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Reunion

Copy of – Back to Class – Reunion I

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The Back-to-Class program is a series of lively presentations during reunion weekend that includes lectures, workshops, demonstrations, and discussions of interest to the alumnae community. The sessions are being continually updated as more sessions are confirmed.

Reunion I: Friday, May 13

Session I (1:00–1:45 p.m.)

Exquisite Spectacle: A Mother-Daughter (MHC ’76 &’11) Collaborative Art Installation Celebrating the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Mary (Mimi) Frank ’76

Francesca Bozzelli ’11

Mimi Frank ’76 and Francesca Bozzelli ’11 (mother and daughter) will describe the collaborative process behind the making of “Exquisite Spectacle.” The personal struggles of the Women’s Suffrage Movement are the inspiration for this recently completed work of art. The lecture will include an explanation of the process involved in the research as well as the fabrication of the piece. This work has been exhibited in Baltimore, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Room: Clapp 407

Supporting Students, Building Bridges, and Collaborating Across Campus: Career Development at MHC

Liz Lierman, Director, Career Development CenterMount Holyoke College

Jo Martin, Director of Employer Relations/Senior Associate Director, Career Development CenterMount Holyoke College

The Career Development Center (CDC) has re-envisioned and expanded the ways we help students build experience and prepare for their lives after graduation. During the first part of the session, we will give an overview of how the CDC has transformed, the career development initiatives currently underway at MHC, and plans for the future. We’ll also discuss how alumnae can help support students and have time for questions and conversation.

Room: Clapp 127

Are Our Bodies on Fire?

Devavani Chatterjea ’96, associate professor of biology, Macalester College

Inflammation (setting fire) is the complex, beautifully intricate process that helps keep our bodies in balance by recognizing the tiniest stirrings of danger—a molecule turned inside out, a splinter in the skin, a pile of cellular debris that has not been swept away, a bacteria or virus that does not belong—and working to set things right. Without inflammation, we would not survive. Yet inflammation is also the prime orchestrator of all major chronic diseases of the day—cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular damage, neurological deterioration and perhaps less intuitively conditions like depression and pain. When, why, how does preservation transform into destruction? And what messages from the environment—stress, pollution, malnutrition—are our “wise” bodies individually and together reading out to blur the boundaries of wellness and illness in this way? Together we will explore this question using tools of science, art, yoga-inspired movement and reflection.

Room: Clapp 206

Technology in a Modern Age: Mythic Wisdom for the Education of Upcoming Generations

Elizabeth Burr-Brandstadt ’91, PhD mythological studies with a focus in-depth psychology and teacher

Marcia Brandstadt ’91, director of US Department of Commerce and founder of the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome in Cincinnati, Ohio

This discussion will focus on something we all are forced to consider: How are our tools transforming the way we learn, use language, and impact the Earth? One part of this discussion will focus on a few Greco-Roman myths, and how these myths even in ancient times were advising the psyche on how to cope with change. Another element of this discussion will focus on how technology presents challenges to education, but also how it helps in developing educational techniques particularly germane for special-needs students.

Room: Clapp 126

How Fragile is the International System?

Vincent Ferraro, Ruth Lawson professor of politics, Mount Holyoke College

The distribution of power in the world is changing rapidly with the growth of new powers such as China and India and the unsettling effects of technology and globalization. Are the current institutions and processes in world politics sufficiently robust to manage these conflicts? Or will the process of rapid change be accompanied by rising instability and violence?

Location: Hooker Auditorium, Clapp Building

Session II (2:00–2:45 p.m.)

Lessons from Caregiving: Living Life with Heart and Humor

Tinky Weisblat ’76, food writer, historian, chanteuse, and local television personality

Taking care of my dying mother (also an alum!) and writing about our time together taught me a lot about how I wanted to live my own life. This discussion/workshop will recall our time together and lead participants through writing exercises designed to help minimize stress and maximize happiness.

Room: Clapp 203

Women transitioning in Africa: Do they have a role in transforming Africa? Have they fulfilled it?

Marilyn C. Zilli ’66, retired attorney; USIA expert to Francophone West and central Africa on three occasions in the late 90s to meet with diverse women’s groups to discuss the role of women in transforming Africa; currently preparing an article for the Routledge series on war and society in Africa

Since independence, many African women have taken leading roles in government and law. Nonetheless, the number of women still unable to sustain themselves and their families has not been reduced. In large part, this can be blamed on the corruption, greed, and criminality of African male leaders. Must women accept any responsibility for the failure of all women to achieve transformation of their own lives and the advancement of their homeland toward a civil society?

Room: Clapp 225

Mindfulness at Work

Amy Spatz ’96, lecturer in clinical communication and PhD student, St George’s University of London

In this interactive workshop, participants will consider what it means to be mindful and will engage in a variety of interactive experiences to reflect upon and discuss. There will be opportunities to participate in a short mindfulness inducing meditation, try out speaking and listening mindfully in pairs, and practice eating mindfully. We will consider the variety of ways in which we might apply these skills to working, parenting, loving and living. Can a mindfulness practice transform our lives?

Room: Clapp 218

Transform/Transcribe: A Mount Holyoke History Project

Leslie Fields, head of Archives and Special Collections, Mount Holyoke College

Can you read cursive? If your answer is YES, the College Archives needs you! Join us in transforming handwritten letters from the 1800s into searchable and machine-readable resources for classes and student researchers. Help make the Archives’ unique collections in the history of women’s higher education more accessible through our crowd sourced transcription website. Staff will work with alumnae volunteers to transcribe documents and excite learning in everyone!

Location: Archives and Special Collections, Dwight Hall

Session III (3:00–3:45 p.m.)

Hormone Disrupting Chemicals. Their Impact on Health and Reproduction

Patricia Hughes, MD ’76, reproductive endocrinologist, Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science, Saint Barnabas Medical Center, New Jersey

This session will explore historic examples of chemicals and compounds with profound negative impacts and examine common chemicals, compounds, pesticides, and their scientific and biological impact. Also discussed will be topics of changing fertility in humans (i.e. declining sperm counts) and their associations with chemical exposure, the rise in birth defects in humans and animals throughout the world. Knowledge is power. Learn how to have less impact on the environment and how to avoid exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals.

Room: Clapp 127

Documentary film Hunting the Stone: Suiseki in the West

Kristin E. Zethren ’66, retired psychologist, educational filmmaker

Suiseki, or stone appreciation, is a little-known Asian art form, popular in China, Korea, and Japan, practiced by a small group of enthusiasts in North America and Europe. Like bonsai, it uses objects of nature to be displayed as art. The stones are shown as found in nature, preferably smoothed by centuries of running water, and placed in carefully carved wooden bases. This film explores the basics of Stone Appreciation and shows how it has been adapted in the West. The documentary was filmed in Los Angeles, on the Kern River, the Yuha Desert, the Huntington Chinese and Japanese Gardens, and Heidelberg, Germany.

Note: This class is one long session that runs from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m.

Room: Clapp 306 

Adult Learning: The Principles Remain the Same, How We Practice Them Keeps Evolving

Sapana Panday ’96, director of educational development, The France Foundation

Flipped-classroom, individualized education, edutainment, and gamification are the new drivers of adult learning. Whether you teach, present PowerPoints, run workshops, or just need the attention of adults in the room, utilizing creative presentation methods are a must. Learn to engage your audience with interactive formats that capture the attention of the participants and also retain information.

Room: Clapp 407

Visualize Your Dreams!

Ju Hong, assistant director of career advising, Career Development Center, Mount Holyoke College

Our guest speaker will lead an interactive vision-boarding workshop. Join us in this engaging, hands-on exercise in self-discovery, and give your intuition a clear voice. Each participant will walk away with a visual representation of a fulfilling career/life path— one that can be reflected upon daily, as a powerful manifestation tool.

Hong notes that, “an hour and a half is the usual amount of time I host the workshop (students usually beg for more time after to continue creating their board)!”

Note: This class is one long session that runs from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m.

Room: Clapp 126

Tai Chi Basics

Hong Vuong ’95, credit risk consultant, practitioner of tai chi

Tai chi is a practice that helps to strengthen the body, mind and spirit and harmonize the inner life with the external environments. The interrelationship between change and harmony is the guiding principal behind tai chi, which is based on the interplay of two opposing but complementary transformative forces of yin and yang. This class will begin with a mindfulness breathing exercise to bring mind awareness to the breath. We will then practice a few gentle tai chi exercises to focus the breath in the body for deeper relaxation and freer flow of inner life energy. We will end with a few tai chi moves to help us feel rooted and connected with the space around us.

Location: Kendall Studio 3 

Building a Community Center

Shannon D. Gurek, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, Mount Holyoke College

The Board of Trustees recently approved plans for an expansion and enhancement to the Blanchard Campus Center. Students, faculty, and staff want more options for living, socializing, and dining. The most fiscally-sound approach is to repurpose Blanchard to house programming that supports community; to invest in new construction that improves dining; and to renovate the residential dining hall spaces to create flexible communal spaces. Other ideas include suite-style housing options, expanded living and learning communities, and health and wellness studios. See more details on the project.

Location: Tours of the new project will begin at 4:00 p.m. in Blanchard Campus Center Great Room.

Session IV (4:00–4:45 p.m.)

From the Hindukush to Mount Holyoke

Mariam Hotaki ’14, international relations

I will talk about my journey from Kabul, Afghanistan to Mount Holyoke and the similarities and differences between these two places I get to call home. I will focus on how this journey transformed my worldview. Additionally, I will discuss my career post-graduation and how Mount Holyoke helped me get through the challenges along the way.

Room: Clapp 203

Transform Back to Yourself

Jessica Hayes ’96, full-time working mother of four

Nine jobs (including SAHM), and four kids later, I find myself changing back into the woman I was at MHC in 1996. Why has it taken me twenty years to fully remember the person I was at MHC? I recently saw Gloria Steinem speak and was reminded of my freshman year women’s studies class where I learned so much about the marginalization of women. Last week, she reminded me about Clarence Thomas and what it would mean to finally have a female president.

Room: Clapp 218

Documentary film Hunting the Stone: Suiseki in the West

Kristin E. Zethren 66, retired psychologist, educational filmmaker

Suiseki, or stone appreciation, is a little-known Asian art form, popular in China, Korea and Japan, practiced by a small group of enthusiasts in North America and Europe. Like bonsai, it uses objects of nature to be displayed as art. The stones are shown as found in nature, preferably smoothed by centuries of running water, and placed in carefully carved wooden bases. This film explores the basics of stone appreciation and shows how it has been adapted in the West.

The documentary was filmed in Los Angeles, on the Kearn River, the Yuha Desert, the Huntington Chinese and Japanese Gardens, and Heidelberg, Germany.

Note: This class is one long session that runs from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m.

Room: Clapp 306

Visualize Your Dreams!

Ju Hong, assistant director of career advising, Career Development Center, Mount Holyoke College

Our guest speaker will lead an interactive vision-boarding workshop. Join us in this engaging, hands-on exercise in self-discovery, and give your intuition a clear voice. Each participant will walk away with a visual representation of a fulfilling career/life path— one that can be reflected upon daily, as a powerful manifestation tool.

Hong notes that, “an hour and a half is the usual amount of time I host the workshop (students usually beg for more time after to continue creating their board)!”

Note: This class is one long session that runs from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m.

Room: Clapp 126

How to be an Effective Board Member

Radley Emes 00, board of directors, Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College

Are you interested in elevating your volunteering to a place where you help decide strategy and direction? Do you want to connect with others around a common passion?

If so, join us for this forty-five minute workshop. There is no board experience required. However, if you currently sit on a board or a committee, I will help you take your work to the next level. We will share an interactive dialogue during which I will share insights and knowledge around my board and committee experiences and share best practices.

Room: Clapp 206

You’re History! An Introduction to the Mount Holyoke College Archives

Leslie Fields, head of Archives and Special CollectionsMount Holyoke College

Deborah Richards, Special Collections Archivist, Mount Holyoke College

This will be a hands-on look at the fascinating artifacts in the Archives and an introduction to some of your fellow alums who made history over the past 175+ years. If you would like to sleuth the stories that scrapbooks can tell, read other people’s mail, or consider the legacies of dedicated women who worked for social justice in many forms, then this class is for you. Plus we’ll discuss how your own Mount Holyoke stories can be preserved and remembered in the Archives!

Location: Archives and Special Collections, Dwight Hall