Smithie of the Month: Mary Guinn

Mary Guinn

Mary Guinn, Class of 2015

How long have you lived in Philadelphia?  I have lived in Philadelphia for over a year now. I love Philadelphia– it’s a large city but can feel very much like a small town depending on the neighborhood. Plus, it has great food and parks!

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?  It would be a tie between Bar Bombón (18th and Moravian) and White Dog Cafe (34th and Sansom). Bar Bombón is a short stroll from Rittenhouse Square and is a small corner bar that has amazing vegan Puerto Rican food. I try to go there as often as I can make an excuse. White Dog Cafe is near Penn in University City and has delicious appetizers and desserts, but the best part is literally everything is dog themed. From the door handles to the stairs to the bathrooms, it’s dogs galore. It’s ridiculous and I love it.

What are you up to now?  I do conflicts research for a Am Law 100 firm. I love research–it’s like pulling on a thread on a piece of fabric. You keep pulling at strings until something gives and then you can do something new with the material you pulled! I also keep myself busy with volunteering, language study, and other hobbies.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it?  I lived in Gillett all three years I was on campus. I had the same lovely senior single the entire time I lived in Gillett! It had two huge windows that let me see everything happening on Elm Street, which was fantastic during big storms or events on campus. Being able to check the weather before heading out was a huge plus!

Why did you choose Smith?  It had all the classes I ever wanted to take, it was in an adorable New England town, and was a Seven Sisters school! I was sold as soon as I visited campus! After submitting my application and meeting Smithies in my hometown, I knew I made the right decision.

Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class?  My favorite classes were all taught by Dennis Yasutomo in the Government and East Asian Studies departments. They were fascinating, fun and I learned a lot of new skills I still use in my day-to-day job–I was very lucky to take so many of his courses while I was at Smith!

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment?  My favorite moment would probably be returning to Smith for my senior year after studying abroad for the previous 14 months. Felt like I was home. A bittersweet moment because I knew I’d have to leave again in the spring, but it felt great being back on campus, ready to start a new year. Every Smithie I’ve talked to seems to have had a similar experience– there’s something about the campus and Noho!

How did your Smith experience shape your life?  Smith gave me a lot of tools to make more of a difference, allowing me to put my own talents and skills to better use. It also opened my eyes to parts of the world I never knew about and gave me my “Smith family”– I’m very lucky to have very close friends from all parts of the globe. While they’re all now scattered again all over the world after graduation, we still are able to support and encourage each other from afar. Smithie friendships are so strong and it’s one of the most important parts of my Smith experience!

What makes a Smithie unique?  That indelible quality all Smithies have is hard to describe… probably a mixture of wit and drive. Smithies have a fantastic sense of humor, a quick mind, and a palpable drive to do whatever they’re passionate about. Smithies go hard or they go home!

 

Smithie of the Month: Julie Slavet

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Julie Slavet, Class of 1979 (With daughter, Elizabeth Walber, Class of 2016)

How long have you lived in Philadelphia? I’ve lived in Philadelphia since 1995.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city? My favorite restaurant is Tinto.

What are you up to now?  I’ve had some really interesting jobs here since I went back to work after being at home with my children for 7 years. I was the Executive Vice President of the Eastern Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce for 5 years and then District Director for Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz for 6 years. I’m currently Executive Director of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership (TTF), one of our region’s leading community-based clean water organizations.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it?  I lived in Sessions and Park houses. My favorite thing about Session was (of course) the secret staircase — my favorite thing about Park was the view of Paradise Pond.

Why did you choose Smith?  I chose Smith because it was the best women’s college to which I applied!

Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class?  An Economics class with Bob Buchele made an incredible impression on me because it was a totally different perspective on the world and how the economy impacts people. We spent one fascinating class talking about why it was not a good idea that New York City declare bankruptcy.

What makes a Smithie unique? I think that what makes Smithies unique is our commitment to supporting other women and our belief that women can pursue any goals they choose. I hope that we all share the responsibility that we will use the incredible skills, knowledge, and understanding we have been provided with to make the world a better place for women and other humans!

Do you have a defining Smith moment?  I was so proud that Elizabeth, my daughter, decided to go to Smith too! It’s a very different place than it was when I was there and she loved it for lots of the same and different reasons than I did. When she graduated in May, it was a wonderful moment to walk with the Class of 1776 group thru hollering and whooping seniors on each side — and to see my daughter enjoying this so much with her friends. I’ll never forget it. We’re both so proud to be Smithies!

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September 2016 Smithie of the Month: Casey Rau

casey-rau_dsc3623Casey Rau, Class of 2016

How long have you lived in Philadelphia?  I was born and raised in Pottstown PA, so other than my four years at Smith I have lived my whole life in the greater Philadelphia area.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city? I LOVE Alma de Cuba.

What are you up to now? I’m working at Haverford College as a Program and Communications Coordinator in the Center for Career and Professional Advising Career Center. This fall, I also helped coach the Bryn Mawr field hockey team.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it?
I lived in Jordan House all four years. My favorite part about Jordan was the sense of community. After a long day of classes and field hockey, it always felt like I was going home at the end of the day.

Why did you choose Smith?   I chose Smith for many different reasons. As an incoming first-year, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study, so Smith’s open curriculum really gave me a chance to explore many different academic paths, even after I declared my religion major. I also knew that I wanted to play field hockey, and Smith has a very competitive program that is improving every year. I visited a lot of liberal art schools with strong field hockey programs, but at Smith I felt such a connection with the team and our coach, Jaime.

What is your favorite Smith tradition and why?  There are way too many to choose from. Of course I love convocation and mountain day. But most of all I loved our pregame field hockey rituals. I loved the sense of collective excitement before games. It is something that is hard, if not impossible, to replace.

Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class?  I have two favorite professors, Connie Kassor and Peter Gregory. Way too many great classes to choose from, I loved all the Buddhist classes (I was a Buddhism Concentrator at Smith) and I especially loved printmaking with Lindsey Clark-Ryan.

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment?
Playing field hockey at Smith was very important for me. Working with a team and a really supportive coaching staff empowered me on and off the field. In general, Smith helped me build my confidence and awareness of myself and the world around me.

image1-2Casey and her parents at Smith during her Senior Field Hockey Game.

 

August 2016 Smithie of the Month – Kate Thomas

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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.

June 2016 Smithie of the Month – Caroline Winschel

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Name: Caroline Winschel

Class Year: 2009

How long have you lived in Philadelphia? I moved to Philly in 2009, just a few weeks after graduating from Smith. I came for a job and literally didn’t know anyone in the city, so I spent several months being really lonely—that was a surprisingly good experience to have right after college.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city? My husband spent a decade in the food industry, so we maintain an ever-evolving list of restaurants to try and restaurants worth multiple visits. Picking a favorite is hard! Lately I’ve been craving a return visit to Khmer Kitchen in South Philly—they have a caramelized pork dish (yes, really) that I love.

What are you up to now? I like to say that I spend the bulk of my time asking people for things and then thanking people for things. I manage development at Bartram’s Garden, which is America’s first garden—it was founded in 1728 along the banks of the Schuylkill River in Southwest Philly. This summer I’m also in pretty intense volunteer mode: I serve as the vice president of the Smith College Alumnae Chorus, which means that I’m overseeing our tour to Cuba this July. (And if you’ve never heard of the Alumnae Chorus, check us out at smithalumchorus.org to learn more and to get on our email list for future concert tours.) I’m in my second year as president of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, which also has a large Smithie contingent. Oh, and sometimes I go home to my lovely husband in our lovely West Philly house with a lovely garden and three lovely cats. Those are good times.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it? I lived in Lawrence House for my first two years and then lived in Dawes House as a senior after returning from JYA Paris. Easily the best thing about living in Lawrence was—and still is—the people I lived with, many of whom I’m still close with today. (The best thing about Dawes was my huge room with a fireplace and a private bathroom.)

What is your favorite Smith tradition and why? This is more a Smith experience than a Smith tradition, but I love the Olmsted campus with its wandering pathways. I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere about Smithies getting used to taking the long way ‘round or finding alternate routes, but I just like how pretty it is. (Also, given that there’s no efficient way to get anywhere, it makes one very attentive to being on time!)

Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class? When we graduated, a dear friend and I made certificates of appreciation for Dana Leibsohn and Janie Vanpée: both brilliant professors who made class joyous as well as deeply thought-provoking. They also were both very indulgent with our in-class silliness, like a seminar presentation delivered largely in mime and French-accented gibberish. (It was about subversive 18 th -century street theater, and we got an A.)

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment? Because of various other roles and involvement, my friends and I had access to a lot of spaces that weren’t open for regular or private use. So we threw elaborate clandestine dinner parties (by candlelight and with borrowed crystal and silver, of course). The administration eventually found out after one of our guests was indiscreet on Facebook—I remember being called into a dean’s office and thinking that she seemed more amused than genuinely upset with us. The real takeaway was to stop lighting candles if no one knew we were in the building.

How did your Smith experience shape your life? Have you noticed that I have a habit of inserting myself into leadership or decision-making? I give Smith a lot of credit for that—not only for providing space in which I could carve out those opportunities but also for offering a good (and ongoing!) grounding in not being a jerk. Assertiveness is good; balance is better.

May 2016 Smithie of the Month: Dru Foster

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Dru Dickey Foster
Class of 1982

How long have you lived in Philadelphia? My daughters and I moved to Philadelphia in September, 2015 to join my husband who’d been working here since March.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city? We are very excited by the great restaurants in Philadelphia, and had a great evening at Bud & Marilyn’s that was amazing.

What are you up to now? I work as a consultant to the executive search firm I worked with for past eight years. We recruit physicians and scientists for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. I am in charge of our research.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it? I lived in three houses! Lamont freshman, Chapin sophomore, junior year in London and senior year in Friedman. Friedman was especially great because it was the nicest apartment I’d live in for a long time and my roommates and I had so much fun together.

Why did you choose Smith? I’d had the opportunity to visit Smith when I was a very impressionable 14 year old – when my brother married a Smithie in Helen Hills Hills Chapel with their reception in the Alumnae House. The campus was magically beautiful and I liked everything about it. It was also very exotic coming from my small Indiana town.

Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class? My favorite professor was Susan Van Dyne, and my favorite extra-curricular person was Miss Benson, Rita Benson who advised the synchronized swimming team.

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment? I was an English major, but I liked to study in the music library. One of my favorite memories is tied to discovering that I could absorb Shakespeare best while reading along with recordings of his plays. Because I was listening to LP records on a turntable, I found I could play them at 45 rpm instead of 33 which allowed me to read more quickly and be extra amused as I went.

What makes a Smithie unique? I haven’t been able to pinpoint what it is that makes a Smithie unique, because there are so many variations. But, there is something consistent there. I’ll share that even at my first meeting of the Smith Club of Philadelphia, when I was a 20+ years older than any other attendee, I left feeling inspired, happy, and as though I’d been with friends.

March 2016 Smithie of the Month: Atema Addy

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Name: Atema Addy

Class Year: 2014

How long have you lived in Philadelphia? 

I was actually born in Philadelphia and have lived here my entire life, besides the 4 years I lived in Northampton and in Houston, TX immediately after graduation.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

My favorite restaurant to visit is ECOWAS African Restaurant on 64th and Woodland Avenue. The food is phenomenal!

What are you up to now?

I currently am the executive director of UPLIFT- United Peoples’ Learning Initiative for Tomorrow, an NGO that strives to provide students in need with educational resources and services. We are currently working in Liberia, West Africa and South West Philadelphia. This June, we are planning a trip to Liberia to establish 5 reading rooms in 5 schools. We have 3000 texts being shipped to Liberia and we are currently fundraising for this initiative. We are currently establishing a resource center in South West Philadelphia that will boost the literacy rates of the youth and adults of our community and expose them to non-violent form of expression. Alongside directing UPLIFT I guest teach at 11 schools in various parts of the city. Teaching in Philly is extremely rewarding and beneficial since it allows for us at UPLIFT to stay connected with Philadelphia’s youth and their needs. I’ve taught on all levels from PreK to 10th grade thus far and though I love all the grade levels I’ve taught, high school is definitely my favorite!

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

I lived in Cushing House and my favorite thing about living there was house culture—more specifically Linda, our housekeeper. She was the best part of living in Cushing since she was always warm, understanding, and kind. She also got us birthday cakes at the end of each month! Linda and Diane, the lunchtime dining staff, were both equally awesome and I love them for making Cushing a special place to live.

Why did you choose Smith?

In high school, I applied to 16 colleges and was accepted to them all, but Smith was an easy decision. I chose Smith because I was interested in attending an all women’s college with rich history and a beautiful campus. Smith also provided a great financial aid package, which made it easier to say yes!

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

I have 2 equally favorite professors—Adam Hall and Pamela Petro—because they are supportive, understanding and down to earth individuals whose company I enjoy. My favorite classes were writing about travel with Pam since I love to travel and write and neuroendocrinology (hormones are really interesting and control so much of what we do involuntarily)! I took both these classes during my senior year and I was impressed and stimulated not only by the content of the classes, but also by the fun and inviting structure of the daily lessons and assignments.

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment

During my first year of college, my first year seminar professor told me, “I see this a lot with my black students, you all struggle” and that quote, in those exact words, stuck with me since. At first, I had a hard time deciding whether or not to feel offended by his words, as he too was a black man, but this amongst other quotes of his have stuck with me since the words were uttered, and I believe I will remember it forever. During my first semester, I was convinced that this man hated me and wanted to see me suffer, but reflecting now, I believe he wanted to see me prepared.Since graduating Smith, I have changed my view on this professor—he prepared me as a writer, he prepared me for things that were said and insinuated by people who could not identify with my racial or economic background, he honestly prepared me for so many other experiences I have had since. Though I avoided and disliked that professor all 4 years, immediately after graduating, I appreciated him much more than I did as a student at Smith.

How did your Smith experience shape your life?

My Smith experience shaped my life in many ways. Smith exposed me to immeasurable options and opportunities. My Smith experience allowed for me to travel “on the house” and to explore my passions through exploring my world. My Smith experiences lead me to my calling in life—UPLIFT and providing equal opportunities and resources for financially deprived youths around the world. My Smith experience showed me what it’s like to be backed by an institution that values my requests, my thoughts, one that is invested in my success, growth, and future. Smith was invested in me, and this understanding transformed me into someone who doesn’t accept the cards I was dealt, but one who reshuffles and chooses her own hand. I believe that my Smith experience has not ended—it continues to shape me and will continue to impact my life for as long as I am alive (that’s not dramatic at all).

 

February 2016 Smithie of the Month: Crystal Arellano-Fryer

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Lola (right) and I (left) took our families apple picking on the weekend before our wedding for our own “Wedding Mountain Day.”

Name: Crystal Arellano-Fryer

Class Year: 2009

How long have you lived in Philadelphia? What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

My wife, Lola (class of 2011), and I moved to Fishtown in the fall of 2013 for graduate school with our two cats, Teddy and Yaz. Everyone MUST try Que Chula Es Puebla, a fantastic, authentic Mexican restaurant in Northern Liberties.

What are you up to now?

I am in my final semester at Princeton Theological Seminary in the Master of Divinity program. I am also the Minister for Youth Formation at Christ Church Philadelphia and a Teaching Assistant for Biblical Hebrew (my boss is also a Smithie!).

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

Talbot House was an amazing place to live and always felt like home and Talboteers will always be like family. Moose love ❤

Why did you choose Smith?

Smith immediately felt like home from the first time I stepped on campus. I loved being surrounded by smart, motivated, and passionate people who wanted to make a difference. Smith’s generous financial aid made an otherwise impossible experience possible for me. I also loved Smith’s focus on the liberal arts and locating its coursework in actual world experiences.

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment?

I loved playing softball at Smith with the best bunch of teammates in the world. Smith made me love the game again and playing a sport was the perfect compliment to tough courses and hours of studying.

What makes a Smithie unique?

I think you can tell what makes a Smithie unique when you meet someone and think, “You could be a Smithie.” Smithies are strong, independent, passionate problem solvers with a pension for questioning authority, deep conversation, and political convictions. A young woman in my church’s high school youth group recently shared with me how unfair she thought it was that all of the schools in Philadelphia do not have the same resources, to which I said “Have you ever thought about going to a women’s college?”

How did your Smith experience shape your life?

Besides introducing me to my best friends and my wife, Smith pushed me to challenge myself and the world around, to ask for more out of life for myself and others. Smith taught me the power of organizing and finding my own voice. Smith was the place I learned to write, to speak, to protest, and to build relationships for a lifetime.

 

January 2016 Smithie of the Month: Sue Badeau

WIth Nancy Roseman (2)

(Sue Badeau – L, with friend and fellow Smithie, Nancy Roseman – L)

Name: Sue (Susan Hoag) Badeau

Class Year: 1979 (and 1980 – I started in the class of 1980, but decided to accelerate and graduate in 3 years so I finished in the year of 1979 – I have friends in both classes!)

How long have you lived in Philadelphia?

I Moved to Philly in 1992 – this is my 24th year here.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?

That’s a tough one, I travel so much for my work, and eat out on the road so often, that I rarely eat out when home, although I do frequent the Trolley Car Diner a lot with my grandchildren (they each get a one-on-one “date” with Nanna and Poppa at the Trolley Car). I like to support small local restaurants. Tiffin is one of my favorites.

What are you up to now?

I Love being a grandmother and great grandmother but still working countless hours as an educator in the field of trauma-informed care for children and an advocate for children in the child welfare, juvenile justice and other systems. I do a lot of writing – have published a few books and have a couple more in the pipeline. Also, we devote as much time as we can to a wonderful program in Kenya called Imara which helps educate and empower young Kenyan girls, and I am currently president of the Board of an International organization – the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

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

Laura Scales House – well, I picked it because I could get my own room, but what I loved most about it turned out to be the friends and camaraderie with my “almost roommates” and some have remained life-long friends. My favorite recent Smith-related experience was attending the inauguration of one of my very best Smith friends, Nancy Roseman as the President of Dickinson College I also loved the huge basement at Scales House where I set up an office for my little “business” typing papers for other students for 50 cents a page!

Why did you choose Smith?

I wanted to be able to major in dance (ballet, and more) but my parents didn’t feel that was the best option for my future (they were wise). Nevertheless, I wanted a school with strong academics AND a good dance program, and the idea of a women’s college really appealed to me.

What is your favorite Smith tradition and why?

Social activism. I really cut my teeth on the activism that has been a part of my life as a result of the opportunities and exposure I had at Smith.

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

Sue Freeman and all the classes I took from her in the education department. But I loved my dance and theatre classes as well and Len Berkman was a favorite in that arena.

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment? Being selected as an official “press” representative from Smith to ride the press bus and interview candidates during the 1978-79 run-up to the presidential elections. I met Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy and other candidates, and also got to sit on the press bus with the likes of Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell. It really fueled my passions for both politics (with both small and capital “P”) and journalism.

What makes a Smithie unique?

There are many different Smithie profiles and I love the diversity and wish it would become even more diverse. But the common characteristic is drive, passion and a desire to make a difference in the world.

How did your Smith experience shape your life?

I met people who opened my eyes to injustices and realities I had not known or seen while growing up in small-town Vermont. The ideals and goals which have shaped my life and career were forged at Smith.

(Below: Sue Badeau – L, with Jill Ker Conway – R)

Smith Conway Sue speaking