September (Redux) 2015 Smithie of the Month: Liz Balcom

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(Liz with her wife Nora and all of their Smith friends at their wedding)

Name: Liz Balcom

Class Year: 2010

How long have you lived in Philadelphia?

I moved to Philadelphia right after graduating from Smith in 2010 and fall in love with this place more every day.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

My favorite restaurant in the city is Parc, right at the corner of Rittenhouse Square. My wife Nora and I love to sit at one of the outdoor tables, share some French fries and a glass of wine, and watch the city stroll by.

What are you up to now?

I am a Development Officer at Bryn Mawr College- and am thrilled to be back in a women’s centric space, supporting women’s education.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it?

I lived in Cutter House my first two years on campus, was abroad in Florence my Junior year, and lived in Duckett House my senior year. My favorite thing about housing at Smith was being just doors away from all of my closest friends. I still wish I could run down the hall to tell my best friends all about my day and binge watch bad TV shows together.

What is your favorite Smith tradition and why?

Mountain Day is, without question, my favorite Smith tradition. I can still remember the feeling of pure joy that would flood over me when I learned we were free to enjoy a (hopefully) beautiful fall day. Who doesn’t love a good reason to eat cider donuts, pick apples, and go hiking with friends? My Cutter house friends and I once crammed 10 people in a tiny car just to make it over to Atkins Farm all together. It was a day always so full of laughter.

Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class?

My favorite course would have to be from my very first semester of freshman year. It was a course called “History and Memory” taught by Professor Darcy Buerkle. The course opened my eyes and inspired me to see history through a completely different lens. Darcy eventually became my advisor and was an incredible support and resource throughout my four years at Smith. She challenged me to think more critically and to make stronger arguments in my writing, and inspired my academic growth throughout my four years. Darcy was a wonderful and supportive resource to her advisees and was deeply invested in each of our intellectual and personal growth at Smith.

 

How did your Smith experience shape your life?

Smith provided me a safe space to learn and grow both intellectually and personally. Being at Smith taught me to think harder and speak louder about the many issues our society is facing today. It taught me what it means to be a strong woman and stand up for what you believe in without apology. I also met my wife at Smith, and in the safety of Smith’s campus, learned to fully trust and love. And I think it’s only because I was surrounded by other incredibly smart and strong women who always pushed me to be better, while also supporting me, that I can say any of this. At the end of the day, being at Smith helped me find myself and better prepared me to be a confident and independent women in the world today.

(Can you tell I feel ALL the feelings about women’s education?!)

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