Where Are They Now: Amelia Manderscheid ’08

AmeilaPlease give a brief background on yourself and your career.
I am currently a Specialist and Associate Vice President in Contemporary Art at Christie’s. I am also Head of eCommerce for the Contemporary Art department, which means that I am in charge of growing our eCommerce business globally within the Contemporary art arena.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
I was an Economics and Art History double major, and interning at Sotheby’s in Boston my senior year solidified my interest in moving to New York after graduation to work in the art world. I did not add the Art History major until my junior year and prior to that I had several internships in the healthcare field, from corporate, non-profit and government perspectives. These experiences gave me the exposure to realize that a career trajectory in this field wouldn’t be the best fit for me. I didn’t seriously consider a career in the art market until my senior year and was not sure it would work out, but knew that a first job out of college was the best time to take big risks.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
I initially knew about the Sotheby’s internship through other Wellesley students and I met with many alumnae in the field while considering my career options. I am on the board of the New York Wellesley Friends of Art and I enjoy being able to make connections with alumnae through a shared passion for the arts.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
A typical work day consists of wearing many different hats simultaneously; one thing I enjoy about my position is that it’s very much a “liberal arts” profession. It requires a diverse skill set that includes client negotiations, art historical knowledge, speaking publicly about the artworks and the art market, and a keen business sense in understanding the best decisions for the firm.

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
Intern! I know it is ubiquitous at this point but it really does help you get your foot in the door and make connections that will serve you as you continue your career. If you are specifically interested in working in the visual arts, I would advise you to see as many museum and gallery shows as possible and to read books on art in your free time. If you do not find it enjoyable to look at art and read more about it, this is not the career path for you!

What do you wish you had known as a student?
The world extends far beyond academia and there are many careers out there or positions at firms you may be interested in that you never knew existed. Wellesley is a very academically rigorous place and as a young person about to enter the job market, all you have ever known is the education environment. In general, I would very much recommend some job experience before considering a master’s degree.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
One of my few Wellesley regrets was not taking the sailing class spring of my senior year. It is a skill I have yet to learn and Lake Waban is one of the reasons Wellesley is a special place. On a more academic front, I would have taken additional art history classes with Pat Berman.

Where Are They Now: Sarah Bay-Cheng ’96

Sarah Bay-Cheng - blogPlease give a brief background on yourself and your career.
I am currently a Professor of Theater in the Department of Theater and Dance at Bowdoin College. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. At this precise moment (fall 2015), I’m a Fulbright Scholar teaching theater and performance studies at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. I’m also working on a research project on digital technology, history, and performance. My research and creative work focuses on the intersections among theater, media technologies, and experimental art.

For the past 10 years, I taught at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, where I started and ran the graduate programs in Theatre and Performance. At UB I also co-founded the Techne Institute for Arts and Emerging Technologies with colleagues across the arts, humanities, and sciences. I started my career teaching in English and Theatre at Colgate University. My PhD is from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where I studied the avant-garde, experimental performance, queer theory, and what we called at the time, film and video studies (now, “Screen Studies”). I just started the new position at Bowdoin College, so although I’m very excited to be working with amazing colleagues and artists in the Netherlands, I’m also looking forward to returning to New England.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
Like most theater majors everywhere I was going to change the American theater, so at Wellesley I mostly focused on writing, directing, and making new work: the weirder the better. I thought I might work in film as well, but learned quickly that I was pretty bad at it. (Happily, this was in the era before ubiquitous social media circulation, so the evidence of my ineptitude is paltry.) I have to admit that I never really thought of doing anything other than theater. I did briefly consider trying to do something inadvertising, which seemed like a more financially stable alternative to being an artist. But, honestly, I never really thought about it too much. Since I wanted to work as a professional director, I applied to MFA directing programs and I went to the school that gave me a teaching assistantship: Purdue University in Indiana. After a year of studying directing in West Lafayette, Indiana, I learned two things about myself: 1) working as a professional director wasn’t the kind of life I wanted to live (too much travel, instability, weird hours); 2) I needed to leave Indiana as soon as possible. At this time, I also discovered dramaturgy and was encouraged by a professor to apply to Michigan’s new PhD program. The Michigan PhD had a strong studio component that encouraged new performance practices and brought in a range of exciting artists to work with the graduate students. It was a fun time to be in the program.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
People sometimes ask me about studying theater at a liberal arts college and Wellesley in particular. When I was there (1992-96) there wasn’t a formal major in Theater, so a few of us (8 in my class, I think) made up our own independent majors. I combined courses in theater with cinema studies and got to take classes in a lot of different departments: English, Italian, Philosophy, Art, Women’s Studies, and Asian Studies, among others. I argued then (and I continue to repeat today) that the study of theater is really the study of everything else: history, science, literature, psychology, etc… So, a liberal arts environment is really the best way to study it.

What Wellesley did most of all was to introduce me to exciting ideas, provide access to brilliant and passionate faculty, and offer the opportunity to learn alongside a diverse range of exceptionally talented and intelligent women. It was also a great place to take risks. I learned a lot about how to work at Wellesley; not only in the classrooms and rehearsal halls, but also from the basketball team and our coach Kathy Hagerstrom. I learned how to write more clearly and to love theory. Wellesley challenged a lot of my preexisting ideas and opened me up to whole new ways of thinking about the world. Most of all, as an academic, Wellesley gave me role models to follow. I learned a lot from Nora Hussey’s creativity and passion for the theater. I will continue to try (though will never succeed) to be as dedicated to my students as Chip Case has been to all of his over the years. To this day, Larry Rosenwald serves as an amazing example of not just how to be a committed thinker, scholar, and teacher, but also how to be an excellent human being. If it were not for these people—Chip, Kathy, Nora, and Larry—I wouldn’t be where I am now.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
It really depends on the week. In general, I try to work on my own research and writing every day and it’s good when I can make progress on one or more manuscripts, even if it’s just a couple of paragraphs or a blog post. I generally read 1-3 books per week, but if I’m working on a particular project, I’ll often read a lot more. When I’m traveling or in the writing phase of a project, I read less. On the best research days, I’m traveling to see new performances or meet with artists. I’m also very lucky that I can collaborate with friends and colleagues around the world. When you’re seeing cool shows and talking about compelling ideas with your friends, it doesn’t feel like work.

During the semester when I’m teaching, I’ll spend significant time each week preparing for class, mostly reading and finding new material to introduce. I have never written my lectures verbatim, but I prepare for classes the way I used to prepare for stage performance or basketball games. The goal is to learn the material so well that you can forget it and improvise. I also try to provide the same level of detailed and useful feedback that I received as a student, so I take my grading pretty seriously. It can be time-consuming, but it ebbs and flows. Over the years I’ve learned a lot from my students.

I also worked in administration at UB on new graduate programs in theatre and the Techne Institute. This is probably the closest thing I’ve had to a “real job” (other than working construction during graduate school). Admin is a lot of email, outreach, and communication as well as strategic planning. I like the strategic part: What are the goals? How can these be achieved within the existing limitations? Who are the best collaborators? The work on Techne was particularly gratifying because we worked to facilitate new projects both among UB faculty and students and with outside artists. That said, I’m loving the time away from administration. At Bowdoin, I’ll be taking over as department chair next year, so it’s nice to have a break to focus on research and catch up on my reading.

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
Perhaps the most important thing to do for anyone getting into theater and performance is to see as much new work as possible. There’s a lot of exciting performances, but many of my personal favorites often come to the US. Festivals (check out New York in early January). You can see a lot of shows in a short amount of time and the experimental shows are often much cheaper than commercial and mainstream theater. Even seeing bad work is useful when you’re first starting out.

For students interested in working professional theater particularly as actors or directors, I would also say, don’t wait to be picked. Find the people you want to make theater with and for, and go make it. If there’s not a great role for you, write one. Make the kind of work you want to see. Theater is awesome because it’s still so cheap to make.

For people looking to get into academic theater and performance, a graduate degree is almost always necessary. Although there are positions looking for applicants with an MFA, increasingly schools are looking for applicants with a PhD even if teaching in applied fields is part of the job. So, the first goal is finding a good program that is going to prepare you for what you really want to do. If you want a professional career, you probably want an MFA. Look for one with a good reputation and pay attention to where their graduates work after school. If you want to teach or do research at the college level, you will probably need a doctorate.

In terms of doctoral programs, do pay attention to where students work after graduation. Do they mostly work in the area? Are they getting jobs at research universities or small liberal arts colleges? Are they getting jobs in the field and how long does it take them? While the reputation of the school and the program matters, even more important is finding a good mentor with whom you’ll work. Doctoral programs can feel long and arduous, so it is worth taking the time to find a good graduate advisor who works in your area of interest and with whom you are compatible. A good advisor doesn’t need to be always enthusiastic and friendly. Sometimes the best mentors may be the most challenging, but it should be someone who is ethical, principled, and dedicated to the success of their students. Talk to other students who have been through the program to get a sense of what it’s like and how you might fit into the environment. Whatever path you take, think about the ultimate goal and work backwards.

What do you wish you had known as a student?
I wish I had traveled more and known more about opportunities abroad. That said, I feel like I’m making up for it now. I also think I should have looked at more options for graduate school. I am grateful that I ended up where I did, but I got lucky. (I also wish I had known a bit more humility as a student. I think much of my work then was fairly pretentious.)

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
I would happily return to Wellesley to repeat my independent study on modern drama with Larry Rosenwald. During the spring semester of my senior year, Larry graciously agreed to meet with me once, then twice, a week for hours to read and talk about theatre, art, literature, history, politics, and more. I loved these sessions. In many ways, I think much of my career has been about repeating the feelings of wonder and discovery that I had in his office.

Where Are They Now: Brittany Lamon-Paredes ’15

Brittany LamonPlease give a brief background on yourself:
My mom was so determined that I’d attend an all-women’s college and I had been on Wellesley’s mailing list since I was seven-years-old! My decision to attend Wellesley was a tad bit set in stone, but it was a truly pioneering experience for me. I was the first in my family to attend college out-of-state and I knew literally, no one on the east coast. I came from southern California and was the only student to attend Wellesley College from my high school (Western Christian). My four years at Wellesley allowed me to pursue courses and concepts that I had very little exposure to in high school. I majored in Anthropology and Political Science and was the Co-President of the Wellesley College Pre-Law Society.

What made you choose to go to law school?
I knew early on that I wanted to practice law. Particularly, I pinpointed my strong suits (writing and speaking) and my weaknesses (math and hard science) during my first few years at college and decided that I’d pursue a legal career because it fit my skill-sets. Like a lot of Wellesley women, I knew my blood boiled when I saw injustice in the world and I still believe that attorneys, especially female, can make a difference in our judicial system.

What was a typical week like for you when you were applying to law school, taking the LSATs, and being a full-time student? How did you balance the work?
In my junior spring, I started to study for the LSAT. I took a Kaplan class for two months at Harvard and I think I could have done without it. Acing the LSAT is more about your ability to fit in studying with academics. If you have good self-discipline, I’d say to buy a study manual and do practice tests for two-three months. I didn’t really feel the pressure of applying to law schools and balancing the academic load until my senior fall. I applied early in August and felt immense pressure of trying to finish applications, track schools I applied to, letters of recommendation, etc. But, always remember that planning in advance can minimize this stress!

During this time period, a typical week for me consisted of 10 hours of work at the Alumnae Association; 4 classes and an independent study; and at least two hours a week for organization meetings. As a caveat, I totally loved my experience working at the Alumnae Association and my ability to network with attorney alumnae highly influenced my decision to become an attorney. Reach out to the Wellesley Lawyers Network or the Alumnae Association to find alumnae who have been in your exact shoes.

My advice for anyone applying to law school during their senior year is to plan ahead. If you know you want to attend law school, it would be wise to have an idea of who you want to write your recommendations. Save time by learning in advance what schools want from you and work on it BEFORE the application cycle comes out. A great resource for that, of course is the CWS Pre-Law Advisor (Ellie Perkins) or the Pre-Law Society. Though I’m biased from my personal experiences, I really believe that taking part in legal events or talking to attorneys is a fantastic way to learn more about what they do daily and ultimately, what you’d like to do in the future.

How has your idea about a potential career changed since you started at Wellesley? What other career paths did you consider?
Originally, I entered Wellesley as an aspiring International Law attorney that wanted to serve in the foreign service or at an NGO. Four years down the road, I am now interested in Energy Law and practicing in either a private law firm or company. My experience in Anthropology at Wellesley shaped my desire to practice law. One of my favorite professors, Philip Kohl, influenced how I started to see the world and how the law can differ based on culture. I like to think that I will take my experiences in the classroom and with my classmates at Wellesley to the legal profession. It’s important to pursue whatever you do with determination and passion, regardless of whether or not your career interests change over time.

What piece of advice would you offer to other students looking to get into law school?
Find a good mentor/professional adviser: I recently was selected to be a Ms. JD journalist and I wrote on the Importance of a Professional Mentor. Law school is very expensive and the applications for each school you apply to range from $25-$100. Thus, you should be sure on your decision to apply by your junior spring. I’d recommend pairing up with a professor, manager, coach or whomever that can give you professional advice on the legal field.

Taking courses that focus on writing: Law school teaches you how to be a lawyer through courses like legal process and civil procedure. But, you don’t have time to learn how to write in law school. I’d say focus taking classes in your undergrad that helps you learn how to write and think critically.

What do you wish you had known before applying to law school?
I think there are two key elements of applying to law school that I wished were demystified for me when I was still in college:
1. If you are applying for financial aid, law school can and usually will consider you as an independent student-meaning not based on your parents tax returns. This increases your chances to have your legal education funded by personal loans.
2. Law schools want undergraduates to be well-rounded, but they really want to see you focus on your grades and LSAT score. After all, law school is all about doing well in your courses in order to be eligible for better jobs.

Lastly, I think it’s vital to keep in mind when you apply to law school or even think about applying. Focus on your classes and study for the LSAT. Whether or not you apply to law school your senior year or in five years, I think you should remember the deeper reasons why you want to practice law. That will push you through the sleepless nights or the uneasy feeling of waiting for law school decisions. Overall, I think anyone from Wellesley can handle the law school process and I hope that I hope that I shed some insight into what it takes to get in to the school of your choice!

I’m available to answer questions on law school or pre-law; writing for Ms. JD; or anything else that may pertain to practicing law. Feel free to contact me at blamonpa@vols.utk.edu

Global Engagement Advanced Project: Laura Mayron ’16

Saludos desde España—greetings from Spain!

My name is Laura, and I’m an English and Spanish double major from Maui, Hawai’i. I have always had a passion for literature, especially Spanish literature. I already knew upon arriving at Wellesley that I wanted to double major in those two fields, but I had a harder time figuring out which of the two I wanted to primarily pursue after graduation. In the last year though, it’s become pretty clear thanks to my time at Wellesley and abroad: Spanish is the one for me, and I have dreams of becoming a Spanish professor and teaching literature (hopefully at Wellesley one day!). This summer, I’m absolutely delighted to be Wellesley’s first intern at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (UIMP—pronounced like “wimp” in Spanish) in Santander, Spain. When I heard that Wellesley was creating a new Global Engagement Internship with the UIMP, I was thrilled by the opportunity and applied right away. I was already in Spain for a semester abroad in Córdoba with Wellesley’s PRESHCO program, and I knew that I didn’t want to leave in May. I was in love with Spain, and having made it all the way there from my home in Hawai’i literally halfway across the world, I wanted to prolong my stay as long as possible, and especially if it meant that I could take part in such a fantastic new internship. With my love of Spanish and my aspirations to work in academia, interning at the Cultural Activities department in a renowned graduate university would be incredible opportunity to immerse myself in the academic world of Spain.

When I arrived in Santander, I was a bit confused: it was raining, and rained straight for my first three days. Where was I—Spain, or the United Kingdom? I knew Santander was up north and didn’t have the hottest summers, which I appreciated after the extreme heat of southern Spain, but this new place looked nothing like my sunny Córdoba. On Monday, however, the sun came out, and my jaw dropped as I walked from the residential campus to the actual palace on a peninsula where I’d be working. The sea was as blue as back home, and entering the towering palace on the water felt like a dream. It was the team’s first day back from their other offices in Madrid, so my first week was quiet as I got an orientation of events as the office was set up. By my second week, the office was bustling—more of my coworkers started to arrive and things went from quiet to non-stop.

Hard at work!

Hard at work!

There isn’t really a “normal” day at the UIMP. I’ve been in charge of designing the weekly newsletter, sending it to printers and distributing it, recording attendance for events, creating program handouts, and occasionally helping out with the academic courses, and that was just inside the office. Outside, I attend three to four evening events a week, helping set up and break down everything from Literary Tuesday talks to classical music concerts. My schedule varies a lot—sometimes I’ll work a 10 am-6 pm day at the office, or I’ll only work until lunch, take the afternoon off, and spend from 8 pm until midnight at the later events. Of course, there are always breaks for a café con leche and tortilla de patata downstairs with my fantastic coworkers, who have taken me in as one of their own, despite me being younger than anyone else and the very first intern at the UIMP from the United States. People around the palace are slightly confused by a twenty-two year old Spanish major from Boston/Maui, and I’ve started to joke that I want a coffee every time I get the question “Wait, you’re from Hawai’i? What on earth are you doing here in Spain?” since it takes some caffeine to explain the situation.

Working in such a prestigious academic environment has also given me the opportunity to meet some pretty incredible people, including actors, to writers, and even an astronaut. I’ve been able to get tickets to great events, from a contemporary dance performance to a dramatic monologue by Spanish actress Ana Fernández, who I got to meet backstage. As a writer, it’s been especially exciting for me to meet quite a few authors and poets who have come to present, and even have some signed books! My time at the UIMP has definitely cemented my desire to work in the academic world, and has given me the confidence that I can easily live and work, all in Spanish.

Spanish actress Ana Fernández

Spanish actress Ana Fernández

There were little challenges that I wasn’t anticipating, for instance, how to write the “@” symbol on a Spanish keyboard. After ten minutes of pressing all manner of key combinations and searching online, I finally had to ask. I’ve now gotten so used to the different placement of letters and symbols on a Spanish keyboard that I’ve started messing up on my laptop! I was also surprised just how very casual interactions can be here. The custom in Spain is to greet everyone with a kiss on each cheek, which I expected with friends, but was a bit taken aback to greet my boss, professors, and university officials this way—no one shakes hands here! Despite the challenges and cultural differences, I feel like I fit in very well here: after spending a semester in Córdoba and a summer in Santander, I’ve picked up a lot of little things, like exactly the right casual phrasing to order food at the bar and new slang words, all things that make me feel very at home in Spain.

My time in Santander hasn’t been all work and no play, however—after closing up the events, my coworkers and I go grab a typically late Spanish dinner with a glass of some excellent wine or Spanish cider from the region. The tapas, here called “pinchos,” are delicious—served on a wedge of toasted bread, they can be anything from seafood, to meat, to very strong cheeses. I’ve definitely broadened my culinary horizons and gotten a lot more adventurous during my time in Spain, especially with the more unfamiliar pinchos, though there are a few things I’m still not brave enough to try (sorry, little fried anchovies with faces). The weekends also leave plenty of time for exploration of the region’s beautiful beaches and forests, as well as trips to the nearby Basque cities San Sebastian and Bilbao. It’s been very refreshing to embrace the relaxed pace of life here and slow down for a bit, instead of rushing from place to place and event to event as I’m always doing in Wellesley. The Spanish know how to enjoy the little things and make the most of their time with friends, which is something I want to bring back with me for when my semester gets stressful.

Catching up with Professor Carlos Ramos of the Spanish Department

Catching up with Professor Carlos Ramos of the Spanish Department

Writing this, I’m getting ready to wrap up my nearly seven months in Spain and my nine weeks in Santander, and I’m very sad to be leaving such a wonderful experience, but I’m also excited to bring my new skills and appreciation for the little moments back to Wellesley. I know without a doubt that I’ll be back in Spain very soon—I know it’s going to be a big part of my future!

The northern coast of Spain

The northern coast of Spain

Global Engagement Internship: Wenbo Bai ’16

Hello! My name is Wenbo Bai, and I am a rising senior interning this summer in the Philippines with a reproductive health NGO called Roots of Health. I hail from Henderson, Nevada, near Las Vegas. I’m an Anthropology major and Economics minor at Wellesley, but my main interest lies in public health–specifically, health care systems and developmental health economics. I entered college without having a clue what I wanted as a career, but I think I’ll exit college with the hope of doing something in the public health field. My most idealistic career though, bolstered by a creative travel writing class I took in my spring semester abroad in Copenhagen, is to traverse the world and become a travel writer!

When I was thinking about my plans this summer, I decided I wanted to have a productive summer working with an organization that does work that I believe in. I also wanted to intern somewhere I hadn’t gone before–I had become weary of working at home the past two summers. Roots of Health was a perfect combination of the two! Located in the Philippines (a country I had never visited before), Roots of Health aims to empower of women and ensure reproductive autonomy, causes that are always discussed so passionately at Wellesley but I had yet to actively contribute to. In addition, the Wellesley intern who worked with Roots of Health last summer loved it, so I was already assured that it would be a great internship before I got to experience it for myself.

Founded in 2009 by Wellesley alumna Amina Evangelista Swanepoel ’02, her mother, and her husband, Roots of Health is a reproductive health NGO working in Palawan, an island located in the southwestern part of the Philippines. Because the Philippines is generally a religious Catholic country, the topics of reproductive and sexual health are often viewed as taboo and therefore addressed poorly, or not at all. In fact, it wasn’t until 2012 that a reproductive health bill (RH Bill) was passed in the Philippines, after over a decade of advocates–including Roots of Health–lobbying on its behalf. Still, the RH Bill has its limits, such as no free access to contraceptives and allowing schools to cut out a reproductive health curriculum on religious grounds, and so Roots of Health’s work remains as important and relevant as ever, especially since Palawan has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country. Roots of Health provides clinical services such as contraceptives, prenatal checkups, and maternal health programs and train local women to become Community Health Advocates. There are also programs such the radio show, reproductive and sexual health education for young teens and high schoolers, and a financial literacy program that empowers women to take charge of their own finances. And just recently, we implemented an enterprise development project that provided grants for women to cultivate their own small businesses. Through these different avenues, Roots of Health not only addresses larger, more upstream structural issues that affect reproductive health in order to make meaningful and long term impacts in the communities, but it also motivates people in the community to lead and continue the chain of change. As one of my colleagues put succinctly: “We work alongside together with the communities to help people help themselves.”

Puerta Princesa, Philippines

Roots of Health, Puerta Princesa, Philippines

…and I feel so lucky to be a part of it! At Roots of Health, our workweek is from Tuesday to Saturday. At the beginning of the internship in particular, I went out into the communities frequently with the clinical, teaching, and financial literacy teams to see program implementation in action. I saw for myself the necessity of the work that Roots of Health was doing–there were so many pregnant young teens at these programs, some with already child or two in tow. I was also amazed by the staff, whom all have an amazing rapport with the communities–they knew every woman and student by name, and both knowledge and laughter were exchanged during the sessions. Besides observing teams in the field, I was also given administrative tasks, such as grant-searching, making social media posts, and compiling the annual report. As our tasks have settled down, I typically go out into the community once or twice a week and spend the rest helping out with office work such as programming and planning workshops.

Living in the Philippines has been quite the adventure. Life and livelihoods move at a much different pace here, and there are so many signs of poverty. But realizing that poverty is so normalized here was less of a culture shock and more of a reality check, a reminder of the importance of our work as well as a testament to the growing disparities between the developed and developing parts of the world. Cultural integration has also been interesting for me. Even though I am ethnically Chinese and own an American passport, I find myself in a strange role. Even though everyone has a basic understanding of English, Tagalog is used in everyday communication. Because of my ability to tan easily, Filipinos think that I am Pinay and frequently speak to me in rapid Tagalog. When I’m walking down the street alone and people don’t stare at me like they sometimes do at other foreigners in the city, and it feels like I am harboring a big secret. It’s an interesting state of liminality, being able to blend in but not quite fit in. But even through the awkward miscommunications, scheduled and unscheduled power outages, and discovering wolf spiders in the bathroom, nothing has managed to detract from the warmth and generosity of the Filipino people or the richness of their culture, and I’ve felt very at home here. In my free time, the other interns and I attend boxing lessons, take beginner Tagalog lessons, and make weekend trips to sights around Palawan.

Something that dawned on me as the weeks have gone by is seeing how easy it is to get caught up in everyday tasks and periodically forget the bigger picture of what we’re working towards. During my first few weeks at Roots of Health, while adjusting to working and living in the Philippines, I was so solely concentrated on my role in the organization that it wasn’t until recently that it dawned on me that I had been approaching the internship too narrowly. But then I started to find small, seemingly insignificant moments that illuminated the importance of our work: People in the communities eagerly unstacking chairs to prepare for a clinical session. Teens in a Youth Advocates class writing “teacher” as their career goals. Women laughing with each other during a team building exercise.

Working alongside such a great staff and an incredibly selfless and graceful Wellesley alumna has made me realize my love for Roots of Health’s mission and philosophy, as well as admire the kinds of women Wellesley can nurture. It’s a powerful feeling, knowing that I am so firmly grounded in my work, and it’s a feeling I aspire–and encourage others–to find again in a career after Wellesley, in wherever I end up, in whatever I choose to do.

Global Engagement Internship: Mairead McAuliffe ’16

This summer I am thrilled to be interning in Amelia, Italy for ARCA, the Association for Research Into Crimes Against Art, a non-profit organization devoted to the study and research of art crime and cultural heritage protection. I have studied Italian at Wellesley for two years and was adamant that I had to spend an extended period of time in Italy before I graduated.  As an Economics major and transfer student, studying in Italy for a semester proved to be complicated given the graduation requirements I have to complete. I therefore approached both the Italian department and the CWS to investigate summer opportunities in Italy. The Global Engagement Internship with ARCA was a perfect match. Almost untouched by tourists, Amelia, and my responsibilities with ARCA, are providing me with the perfect opportunity to practice and develop my knowledge of the Italian language. Further, ARCA’s mission to preserve and protect the artifacts of a country’s past is one that I have always been passionate about given my love for history, art and travel.

The beginning of my internship was busy and exciting as I assisted with the preparation for ARCA’s annual Art Crime Conference. The two-day event consisted of panels of international speakers discussing topics related to cultural heritage protection such as art insurance, national and international art policing and cultural heritage crimes in countries of conflict. In preparation for the event, I visited local businesses in order to engage flower arrangements and breakfast services. I also visited my newly made friends, Paola and Filippo, at the print shop on many occasions to print the conference program and other necessary materials. Paola and Filippo call me Maggie and are always helping me practice my Italian as we munch on caramelle, waiting for hundreds of pages to stack at the printer. During the conference, I was asked to tweet on ARCA’s Twitter account. I enjoyed the task since I was then able to listen and digest the panelists’ presentations. It was, however, difficult to keep my tweets within the 140-character limit! The conference was an absolute success after a lot of hard work and planning but it was also a lot of fun!

In addition to conference planning, I have enjoyed getting to know the current ARCA students. Each summer ARCA hosts an annual ten-week postgraduate certificate program for students interested in pursuing careers related to cultural heritage protection. This year’s students hail from six different countries, each coming with their own unique experiences and interests. Since knowledge of Italian is not required, it has been fun accompanying some students to the post office, bus stop and computer store to assist with the language barrier.

Linguistically connecting the students to the city of Amelia has provided me with many opportunities to interact and develop relationships with the people of this medieval village. My favorite event was the celebration of the Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi, held on June 7th. Cars were forbidden from entering the city walls as the people prepared the streets for their annual procession up to the Duomo that crowns the city’s peak. Bags of freshly cut and colored flower petals were delivered and passed from doorway to doorway as the people flooded the streets outlining designs with chalk and filling the voids with the vibrant petals. As a resident of a villa a few minutes outside of the city center, I roamed the streets with some of the students offering to help the residents. Our assistance was much appreciated by an elderly couple that owns an antique shop on Via Reppublica. The wife said that we could design whatever we wished, but the husband was, jokingly, a bit pickier! We stenciled the man’s designs of choice and showered them with the provided flowers. We then joined the couple in the procession and threaded our way through the city’s maze of streets, listening to the chanting of prayer and song. This experience is one that I will always remember since I was so warmly invited to join and participate in a tradition that has survived with a people for hundreds of years.

My internship with ARCA has been extremely valuable as I look forward to the career I wish to pursue. Despite my Economics major, I wish to attend law school and become an attorney, although I am not sure which type of law I wish to practice. I have met many lawyers and judges during my time with ARCA and all are supportive when discussing how much they enjoy the field and its work. They have warned of the difficulty of practicing art law in particular, but are hopeful that the field will gain more attention in the future.  Equally important, though, my time in Amelia has encouraged me to consider the type of lifestyle I wish to lead. At Wellesley, life can become fast paced and stress inducing with all of my assignments and meetings. Unfortunately, meals with friends and family or trips to Starbucks and the mall get canceled or shortened so that I can check more things off of my endless to-do lists. In Amelia, time is a relaxed concept, where more minutes are spent catching up with friends and meeting new ones than maintaining the efficiency of the supermarket line or the flow of traffic down a one-way street. The city shops close every afternoon at 1:00pm for lunch and a pausa before reopening again at 4:30pm and dinners are preceded by apperativo and it can be hours before the first pot of water is set on the stove to boil. This slow paced atmosphere (and spotty internet connection) has encouraged me to reconsider the amount of time and the many connections I lose while rushing back to the library or burying myself in my dorm room editing my paper, yet again.

The decorated streets and procession during the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi

The decorated streets and procession during the celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi

While I still cannot yet gulp my espresso like the people of Amelia, I am learning to savor each moment I spend in this quaint little village – a lesson I hope I can store away and bring back to the States.

Where Are They Now: Lauren Friedman ’09

Please give a brief background on yourself and your career.
I am originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently reside in Washington, DC. I was on the field hockey team while at Wellesley, majored in Political Science, and graduated in 2009.

As a self employed artist, I wear many hats. I can trace the beginning of my career as an artist to five years ago, when I started my blog, My Closet in Sketches, on a lark in response to a creative drought. Now, I work primarily as a fashion illustrator and author, (my first book, 50 Ways to Wear a Scarf, came out in February 2014, and I am currently working on my next book, due in Fall 2016), in addition to acting as art teacher, stylist, closet consultant, and chalk artist, creating murals and menus for local DC shops, restaurants, and cafes.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
I would have been truly shocked at Wellesley if someone told me that this is what my career would look like. As a Political Science major, I applied to the Wellesley in Washington internship program for the summer after my junior year, and was crushed when I didn’t receive a position. I was fortunate, however, to be awarded a fellowship through the CWS American Cities Program – I worked as a television production assistant at Chicago Tonight. My favorite aspect of the job was the creative element of story writing, and I ended up taking a job as a Desk Assistant at the PBS Newshour in Washington DC upon graduation. I’ve now lived in DC for six years.

Truthfully, I had no idea what career I really wanted at Wellesley, and I think it’s important to acknowledge that here. I’ve held many, many positions professionally – in a variety of career paths – before becoming fully self employed, and each one of those, in their own unique way, gave me an important experience that informs what I do today. For instance, I worked as an Operations Manager at a small non-profit after my time at the PBS Newshour, and that taught me how to manage a business (in addition, this was when I began my blog, drawing in my free time after work). After that, I spent a year working in financial education, teaching financial literacy classes to a variety of people across DC. From that, I learned not only about money management but also how to speak in front of an audience.

I felt so much pressure my senior year at Wellesley to get the right job, but the thing I know now is that the job itself doesn’t really matter. It’s just an experience that you can parlay towards the path of discovering what you really want to do.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
At Wellesley I learned to recognize my value. This informs my life in myriad ways: from literally determining my financial worth when I’m quoting a client for a job, to knowing, if someone gives me a bad review, that my merit belongs in a deep acceptance of my true inner self and not the external opinions of others.

Also, playing field hockey at Wellesley showed me the importance of both playing hard and working hard. We all know Wellesley is difficult enough as it is, but I found that the student athletes tended to be the best at keeping priorities in line while still having a sense of perspective. Nothing was ever as stressful as it seemed, nothing was ever as terrible as it sounded, and everything was always, always, made better when we took time out to have fun. I think I can balance many pressures and responsibilities today because of my time at Wellesley.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
There is no typical work day for me! There are a few constants to my day, of course, that I’ve come to recognize as priorities for my well being: I start most mornings with meditation, and I always try to get some exercise in, whether it’s yoga, a swim, or a walk around the block. Beyond that, some days I may be on a ladder for 8 hours working on a chalk menu, or I could be elbow deep in sweaters while helping someone organize their closet. Since I’m working on my second book right now, I’m frequently reminded of cram sessions at Wellesley trying to finish a paper – I really learned how to efficiently eke out a paper in a short amount of time! Apologies to my professors…

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
I know for a fact that my success as an artist is directly tied to the fact that I started out just doing it for fun. If you love it, you’d do it even if you weren’t getting paid. Hold onto that.

Also – be original. Don’t spend too much time paying attention to what other people are doing. I lose the clarity and originality of my ideas if I watch other artists or bloggers too much.

What do you wish you had known as a student?
That Wellesley is the most amazing place on earth! It was so easy to get wrapped up in the pressures of performing, getting good grades, finding an impressive internship, comparing yourself to everyone else’s accomplishments, etc. At the end of the day, Wellesley is the best thing that ever happened to me, and sometimes I wish I had been more present while I was on campus. Like, honestly – my room in Severance overlooking Lake Waban junior year? Heaven on earth.

Also, don’t stress about your major and how it will apply to your future. You chose a liberal arts school for a reason. I took a ton of classes about weapons and war strategy, which obviously have no bearing on my day-to-day life now, but I get a kick out of knowing there is a corner of my brain that is filled with knowledge on how, say, the invention of firearms changed warfare.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
All the studio art classes!

Where Are They Now: Gerrine Pan ’05

gerrine panPlease give a brief background on yourself and your career.
After moving to the east coast for Wellesley, I ping-ponged back and forth between New York and Boston for ten years before settling back in the Bay Area where I grew up.

Like a typical econ major, after graduating I high-tailed it to Wall Street! I spent three years at Goldman Sachs, then returned to Boston to attend Harvard Business School, and landed back in NYC to work at Tiffany & Co.

Now I’m back where I began in California, running a 35-person startup. It’s been an enlightening, sometimes frightening and very successful three and a half years for Relevant Mobile. We make mobile apps for restaurants that let customers pay, order online, and earn loyalty credit with their phones while gathering consumer data. We’re growing by the day. It’s pretty awesome.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
I had no idea what I really wanted to do while still at Wellesley. I did have a vague notion that I wanted to work somewhere internationally and that I wanted to run a company someday. My metrics then were based on what I thought was ‘cool’ in the business world. My metrics are evolving now to be more based on what I find fulfilling.

While at Wellesley I did internships in non-profit and academia (MIT), but I am glad I ended up on the business track.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
I got my first job at Goldman Sachs because a Wellesley alum pulled me in. She coached and mentored me, and three years later also wrote my recommendation letter for business school. I am so thankful that she did that. Paying it forward, my second hire at Relevant was a Wellesley alum – she rocks.

Also, while I didn’t start my career living the motto “Non Ministrari sed Ministrare,” I think I’ll return to those Wellesley roots at some point.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
While running a small company, you wear a lot of hats. Much of my time is focused on our sales efforts as well as account management, but I still do a bit of everything. It’s pretty exciting to be at this stage of growth. This morning I woke up to the news that one of our newest investors is a pro tennis player (!!). Then I made a presentation for a large partner of ours which sells the most point-of-sales (cash registers) in the U.S., helped our sales team determine pricing for a potential new client, and ended the day by putting together a demo of a new app that we plan to publish to the App Store soon. Tonight I’ll plow through ~50 emails before going to bed.

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
Have tenacity. Listen to the market and abandon your original idea if you need to. I believe those things set successful entrepreneurs apart from the pack.

What do you wish you had known as a student?
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my path should be. I wanted to know: “What is that one thing that I am meant to do and that I will love?”

I wish I knew that there was no ‘one thing’. I wish I knew that all the thinking in the world wouldn’t help me get to the answer (and that the answer would change every couple of years anyway). I would just had to live it and figure it out on the way.

Advice to my younger self: Take the job that gives you a lot of experience. Work somewhere where you try a bunch of different things so you can learn what you excel in and what makes you feel excited when you do it. Maybe it’s communicating with people (ding ding, this is what it will be!), maybe it’s performing analytics, or perhaps you’ll just feel incredible satisfaction from editing something well. Take note, and incorporate that in your next job choice. Keep exploring and eventually you’ll be spending a lot of your time doing what you are good at and what you enjoy. That’s when you’ll have arrived at what you were looking for.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
More advanced Art History classes. The learnings from 101 have served me over and over again- I still have the textbooks!

Where Are They Now: Dawn Norfleet ’87

Dawn NorfleetPlease give a brief background on yourself and your career.
I’m a professional musician, composer, and music educator, based in the Los Angeles area. I’m rooted in traditional jazz as a flutist and vocalist, but my music reflects the multiplicity of my life experience and musical influences from soul, to classical, to African and Indian music. As a self-employed musician and educator, my work reflects the lives of contemporary independent artists who have found a need to have multiple income streams. Mine are mainly music, music education, and freelance writing. The creative life that has chosen me didn’t make things easy for me–nor is it always “fun” as many people naively comment when I say I’m a musician. Nevertheless, it’s certainly fulfilling and never boring.  I’m blessed that my life-path chose me, even when I don’t always feel that way.

I grew up in Inglewood, CA in a family of musicians. My older brother played music (R&B) professionally from the age of 12. My mother sang (light jazz), played piano and drums, and taught high school choir. My father played organ, piano, and sang. He played jazz, adult contemporary and country-and-western music for elderly white ladies with “beehive” hair-dos. Like other middle-class African American girls in my area, I took tap and ballet classes, baton lessons, and loved to cook. At age nine, I started playing flute in the school orchestra and sang in the school choir. I picked flute for the deep reason that it was pretty and shiny, and I liked “girly”, pink and frilly things back then. Plus, it distinguished me from my piano-playing family. I was also a bookworm, and loved school and reading. Music was just one of the many activities I was involved in, as a youth, and I didn’t think of myself as excelling in it at all.

My choice of Wellesley was probably not something anyone could’ve probably predicted. Wellesley seemed to be an unknown entity at my suburban, San Fernando Valley-based high school, where I was bussed in to “integrate”, voluntarily. Most seniors headed to the local universities, and college counselors only spoke distantly of how hard Harvard and Yale were to get into (no other schools on the East Coast existed). One would have to earn straight-As for four years, get a perfect score on the SATs, be a candy-striper, and do about 80 hours of community service per week while taking every AP classes the school had to offer, they pretty much said. So that ruled me out. I wanted a college that would evaluate me holistically and see my uniqueness and potential, not as a bunch of scores and data. One day in 11th grade, I got a brochure from this school with a funny name (Wellesley). I recalled one 11th grade teacher musing at her class to no one in particular: “If you get into Wellesley or Mount Holyoke, you can sit back proudly for the rest of your life and go, ‘ah’.” This teacher didn’t have much confidence in me, so I became interested in Wellesley and Mount Holyoke, as well as Scripps and another Eastern school with a weird name I’d thought was pronounced as “Dart Mouth.” I knew I wanted a small college not too far from an urban center, with an excellent academic reputation, a strong record of student retention–and far, far away from home. I researched the data, and Wellesley was the most intriguing fit. I went into my very first interview ever totally clueless and without any preparation, but it was the best interview I’d ever had. I’d left my interview feeling as if I could fly. Wellesley sent my first college acceptance letter, and I was elated.

Being a musician or a teacher was the last on my list of desired professions. So what did I do? Eventually, I majored in music. Then I composed Classical music in the Masters program at Columbia University. Then I studied how the New York City hip-hop community formed an entire culture around music in Columbia’s ethnomusicology program. After I finished a Ph.D. in music, I played music professionally. Then I taught music, while trying to play it (and played music while trying to teach it) at every grade level from college down to pre-K.

Along the way, I’ve self-produced two recordings of original music (which can be purchased on CD Baby and iTunes), and perform in concerts as a band leader and side musician. I also present concert-lectures; places have included the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Grammy Museum, and the California African American Museum. I’ve appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno accompanying an R&B star named Monica, and have recorded on an upcoming music album by superstar comedian, Eddie Murphy. In February 2013, a dream of mine was fulfilled: I performed a duo concert at Wellesley in a Black History program sponsored by Ethos. This performance is posted on YouTube.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student? 
When I was 10, I wanted to be a medical doctor, a ballerina, and orchestra conductor. Like other girls my age, my world of future possibilities was big enough to accommodate big dreams. When I was applying to college, I THINK I wrote in my college essays that I wanted to be an entertainment attorney. As soon as I became a student, I didn’t know what I wanted to be! Now that I’m well-into my adult years, in some ways, my original dream of being a professional multi-tasker has come true.  I’m a doctor– in music. I’m no ballerina, but I’m a musician. Instead of conducting a symphony orchestra, I’ve directed my own musical ensembles as well as student groups.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
Wellesley’s motto, non ministrari, sed ministrare (“not to be served, but to serve”) managed to stick in my head over the years. It’s true. I wasn’t too certain what that meant when I was a student. Maybe I thought it had a cool sound. Whatever the case, the more my life’s paths revealed themselves to me, the more I realized that “giving back” was an important part of the directions my paths took me, whether through my music, mentorship or teaching. Another important lesson has been in making certain that I’m good to myself, as well.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
I tend to plan my life according to sessions: Fall, Winter and Summer. This has to do with the years I’ve worked in schools and colleges, in addition to the twelve total years I spent in college and grad school. I don’t have a typical work day, because of the nature of my work commitments. Some jobs are seasonal, perhaps two-three months out of a year, and others are part-time, regular or on-going. Some commitments are single events, such as a concert or recording session. Work flow is unpredictable; after painfully slow periods, I can suddenly have sudden sustained bursts of intense business. However, I do try to maintain a degree of regularity. If I’m not scheduled to be away from home, I use Mondays to brainstorm and drum up new business opportunities, and the remaining to write and return emails, make calls, work on the business end of things, and of course, do the “art stuff”. I aim to exercise outdoors at least three times a week, with weights. I try to hit a nearby beach for a weekend evening walk. Unfortunately, I go to bed too late and often I find my brain trying to problem-solve while I should be trying to sleep! Part of my goal of achieving balance is to learn how to “turn off my brain”.

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
Mentorship is valuable, whether in the academic, professional, or artistic areas. Forming a bond of mutual respect with a professor or professional whose work you admire, and who sees your potential, can be essential, wherever you are in your career. Because these seasoned people have “been there,” they can give you advice on early pitfalls to avoid; they can also put you in contact with their own network. This can be a relationship that continues a lifetime. “Clicking” with a professor or professional may or may not be something that happens immediately, but as you go deeply into your areas and distinguish yourself, it should happen at some point, naturally. Admittedly, I found the process of bonding kind of hard. In fact, I developed these bonds later in my academic career, and to this day, I check with one particular professor for advice. Even though she has retired, she still sends me professional opportunities and writes recommendation letters for me.

The best way to plant seeds of networking is through an internship with an individual, organization or a company that interests you. Aside from a formal internship, artistic apprenticeship has become more informal than generations ago. I’ve heard from older jazz musicians that one should seek mentorship from an elder, established musician. Go to this person’s concerts, tributes, special events, and let her or him know you as a person. Learn from being around this artist, and let them know your best work as well. Speaking frankly, sometimes gender has gotten in the way when I sought to work with some male musicians who responded to me more as a potential conquest than a peer. Some women professionals may not have an affinity for singling out other women to mentor, for whatever reason. But you keep on going and maintain your own integrity; if you’re a true artist, you do what you do and aspire toward excellence, regardless of recognition. A huge reason why I take mentorship so seriously was because I wanted to be that mentor I didn’t have growing up! When you do find those individuals who want to help you, count yourself blessed. At the same time–recalling non ministrari sed ministrare–consider how you can be of use to this artist you admire. The great equalizer of generations is social media. Many established people you admire are on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Some professionals (at least, jazz artists) welcome being respectfully appreciated. A great documentary about the special relationship formed between jazz legend, Clark Terry, and a budding young musician is Keep on Keepin’ On (2014).

As you become established in your career — recalling the non ministrari, sed ministrare principle– seriously consider how you can place yourself in a position to help others, through mentorship, volunteering, or other outreach. Did you ever hear one bit of advice that changed the direction of your life? Imagine having that impact on someone else. Even if you’re still in college, you are still an expert on some area that can be useful to someone else. Some of the lessons you’ve learned can be useful to a younger person just starting to find their own way. During the bumpiest of life’s travels, if you find yourself wallowing in self-pity, try volunteering your time in some capacity. “Getting out of yourself” can be the best therapy! In the midst of a major financial setback, I began volunteering my time to work with an NAACP-sponsored program where I help bring out the talent in young musicians. It not only brought me out of my self-pity cocoon, my work actually helped to fuel the creative life cycle. Helping others can literally help save your own life.

What do you wish you had known as a student?
If I’d known it was OK not to “fit in” early on, if I’d been more confident in my uniqueness, I would’ve been happier. I’d spent too much time thinking I should fit in somewhere. After spending my junior year exploring jazz and world music as an exchange student at Wesleyan, I’d made a decision to only be involved in those activities and organizations I wanted to be involved in when I returned to Wellesley as a senior. I finally was fine with navigating among very different groups of friends with very different interests. For the first time, also, I took myself seriously as a musician, and began to invest in the possibility of being a professional musician of some sort.

The unpredictability and ups-and-downs of the self-employed, creative life resulted in prompting me to question, then redefine, “success” for myself. So many of us define success by what we achieve, how much money we make, where our kids go to college (if we have any), the quality of vacations spend at The House on The Cape. Even for those in the traditional workplace, placing so much weight on stuff and status can easily send you into depression. Success by comparison, I’ve learned, is designed to make me feel “less than”. Once I rooted success in what I could give, rather than get, I had a broader appreciation of my own strength, relevance, impact in the world. Success, for me, now includes these concepts: mentorship – literally getting out of myself and sharing the knowledge I do have with others; challenging others to see success as inner-driven, rather than outer-imposed; challenging myself to learn and try new things and directions as an artist; and never seeing myself as having “arrived” as an artist.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
I probably would’ve taken a class in Women’s Studies or Africana Studies. I would’ve taken a class with the late professor, Tony Martin. But I don’t have any true regrets about the courses I took. Perhaps I would’ve tried out for the volleyball team. That was the only sport in which I had potential. I was too afraid of hurting my fingers, as a flutist, however.