Hollins, Sweet Briar Alums Help Send Middle Schoolers to Book Festival

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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Alumnae Share Expertise from Multitude of Fields at C3

“Welcome to the network!”

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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Alumna Successfully Fights for Bill to Combat Opioid Addiction

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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With Hollins Know-How and Connections, Recent Grad Gains Opportunity at Major Strategic Communications Firm

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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Distinguished Alumnae Award Recipients Are Honored

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.

Photo credit: Michael Sink

 


Three Hollins Authors Are People’s Choice Award Finalists

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.

Truevine

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).

Dimestore

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 November, As Close to Us as Breathing, Truevine, and Dimestore were selected among Amazon.com’s Top 100 Editors’ Picks for 2016.


Hollins Alumna and Celebrated Neuroscientist Elected to National Academy of Sciences

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.

Hatten will be the featured speaker at Hollins’ 175th commencement exercises on Sunday, May 21.

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.

 

 

 

 

 


Va. House of Delegates Resolution Honors Hollins’ 175th Anniversary

Betsy B. Carr, who represents parts of the City of Richmond and Chesterfield County (69th District) in the Virginia House of Delegates, has introduced House Joint Resolution No. 660, commending Hollins University on its 175th anniversary.

Delegate Carr is a member of Hollins’ class of 1968 and was elected to the House of Delegates in 2009.

 

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Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame Inducts Hollins Alumna

Julia Voorhees Emmons ’63, former executive director of the 10,000-member Atlanta Track Club and former director of the Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10K, is among the five newest members of the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame.

Emmons; former Atlanta Falcons linebacker and five-time Pro Bowler Keith Brooking; Atlanta Hawks radio broadcaster Steve Holman; high school, college, and professional basketball coach Bob Reinhart; and cable network sports reporter Craig Sager will be officially inducted at a ceremony at Atlanta’s Buckhead Theater on February 17, 2017.

The Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame’s mission is to honor Atlanta sports heroes, remember great moments in Atlanta sports history, and preserve the past from which future generations can learn and take pride.

In her 22 years as head of the Atlanta Track Club, Emmons was very active on the national running scene. She served as chair of women’s long distance running for USA Track & Field from 1990-1996. She directed the men’s and women’s marathons and race walks for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and was on the U.S. women’s track and field team for the 2004 Athens Olympics as assistant coach for endurance events. In 2005, Emmons served as an assistant manager for the U.S. track and field team at the World Championships in Helsinki.

Emmons is one of the Distinguished Graduates that Hollins is showcasing during the university’s 175th anniversary celebration in 2016-17.


Works by Hollins Authors Highlight Amazon’s Best Books of the Year

Books by Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Poliner, Beth Macy M.A. ’93, and Lee Smith ’67 are among Amazon.com’s Top 100 Editors’ Picks for 2016.

As Close to Us as BreathingPoliner’s novel As Close to Us as Breathing was an Amazon Best Book for March 2016. The story of a close-knit Jewish family that strives to cope following a tragedy is “vivid, complex, and beautifully written,” said Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Known World. “[It] brims with characters who leave an indelible impression on the mind and heart. Elizabeth Poliner is a wonderful talent and she should be read widely, and again and again.”

Published in October, Macy’s Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest: A True Story of the Jim Crow South is one of six books that have been selected in the Nonfiction category for the Kirkus Prize shortlist. Truevine has also been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence and is a New York Times Book Review  Editors’ Choice. The Amazon Book Review called ita multi-layered story that will captivate, haunt, and challenge you.”Truevine

In Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, Smith recalls how she became a storyteller while growing up in the Appalachian South, and discusses what later convinced her to embrace her heritage. “Smith delivers a memoir that shines with a bright spirit, a generous heart and an entertaining knack for celebrating absurdity,” noted The New York Times Book Review. “Although Dimestore is constructed as a series of personal essays, it presents as full a sense of a life as any traditional narrative.”