August 2016 Smithie of the Month – Kate Thomas

Kate Thomas
Class of 2000
How long have you lived in Philadelphia? What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?  West Philadelphia born and… erm.  I don’t eat out very often, but I am fond of Dim Sum Garden.
What are you up to now?  I recently sold my business, a fencing club that I built about five years ago.  Now I’m jumping off into an even more improbable project involving Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and… singing.  And dancing.  There’s actually a tangential project that feels very, very Smith that is digging into the women around these two men, who were so incredibly strong and determined and… trapped by the social norms of the day.  They’re clamoring for their own stage and I really want to hear what they have to say to one another!
What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it?  I lived in Albright.  I was incredibly involved outside my house so I was a bit of a hermit in my house.  I treasured it as a respite from all the everything outside.
Why did you choose Smith?  I swore up and down that I would never ever ever go to a women’s college – all my friends were guys, it just wasn’t my scene.  And then at some point early in my senior year of high school I looked around at the adult women I respected and gradually realized that not only was I going to apply to Smith, I was going to apply early decision.
Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class?  I was a music major and still feel so fortunate for how incredible the music faculty was.  (Is!  Most of them are still there!)  They all played a huge part in my going on to get a PhD in music history.  But I am particularly grateful to Ruth Solie, whose seminars focused on close readings and tight writing. I had a moment in my senior year, a flash of realizing that it had taken 21 years but I finally felt like I was juuuuuust starting to read and really engage with texts, just learning how to write and truly communicate thoughts.  It was exhilarating.  Sixteen years later and I’m still grateful every day.
How did your Smith experience shape your life?  I’ve made a couple big jumps in my life – huge, exciting, terrifying projects and changes.  The confidence and determination that I built at Smith – through challenging, rigorous classes and opportunities like heading student clubs and working summer internships in my field (with funding from Smith!) – has helped me recognize the dreams, realize that I could achieve them, and then sit my tail-feathers down and get to it and through it.  But more importantly, I am consistently amazed at the joy and courage and support I find in my friends and classmates as they do the same.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s