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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.

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,

Solving Murder Mysteries, Ignoring Tornado Warnings, & "Milking the Cows"

Little did we know at 8 o’clock this morning that a mere 12 hours later in Wellsboro, PA we would learn about solving cold-cases, dash for cover from tumbling trees, and run into 3 people who came up to us about Goucher! I guess riding around in a huge mini-van with gophers plastered everywhere really does make you recognizable, or at the very least, more exciting.

Some highlights:

  • Talking with the staff of the award-winning literary magazine, Mountain Home, and meeting their dogs
  • Discussing various topics with award-winning author, Mike Capuzzo MFA ’11, who wrote The New York Times bestselling books Close to Shore and The Murder Room
  • Exploring the ‘Grand Canyon’ of the East Coast
  • Getting caught in a blustery storm/tornado
  • Escaping from falling trees
  • Assisting with the clearing of the roads
  • Dinner with Teresa (Mike’s wife), Mike, Maia ’15, and two co-workers from Mountain Home to celebrate their longest publication to date
  • Exploration (and ice cream) of Wellsboro with Maia
  • Attempting to adjust the pressure of the Goucher van’s tires

In this instance, pictures may make this experience a little more real for all of you that are tuning in.

Tomorrow we are driving about four hours south to Philly where we will be meeting up with Kathryn’s dad for lunch (and possibly get some work done by the poolside chez Walker) and then going to a Send-off in Ambler, about 30-40 minutes north of Philly.

Day 2 Review and Start of Day 3!

Yesterday was our first day of rip-rollicking adventure that started out in Towson at 8:30 a.m. and didn’t end until last night, or technically this morning around 1 or 2 a.m. outside of Mechanicsburg, PA.  Needless to say, today we are definitely going to refine our napping-in-the-car techniques.

We began by taking the D.C. Metro into the heart of the Capitol to meet Jesse Holland MFA ’12.  In front of the steps of the Supreme Court we discussed his work with The Associated Press, the role that the Goucher MFA in Creative Nonfiction has played in refining his writing style, and why he chose Goucher for his graduate degree.

Due to the nature of his journalistic background, Jesse helped us enormously with some of the minutiae that we ran into during our first “Goucher Insider” interview—such as our camera over-heating and trying to keep Jesse from sweating to death in the sun.  Among all of the wonderful advice and soundbites that Jesse offered, one that really struck a chord with us (and reminded us of a certain Wizarding school): “Goucher will always be there for me when I need it, and I always plan to be there for Goucher when they need me.”   A clip of our interview with him will be up shortly.

Afterwards, a cab swept up Jesse to his next rendezvous and we were left to contemplate what to do with the rest of our time in DC. Thanks to a friend of Joey’s, we went from sitting on the steps outside the Supreme Court to meandering through the Supreme Court library, walking behind the benches of the Justices, and seeing the “highest court in the land” a.k.a. the basketball court that is on the top floor of the Court!  On our way out, we also ran into Wendy Belzer Litzke, Goucher’s VP for Government and Community Relations, as she was waiting for a cab—talk about a small world!

After jetting back on the Metro and dealing with some technical difficulties from our GPS, which we’ve dubbed Winifred Oprah, we joined Margaret-Ann Radford-Wedemeyer, Assistant VP for Development and Alumnae/i Affairs, and three of her friends at a Vietnamese–French fusion restaurant near Fairfax, VA.  After a delicious meal and a blaring fire alarm, we traveled to the home of Rachel Bond ’12 and her parents, John and Shelley, for a send-off.  The Fairfax send-off was smaller in scale than its Baltimore counterpart, but the students and parents were just as warm, friendly, and excited about Goucher as their peers in Maryland.  We had a lively discussion about the food on campus, what to pack for freshman year, the first-year trials and tribulations of living in a triple, and much more.  The night was capped by a delicious Goucher cake provided by the Bond family and warm goodbyes.

Fairfax 2016 Send-off!

Today, we’re about to load up with some coffee and double-check that we haven’t forgotten any of our stuff before meeting with Mike Capuzzo in northern PA.  Mike is a Pulitzer-nominated author and Goucher ’11 MFA grad with extensive experience in the literary world.   He is also author of the New York Times best-seller, The Murder Room.  We can’t wait to meet him later today (and maybe get an autograph)!

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,


Day 1: BMORE Vagabonds

Greetings from the Bright Lights Big Cities Team!

Today we have learned so much– about each other, ourselves, our mentors, Goucher, and most excitingly, the Class of 2016!  We have learned how to work better as a team, how to “tune-in” to how we are feeling, what to do in sticky situations, how Goucher has changed lives, and met a GREAT group of incoming Gophers from the Baltimore area!
We have also all come to appreciate the magic rejuvenating and reenergizing powers of caffeine and coffee.  Just woke up and have to run from the Sheraton to the Alumni House on Goucher’s campus? No problem! Coffee will resuscitate you and bring you back to life!

Running on high energy and excitement, we have spent the day preparing for our adventure.  We met with representatives of the Admissions Office, finalized connections with our externship alums, and learned how to use our arsenal of technological equipment for the trip.  Our afternoon concluded with a Bon Voyage farewell where the South by Southwest and Bright Lights Big Cities teams bid each other adieu and met (and said goodbye to) the many awesome and wonderful people who have helped piece together this trip over the past 6 months.

We then headed off with Cori Tyner ’82 to Cory Brewster-Greenstein ’99’s house in Dickeyville.  Can you say awesome and tres chic? Cory lives in a beautifully restored dairy barn in Dickeyville (Baltimore) with his partner, Evan, and his poodle, Oslo (sp?).  Besides working on his second PhD in Bioethics, he is practically a French pastry connoisseur and prepared all of the tarts, cakes, baked brie, and punch that were offered at the 2016 Baltimore Send-off gathering.  I, Kathryn, basically died a million times.
Overall, more than 20 people attended and the students, family members, and friends were fantastic!  As Cori drove us back to Goucher to pick up our Goucher Van, we couldn’t stop talking about how tremendously excited we all are not only for the rest of this trip, but for the Class of 2016 to set foot on campus!  Tomorrow we are headed off to talk to Jesse Holland MFA ’12 at the Supreme Court in D.C. and then going to a send-off in Fairfax, VA.

à tout à l’heure tout le monde et à demain! [see you later everyone and till tomorrow]


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

On the Road Again…

Goucher Vagabonds 2012

The Goucher Vagabonds are hitting the trail again. Beginning July 24, two teams of Goucher students are visiting alumnae/i in cities from New Orleans to Boston. The Bright Lights, Big Cities team will focus on the East Coast, and the South by Southwest team will visit Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. Along the way, of course, they’ll be dropping in at several Goucher Send-Offs–events held throughout the country to welcome incoming first-year students. The Vagabonds also will be spreading the word about Goucher for Life, a key tenet of the college’s new strategic plan. To meet the Vagabonds, click on each of the team names below. And to follow the Vagabonds’ adventures, you can read their daily journal entries on this blog, and ‘like’ them on the Goucher Vagabonds facebook page.

South by Southwest

Bright Lights, Big Cities

Click ‘play’ buttons to view videos, or watch them on our Goucher Vagabond Youtube channel.
Join the journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gouchervagabonds.

End of the Road

Well, we’re back! In fact, our time as Vagabonds is quickly coming to an end. After several layovers, delays, and thunderstorms we touched down safely in Baltimore’s BWI.  We didn’t get much time for relaxation though; the next morning started bright and early back at the Alumnae/i House—returning equipment and debriefing on the experiences we’ve had over the last two weeks.

Later that evening we headed downtown to Joe Squared, a pizzeria/bar owned and founded by Goucher alum Joe Edwardsen ’03, for a young alumnae/i happy hour.  The event was well attended, with appearances by some of the Alumnae/i Affairs staff, recent grads, a few current students, and even two former Vagabonds—Debra Lenik ’10 and Maura Roth-Gormley ’10— who completed the East Coast route last year. It was great to be welcomed back by so many familiar faces and get re-acclimated to Baltimore in such a fun place.

Today our alumnae/i gathering was on the other end of the age spectrum, over at Broadmead Retirement Community in Hunt Valley.  Both us and the East Coast Team piled into the Goucher van to drive over and meet with over thirty alumnae at what is fondly known as “Goucher North,” due to its high population of Goucher alumnae residents.  We enjoyed a sit-down lunch at one of Broadmead’s restaurants and chatted with the ladies about our respective trips and what Goucher is like today. It was a really nice way to end our Vagabonds experience and the Broadmead residents seemed happy get in touch with current students and a younger generation of alums.

Anyway, now I sit in an empty office at the Alumnae/i House writing this blog entry, and as soon as I post it my time as a Goucher Vagabond is officially over.  Like the end of all great things, it is rather bittersweet.  Ever since the Vagabonds initiative started up two years ago it is something I knew I had to do. Traveling across the country, seeing new places, meeting interesting alumnae/i, and talking to new students about college didn’t seem like “work,” but rather an amazing opportunity to take many of the things I’d learned at Goucher and share them with a wider community.

After completing the trip I can say the experience was all this and more. Not only did I learn about some fascinating people and see some amazing places, but I feel we reached a good segment of people who had drifted apart from their alma mater and reminded them that Goucher is a special place.

Of course this trip wouldn’t have been possible without the support and foresight of many, many people behind the scenes at Goucher.  A special thank you goes out to the Alumnae/i Affairs staff who have been an integral part of this project since its beginning— Margaret-Ann Radford Wedemeyer for spearheading everything, Amy Eddy for handling all the technology, Cori Tyner for keeping track of logistics, and Denise Raspa for filling in the gaps in-between.  Also thanks to the student interns Rachel Williams ’12 and Olivia Smith ’12, who spent their summer organizing and arranging things for us.

Now I get to start my own journey as a Goucher alum. I now know I follow in strong and well-trodden footsteps.

Signing off as a Vagabond,


A Farewell East Coast Vagabonds Reflection

As the three of us left our final sendoff in Northern Virginia, we ceremoniously played our theme song of the trip- “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. We danced, sang, and blasted the music when the infamous line, “Every day I’m shufflin'” was recited in the song. After the song was over, we returned to our usual playlist, reminiscing about how many times we clicked through songs and talked about the experiences we just had with alums, parents, or students. This time, however, we all sat in quiet. For me, at least, I started formulating what I was going to write in our final blog post.

So here it goes…

I decided I am going to talk a little bit about what I learned and what I am taking from this experience. When I presented the idea to Briana about applying for the Goucher Vagabonds, we knew immediately that we should ask Andrew to join us. After sending in our application and discovering that the other teams that applied were much older than us, we felt like our chances were a long shot. But, we reassured ourselves that it was worth it to try, the worst that could happen is that we wouldn’t get the job and we would apply again another year. Well… needless to say, we got the job.

I came into this experience thinking that I would be merely talking to new students and alums. However, I leave this journey with so much more. After every send-off parents and students would come up to us and truly thank us for our presence. Although the events really run themselves, it is nice to know that people appreciated our presentation and answering any questions they had. I also got to learn a lot about this incoming class. They are enthusiastic, smart, diverse, nervous, and excited about coming to Goucher.  It was great for us to talk to these students and reassure them that their first year of college is something to truly look forward to and appreciate. Since the three of us all just finished our first years at Goucher, we felt confident in talking to them and reassuring them that they made the right choice coming to Goucher.

The experiences with the alumnae/i were even greater than I ever imagined. It was amazing listening to them talk about Goucher and reminisce about their experiences and memories of the school that very much shaped their lives. We learned a lot about the school in the early ’60s where there was a curfew and house mothers to the late ’80s when Goucher went co-ed. From “Posture Pictures” to hostility towards men at Goucher, we tried to soak up as much information about the school as possible. The most beneficial thing I took out of the various moments with the alums is seeing how successful and thankful these people are for their Goucher education. It reassures me that Goucher provides an environment that truly prepares students for the real world. I have always known that Goucher is an amazing institution; however, meeting these alums reinforced my confidence in the education I am fortunate to receive.

Thank you all for following us along this journey. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as we have enjoyed writing it.

Peace, Love, and Gophers


And Then There Were None

After two long, tiring weeks, we attended our last first-year sendoff tonight at the home of Shelly and John Bond in Fairfax, VA. Their daughter, Rachel, is a member of the Class of 2012. This send-off was like all of the others except in one aspect; there were more young men in attendance than women, which was a surprise because Goucher is known to have a majority of female students (70%).

The send-off went off without a hitch. We gave our final “shpeel” as East Coast Vagabonds, and went through the now usual routine of a Q&A session with the parents and students. We found that many of the students at tonight’s send-off were interested in what there is to do off campus in the Towson and Baltimore areas, which is a question that we didn’t receive very often throughout our travels. After our part was finished, the students and parents mingled and munched on Goucher colored M&Ms and a beautiful Goucher cake. We handed out Goucher hats to everyone, and also gave them East Coast Vagabonds t-shirts as a way to remember us.

Tomorrow we have one final event at Broadmead, a retirement community that has been nicknamed “Goucher’s second campus” because of the large amount of alums that reside there. We will meet up with the West Coast team and share our amazing trip experience with various Goucher alumna and past president, Dr. Rhoda Dorsey.

It’s been great!


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