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2012 ‘South By Southwest’

Vagabonds 2012: Goucher for Life!

July 24 – August 5, the South by Southwest team visited Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. Along the way, of course, they dropped in at several Goucher Send-Offs–events held throughout the country to welcome incoming first-year students.

Meet the 2012 ‘South By Southwest’ Vagabonds

South by Southwest: Where Are They Now?

The gang has gotten back into our summertime groove.

Alex is hard at work with The Intersection and will soon start Leadershape! We can’t wait to hear all the developments going on with his internship as well as other Goucher College students getting involved with The Intersection through the Community Based Learning course.

Jenna, post-graduation, landed a job as Assistant Director of Admissions with the St. Paul’s School. Before she left for Vagabonds, she was having the time of her life connecting with the students there! Congratulations Jenna, she’ll be starting her first year on the Board of Trustees at Goucher College as the Recent Graduate Trustee!

As for myself, I’m back to interning with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and making time to connect with some of the alumnae/i, we missed while we made our way through the Southwest. This week, I’ll be touring the offices of Platts, the work place of Heather Moran ’91.

Hope to keep everyone updated while the month of meetings continues!

The Land of Enchantment: Alumna Spotlight: Tiffany Brody Blackbull

The endless highway indicative of travel in the southwest granted me a brand of peace that I haven’t experienced since my childhood. With the landscape dwarfing our van it becomes pathetically clear that no man truly has dominion over the natural world. In fact, there is something sad about the occasional sites of industry that punctuate the vast fields and mountains flanking the road. While my coming of age was set to the s­­­­ounds of spring peepers and bushes of wild blackberries, these wonders had always existed within the skeleton of mild suburbia; nowhere have I seen such sublimity as in the hills and valleys of New Mexico.

My interview begins in the beautiful adobe style home of our host, Lynn Marcus ’66. Tiffany Brody Blackbull is a petite woman with blonde hair reminiscent of sunflowers and a personality equally vibrant and warm. Her husband, Leroy Blackbull, is a large, soft-spoken man, whose patient cadence of speech suggests a quiet wisdom and strength.  Together, the two seem to reach a personal and aesthetic equilibrium, making them a very pleasant pair of passionate and worldly professionals, community leaders, parents, and educators.

Tiffany and her husband live on the Navajo Nation reservation, Blackbull’s lifelong home, where she serves as a Master Teacher for the reservation schools. As she discusses the challenges of reaching out to disaffected and underserved students I can’t help but reminisce on my own experiences within the Baltimore City School system, having spent my last year working in an afterschool program. The psychological, logistic, and resource related problems faced by students of disenfranchised populations is palpable. However, Mrs. Brody Blackbull has dedicated her life to empowering and offering a  “ladder” to students whose prospects for a better life without education are grim.

Having the utmost respect for educators, writing about what a high quality teacher does as a layman is often a difficult process that yields contrived and underwhelming results. With so many schools of education, complex pedagogical techniques and learning tools, how do we determine what combination truly guarantees success? Having tried graduate school and opting instead to “get [her] feet wet” in teaching as soon as possible, Tiffany’s style of instruction emerged after a slash of Ockham’s razor:

Respect your students and always hold them to high expectations-it’s that simple.

Tiffany believes (and rightly so if you investigate her class’s oustanding test scores) that students will rise above their own perceived limits if they are supported and continually challenged. With this in mind, she has an incredible amount of faith in her community and their resilience. Soon after explaining to me her educational philosophy, Tiffany takes a moment to remember former students; her eyes light up at the prospect of success in their futures.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of my interactions with Tiffany- besides news of her success-was our company during the interview. Sitting beside us happily recollecting and discussing their own experiences were three other alumna of Goucher college. While the formal interview was conducted with Tiffany, the dialogue in the room included all visitng parties, and reflected what I view as a uniquely Goucher continuum. Despite our varying class years, ranging as far back as the 1960s, we all reveled in each other’s stories, victories, and opinions. Tiffany presented a familiar laundry list of faculty whose influence she cited to be paramount to her future success, including one of my own favorite instructors.

Mrs. Brody Blackbull to me is the definition of a Goucher student; Tiffany is a passionate, cerebral, professional with a sense of humor and an altruism that comes as second nature. I could not be more honored to meet yet another accomplished alumna of my school and am beyond optimistic towards the future of both Mrs. Brody Blackbull and her students.

South by Southwest explores the Action Center

Today, we got the chance to come visit my parents at my childhood home. My parents have always been so supportive of my move about 1,700 miles across the country and it was great to have three of my friends to see where I grew up. Better yet, Alex gets to stay with my parents because he has an externship with my father, Dr. Edward C. Pino P’14. So it was really lovely welcoming him into the family. Alex is in store for a lot of Brazilian food, while Jenna and I extern in Fort Collins.

We got to walk around my family’s property before heading out. We saw Evie, the Golden Retriever that’s about the size of a baby bear and the zucchini about the size of eight iPhones growing in the garden. Then we were off to our Goucher Insider interview with Emma Douglas ’05 at the Action Center in Jefferson County.

Emma Douglas ’05 is a remarkable woman who is changing the world. At Goucher College, Emma studied Political Science and Women’s Studies. Post-Goucher, after deciding against a career as a lawyer, Emma went into MPA program at the University of Colorado at Denver specializing in Domestic Violence. Before accepting her current position, Emma made a career as a caseworker specifically working with issues of domestic violence and as an advocated against human trafficking before becoming the Manager of Client Services at the Action Center. While walking into the facility, we were asked whom we were visiting. We said “Emma Douglas,” everyone at the Action Center lights up when her name is mentioned.

At the Action Center, we were lead on a tour of the facility by Danielle Marotta. While on the tour, we saw a counseling center, food bank, clothing bank and lobby serving over 180 Jefferson County families each day. Due to Emma’s position at the Action Center, she

works over 12 hours every day. Not only does Emma solve client service issues, she continues to motivate her volunteers. She is truly an inspiration to what a Goucher graduate can do to shape a community by using her skills to their fullest potential.

Emma brought her Goucher education and her current position as Manager of Client Services full circle when discussing policy around the camping ban in Denver County. Thank you, Emma and her co-workers at the Action Center, it was amazing learning about the work you do. Watch out for our video on this incredible Goucher graduate.

Signing out,

Once a Goucher girl, always a Goucher girl

When I applied to Goucher College, I always had arts administration in the back of my mind. I had been volunteering my time to the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver since I was fifteen years old, but it seemed more like a hobby than an actual career choice. I told myself I had to study Economics, which probably lasted three months. My father then encouraged me to really start thinking seriously about arts administration and art history at the undergraduate level, and I have since just never looked back. This past week, I got to spend two days externing at the Austin Symphony Orchestra (ASO) with Mrs. Peggy Gunn ’65, a Goucher graduate who has been an arts administrator for over 20 years.

Mrs. Gunn started on the board on the board of the ASO, a program inspired by a Goucher alumnae who had worked at the Smithsonian. She was told to try being the Director of Development for a year to get a feel for it. Peggy has now been Director of Development at ASO since 1992. She keeps track of 96 board members and runs an annual phonathon where the board of trustees call their associates about the ASO.

Our two days together were planned out so I could gain as much knowledge as Peggy could provide in a short amount of time. My day at the office started at 7:30 a.m., when I was handed packets of reading ranging from the recent American for the Arts report on Austin to some of Peggy’s favorite articles relating to philanthropy. She also made sure to schedule multiple meeting around the office so I got to meet with at least five other staff members who spoke highly about Peggy’s commitment to the symphony.

Peggy quickly picked up on my interest in the visual arts, and I was given the unique opportunity to contribute to an annual mailer that will be published for the 2013-2014 season and sent out to over 4,000 people. I was shown the user-friendly and bright mailers from previous seasons. I could not help but keep Peggy’s philosophy of these mailers in mind when flipping through–  “I have the time from when someone picks up their mail to the time they get to their trashcan to engage, so they will open it up and see what’s inside.”

After work, I got the chance to see Austin, TX through Peggy’s eyes. I saw the 40-acre University of Texas campus, the Long Center ( Peggy Gunn’s favorite building in Texas), the Capital building, and neighborhoods littered with food trucks. I even had the opportunity to meet  Peggy’s cousins, who were visiting from Brazil, and her daughter, who will be getting married in Paris next Spring.

While getting to know Mrs. Gunn, I realized our similarities really add up. We both love to laugh; I don’t think I’ve laughed that much since I was a child. We even had our own inside jokes after an amusing drive around Zilker Park. While reflecting on our experience together, we joked about how we actually must be in the same graduating class. For me, it’s all about those little things that make the time together memorable.

Thank you so much, Peggy. Your time and attention showed me how Goucher alumnae/i really care about current Goucher students.  I’ll be seeing you soon and please come visit us on campus!

Till next time,

SxSW: Living your dreams, so close you can taste it…

Chorizo stuffed dates, wrapped in bacon, and topped with a Chiquimula spice blend.

Monica Pope on the right, speaking to a bee keeper at a Houston Farmer's Market

Or maybe flattened chicken, fried to perfection, topped with lemon butter sauce, and accompanied by chimichurri, picked onions, and what taste like Grandma’s mashed potatoes.
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is just thinking of the delicious moments I shared with Monica Pope, the incredible distinguished chef and Goucher alumna, class of 1985. I had the pleasure of meeting Monica through my first externship in Houston, TX.

Even before attending Goucher to study English Literature, Monica knew she wanted to cook. After graduation, she traveled Europe for three years where she picked up new culinary skills and experiences. Her personality is expressed in her food. It’s everything you want in a meal: fresh, clean flavors in local food. After Goucher, Monica planted her roots in her hometown of Houston and has perfected her culinary ideology ever since. She balances a bountiful life with 2 award winning restaurants, a daughter of nine and a half years old, and a beautiful fiance who doubles as her business associate.

Monica’s food ideology is simple: what grows together goes together. This local focus may seem commonplace today but it wasn’t 25 years ago when her food career started. Monica claimed she wanted to “change food in Houston” but she didn’t know what that meant until much later. She and a couple food enthusiasts worked to create farmers markets. In fact, one of the farmers markets was held in her restaurant because vendors couldn’t obtain permits elsewhere (mostly because permits for farmer’s markets didn’t even exist)! As we know, buying local produce has become very posh so it’s no surprise that Houston now has farmer’s markets every day of the week (except Monday) where local vendors can sell food products.

Fresh Fish, ready to prep for the dinner service!

To be honest, I didn’t get too many details about Monica’s experience at Goucher. I didn’t have to. I felt a connection with her immediately. She’s certainly a Goucher woman. Her sense of social responsibility is consistent with all Goucher students. As a young Goucher graduate, she knew she wanted to change her community for the better, and 25 years later she’s done just that. As a recent graduate myself, I feel that same excitement and motivation in my classmates. We know we want to do something big, but not exactly sure where we will plant our roots. Monica’s focus on food, family, and community is inspirational. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty, dig deep, and change the world too.

Thank you Monica. It was truly my pleasure. You’ve worked incredibly hard to establish yourself in your community and have changed Houston food culture forever. I’m inspired to persevere even if I don’t know exactly what I want to do, or the challenges I will face. I no longer feel overwhelmed. My dreams seem closer than they ever have, so close I can practically taste it.

Until our next meal,

South by Southwest meets Class of 2016

We were so pleased to meet with our first set of Goucher Class of 2016 members in Austin, TX at the Ingram’s beautiful home. There were a lot of student athletes from Texas coming into Goucher College this fall to swim and to play lacrosse! As a soon-to-be manager of the swim team, I got the chance to meet a swim team mother, father and their two Gophers, Colin and Morgan Richter ’16.

We also had some alumnae/i attend the event who got the chance to see what Goucher is like today! Barbara Savidge ’84 runs an environmentally-friendly online store for dog and cat products, Olive Green Dog. Once she told me her story, I got the chance to chat with her about the new environment learning components at Goucher College. Barbara seemed so pleased that the liberal arts education offered at Goucher College continues to expand in such a way as the world expands with it.

After wrapping up in Austin, we to drive all the way to Amarillo. Amarillo did not have any Goucher grads but we did get to learn more about each other.(!) We will be sad to see Emily go once we arrive in Denver, but we have made a Goucher friend for life.

Signing out,

The Wonderful Ms. Eaton: Alex’s Houston Externship

Holly Eaton, Goucher class of 93’ sits across from me in a large conference room. Despite the electric lighting, sunlight from tall windows dominates the space. The glass is hot to the touch; we are most certainly in Texas. Ms. Eaton turns to her left and addresses a large bronzed man in outdoor apparel- a scientist from what I’ve gathered. “Jaime, there’s a tick on you.” Spiting the bloodsucker he grins and plucks it off his shirt, “That makes thirteen!” A wave of laughter rolls across the room until it the clock strikes 1:00pm and the meeting begins.

An hour earlier, Ms. Eaton and I met in the same conference room. Located within Houston Wilderness’s HQ, Holly serves as Network Partner Liaison, an executive member of an ambitious, respected, and well-funded environmental Non-Profit Organization. As we look for a space to conduct our video interview, we decide on a seat located in front of a portrait of a White Ibis, one of the many rare species found in Houston’s wilderness. Holly explains to me that the eponymous organization works to preserve the ancient beauty of the 24 county region called “Houston Wilderness” as well as transforming the state’s relationship with nature from one of exploitation to respect. The balkanizing nature of Texas’ property laws often clashes with the broader philosophy of environmentalism, making her job quite difficult. However, Ms. Eaton grins at the prospect of a challenge and proudly claims that her education from Goucher has prepared her to be a positive agent of change in the world.

My host enthusiastically reminisces on not only her Goucher experience, but also the eclectic nature of her post college life. Ms. Eaton smiles widely when recounting her path from a Dance and Theater major to an environmental advocate, organizer, and most recently campaigner. At its lightest, our conversation wanders to the fashion of the 1980s and her use of live lambs during a theatrical production; at its most somber she recalls her closest friend’s deployment in Operation Desert Storm. After finishing her undergraduate degree Holly went on to be a successful businesswoman but changed fields out of a feeling of social responsibility. Despite lacking a pedigree in Non Profit work, she has become extremely well versed in the political culture of Texas, the logistics of government and non-government entities, and environmental policy. The last word that could be used to describe Holly Eaton’s career path is “linear” and to this day she wears many hats; outside of her job Holly has sung in the Houston Symphony Orchestra and volunteers as Public Relations Director for another non-profit.

A gifted storyteller, Holly takes me through cycles of change during her time at Goucher. Where students once had to share one communal telephone, Eaton’s class was the first to have phone jacks as well as early computers, which were constantly in high demand. Although topical aspects of Holly’s experience are different from my own, I can’t help but feel a kinship and connection to a shared culture. Goucher students in her year were just as kind, gregarious, and abstract as I have come to know them now. Whether in the athenaeum on Macbooks, or using DOS in Julia Rogers library it seems as if a common core runs through every generation of men and women who call the institution home.
As she discusses her latest project with Houston Wilderness- saving an untouched (and breathtaking) field of rare coastal prairie, she speaks with her hands, eyes wide and animated. It is not hard to imagine Ms. Eaton back in Kraushaar auditorium, delivering a monologue or performing a dance to an audience of peers with ambition as great and varied as her own. While no longer on a literal stage, my host has directed her life with poise and dignity, utilizing her education to the fullest and continuing to exemplify what we all love about our college.


The Art of Houston

While my teammates are at the Haven restaurant in Houston, I’m on the bus on the way to Austin, TX. I’d like to recap our day out on the town with Crystal Benavides, a current Goucher graduate student who is about to go back to Goucher for her second residency in the MAAA program. As she is an arts administrator in Houston, I really could not get enough of her insight in the field. We have even had the same professor! Randall Vega, teaches the 300-level art administration course as well as courses in the graduate degree program. Which is quite honestly so unique.
We can’t thank her enough for all the treasures she showed us. It was truly an insider’s look into the art world surrounding the Menil Collection. The Menil Collection hit the news just last month after street artists defaced a Picasso and it was all caught on YouTube by another visitor. Alex and I were especially interested in this due to his interest in street art and my interest in fine arts and conservation.
Jenna also found herself really drawn to the Houston Center of Photography, which is just next door to the Menil Collection, as well as enjoying the CY Twombly Gallery with many beautiful pieces of art work done in plaster and on canvas. At the Menil Collection you are not allowed to take photos in the interior, so here’s Jenna, Crystal, and I in the exterior!
As always, we never forget about the food. We went to the Teahouse, Sugarbaby’s Cupcake Boutique and Bernie’s Burger Bus (YOU HAVE TO GO if you are ever in Houston!).
Signing out for now,

Day 1: New Orleans, Louisiana

The South by Southwest Vagabonds are ready to make our big premier! I hope you have gotten the chance to view our first video. If not you can view it here:

I’d like to introduce myself: I’m Carol, a rising junior at Goucher College aspiring to be in the world of arts administration. Last night, we landed in New Orleans around 9:30 p.m., being a ditz, I did leave my cell phone at the rental car location. So we were driving around the New Orleans suburbs till around midnight then finally hitting the hay.

This morning, I got to experience some really unique things about New Orleans, including but not limited to; the trolley cars on Saint Charles, houses Goucher students have re-built post-Katrina in the Central City and Broadmoor neighborhoods of New Orleans, as well as sitting down with our first interview,  former Goucher student and New Orleans local, Hartley Casbon. Hartley told a story about her photography professor which reminded me how Goucher professors are always willing to invest in their students outside of the classroom. (Be sure to check out that interview when it’s up.)

Alex taping the homes Goucher students have helped re-build

Later in the day, we met with Goucher College alumnae/i at Ralph’s on the Park. Not only did a Goucher couple attend, but so did the first recipient of Goucher’s Eleanor Spencer Award given out to Art and Art History students with interest in doing research domestically and abroad. Thanks New Orleans alums! It was a pleasure to get to know you and can’t wait to see some of you at Alumnae/i Weekend in the spring!

Don’t worry, we also got to eat too! I had some Slim Goodie’s in the Garden District, my very first po’boy at Zara’s Market, gumbo from Mr. B’s Bistro and Cafe du Monde’s beignets.

Signing out,


The Dream Team(s) 2012

Family Photo: Day 1

All six of us– Kathryn, Megan, Joey, Jenna, Carol, and Alex– have finally arrived at Goucher safe and sound!
We started out our morning at the Towson institution, Towson Hot Bagels, and fueled up on bagels and coffee.  Caffeinated and fed, we then spent the day learning about the trip– from getting to better know the other team to finalizing the logistics of our awesome adventures, our day was jam-packed! And as a side note, did you know that “wireless jetpacks” have nothing to do with flying through the air or the future, but is in fact just internet?
Tonight we will be having super duper fun Team(s) Bonding time and going to a local restaurant for dinner to eat, bond, and continue to get ready to meet future Gophers and connect with alums!
We can’t wait to see everyone when we embark on our grand adventure on Wednesday, July 25 where the South by Southwest Team will be flying off to New Orleans and the Bright Lights Big City Team will be going to a Baltimore send-off.

Dysfunctional Family Portrait

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