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Goucher Vagabonds

Goucher Vagabonds

The 2013 Goucher Vagabonds team just wrapped up their two-week trek along the east coast between Northern Virginia and Maine. Along the way they met with incoming first-year students at send-off parties, interviewed alumnae/i about life post-Goucher, and made stops at several alumnae/i regional events. Read posts from this year’s journey right here and check out more photos and video on the Vagabonds facebook page at www.facebook.com/gouchervagabonds.

vag·a·bond noun
[vag-uh-bond] a person, usually without a permanent home, who wanders from place to place; nomad. vagabond. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vagabond.

Gouch·er vag·a·bond noun
A person, always a Goucher student, who wanders from place to place for two weeks each summer to bring the current Goucher experience to members of our school’s off-campus community while collecting stories of the post-grad experience and tales of Goucher’s history.
A Goucher Vagabond is never ‘settled.’ While on the road, he or she is constantly searching, learning, exploring; having an adventure of excitement and inquiry.

Goucher Insider: Billie Weiss '11

Huge, green, and terrifying, The Green Monster in Boston’s Fenway Park intimidates even the most impressive slugger in Major League Baseball. But today, 2 Goucher Vagabonds and a Goucher alum stood next to it without an ounce of fear in their hearts (well aside from maybe getting sunburned or having a sprinkler magically pop out of the ground).  Thanks to Billie Weiss ’11, the BLBC Vagabonds got an insider’s tour of Fenway Park’s 100-year old grounds and facilities which included the press box, the dugouts, and the famed Green Monster.

Billie graduated in 2011 with a degree in Communications and a minor in Spanish.  Currently, he is on the photography staff of the Boston Redsox and this past summer, worked at tennis’ Wimbledon Championships.  Curious as to how Billie was able to land such an awesome job right out of college, we asked him if he had any tips:  “Just talk to people and try to meet as many people as possible.”  For both his internship with the Baltimore Orioles and his positions with the Redsox and at Wimbledon, Billie simply asked around at tennis and baseball events and got to meet the right people to put his foot in the door.  This fall, he will be attending graduate school at Boston University to study Journalism with a concentration in photojournalism.

Pahk Yah Cah in Havahd Yahd (Park Your Car in Harvard Yard)

Along the way, we’ve picked up useful witticisms/advice in Boston such as calling things “wicked,” that the Red Sox are the best baseball team (if you don’t want to get yelled at), and that the Charles River separates Cambridge from Boston (and that the two towns are two completely different places).

We haven’t been able to post in a little while because during the past two days we have been swept up in our 2016 send-off, externships, and an alumnae/i event.  While the send-off and alumnae/i event are pretty self-explanatory, the externship is a new piece of the trip for us that focuses on connecting students with Goucher alumnae/i out in the “real world.”  An externship focuses on bridging the gap between present and past Goucher students and understanding how alums got to where they are today.  It’s a means of showing students what you can do with a Goucher diploma after you graduate, with say a French and Art History degree, and are slightly apprehensive of the types of jobs available outside of college. I, Kathryn, “externed” with Kathy Jacob ’72 who currently works as a curator/archivist at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute; Joey with Dan Dolan ’03 who is President of New England Power Generators’ Association, and Megan with Meredith Edelstein ’05, who is a school psychologist.

As for the alumnae/i event at Battery Park Bar,  it was extremely well-attended and we had former Gophers from across the years come and bond over Goucher, Boston, and other fun things.  We were able to talk to a lot of recent alums who are doing fabulously and had really funny stories from their times at Goucher.  It’s especially cool to see how things have changed over the years, such as Julia Rogers to the Ath and the transition from House Council to Programing Board.

Later today, Joey and Kathryn will be hopping on the T back to Cambridge and then driving to pick up Megan from Meredith’s house, and then trekking up to Burlington, VT.

Hasta luego!

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,

NYC en route to Boston!

What happens when you let three college students sleep in on a Sunday after traveling and roadtripping for a week? They sleep forever. So after rousing ourselves out of bed yesterday around 11 am, we traipsed off to brunch in a cute cafe nearby to get our day going.  On our agenda for our last full day in NY was a 2016 send-off at the home of Lynn Toby Fisher ’71 and her husband, Lee Compton, an interview with Charlotte Kellogg ’12, and trying to track down Megan’s mysterious Goucher inspiration at a Starbucks (to read more of the story, please see this link: http://www.facebook.com/gouchervagabonds).

Charlotte synopsis:  Charlotte currently works for a start-up company in Manhattan called App Guppy where she is employed as Community Manager.  Due to the small and interdisciplinary nature of the company, she is able to get her hands dirty by doing everything from using social media such as Twitter to attending back-stage events at concerts.  App Guppy focuses on making the smart-phone app world more accessible to people who want to create their own apps.  What’s really cool is that Charlotte initially found this position through an internship that she previously did with the organization.  Her advice to future graduates: take self-initiative and find cool jobs/internships that match your interests through sites such as LinkedIn and the Levo League.

Send-off: Right away, we got busy helping out Lee and Lynn.  We all helped put together the tomato and basil platters that went with the freshly-made smoked and regular mozzarella.  Once 5 o’clock rolled around, about 30 incoming students and family members filled the house with laughter and conversation.  It was again, truly a great group of students, excellent hosts, and wonderful food.  This was our fourth send-off, but so far, every group of 2016-ers has more than surpassed our expectations.

Starbucks Search: We went off in search of the 1st Ave. Starbucks to find Megan’s Goucher inspiration.  However, we were only able to find lots of different ways to get very caffeinated.  It was fun though to try and spot her in a crowd of people.

It looks like the sanction on country music only lasted until Connecticut where Kathryn fell asleep and everyone else reveled in playing twangy acoustical country music.  But now we are headed to Boston aka Beantown.  As a side note/question, if New York is the Big Apple, Boston Beantown, DC The Capitol, then what does that make Baltimore? Crab Town? Hontown? Just wondering.

Tonight we have an a gathering in Boston which sounds pretty exciting.  Additionally exciting is that we’re staying in Cambridge near Harvard Square, starting our externships, and going to an alumnae/i event soon!

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,

Big Apple Recap

We’re finally in NYC and gearing up for an awesome 2 1/2 days here in the city.  Here’s a re-cap from yesterday:

  • Waking up at an ungodly hour and driving to Jersey City
  • Interviewing Zach Simon-Curry ’09 at Brunelleschi Construction (home of HGTV’s Kitchen Cousins)
  • Driving into NYC and then going on the Manhattan find-a-gas-station hunt
  • Walking the Highline in Chelsea with some of Joey’s family
  • Eating and mingling with recent alums at Chelsea Brewing Company
  • Relaxing in a European-esque cafe with some coffee and cupcakes from across the street
  • Falling asleep at 10 pm and sleeping for more than 12 hours

The alums were such a pleasure to talk to!  They ranged from ’04/’05 grads to newly-minted ’12 alums.  We talked about the influence of study abroad on their current careers, funny dorm stories from their times at Goucher, and the circuitous routes that many of them have taken to where they are now.  For us, one of the most heartening things was seeing that Goucher friendships can last decades despite miles and miles apart.

Today we have an interview with Charlotte Kellogg ’12 and a send-off for more incoming First Years at the home of Lee Compton and Lynn Toby Fisher ’71 in Manhattan.

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.


Always Sunny in Philly

With the sun shining overhead and the water glimmering next to us, today has been our first (almost) relaxing day thus far.  We drove south from Mansfield/Wellsboro, PA to Plymouth Meeting, PA to meet Kathryn’s dad and youngest brother at one of Kathryn’s favorite hometown haunts– Pennsylvania’s largest Whole Foods.  After lunching and munching, we headed to Kathryn’s house to take a dip in the pool, work on video editing/blogging/budgeting, and eat a quick dinner before heading to the home of John, Amy, and Colleen ’15 McCawley in Ambler, PA for the Philadelphia 2016 send-off.  Little did we know that the McCawley family had prepared a veritable feast–hoagies, soft pretzels, salads, a sundae bar, and so much more!– for us and the other attendees of the send-off!

Aside from the usual crew of great Goucher 2016-ers and their parents, we were joined tonight by three current members of the class of 2015 and two alums, Karen Lyon (also a Goucher parent and employee) and Abby (Colleen’s neighbor who suggested Goucher to Colleen).  As Vagabonds, we were very impressed by the great attention to detail that the McCawleys took in putting together the send-off– from games, Towson Hot Bagel door prizes, goodie bags, and pre-printed name tags– which made our lives that much easier. The 2016-ers made our jobs even easier by really mingling and getting to know one another.

For me (Kathryn), this trip has really come full circle and is great example of how far I’ve come as a student and Gopher in the two years since my own Philly send-off party.  Two years ago, I was in the same shoes as all of the incoming students– I had no idea what the party would consist of, who would be there, or most importantly for many teenage girls, what I would wear.  Basically, I was a walking bundle of nerves.  But after meeting the Vagabonds, talking to other students who later became some of my close friends, and eating lots of dainty tea sandwiches, I was convinced that Goucher students were more like me than I had previously thought.  (If I have to be honest, the tea sandwiches probably sealed the deal)  Now as a Vagabond, I’m meeting lots of really interesting alums and current students who all have such diverse passions and great personalities.   As Mike Capuzzo would say, really, this is just about collecting stories.  And because all of these Gophers have such fascinating stories, that makes our jobs as the “collectors” relatively easy but so so so interesting and fun.  Can’t wait to continue the journey tomorrow in the Big Apple!

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