Where Are They Now: Amy Chu ’89

Please give a brief background on yourself and your career.
I publish comics and graphic novels for women and girls under the imprint Alpha Girl Comics and I’m a freelance writer for comics publishers like DC and Vertigo.

I’ve done a little bit of everything – At Wellesley I took a semester off to start an Asian American magazine. I came back to finish and then became the executive director of the Asian American Arts Alliance. From there I ended up running the management consulting program for nonprofits at the United Way of New York City. I wanted to get more global experience, so I did a stint in Hong Kong doing luxury brand PR. After two years in Hong Kong, I left to attend Harvard Business School. I decided to try conventional Fortune 500 style management consulting for two years. Then I became an independent consultant for biotech startups which I did while getting married and starting a family. About four years ago, a writer friend floated the idea of a startup to make comics for the YA market and we formed Alpha Girl.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
I think when I applied to Wellesley I put down pre-med because it’s what the smart, respectable kids did. I also applied and got into the dual degree program with MIT to double hedge my bets. My plan was to do economics at Wellesley and Media Lab at MIT. At school, like a lot of students, I was influenced by what was hot, which at the time was banking, consulting, and advertising. I ended up taking the classes I was interested in and graduated with a BA in East Asian Studies and a SB in Architectural Design at MIT.

I started Alpha Girl Comics as the publisher. I have several years of experience writing business plans and Powerpoint presentations but never thought I would be good at writing fiction. Just for fun, I wrote Saving Abby, a sci-fi action comic about a female taxi driver, and people really liked it. It’s what led me to get a Wonder Woman story, and now a book I’m doing for Vertigo this fall.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
It may sound funny, but I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the skills and confidence I learned while at Wellesley. In high school I was very, very shy and had trouble speaking. Now I speak on and moderate panels all the time. It’s changing, but in mainstream comics, especially the superhero kind, it is still very much male dominated on the professional side even though the fan base has changed. I make sure to attend and speak at as many comic-cons I can, just to show that women are active and have a voice in this business.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
It’s pretty varied and hard to predict. For example, this is my current week: Monday I sent in a one page pitch to Valiant Comics – they asked me to come up with story ideas for a military character (who happens to be a woman). Tuesday I was in the New York DC Comics offices meeting with editors to discuss some changes in my mystery series that will come out later this year. This morning I wrote a scene for a book I’m doing with one of the Green Lantern artists and my contribution for this blog. This afternoon I have a call to discuss a comic for DMC of RUN DMC. By tomorrow I need to finish the script for a comic book for the Baltimore Museum of Art. Friday I’m flying to Ball State University where I’m lecturing on comics to a class. And Saturday I’m signing my Wonder Woman story at the Aw Yeah Comics! store in Muncie, Indiana.

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
On the creative side, work on honing your storytelling skills, whether it’s writing or drawing. And self publish. It’s how you get noticed in this business.

What do you wish you had known as a student?
Grades matter a lot less than you think.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
WRIT 135 Living in the Age of the Anti-Hero looks really interesting!

What’s happening with the CWS — week of 2/23

this week @ cws

Below are this week’s upcoming events and deadlines at the CWS. These listings and more can be found in MyCWS. Make sure you subscribe so that you receive the updates directly to your inbox!

Monday, February 23 -

  • LinkedIn Workshop | 12:30-1:30PM | GRH 428 –  This workshop will focus on: Networking online via LinkedIn; Job Search Tools on LinkedIn; and Using and Understanding the new W Network group and tool. Please bring your own laptop if you require specific questions regarding your own LinkedIn account. RSVP on MyCWS.
  • Northeastern University D’Amore-McKim School of Business | 4:30-5:30PM | Lulu Wang Center, Room 210 - A representative from the D’Amore-McKim Graduate School of Accounting will be on campus to discuss educational and employment opportunities in public accounting. Northeastern University offers an MS in Accounting/MBA program specifically designed for non-accounting majors interested in launching a career in accounting. RSVP on MyCWS.

Tuesday, February 24 -

  • CWS Grants Office Hours: Global Engagement & Wellesley Serves! | 12:00-3:00PM | GRH 441 - Have questions about securing funding for your unpaid summer experience? Missed the CWS Grants info session? Applying for funding through Global Engagement, Wellesley Serves!, or another grant offered through the March 2 deadline? Drop by during our office hours to have your grants and applications questions answered by our internships and service teams!
  • Marketing Your International Experience | 4:15-5:30PM | GRH 442 (CWS library) - Have you just returned from studying abroad?  Learn how to effectively market your experience to employers and position yourself for career success. This workshop is for students who have studied abroad and want to learn how to incorporate their experience into their job search through their cover letter, resume, and responses to interview questions. RSVP on MyCWS.

Wednesday, February 25 -

  • The Fair at Wellesley College 2015 | 12:30-2:30PM | Tishman Commons & Alumnae Ballroom - Wellesley College students and alumnae are invited to attend this career fair. For-profit and not-for-profit/public service organizations are attending to recruit for jobs and internships. Students/alumnae should plan to bring several copies of their resume to the fair to hand to recruiters from companies/organizations of interest. We have an APP (ios + android) available for The Fair, please search for “Wellesley career fair plus” in app store for download.  Business casual attire is required. RSVP on MyCWS.
  • How to Find an Internship Workshop | 4:30-5:30PM | GRH 442 (CWS library) - This workshop will focus on: How to begin your search for internships; Types of internships; Identifying resources to help you in your search; and CWS specific internship programs and counselors. RSVP on MyCWS.
  • EY Early Identification Program Information Session | 5:30-6:30PM | PNE 239 - Ernst & Young will be offering an info session about their Early Identification Program after The Fair. Specifically targeting sophomores and first-years to learn about internship and future job opportunities at EY. Juniors and seniors are welcome to come attend as well. RSVP on MyCWS.

Thursday, February 26 -

  • Tuck Business Bridge Program Information Session | 12:30-1:30PM | LWC 413 - The Tuck Business Bridge Program® connects highly qualified rising juniors, seniors and recent graduates in liberal arts and sciences to a meaningful business career—all while developing personal strengths that will last you a lifetime. Get up to speed in key areas such as financial accounting, marketing strategy and tactics, managerial economics, business decision making and corporate finance. Choose between our 4-week long summer program at Tuck or the 3-week, Smith-Tuck Program held at Smith College. RSVP on MyCWS.
  • DIY Internships & Summer Experiences | 5:00-6:00PM | Pendleton 212 - Looking to make the most of your summer? Come learn how to identify internship and other experiential learning opportunities for this summer. In this session we will be discussing HOW and WHERE to look for work and volunteer opportunities. RSVP on MyCWS.
  • How To Find A Job In The Nonprofit Sector | 6:30-8:00PM | PNE 239 - Have you considered a career in the nonprofit sector but been concerned that there might not be a role for you?  Come learn how a job in the nonprofit sector might have everything you’re looking for: meaningful work, a good salary, and interesting experience! Hear alums discuss their careers in the nonprofit sector and the ways in which they have both made a difference and earned a living.  For anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do after graduation, and even those who think they are, this panel is a great opportunity to learn how you can actually get a job doing that! RSVP on MyCWS.

Friday, February 27 -

  • Lionsgate Information Session | 12:30-1:30PM | LWC 413 - Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. is a publicly-traded global entertainment company with a diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, TV and home entertainment, and digital distribution. Lionsgate theatrical releases include films developed and produced in-house, co-developed and co-produced, and acquired from third parties. Popular film & TV franchises include Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, Madmen, and Orange is the New Black. Come and find out more about various opportunities they offer. RSVP on MyCWS.
  • Sophomore Workshop | 12:30-1:30PM | GRH 428 - Learn about the CWS resources pertaining to your second year and beyond! This session will cover: Learning about the CWS; How to use MyCWS; Global Engagement for Junior Year; Internship Search; and Travel Grant and Volunteer Opportunities. Please also bring your laptop to the event as we will provide hands-on tips on navigating CWS resources online. RSVP on MyCWS.

featured jobs of the week

All jobs and internships can be viewed via MyCWS; use MyCWS Job ID numbers to search.

  • Equity Research Summer Internship, New York, NY (MyCWS 14844)
  • Congressional Intern, Peabody, MA (MyCWS 14845)
  • Business Development & Strategy Intern, Brooklyn, NY (MyCWS 13754)
  • Ophthalmic Assistant, Boston, MA (MyCWS 14900)
  • Marketing Coordinator Intern, Seattle, WA (MyCWS 14916)
  • Marketing Internship, Brooklyn, NY (MyCWS 13753)
  • PR Intern – Summer, Boston, MA (MyCWS 14918)
  • Market Analyst InternCambridge, MA (MyCWS 14937)
  • Associate, Milburn, NJ (MyCWS 14969)
  • Research Assistant, Neurology Dept., Boston, MA (MyCWS 14978)
  • Entry Level Software Developer, Wellesley, MA (MyCWS 14983)
  • Public Affairs Summer Internship Program, New York, NY and Washington, DC (MyCWS 14993)
  • Editorial Intern, Brooklyn, NY (MyCWS 13755)

Where Are They Now: Rosa Fernández ’07

Please give a brief background on yourself and your career.

My name is Rosa Fernández. I graduated from Wellesley College in 2007, and studied history with a focus on Latin America. After coming to the U.S. at age 14 with my twin sister and mother, I attended Manhattan International High School, a small high school for immigrant students in New York City. While in high school, I developed an awareness of social issues related to education. I lived in the South Bronx and recognized the many challenges that poor communities faced. I was lucky to have a wonderful high school experience that broadened my sense of self in the world followed by an extraordinary education at Wellesley.

My passion for education came from my own experience in high school: I wanted other students to have the same quality education that I had and that led me to college. After graduating from Wellesley, I worked at a small law firm and then as a researcher at Columbia University. I realized that I wanted closure with my community and to help in a direct way, so I left to join the NYC Department of Education where I have been part of unprecedented reform initiatives to improve access to quality education. I have played various roles in engaging with schools, parents, students, and community leaders on turning around underperforming schools. I strongly believe that every child deserves equal opportunities to a good education and that, just like me, they should have the opportunity to attend college.

I am currently in the International Educational Development master’s program at Teachers College, Columbia University. The International and Comparative Education program offers an interdisciplinary and global perspective on issues related to education reform, strategic planning, policy-making, and quantitative analysis. It prepares students for professions in government, research, project design and evaluation, and program management. The program aims to engage students in understanding the complexity of educational systems in an interconnected and diverse world and applying concepts and best practices in the local context. As a student in this program, I have taken courses in sustainability, education reform in New York City public schools, urban and minority education, and educational equality. These topics have introduced me to major challenges in the New York City education system and most importantly, how to analyze such issues and propose potential solutions. In my current role in the Office of Space Planning with the NYC Department of Education, I have the opportunity to analyze issues about school overcrowding, enrollment trends, building capacity and utilization, and building accessibility for mobility-impaired students.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
I never thought I would work in government and education policy. During my time at Wellesley, my first dream was to become a human rights lawyer and then, in my senior year, I became interested in a career in academia. My first job out of college was at Lankler, Siffert & Wohl, a small white-collar crime law firm in Manhattan. During my two years at this firm, I had the opportunity to work on a human trafficking case. This work made me realize that I wanted to have an immediate impact on people’s lives, particularly women and children. I left law to join a team of social science researchers at Columbia University working on preventing substance abuse among young African American and Latina girls living in public housing. This brought me back to my passion to work towards improving the lives of children in poor communities. I wanted to have direct access to people and see outcomes of the work. This is why I left academia for work in education that dealt directly with improving schools and therefore children. I am happy I have been able to combine my skills and passion. In government, I have the opportunity to engage in policy-making, use my research skills to analyze problems, and interact with schools.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
Wellesley has been the most important experience and stepping stone in my life. I am forever grateful for the amazing education I received and the opportunities to become a leader. I am also grateful for the strong women I shared four years of my life with. They have been crucial in both my personal and professional lives. Wellesley opened the doors to the world and I wouldn’t be where I am today without my education. At Wellesley, I learned to be an effective communicator and leader. These skills have served me well every step of the way.

Most importantly, my network of college friends has been instrumental in supporting and guiding me. It is because of my Wellesley network—Kathleen Cushman, an education writer, and Nancy Genero, a professor of psychology—that I have come this far. It is the relationships that one develops at Wellesley that matter most. They have opened many doors for me that I couldn’t possibly image at 14 when I came to the U.S. The academics at Wellesley have also been crucial to my development. I learned discipline and a work ethic that has stayed with me ever since. I felt challenged every day and this is what keeps me going and wanting to make an impact.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
Every day is different. I work cross-functionally with almost every major office in the NYC Department of Education. This could entail collecting and analyzing different types of data to inform decisions at the highest-level. I also work, from time to time, with parents and advocates on resolving student issues such as an accommodation for a student with a disability. Other times I am at meetings or on conference calls discussing the status of the construction of health clinics in schools or new science labs.

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise
While people advise getting experience after college before deciding on graduate school, I would recommend students to pursue further training at the graduate level. Many young people in my field have been teachers for several years before moving onto graduate school and a career in education policy. This is also a great avenue. People with direct experience in schools have a great advantage. They know how policies impact student learning and school environments on a daily basis. They bring an important perspective to the table. This coupled with a graduate degree in education, business, social work, or public administration goes a long way. It is very important to have professional skills and to bring a professional network to be successful. New directions in education policy focus on data and accountability. Thus, having an analytical background is very important.

What do you wish you had known as a student?
I wished I had done more professional internships. During the summers, I did research fellowships through Wellesley. I wished I had spent some time in a law firm or a government office. I would have had a better understanding of the fields and thus an idea of what preparation I needed during and after college.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
I wished I could have stayed at Wellesley for an additional year. I had a long list of courses I wanted to take and I just didn’t have time. In fact, I did not go abroad (though I encourage everyone to study abroad and possibly learn another language) because I wanted to take full advantage of the academics. That said, I wished I had taken a couple of courses in statistics and research methods.

Where Are They Now: Elizabeth Laferriere ’10

Please give a brief background on yourself and your career.
I am a policy analyst and human rights advocate based in San Francisco but originally from New Hampshire. I graduated from Wellesley in 2010 with a degree in South Asian Studies and received my master of public policy from Georgetown University two years later. Since then I have focused my professional energy on a combination of women’s and girls’ equity, human rights, policy and political campaigning, project management and strategic communications.

Most recently, I served as the Legislative Director at the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women. San Francisco boasts a unique history with women’s rights. In 1998, it became the first city in the world to adopt into law the principles of CEDAW, an international women’s rights treaty not yet ratified by the federal government. The Department works to implement and fulfill these principles through grants, legislative advocacy and public-private collaboration. I led various projects dealing with women’s and family economic security, education, and health. My interests have recently expanded to include other big issues in the Bay Area including sex work, violence against women, and girls and human trafficking.

My San Francisco human rights career has also taken me to the international level. In March, I testified before the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the federal government’s failure to protect, respect and fulfill women’s rights. Specifically, the right to a discrimination-free workplace.

This fall I decided to look for opportunities beyond government which will bring me one step closer to those individuals experiencing human rights violations. I believe that this is the time in my career to specialize and work directly with impacted populations, and bring that value back to a future government career. My search extends to San Francisco, Oakland, New York City, Boston, Washington, DC and international locations.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student? 
In some ways I’ve felt like I’ve done a 180 since 2010. In other ways, my Wellesley career has prepared me precisely for my current role in women’s rights. As a student, I was certain my career would entail US-South Asia politics or at least development and nonprofit work in India. I also thought I might head to the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs. To this end, while in school, I pursued research and programming internships in Washington, D.C. at the Atlantic Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Asian American Justice Center, and in Boston at the William J. Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative.

Then, on a whim after graduate school, I opted to give the West Coast a chance. I joined the campaign of a local politician with a commitment to civil rights and have been engaged in San Francisco politics ever since. This early involvement in local policy and my developing interest in human rights issues in the United States brought me to the Department on the Status of Women.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
Wellesley was a very important launching pad both for my career as well as my confidence. Being surrounded by smart, self-reliant, diverse women helped me realize my own potential (and my own brand of feminism). I also credit Wellesley with helping make me a more independent and critical thinker. Finally, the alums and professors have been excellent resources at all points of my career, from finding internships to landing jobs.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you? 
I spent the last two years with the Department managing projects and acting on legislation that impacts women and girls. A typical work day would include reading through all Board of Supervisor agendas and the Mayor’s legislative announcements, attending hearings, drafting talking points and letters on issues, meeting with coalition members and maintaining the projects under my supervision.

One major project of mine was the Healthy Mothers Workplace Coalition. Developed as part of a CDC community transformation grant to address health disparities for working mothers and their infants, Healthy Mothers operates on the understanding that workplace policies severely impact pregnant women (61% of new mothers work during their pregnancy) and women with children. Our work consisted of many activities: we built a self-assessment tool and award program for San Francisco family-friendly workplaces. We pushed for local legislation that fills gaps in work-family policies. We worked to educate our communities on current laws for the equal treatment of pregnant workers and working parents. On a day-to-day basis I would maintain our social media accounts, provide technical assistance to organizations applying for the award, ghost-write opinion pieces, plan events and perform outreach.

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
I currently serve as a Co-Alumnae Admissions Representative for Northern California and I always tell prospective and new students to start early with building meaningful relationships with alumnae and field contacts. Invitations to coffee (sent through a shared contact) are my favorite way to meet new people working in policy. I often do this by looking for shared connections on LinkedIn. When I travel for personal reasons, I also try to tack on a couple meet-ups with area academics of policy analysts.

I believe this type of networking is important not just for finding employment or making contacts but also for gaining a more complete picture of the types of opportunities available in the field. Human rights policy work can take you just about anywhere. One might consider serving as a government policy analyst, addressing human rights concerns from within the system.  A legislative or policy advocate housed at a nonprofit would be able to testify for and advise on policy with the direct experience and stories of those impacted. One might opt to work for a corporate-sponsored foundation (i.e., HERProject with Levi Strauss or the Nike Foundation serving girls in sports) or perform research at a think tank such as the Center for American Progress or Institute for Peace. One could also consult, provide legal services, monitor violations abroad — the possibilities are endless.

However, what I consider most important for a young graduate is that she immerse herself in the population whose rights she aims to represent. Volunteer, join relevant organizations, write with and about members of the population. One can always work toward high level policy. It’s much better to start off by developing personal connections and gaining new perspectives and then to later bring the unique value of those experiences to policy work.

What do you wish you had known as a student?
The importance of statistics for many professions as well as for maintaining a critical and independent perspective on issues and a healthy understanding of probability.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
I am currently obsessed with Professor Radhakrishnan’s MOOC Intro to Global Sociology (in progress now). On campus I would love to take Professor Cuba’s Punishment or even re-take Professor Rao’s City in South Asia, an all-time favorite. Wellesley – isn’t it time for a gender studies graduate program?

Where Are They Now: Misti Yang ’01

Please give a brief background on yourself and your career.
Ha! Sorry, when I see “your career” I have to chuckle just a little because I don’t think of myself as having a “career.” I have entered doors when they opened, and left when I was ready for something new. Today, I am in graduate school pursuing my master’s degree in communication studies, and I am working with a startup (Nomic) developing marketing and strategy. Somewhere along the way, I taught myself to DJ, and I perform at events around the world with my husband, who is a professional violinist.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
While at Wellesley, I was an American Studies major, and I minored in education. However, I dedicated most of my energy to making Wellesley fun. I was DOOCA and managed Molly’s. (Is that still the campus pub?) I dressed like a cow for month in an attempt to earn an internship at Rolling Stone. I threw a rave in Keohane. I picked up Big Boi of Outkast in my Ford Explorer from Logan Airport. My plan was to go to California and teach elementary school. Why California? I am not sure. I am from Georgia, so perhaps I just had an urge to traverse the country. But, I did not end up in California. My senior year I was recruited by Lehman Brothers to become an investment banking analyst. The door opened, and I went to Manhattan to work for Lehman. Three months after I started 9/11 happened. I finished my first year with Lehman, and I quit because it was not the career for me. I didn’t have a plan, so I moved back to Atlanta. I worked as a server in a fancy seafood restaurant, was a nanny for a family, and sold MINI Coopers at baseball legend Hank Aaron’s car dealership. (He was always impressed that I had attended Wellesley.) My third day selling MINI Coopers I took my first customer on a test drive. Two and a half years later he would become my husband. Bobby (my husband) is a professional violinist, and I spent several years managing his career. I booked his shows. I handled his PR. I wrote his newsletter. I also pursued other freelance writing opportunities. We moved to Las Vegas in 2008, and in 2010, I decided I was ready for a new experience. Yelp was hiring for the first Las Vegas Community Manager, and I decided to apply. I was hired, and spent three years working for Yelp. The position allowed me to utilize all of my past experiences: event-planning, marketing, and writing. As you can see, the one path I envisioned–elementary school teacher–is the one path I have not pursued.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
For me, Wellesley has meant that I could pursue whatever I wanted to pursue. My classes and experiences taught me to be open-minded and thoughtful. I have learned that whether you are waiting tables, selling cars or developing marketing strategies, a Wellesley education is invaluable.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
I balance my work with attending grad school, and my work includes marketing for Nomic and performing as a DJ. My average day at Nomic might include reviewing social media content, providing feedback about product design to our developers, writing a blog post, meeting with potential event partners, interviewing beta testers, and brainstorming marketing strategies with my boss. I work on those tasks Monday through Thursday, and then wake up Friday, catch a plane to wherever our performance might be, and when I arrive, work on updating and organizing my music for the show. On Saturday, we load in and sound check in the afternoon, and then our event might last until midnight. On Sunday, we fly home, and then on Monday, I start over again!

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
I think that regardless of what you think you want to do the most important thing is experience, however small you may think it is or however underpaid you think you are. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have to gain experience and seek out ways to gain that experience. If you want to write, start writing and trying to get published. If you want to get into marketing, start marketing. (Every student organization needs a marketing-minded member.) If you want to DJ, go to Guitar Center, get the basic DJ equipment, and start DJing. Wellesley is rich with opportunities. Take advantage of them all.

What do you wish you had known as a student?
On a very practical level, I wish I would have created relationships with professors. I was so busy planning parties that I failed to create an academic family, and I regret that. I especially regretted it when I was applying to graduate school and needed recommendation letters! Even so, I still got accepted, so nothing is insurmountable, which leads me to my more motivational poster insight: Whatever you want to do, you can do it. There are no careers, no paths, no companies, no ideas–nothing that is off limits. All you need to do is move confidently in the direction of your happiness.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
I always regret not learning how to golf.

Where Are They Now: Kim Miller ’07

Please give a brief background on yourself and your career.
I am a cancer epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society. I hold a masters degree in epidemiology from Emory University. During graduate school, I interned at federal- and state-level public health organizations in a variety of areas, including HIV, disaster preparedness, and vector-borne diseases. I previously worked in the editorial department of a medical information service for clinicians, specifically in the area of infectious diseases. My degree from Wellesley is in English literature, and I was actually a transfer student from the University of Maryland, where I studied print journalism.

How has your career changed since you originally envisioned it at Wellesley? What other careers did you consider as a student?
In my early twenties, I completely rejected the idea that I would ever do anything in math or the sciences, in part because I grew up wanting to be a writer and an international correspondent. However, when I was studying abroad and interning at a London newspaper, a Wellesley College News editor e-mailed me and asked me to do a particularly sensitive story for the school paper. I’m paraphrasing here, but I was told I was asked to do it because I wrote very cut and dry pieces. This comment made me realize that I had trouble being anything other than cut and dry in my writing, which, although editors might not find fault with that deficiency, did not bode so well for my personal aspirations. It also made me realize that I actually might be more suited to winnowing the chaff for other writers’ works, so I began entertaining the idea of working in trade publishing. Of course, Boston is a little shorthanded when it comes to trade publishers, so I landed in academic publishing instead. I managed to graduate from Wellesley without ever having the slightest inkling that I’d ever become an epidemiologist. That epiphany came later, through my job at the medical information service.

How has Wellesley contributed to your career?
The dedication and pride that Wellesley students have in their studies and the point they make to celebrate each other’s work is truly impressive. That work ethic really stuck with me — especially through graduate school.

What is a typical work day or work week like for you?
I guess the most “high profile” responsibility that comes with my position is to produce estimates for the contemporary cancer burden (new cancer cases and deaths in the current year), which are useful because available cancer data lag three to four years behind the current year. I use statistical modeling techniques in SAS, R, and software from the National Cancer Institute to do this. However, this process only takes a few weeks each year to complete, and most of my days consist of proofreading manuscripts, running data requests, fact-checking items for colleagues, working on research projects, reading journal articles to keep up with the literature, and helping colleagues prepare for presentations. I’m currently preparing for the launch in December of a book and its associated website (canceratlas.cancer.org), on which I am a contributing editor. The estimates I produced for 2015 will be published in January, in a paper led by my director, Rebecca Siegel.

What piece of advice would you offer students looking to get into your area of interest and expertise?
If you are considering a career in epidemiology, find a graduate school that offers a solid methods-based, accredited curriculum. Also, several employers have preferred schools from which they recruit, so first pick out where you’d like to end up and whether you plan to be more of an applied epidemiologist or delve more into academic and clinical research (many applied epidemiologists also write papers for publication, it’s just more of a question of the type of papers you would like to be writing).

What do you wish you had known as a student?
I used to think grade “deflation” was the worst thing in the world, until I was suddenly surrounded by flagrant grade inflation. Trust me, the latter is much worse! In the end, however, a grade is just a grade, and doesn’t define you or your passion.

If you could come back and take one class at Wellesley what would it be?
Susan Reverby’s class on the history of American healthcare. Her research on the Tuskegee study and Guatemala was a focal point of much discussion in my classes at Emory.