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: Amanda Mott

Amanda Mott

Amanda Mott, Class of 1985

How long have you lived in Philadelphia? Since 1991.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the city? Do I have to pick one? Love the choices we have a great restaurant scene – love oysters at Pennsylvania 6, Tria and Mr. Martino’s Trattoria to name a few.

What are you up to now? I work at the University of Pennsylvania as the Associate Director for News. I have just started working on a master’s part time and I enjoy reading and spending time gardening in Waverly Community Garden.

What house did you live in on campus and what was your favorite thing about it? Morris House – the friends I made there are life long. It was great being on Green Street and close to Paradise Pond. The fact that it was a medium in size meant we had a nice mix of students from all years.

Why did you choose Smith?  A family friend Nancy Leslie recommended it she taught at Spellman College in Georgia where I lived and her daughter was a freshman at Mount Holyoke. My parents were British and had not gone through the U.S. college search process. I loved the idea of college in New England.

What is your favorite Smith tradition and why?  Loved Friday teas and Art History 100. That routine of taking time to gather in that slightly formal, informal way and sit and talk was kind of funny but also wonderful. A year of art history and looking at art and architecture from all over the world was like a grand tour. On those occasions when I am fortunate to see the works we studied in person – brings those lessons to life.

Who was your favorite professor/what was your best class? I took Letterpress with Elliot Offner in my junior year – love of it has stayed with me. The satisfaction of working to set moveable type, watch as the words take shape on the page and feel the impression the type has made on the paper is amazing.

Do you have a defining/favorite/most memorable/transformative Smith moment? I think it was when I finally realized there were no requirements and signed up for Dance History. It was freeing. My first semester I basically created requirements for myself English 101, History 101, Calculus . . .what was I thinking? When I began to explore what I wanted, it opened up a new world of possibilities.

What makes a Smithie unique? She is empowered to be outspoken and a good listener.

How did your Smith experience shape your life? Hard to sum up. I could not have gone to Smith without the financial aid I received and I’m forever grateful for the experiences, discoveries and doors opened as a result. I reconnected with Smith in a meaningful way six years ago when I joined the Smith Alumnae Chorus. Since then I have traveled with them in concert to Sicily and to the Baltic. It has been a true gift to be able to connect to generations of Smith singers, make new friends and to experience the astonishing
talent of Jonathan Hirsh, senior lecturer and director of choral and orchestral activities at Smith.