Women-to-Women 2012

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In 2001, former Dean of Admission Britt Flanagan created the Women-to-Women forum to provide a relaxed setting for alumnae to share their experiences and insights from their years at WRA and beyond with current junior and senior girls.

 Over the years we have received tremendous feedback from students about how they have benefited from the friendly and informal interaction with women who have "been there." It has also given the Alumni & Development Office great satisfaction and pride to see our female graduates return and interact with current students.

 In order to make this event a success, the Alumni & Development Office teamed up with the Alumni Association Board, several faculty members and a group of enthusiastic junior and senior girls to create the atmosphere for the event and to identify the type of alumna to invite back to speak.

 As the committee designed invitations, purchased flowers, chose spring colors for the plates and napkins and ordered food from NOSH Catering, Director of Special Events Greta Rothman from the Alumni & Development Office put out a notice to all alumna living in Ohio to see who was available to return - the response was overwhelming and in the end, 13 alumna were selected to participate. The idea was to be sure to represent different decades, social backgrounds and careers.

 Everything came together on the evening of April 13 as students, faculty and alumnae gathered in Wilson Hall's Jefferson Keener Jr. '50 Reading Room. Along with Rothman, junior Class Dean Kim Barsella '84 and senior Class Dean Keely Boomhower, who helped organize the event, were on hand. Also in attendance were faculty members Sarah Horgan, Sherry Chlysta, Dean of Faculty Kate Mueller, Dr. Manuela Mueller-Windisch and Elizabeth Wirtz.

Kristin Samuel Kuhn '98, a member of the Alumni Association Board, welcomed everyone and gave a history of this event and the role of the AAB. Rothman added how important events like these are for networking, and to remember that the A&D Office is available once students graduate to help them stay in touch as they go out into the world. 

 Each alumna was assigned a student buddy over Spring Break in March, and each student eagerly introduced their new friend to the group. Emily Kalis '12 then started her role as moderator and a wonderful conversation commenced.

 This year’s alumna panel included: 

  • Barbie Coleman '88
  • Dagmar Fleischmann Fellowes '75
  • Hallie Godshall '99
  • Patricia Yund Johnson '94
  • Lillian Kuri '88
  • Sasha Maseelall '96
  • Rachel Mitton-Fry '92
  • Lana Momani '02
  • Rachel Rubin '99
  • Karen Sheehan '81
  • Nimarta Singh '03
  • Cordy Dennison-Budak Swegal '03
  • Mialie Szymanski '99
  • Kristin Samuel Kuhn '98

 The Student Buddies were:

  • Marguerite Fall '13
  • Brianna Halasa '13
  • Ann Marie Hulver '12
  • Emily Kalis '12
  • Monica Mehta '12
  • Gibson Miller '13
  • Krista Sandercock '12
  • Rachel Silver '12
  • Sithara Thalluri '13
  • Margot Warner '13
  • Katherine Winford '12
  • Lindsey Wirtz '13
  • Annie Wyman '13

 A myriad of topics were discussed in this hour-and-30-minute session.  In addition to favorite teachers, pranks (stealing all the silverware from the dining hall) and classroom memories, here are some of the questions and words of advice the panel had to impart that really stood out:

 “What were the best tools you took away from your years at WRA?" 

  • Time management, study skills, structure, communication skills, confidence, the state of mind that you can do anything, great relations with faculty, preparation for being able to relate to people of all cultures and backgrounds 

"What should we look forward to and be prepared for in our college experience?" 

  • Get involved in as many activities as possible, get to know your teachers really well and see them outside of class, have fun and enjoy yourself but stay active and healthy, take classes that have nothing to do with your major because you will never know what you can learn from them or how they may influence you later, don't give up on your passions – balance what you love with your school work – just like you were taught at WRA,  don't be afraid to change your mind – changing majors or schools is normal and nothing to be ashamed of – follow your heart 
  • When choosing a college don't just look at the school – decide where you want to live for the next four years.  
  • There are lots of great colleges, but it’s what you do once you get there that matters. 

General words of advice: 

  • "Actively participate in your life." 
  • "Western Reserve Academy can get you an interview – but you have to get yourself the job" 
  • "You are just as important as the person sitting next to you -  so don't sell yourself short or say you can't do something." 
  • "Think of your time after graduation in phases - not all or nothing - college is not the end goal - it is just the beginning and WRA is the pre-beginning" 
  • "In this age of social media - be sure to monitor your personal brand...protect who you are and put your best version of yourself out there for the world to see....the Internet is written in pen!" 
  • "Don't let fear get in your way – there is no rush and no reason to worry … you don't need to know exactly what you are going to do right now or even when you get to school – be flexible because life happens!" 
  • "Be a nice girl – not the mean girl and support other women." 
  • "Be smart and be the person who gets stuff done." 
  • "If you choose a major that you don't want to continue don't think of the time spent as useless – just shape your path differently." 

The event was a huge success with more 30 students in attendance – a fantastic turnout! 

Special thanks to all of the alumna for taking time to come to Hudson on a Friday night for this event, and to all of the student buddies, Kim Barsella ’84, Keely Boomhower, Natalie Davies for her great photos, Kristin Samuel Kuhn ’98 and the AAB!

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