible faculty, and global alumnae network all contribute to our students’ professional development and open doors to prestigious internships and hands-on career exploration. Throughout their varied careers, MHC alumnae make news and make names for themselves. They make money, make policy, make art, and make a difference. Our graduates include Suzan-Lori Parks ’85, a Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist; Mona Sutphen ’89, deputy chief of staff for the Obama administration; and Heather Harde ’91, CEO of TechCrunch. Now, a new generation of Mount Holyoke alumnae is establishing itself in a range of professions. Here’s a look at a few of those graduates who are fulfilling their goals and changing the world:
2000 Helen Huarca Witte | Psychiatrist, Baltimore, MD
M.D., University of Washington
MHC major: neuroscience and behavior
MHC supported my ambition to be a physician through the resources of its Career Development Center, as well as the individual science professors who were willing to invest extra time in me and serve as mentors as I worked through the medical school application process. I love my work. The spirit of teamwork and collaboration that MHC fostered continues to guide me in my career.
2002 Alison Morse | Foundation relations manager,
Physicians for Human Rights, Cambridge, MA
M.A., law and diplomacy, Fletcher School at Tufts University
MHC major: international relations
Mount Holyoke was where I first learned about issues of human trafficking and refugee protection, and I continue to use that knowledge in my career. From courses in human rights, economics, and international politics to lectures by visiting renowned leaders, MHC exposed me to pressing international issues.
2004 Cristina L. Rodríguez | M.B.A. student, Stephen M.
Ross School of Business, University of Michigan
MHC major: international relations
I am looking toward a career in management consulting or general management. Mount Holyoke has helped me to be more analytical and understanding about the range of issues faced on a daily basis. The fact that I was constantly interacting with intelligent, strong women from all over the world helped me to push myself. This is the mindset I need to be successful in my career path.
2001 Jessica Whiteside | Assistant professor of geological sciences, Brown University
M.A. and M.Phil., Columbia University; Ph.D., Columbia University, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory
MHC major: geology
My sense of self-place and purpose in part derives from my experiences at MHC. I was fortunate to have a slew of professors and classmates who ascribed to the ideology of emerging as an individual from the collective whole. At MHC I was encouraged to listen to my natural voice with its shifting and inconsistent perspectives, provoked to think critically and decipher abstract convictions, and both mentored and inspired in my own early research.”
2003 Sarah Davis | Attorney, Husch Blackwell LLP, Saint
Louis, MO J.D., Boston College
MHC major: politics
Mount Holyoke instilled in me a sense of social responsibility. As a result, I sought a career path within which I could make a difference. MHC also provided me with the analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills I needed to be successful. My clients expect creative solutions. Through its curriculum, student organizations, and work opportunities, MHC taught me how to be innovative and analyze problems from all angles, resulting in the most favorable outcome for my clients.
2005 Meredith Bambrick | Law student, Tulane University
MHC major: international relations
MHC’s international relations major offered a perfect combination of idealism and realism, propelling me into foreign aid and international development. I served in the Peace Corps in rural Morocco and worked for Chemonics International, Inc., a USAID contractor. I spent seven months in northern Afghanistan as operations manager for a $15 million agriculture program, and seven months as contracts manager in Nigeria for a $50 million food security program. In the future, I want to work as a war crimes prosecutor at the International Criminal Court with a focus on women and children in post-conflict zones.
2006 Saryu Fensin | Materials engineer at Los Alamos
National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM Ph.D., materials engineering, University of California-Davis
MHC major: chemistry
After my interest in science was developed, MHC provided me with opportunities—such as summer research programs—to advance my fondness for science. I also was able to conduct research in my field of interest with a wonderful professor, Maria Gomez, who further encouraged me and provided me with the confidence to pursue science as a career. As part of her research group I was able to present my work at conferences, give talks, and publish two journal articles.
2007 Janice V. Arellano | Teacher and team leader, Mastery
Charter School, Philadelphia, PA M.S., education, University of Pennsylvania
MHC major: philosophy
Immediately after MHC, I worked on education policy for the National Education Association in Washington, D.C. That led to the urban, low-income school where I am now. I chose this setting because I want to empower youth to excel intellectually so they can go to college and improve their quality of life. I wake up before sunrise each day to ensure that my students are getting a quality education. I teach them to excel academically so they can eventually experience the comfort and joy of learning in a college setting—for many of them, a lifelong dream that society makes difficult to achieve.
2008 Sarah Twombly | Literary agent, New York, NY
MHC major: anthropology
After graduation, I followed the advice of Professor Christopher Benfey and pursued my love of reading and writing. I adore my job, as it makes use of both my creative and analytical sides. Whether doing editorial work or contract negotiations, every day I am confronted by a new set of challenges and rewards. I also am working toward my M.F.A. in fiction. I believe the wonderful career path I am on today is, in great part, due to the generosity of my professors at Mount Holyoke. They always made themselves available, offered invaluable career advice, and through our work in the classroom, gave me a fundamental confidence in myself.
2009 Kathryn Greenberg | Doctoral student in applied physics, Harvard University
MHC major: physics
During my senior year, I was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a master of philosophy degree in physics at the University of Cambridge. I also received a Churchill Fellowship and was a finalist for a Fulbright Fellowship, but declined them in order to accept the Gates. Following my Ph.D. at Harvard, I plan to pursue my interest in science and technology with a career based at the forefront of research. Mount Holyoke gave me the freedom to conduct research closely with a faculty member throughout all four years while at the same time providing courses that helped build my fundamental understanding of physics.
2010 Zhanina Boyadzhieva | Master in Architecture I
candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Design
MHC majors: architectural studies and French
My education at Mount Holyoke exposed me to various disciplines, which have been essential for my personal and professional development. The unique, open-minded atmosphere combined with the challenging and rigorous work helped me grow into a hardworking and compassionate individual. Through the constant support that Mount Holyoke offered me—including a scholarship for a semester in Denmark, funding for a summer program in New York, and a fellowship for graduate studies—I have been able to pursue my dreams and believe in them.
Mount Holyoke College • Vista