A Hollins alumna who has earned a place in Winter Olympics history was the honored guest at the kick-off to New York’s 38th Empire State Winter Games (ESWG).
Suzy Mink ’74, who was a member of the relay team that carried the Olympic torch 900 miles to Lake Placid for the 1980 Winter Olympics, helped launch the inaugural ESWG Torch Relay on January 29 in Manhattan. The relay’s 330-mile path goes from New York City to Lake Placid, where the ESWG Opening Ceremony takes place on February 1.
According to a news release from ESWG, “The Torch Relay will call attention to the commitment New York State has to the Empire State Winter Games’ participating towns and villages, and the more than 2,500 athletes and winter sport enthusiasts across the Northeast and Canada who take part in the Games.”
Resplendent in the same uniform she wore while carrying the torch 38 years ago, Mink was designated “the number one lead torch lighter” at New York’s Battery Park by relay organizers. She then led a contingent along the Hudson River Walkway as part of an hour-long special event to start the relay.
“In addition to calling attention to the Empire State Winter Games, we want to encourage people from across the region to get outside and play,” said Tait Wardlaw, ESWG director. “What better way to inspire others than to run from Manhattan to Lake Placid.”
Mink serves as Hollins’ senior philanthropic advisor and competes in triathlons throughout North America and Europe.
Alexandra Trower ’86 is joining Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and Kim Kelleher, chief business officer for GQ, Golf Digest, Pitchfork, WIRED, and Ars Technica, in receiving one of the communications industry’s highest honors.
Trower, who is Executive Vice President, Global Communications, with The Estée Lauder Companies, has been named a winner of the 2018 Matrix Award. Presented by New York Women in Communications, the premier organization for communications professionals in the New York metropolitan area, the Matrix Award is awarded to extraordinary female leaders at the pinnacle of their careers. Previous winners of the Matrix Award include Today Show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie; Lena Dunham, creator and star of HBO’s Girls; and TIME editor Nancy Gibbs.
Trower is quick to credit her experience as an undergraduate at Hollins for empowering her with the tools to achieve such a distinguished career. “Any success I have had in my professional life starts and ends with Hollins,” she explained. “I became a true student at Hollins and benefited enormously from the incredible internships the school offered me. Those opportunities took me to Paris, Berkeley, California, and New York City, which ultimately became my home.”
Estée Lauder Executive Chair William Lauder and Hollins University President Emerita Nancy Gray are among those who nominated Trower for the Matrix Award. They praised her dedication to promoting women’s education and health, a commitment that has manifested itself significantly in her role as a member of the Hollins University Board of Trustees. “One of my passions has been to repay my debt to Hollins through board service, sponsoring internships, and serving as a student mentor,” Trower said. “I have worked with dozens of talented Hollins women over the years and it has been one of my greatest joys.”
One of the students who is effusive in her gratitude to Trower for her guidance and encouragement is senior Emili McPhail, who during her Hollins career has interned with Estée Lauder in New York and London. She also nominated Trower for the Matrix Award.
“I was a college sophomore with little work experience and Alex gave me a chance,” McPhail recalled. “She has championed me from the day I met her, and has fought for me to have every opportunity to succeed. Truly, it’s a privilege to know her as a mentor and role model. She has inspired the woman that I want to become.”
Trower assumed her current role with Estée Lauder, the world’s leading prestige beauty company, in 2008. In addition to serving as an Executive Officer of the Company and on the Executive Leadership Team, she is a founding member of the Inclusion and Diversity Committee and is an Executive Co-Sponsor of the company’s LGBTQA employee resource group. She oversees corporate, social, crisis, Lauder family, and philanthropic communications, including The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and whose mission is to end breast cancer in our lifetime.
Trower also serves as Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), which supports female journalists worldwide who risk their lives to cover news that might not otherwise be reported. In 2014, she received the IWMF’s Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of her more than 15 years of service and fundraising.
“In the decade Ms. Trower has led global communications for The Estée Lauder Companies, she has, with her wisdom and grace, proven to be not just a highly talented communications executive but also a business strategist and key contributor to the company’s success,” said Lauder. “She is the effective leader who has come to her role from a place of humility and who is followed because she has the brightest ideas and can express them while leaving her ego behind. Her opinions are highly valued because she presents them only with the goal of promoting continued excellence.”
Trower, Brzezinski, and Kelleher will officially receive the Matrix Award at a special event in New York City on April 23.
Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten ’71 has received the 2017 Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience, the highest recognition conferred by the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).
The prize honors an outstanding scientist who has made significant contributions to neuroscience throughout his or her career.
Hatten is the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. She joined Rockefeller in 1992 and was appointed the university’s first female full professor and the first female to lead a research laboratory there. Her work has implications for conditions that are partially due to developmental abnormalities in the brain, such as learning disabilities, childhood epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism. Her work on cerebellar development may one day inform research on treatments for childhood cancers. Her previous accolades include the Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation; the Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience; and election to the National Academy of Sciences.
“On behalf of SfN, it is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Hatten and to thank her for her outstanding research contributions and the role they have played in advancing our understanding of how the brain develops,” SfN President Eric Nestler said. “As an internationally recognized leader in developmental neurobiology, she has made crucial discoveries of basic mechanisms of neurogenesis and neuronal migration during development.”
SfN is the world’s largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 38,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.
Caity Gladstone, a 2009 graduate of Sweet Briar College, is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in children’s literature at Hollins. She’s sharing her passion for the genre as the teacher of eighth grade writing classes at G.W. Carver Middle School in Chesterfield County, Virginia.
About a month ago, Gladstone and a colleague partnered to register their students to attend the Virginia Children’s Book Festival, which is hosted each October by Longwood University in Farmville. After all, what better way to foster a love of reading in their young students? They ran into a problem, however: All the buses were spoken for and they would have to use a chartered bus.
Hiring a bus was outside of their budget, so Gladstone and her colleague asked their students’ parents to contribute. It soon became clear that the money for the charter bus was going to be hard to come by and they wouldn’t be able to make the trip happen.
Gladstone wasn’t willing to accept defeat. She knew that she could call on alumnae from both Hollins and Sweet Briar to help make the trip possible.
“I have always believed in the amazing support of both of these small liberal arts colleges, and they really came through,” she said.
Hollins and Sweet Briar alumnae raised enough money to not only refund the parents who had already contributed, but also create a fund for future trips. Even better, they raised the amount in a mere eight hours. As a result, Gladstone’s students were able to attend the festival and get inspiration for their own writing. They got to meet several authors — including Aisha Saeed, Meg Medina, Lamar Giles, Dhonielle Clayton, Liz Garton Scanlon, and Jarret Krosoczka — and learn about their writing processes.
“Many of the students got to speak with authors one-on-one after the sessions,” Gladstone said. “More than a couple of them said the workshops were especially useful and that they planned on using the authors’ techniques in the future when they need inspiration or have writer’s block. I think they also got a great message that authors are diverse, and so is my student population.”
One student, Abbey Colomb said, “I think I came away from that field trip knowing that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. Everyone starts somewhere and though you may have a talent for writing, nobody is going to be writing publishing-worthy books in the eighth grade. We can’t let that stop up us. We need to keep writing so that we can learn from mistakes.”
Photo caption: Caity Gladstone’s students visited the Longwood University campus in October to attend the Virginia Children’s Book Festival.
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With that enthusiastic greeting to a packed audience of students in the Hollins Theatre, Judy Lambeth ’73 kicked off the opening session of the university’s sixth annual Career Connection Conference (C3), held October 23. Seventy-nine Hollins alumnae from a variety of fields returned to campus to talk about how they have translated their liberal arts education into satisfying careers. They also provided tips, tools, and tricks of the trade to land that first job.
“By attending Hollins, you are now a member of our alumnae network,” said Lambeth, who chairs Hollins’ Board of Trustees as well as the university’s alumnae engagement initiative. “That’s a community of highly intelligent, independent-minded, audacious women who are here today to help you in any way they can. We believe passionately that Hollins prepared us well for fulfilling lives and careers, and our education continues to enrich us every single day. Being a member of the Hollins community is a lifelong gift, and we are grateful for that. So, we want to give back by having your back. We are here today specifically to support you. We want you to soar, we want you to love whatever life throws at you and embrace it.”
During C3, students and alumnae engaged in the following events:
Interactive sessions featuring career women from the sciences, writing and publishing, business, financial services, education, law, visual and performing arts, and public service.
Special topics designed to facilitate alumnae testimonials and communicate practical skill sets. Highlights included building an effective resume, money matters, and life after Hollins, among others.
“Speed networking” with a large number of alumnae, as well meeting one-on-one through mock interviews, resume critiques, and conversations about the graduate school application process.
Small group discussions after the conference on a variety of topics, including diversity in the workplace.
Tina Wells, CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group, was this year’s C3 keynote speaker. Wells’ agency creates marketing strategies for clients within the beauty, entertainment, fashion, financial, and lifestyle sectors. She has spent nearly two decades connecting influencers and consumers to brand clients.
Wells’ address focused on the theme “What’s Next?” and offered “a little handbook you can use to figure out how to build those first ten years post-college, because the life I enjoy today is due to the work I did in those first ten years.” She noted the importance of “developing that personal network, that personal board of directors that helps you make those key decisions and who holds you accountable. ‘Does this make sense?’ ‘Am I showing up authentically?’ ‘Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing?’ Who better than your peers to call you on that.”
Wells encouraged students to join professional associations (“Is the industry you’re in on the rise or declining? Where are the jobs going to be over the next five years? These associations have all that information.”) as well as social clubs (“Too often when we graduate we think we have to be serious people and forget that we need to have fun.”). She also recommended creating a group of five like-minded peers (“Meet monthly with a group of people who have similar goals and visions and think about the world in a specific way. Be committed and helpful to one another and give each other tools. Don’t be competitive, but hold each other responsible for meeting goals.”).
Wells also emphasized her personal philosophy, “You can’t make withdrawals where you haven’t made deposits. Never go into a situation saying, ‘Can you give me….’ or ‘Can I pick your brain?’ There is always something you can do. Constantly ask yourself, ‘Am I making a request or am I contributing? How do I contribute the most to the places that matter the most to me?'”
In that vein, Lambeth urged students to share their own personal and professional experiences in the years to come. “We’re hoping you’ll change the world and we’re also hoping that on some future day, when you’ve found your career path, please come back to Hollins, attend a Career Connections Conference, and do the same thing for another generation of Hollins students.”
Photo caption: Tina Wells, CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group, was the keynote speaker for Hollins’ sixth annual Career Connection Conference (C3).
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New Hampshire is one of many states across the nation that is desperately seeking ways to battle a burgeoning epidemic of drug addiction. Thanks in large measure to the advocacy of a licensed acupuncturist and Hollins alumna, treatment providers now have a powerful new tool in their arsenal.
Elizabeth Ropp ’99, who lives in Manchester and has been a practicing acupuncturist for 10 years, fought for passage of House Bill 575, which permits recovery and mental health professionals in New Hampshire to use ear acupuncture to treat addicts.
“That might sound strange, but it works,” Ropp wrote last March in an opinion piece for the Concord Monitor. “Acupuncture can be a safe, cheap and effective tool to help people in all stages of addiction recovery. It can help soothe the symptoms of withdrawal, reduce cravings, and ease anxiety or trauma that can lead people to use drugs in the first place.”
She concluded, “New Hampshire is first-in-the-nation for death by fentanyl overdose. This is a problem that touches all of us. We need to open up as many pathways to recovery as possible. We are all in this together, and together we can get through this.”
According to Ropp, HB 575 allows for both licensed and non-licensed addiction recovery and mental health workers to be trained and certified in ear acupuncture, “a simple procedure that involves placing five tiny needles in specific points around the outer ear. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association has trained more than 10,000 health professionals across the country in this practice.”
Ropp and others effectively lobbied state senators and representatives from both political parties on the benefits of ear acupuncture and the steps necessary to make it affordable and eliminate unnecessary administrative costs. The bill became law on July 1.
“We could be trendsetters for the nation,” Ropp told the New Hampshire Union Leader in June. “With this bill, we have more flexibility, we have seen the mistakes other states have made in setting this up and learned from them.”
Photo Caption: Elizabeth Ropp ’99 (right) with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu on the day House Bill 575 was passed into law.
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Just a few months after graduation, Tegan Harcourt ’17 is working with a company globally renowned for strategic planning and communications consultation, thanks to her Hollins experience and the backing of a dedicated alumnae network.
The international business major is a market research associate with New York City’s Berland Strategy & Analytics, which gauges public opinion, attitudes, and behaviors and crafts strategies for businesses and organizations to effectively compete in a range of venues worldwide. Berland has worked with the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as such diverse clients as the Estée Lauder Companies, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the National Hockey League.
Harcourt’s journey to Berland began during her senior year at Hollins. “I was looking into what I wanted to do post-grad and there were so many things I was interested in that I wasn’t sure what to prioritize in my search,” she recalls. “But I was fortunate enough to be on the Presidential Search Committee last year as well as a guest member for Hollins Board of Trustees meetings in my role as president of the Student Government Association (SGA).”
Harcourt reached out to the committee and the board and “received an overwhelming amount of help and support. I am so grateful to everyone who contacted their network for me.” Committee member and trustee Alexandra Trower ’86 talked with Harcourt about her interest in market segmentation and her background in cultural studies and politics, and connected her with Berland Strategy & Analytics CEO Mike Berland. Their conversation resulted in an in-person interview in New York City over spring break in March, and “after meeting some of the team and few more phone interviews we worked out plans for a three-month internship with the potential for full-time employment if both sides felt it was a good fit by the end.”
Harcourt started her internship in late June and was “immediately fascinated. It’s a fierce, tight-knit group of intelligent, creative, and dedicated people taking on massive projects with very quick turnarounds. It was really great to start contributing to the work in a meaningful way right from the start.”
To mark her internship’s one-month anniversary, Harcourt’s supervisors took her out to breakfast. “They said it was great having me there to jump on any project that needed help and complimented my willingness to put in the time and effort.” Her supervisors asked her to stay at Berland in a full-time position, two months before the completion of her internship, and she signed her official offer letter on August 11.
In her role as market research associate, Harcourt helps facilitate projects from start to finish, working with conceptualizing and background research and doing everything from field work and data analysis to insight development and suggestions for next steps. “When my supervisor is out of the office, I coordinate the project work flow to make sure everything is moving along as it should,” she explains. “We do quantitative research through surveys and social media analysis and qualitative research with focus groups.”
Harcourt enthusiastically credits Hollins with “propelling me to this opportunity and making me ready and confident enough to accept it. My education in business, Spanish, and women’s leadership is what allowed me to take on this position and be as successful as I have been.”
She also emphasizes the importance and impact of her activities outside the classroom. “My Hollins internships not only shaped my understanding of what kind of work I would be interested in but also gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, network, and fall in love with cities like my new home, New York City. My work in SGA pushed me to work hard, learn more, listen more intently, trust my dreams, and value the people around me.”
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Hollins has recognized Suzanne Hubbard O’Hatnick ’67, Callie Virginia “Ginny” Smith Granade ’72, Jill Wright Donaldson ’92, and Tiffany Marshall Graves ’97 with the university’s Distinguished Alumnae Award, and Alexis Davis King ’02 with its Distinguished Young Alumna Award.
Established in 2006, the Distinguished Alumnae Award pays tribute to individual alumnae who have brought distinction to themselves and to Hollins through broad and inspiring personal career achievements, volunteer service, or contributions to society. The Distinguished Young Alumna Award honors a member of Hollins’ fifth, tenth, of fifteenth reunion year class who has earned extraordinary accomplishments after graduation.
O’Hatnick founded Interfaith Action for Human Rights, an organization that advocates for improving prison practices in Maryland. Previously she served with peace and human rights groups around the world, including work with the Peace Corps in Peru, Christian Peacemaker Teams in Central Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the United States Agency for International Development in Sarajevo.
Granade achieved several firsts for women in law in Alabama. She was the first female prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Alabama; Alabama’s first female fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers; and the first female federal judge in southwest Alabama.
Donaldson’s work as a neurosurgeon focuses on the treatment of complex disorders and neoplasms of the brain and spine, trigeminal neuralgia, hydrocephalus, and peripheral nerve entrapment. She was named a Top Doctor in a listing of leading physicians in Indianapolis, and is a member of the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.
Graves is the executive director of the Mississippi Access to Justice Commission, advancing access to civil justice for roughly 700,000 Mississippians living below the poverty line. She is also an adjunct professor and the interim director for the Pro Bono Initiative at the University of Mississippi School of Law, providing law students with an awareness of the legal needs of the area’s underserved.
King is Magistrate on the Denver County, Colorado, Court bench and former Deputy District Attorney of the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Jefferson County, Colorado. For more than ten years as deputy DA, she was a member of the Special Victims Unit, focusing on human trafficking, crimes against children, and family violence.
Photo (from left to right): Hollins Alumnae Association President Trisha Rawls ’74; Hollins University President Nancy Gray; Suzanne Hubbard O’Hatnick ’67; Callie Virginia “Ginny” Smith Granade ’72; Tiffany Marshall Graves ’97; Jill Wright Donaldson ’92; Alexis Davis King ’02; and Hollins Board of Trustees Chair Judy Lambeth ’73.
Books written by a Hollins University faculty member and two Hollins alumnae have been named finalists for the 2017 Library of Virginia People’s Choice Award.
As Close to Us as Breathing by Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Poliner was nominated for the People’s Choice Fiction Award, while Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South by Beth Macy M.A. ’93, and Dimestore: A Writer’s Life by Lee Smith ’67, are finalists in the People’s Choice Nonfiction category.
“These awards, which are part of the Library’s annual Literary Awards celebration, recognize the finest among Virginia authors and works about our great Commonwealth,” said Amy Bridge, executive director of the Library of Virginia Foundation.
Anyone can participate in the voting for the People’s Choice Award by visiting this link. Voting is open until July 15. There is also a ballot on the site that can be printed and mailed to the Library (it must be received by July 15 to be counted).
The People’s Choice Award winners will be announced at the 20th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration in Richmond on October 14. Winners of the People’s Choice Fiction and Nonfiction prizes will each win a cash prize of $2,500.
In acknowledgment of her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, Mary Elizabeth “Mary Beth” Hatten ’71 has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Hatten is the Frederick P. Rose Professor in the Laboratory of Developmental Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University in New York City. After completing her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry at Hollins, she earned a Ph.D. in biochemical sciences from Princeton University and did her postdoctoral research in neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. She subsequently served with the New York University School of Medicine and the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University.
In 1992, Hatten joined Rockefeller and was appointed the university’s first female full professor and the first female to lead a research laboratory there. Her work has implications for conditions that are partially due to developmental abnormalities in the brain, such as learning disabilities, childhood epilepsy, schizophrenia, and autism. Her work on cerebellar development may one day inform research on treatments for childhood cancers.
The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience Investigator Award, the Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award, and a Faculty Award for Women Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation are among Hatten’s many accolades. In 2015 she was presented the prestigious Max Cowan Award, which honors a neuroscientist for outstanding work in developmental neuroscience. She is a recipient of the Hollins Distinguished Alumnae Award.
The NAS is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership and – with the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine – provides science, engineering, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.