Tell us a bit about how you discovered Earlham when you enrolled here.
I was at a College Fair – and the admissions counselor, Brent, was AMAZING! He listened to my concerns and ideas of what I wanted out of my college experience. He kept in contact with me throughout the process. My dad and I took a road trip to visit all the colleges I had been accepted to – Earlham was the last one I visited. The Admissions Office immediately helped us relax, got me into classes that day, and from then on I was hooked. Who wouldn't love a school where they were discussing ancient texts while wearing PJs?
Share some fond memories from your Earlham undergraduate experience.
I loved new student week — the fun we had and the bonding. It was the first time someone really tackled in a public forum the issue of consent and HIV — and various opinions were shared with mutual respect. It was that moment that I knew I was no longer part of a groupthink world and I could speak in the safety that was Earlham. My first year hall was the nunnery – we had so much fun writing papers around the kitchen table every Sunday, having “family meals,” being a pack! Others include: midnight doughnut runs, getting intentionally locked in the library to play hide and seek, Madrigals, trying to get into the tunnels, amazing Convocation speakers, and Sunsplash. I do miss that day of sun and fun! Finally, the life-altering event for me was my time on the Kenya program — it set me on my career path in environmental sciences.
Why did you decide to become an Earlham volunteer, and what specifically did you volunteer to do?
I started helping as an admissions volunteer when I lived in Vermont in the late 90s, and kept that role when I moved to New York. We would invite to our home and interview prospective families and students, to learn about them and talk about what Earlham meant to my career. I also wrote letters to accepted students considering environmental sciences. When we returned to Richmond so that my husband could take on the challenge of reinvigorating the facilities (he is the Director of Facilities) I began working with the Alumni Council.
Share some details from your volunteer experience(s).
Besides meetings and committee responsibilities for Alumni Council, I participate in resume reviews, mock interviews and panels for students each year. My family hosts international students during breaks and for holiday meals, we go to campus with our dogs for de-stress events for the students, and we host prospective families while their children spend time on campus. Finally, I have gone to classrooms and participated on panels for issues regarding environmental science and women in science. I have met with graduates that are looking for work in my field to review options and tailor resumes.
In what ways do you feel you have made a difference as a volunteer?
I guess success would be measured by how many students stop me to talk when I am on campus – we have a connection, thus something went right!
What would you say to others to encourage more alumni to volunteer?
I used to think we were a hidden gem of a school – and it was not really until grad school that I began to see the power/respect Earlham holds in various parts of academia. I originally wanted to spread the word to make sure folks knew about this fun place to go to school where you actually got an education! I don’t feel that as much anymore. Earlham is known, but the experience and the adjustment, and the value of that education can’t be put on a glossy flyer alone. Volunteers are needed to tell their stories on what the school has offered them and where it led them in their lives. Also, and I have experienced this, you meet a high school student and you see them at EC – you need to help make that match! Who best to keep our ranks growing than those who hold dear the experience Earlham offered them?
Learn more about becoming an Earlham alumni volunteer!