Panelists & Moderators

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Education

Moderator:

Jordana Harper-Ewert ’03
Superintendent of Greenfield Public Schools

Jordana Harper-Ewert ’03, a lifelong western Massachusetts resident, began her career eleven years ago as a Greenfield Center School teacher. She was named a Chicopee principal in 2007 and Springfield chief schools officer six years later. As she takes on her first superintendent post, Harper-Ewert will deal with the opening of the new Greenfield High School building as well as the implementation of new teacher evaluations.

Panelists:

Bridget Mahoney ’06
Secondary Science Teacher, NYC Department of Education

Bridget Mahoney ’06 earned her BA in geology from Mount Holyoke College and went on to become a New York City Teaching Fellow immediately following graduation. Through New York City Teaching Fellows she completed her MA in secondary science education from the City College of New York in 2008. A product of New York City public schools, Mahoney has been in the classroom for ten years, currently teaching earth science at the High School for Language and Diplomacy. She serves as a teacher mentor, union chapter leader, and is the co-facilitator of the Peer Group Connection program through the Center for Supportive Schools. Mahoney is currently working on her MSEd in school counseling from Hunter College. She continues her work with the New York City Teaching Fellows as a Fellow Ambassador. In the fall of 2013, she was appointed a Math for America Master Science Teacher, and in the fall of 2014 received the distinction of New York State Master Teacher.

Courtney Moran ’07
Elementary Teacher (Former), NYC Department of Education

Courtney Moran ’07 grew up in Silicon Valley and graduated from Mount Holyoke in 2007, where she studied politics and complex organizations. Her first job after college was as an associate in a rotational program at Random House. She went on to join the editorial department there, where she supported the editorial director with line-editing manuscripts, evaluating submissions, and working as a liaison to every department in-house on behalf of our authors and their agents. In 2012, Moran decided to become a Teach For America corps member and taught kindergarten and fourth grade at a diverse, rigorous, and joyful public school in New York City for three years. She concurrently pursued her Masters of Arts in Teaching at the Relay Graduate School of Education. Her passions for international development, social justice, and data-driven decision-making have led her to the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where she is now a student.

Resi Polixa ’11
Interpretive Park Ranger, National Park Service

Resi Polixa ’11 graduated from Mount Holyoke in 2011 with a major in history—although her career with the National Park Service began in 2007, even before she started at Mount Holyoke. She has worked for the past nine years in a variety of capacities at five different national parks and is now an interpretive park ranger currently based out of Lowell National Historical Park, in Lowell, Massachusetts. As an interpretation ranger, she works directly on the frontline, developing and facilitating programs, tours, and other educational experiences for visitors and local residents of all ages and backgrounds. She holds an MA in public humanities from Brown University, where she focused her studies on how museums and national parks can be places for social justice and community engagement, specifically through the use of nontraditional pedagogies in nontraditional places.

Global Business

Panelists:

Jennifer Craig ’07
Independent Business Owner, All Communications Network

Jennifer Craig ’07 has an independent business owner position with All Communications Network (CAN) where she markets solar panels in select states, electricity and natural gas worldwide, payment processing in the United States and Canada, and telecommunications services worldwide. In addition, Craig and her customers contribute to Project Feeding Kids. She joined ACN’s Team Infinity in 2012 because she saw a company with global reach, nine ma- jor industries accessible through a website in her name, an environment for team building and where teams could thrive, and a corporation funding meals for a million children and counting.

Demet Duran ’11
Executive Assistant, Turkish Consulate

Demet Duran ’11, or Demi as she was called at Mount Holyoke, started MHC as a spring admit and arrived from her home country of Turkey. She majored in international relations, worked at LITS and the Weissman Center, and
was passionately involved in MHC Model United Nations. She earned her master’s in European and Mediterranean studies from New York University. After graduation, she worked at the Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University and at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University in academic and political programing. In 2013, she started her position as the executive assistant to the consul general at the Consulate General of Republic of Turkey in Boston. Part of the Turkish consulate’s mission is to enhance trade relations between Turkey and New England, and in that respect Demet works closely with investors from both countries as well as the local governments.

Rachel Locke ’98
Senior Conflict and Peacebuilding Advisor, USAID

Rachel Locke ’98 is a senior conflict and peacebuilding advisor with USAID’s Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation (DCHA/CMM) and the team lead for policy. Locke holds responsibility as representative to the OECD-DAC International Network on Conflict and Fragility and the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding. Locke is the former team lead of the Africa team, currently leads technical leadership and research in the area of crime, conflict, and fragility, and completed a six-month fellowship at the International Peace Institute. Locke’s expertise lies in the intersection of human rights, humanitarian assistance, conflict, and development. Prior to joining DCHA/CMM she was a technical advisor for the International Rescue Committee’s Economic Recovery and Development Unit. Locke also worked for International Rescue Committee Uganda where she designed and oversaw economic development programs in the north of the country. She has also worked with United Nations Development Programme, International Organization for Migration, the Fair Labour Association, and the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs. She holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from Columbia University.

Andrea Ray ’13
Program Associate, Road Scholar

Andrea Ray ’13 is a program associate at Road Scholar, a nonprofit travel company based in Boston. A recent graduate of Mount Holyoke, she spent a summer doing international research, before pursuing a travel job. Her favorite experience has been spending time in Cuba earlier this year. She assists in managing programs and resolving travel issues, as well as working with international travel providers to create and maintain travel programs. In her free time she is an avid writer, travel enthusiast, equestrian, and student.

Kathleen Usher ’87
Authorizations Manager in the International Trade Compliance group

Kathleen graduated from Mount Holyoke in 1987. She started her career working as a paralegal in multiple law firms in Connecticut and New York until 1997 when she was hired at Pratt & Whitney, a jet engine manufacturer based in East Hartford, Connecticut, with multiple international sites and suppliers. She earned her law degree from University of Connecticut through the evening program while working full time at Pratt & Whitney. She has held numerous positions of increasing responsibility at Pratt & Whitney and is currently authorizations manager in the International Trade Compliance group. In her current position she and her team collaborate with business areas such as global supply chain, engineering, sales, and marketing to obtain and manage export authorizations that are required by the Export Authorization Regulations, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and various other US and non-US bodies of trade compliance regulations. Kathleen’s hobbies include traveling with her partner, spoiling Henry, their Golden Retriever, and knitting, which she learned to do during 1985 January Term.

Law & Public Policy

Moderator:

V. Radley Emes ’00
Property Manager, Emes Investments

V. Radley Emes of Washington, DC, leads her family’s real estate investment and property management company. She earned her law degree from the Catholic University of America in 2007 and a certificate in historic preservation from the University of Maryland in 2008.

Panelists: 

Marla Allisan ’78
Founder and Director, Full Circle Adoptions

Marla Allisan ’78, JD, LICSW, founder and director of Full Circle Adoptions, named the agency “Full Circle” because she believes that giving expectant parents and prospective adopters conscientious and loving care will help bring love full circle to the child. She takes special pleasure helping families through clinical and legal complexities in adoption cases. Her interest in children’s issues grew from her education in several disciplines: Mount Holyoke, BA, 1978; Northeastern University School of Law, JD, 1981; and Smith College School for Social Work, MSW, 1989. She takes time with both expectant parents and prospective adopters, helping them feel supported along their individual paths. In her spare time, Marla is a published essayist and avid dancer. She enjoys spending time with her family and hanging with her wonderful teenage daughter.

Sophia Apostola ’04
Legal Counsel for the Division of Local Mandates, Office of the State Auditor

Sophia Apostola ’04 is the legal counsel for the Division of Local Mandates in the Office of the State Auditor where she responds to mandate requests from municipalities and provides training to municipalities, legislators, and local officials on the Local Mandate Law. Previously she was a hearing officer for the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership. Apostola graduated from Northeastern University School of Law. Prior to attending law school, she was a legislative aide for Senator Harriette L. Chandler in the Massachusetts State Senate where she focused on small business and housing issues.

Nicole Friederichs ’94
Practitioner-in-Residence at Suffolk University Law School

Nicole Friederichs ’94 teaches and manages Suffolk’s Indigenous Peoples Rights Clinic, which supports tribes and indigenous communities in their nation-building activities and advocacy efforts while providing law students an opportunity to work on legal projects and cases. Prior to joining Suffolk, Friederichs practiced federal Indian law and international human rights law working on a range of cases, including jurisdictional cases between Native American tribes and New England states, and indigenous peoples land rights cases before the international and regional human rights bodies. She holds a LLM in indigenous people’s law and policy from the University of Arizona and a JD from Suffolk University Law School.

Camille Jobin-Davis ’89
Senior Attorney, Ethics Unit, Division of Legal Services, Office of the New York State Comptroller

Camille Jobin-Davis ’89 was appointed senior attorney to the Ethics Unit of the Division of Legal Services, Office of the New York State Comptroller in June of 2015 after having served as assistant director of the New York State Committee on Open Government for ten years. Prior to becoming the assistant director, Jobin-Davis was involved in publication of a newsletter on Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Law issues, and worked as a senior attorney in the Office of General Counsel at the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. As senior attorney, she provides legal advice and counsel to all state comptroller employees. She has addressed numerous organizations, authored many written advisory opinions, spoken on open government laws and concepts nationally and internationally, and has had the honor of consult- ing with representatives of foreign governments. She received her law degree from Albany Law School and a BA from Mount Holyoke College after spending a semester in Kenya through the School for International Training.

Nonprofit Organizations

Moderator:

Roshonda Degraffenreid FP’10
Assistant Director and Pre-Law Advisor at Mount Holyoke College’s Career Development Center

With more than ten years of varied public relations and sexual health advocacy experience, Roshonda Degraffenreid’s FP’10 current role focuses on preparing young women for the legal career fields. She is actively involved in youth development and adolescent sexual health initiatives and serves as a committee member of the Boys and Girl Club Family Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Mount Holyoke College’s Pioneer Valley Alumnae Club. Degraffenreid earned an associate’s degree from Holyoke Community College and a BA in psychology and economics from Mount Holyoke College. She is currently working on her master’s degree in nonprofit management and philanthropy from Bay Path University. She spends her free time with family and traveling.

Panelists:

Allison Arbib ’07
Research Program Manager, Verité

Allison Arbib ’07 is a research manager at Verité, a global labor rights NGO, where she researches and writes about human rights in global commodity supply chains, with particular expertise in human trafficking and child labor. She is currently managing research funded by the US Department of State on human trafficking in sub-Saharan African supply chains as well as in the global seafood sector. Much of her research is focused on the intersection of trafficking root causes and broader human rights violations such as gender-based violence and land grabs. She has conducted fieldwork throughout west Africa and southeast Asia. Allison graduated from Mount Holyoke College and speaks English and French. 

Beth Lynch ’95
Executive Director of the Massachusetts Bar Foundation

Beth Lynch ’95 oversees the Massachusetts Bar Foundation’s (MBF) operations, grant making, and strategic development activities. Lynch also currently serves as a trustee and immediate past president of the National Conference of Bar Foundations. Lynch first joined the MBF staff in 2000, serving as grants administrator and then as grants manager until 2004. Prior coming to the MBF, Lynch worked as a program associate at the Eurasia Foundation, where she made grants to promote economic and democratic reform in the former Soviet Union. She also served as a Herbert Scoville, Jr. Peace Fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC, where she researched civilian nuclear spent fuel reprocessing in Eastern Europe. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Eurasian studies from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree in political science from Columbia University.

Jennifer Palmer ’07
Program Associate and Events Coordinator, Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society

Jennifer Palmer ’07 graduated with a degree in anthropology and an interest in working in the nonprofit sector. She has held program coordination positions with the National Council for Science and the Environment and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, where she assisted directors with fundraising campaigns, events, and communications. After receiving an MEd from Westfield State University, she began working at the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, where she currently runs conferences and other events, manages a grant program, hosts webinars, and coordinates an academic association. Her interest in effective and efficient nonprofit management, coupled with a passion in her organization’s mission to transform higher education, has led her to continuously seek out and learn new nonprofit-oriented technologies, systems, and approaches.

Sarah Smith ’00
Fundraising/Grants Coordinator, Safe Passages Inc.

Sarah Smith ’00 is director of development at Safe Passage, the Hampshire County organization building safety and justice for survivors of domestic violence. Sarah directs Safe Passage’s fundraising efforts, including the Hot Chocolate Run, a 5K road race in Northampton that has grown to become the region’s largest charity event.

Journalism, Media, & Communications

Moderator:

Arianna MacNeill ’11
News Reporter, The Salem News

Arianna MacNeill ’11 has spent the past three and a half years as a newspaper reporter. Currently, she works as the Beverly staff writer for The Salem News, a daily newspaper situated in Beverly, Massachusetts, and enjoys life on the North Shore. Prior to that, she covered Gloucester for the Gloucester Daily Times after getting her start in journalism at The Malone Telegram, her hometown newspaper in upstate New York.

Panelists:

Jessica Hitchen ’89
Managing Director for Addison Design

A marketing communications executive specializing in the financial services industry, Jessica Hitchen ’89 has a background that combines client-side knowledge with agency-side creative leadership, practice management, and program development. As managing director of the advisor custom branding practice at Addison Design, Hitchen oversaw a multifunctional staff of twenty-five, including design, editorial, production, and account management professionals, before recently moving into a business planning and consulting role with the agency. Prior to Addison, Jessica developed, launched, and directed the advisor marketing area at Wechsler Ross & Partners. Her earlier marketing communications background included roles on both the creative and account management side, spending more than twelve years at firms including MFS and Putnam Investments before switching to agency work. A Romance languages and literature major at Mount Holyoke, Hitchen earned an MBA with concentrations in marketing, finance, and entrepreneurship from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Born and raised a New England sports fan, she currently resides in Staten Island, New York, among Jets and Yankees fans with her husband, Greg, and daughters, Veronica (17 and considering MHC) and Rachel (9).

Ondine Le Blanc ’86
Director of Publications at the Massachusetts Historical Society

Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) is a premier manuscript repository and cultural organization founded in 1791. Since 1997, Ondine Le Blanc ’86 has helped bring into print and make available online a broad range of publications related to the Society’s collections, from documentary editions of handwritten diaries to exhibition catalogs to the Society’s annual scholarly journal. Her day-to-day work runs the gamut from traditional copyediting to typesetting to XML encoding to whatever comes up next, because that’s what keeps it interesting. Le Blanc holds a BA from Mount Holyoke and a PhD in literature from the University of Michigan.

Tinky Weisblat ’76
Freelance Writer, Singer, and Author, The Merry Lion Press

Tinky Weisblat ’76 is a writer, singer, and historian who specializes in food and popular culture. She has a PhD in American studies from the University of Texas and is the author of two books. The Pudding Hollow Cookbook ex- amines the foodways of the hilltowns in her native western Massachusetts. Pulling Taffy is a memoir (with recipes) of her final year taking care of her mother, also a Mount Holyoke alumna, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Weisblat is a frequent guest on WWLP-TV’s magazine program Mass Appeal, where she cooks up seasonal recipes. She likes to emphasize the ways in which food and music connect us to each other and believes that both should be meaningful, delicious, and fun.

Health & Scientific Research

Moderator:

Katherine Kinzel Ahnger-Pier ’08
Epidemiologist, Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services

Kathryn Kinzel Ahnger-Pier ’08 is an epidemiologist with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). Working in the Immunization Assessment Unit, Kathryn oversees the implementation of an an- nual survey of immunization rates among Massachusetts students, from prekindergarten through college. She also conducts visits to provider offices around the state to ensure safe vaccine storage and handling and compliance with federal requirements, and assists providers and local boards of health with the rollout of the statewide immunization registry. Kathryn graduated from Mount Holyoke in 2008 with a degree in biology, and received an MPH from Boston University School of Public Health in 2012. Before working for MDPH, she worked as an epidemiologist with the Boston Public Health Commission, and as a research laboratory technician in labs at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Panelists:

Susan Noonan ’75
Physician, Self-employed

Dr. Susan Noonan ’75 majored in biological sciences at Mount Holyoke and went on to earn her MD from Tufts University School of Medicine, completed a residency in general surgery, and earned board certification in Emergency Medicine. In addition to clinical medicine, she held several administrative positions, including medical director of her emergency department. When the health care crisis blossomed in the 1990s, she earned a Master of Public Health degree in health care policy and management, quality of care, from the Harvard School of Public Health, which opened many doors, specifically in the field of medical informatics, which is the application of computer expert systems to clinical decision making and the delivery of health care. In her spare time, Dr. Noonan authored a book and website/blog for people struggling with depression, titled Managing Your Depression: What You Can Do to Feel Better, published in 2013 by Johns Hopkins University Press (JHUP). A second book for families of those with depression will be published by JHUP in the winter 2016. Dr. Noonan also became formally certified as a peer specialist and works with psychiatry patients individually and in small groups.

Anna May Seaver ’01
Nurse Practitioner, Brattleboro Retreat; Faculty Member, Vermont Technical College

Anna May Seaver ’01 is a nurse practitioner at the Brattleboro Retreat, an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Vermont, and teaches nursing students at Vermont Technical College. She has worked in rehabilitation, geriatric care, addiction services, women’s health, and community health settings. She is passionate about harm reduction, public health, and providing excellent, compassionate care to her patients. After completing her BA at Mount Holyoke in critical social thought, she completed a BS at UMass Amherst in 2009 and an MS in 2014 at UMass Boston. She is fascinated by how things and people work, and loves to study and write about the minutiae of decisions and experiences in daily life. She lives in rural Vermont with her partner, and enjoys hiking, running, vegetables, and NPR.

Candace White ’95
Research Scientist, Department of Mental Health

Candace White, PhD, MEd, is a research scientist in the evaluation office of the New York State Office of Mental Health. She is also a practicing psychotherapist and adjunct faculty member at the Smith School for Social Work. She has over fifteen years of research and program evalua- tion experience in various mental health research and clinical settings, including McLean and Massachusetts General hospitals. She was previously an adjunct professor in the psychology departments at Union College, St. Rose, and Sage colleges, in upstate New York.

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