It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Wellesley woman in possession of too much wine and an evening to herself must be in want of a Jane Austen adaptation.
Ah, Austen. Inspiring swoon-worthy BBC miniseries and horribly misguided art pieces. As divisive of Wellesley alumni as the Sleepwalker statue — you either love her or you hate her. Or you hate love her. Or vice versa.
Personally, the only thing I like better than actual Jane Austen is a bad Austen adaptation, and with Harper Collins’ new Austen Project, there’s more than enough to go around. So many authors have tried valiantly to drag her Regencyera heroines into the 21st century only to realize that modern audiences have much less patience for simpering and empire waistlines. It’s difficult to have a terrible misunderstanding when your heartbroken lass is following Mr. Ferrars on Instagram.
(Photo: Janet Mock, Erika Turner, and Wellesley Students in April 2013 for Mock’s panel “Love in QPOC Relationships” with Ryan Holmes and Sebastian Flowers (of bklyn boihood) for Ethos/blackOUT)
In her master bedroom on the first floor of our two story home, my mother sits on her queen sized bed, cast in yellow light, shouting in rage and disbelief to my older sister, who is away at Harvard for her third year of study. In my room on the second floor, I am sitting in the dark, shaking on the edge of my bed with my Nokia flip phone clutched tightly to my chest as I wait for my father to pick up. After several rings, he answers, his deep voice light with the usual delight of hearing his second daughter’s voice. I breathe slowly and say without preamble, “If I told you I was gay, would you still love me?”
“What?” he asks, as if he is unsure he’s heard me correctly.
I take another breath and try again, this time more slowly. “If I was gay, would you still -,” the last words are lost, swept away by a torrent of sobs and choked breaths. It is the winter of 2008, half way through my senior year of high school. In a few weeks, Senator Barack Obama will become the nation’s first black president and Proposition 8 will pass, denying millions of LGBQ-identified Californians the right to marry. I have just been outed to my mother and I do not know if I will have a place to live in the morning.
Thanks to Tim Chevalier ‘01 (@eassumption) for this month’s submission!
When I was a first-year at Wellesley, I saw the movie “Contact” in Collins Cinema and swooned at Jodie Foster’s romantic portrayal of an astronomer at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Foster played a fictional character — in contrast, Sondy lives the reality. An astrophysics major at Wellesley, Sondy has worked at Arecibo for the past year and a half — in her own words, zapping space rocks and defending the planet. She’s headed off to earn her Ph.D in lunar and planetary science at the University of Arizona, and in between has found time to earn a master’s degree from MIT (where she won two awards for her excellence as a teaching assistant), teach computer science and entrepreneurship in Israel and Ghana, manage the budget for a yacht club, and rescue kittens — all before reaching the age of 30. On top of everything else, she has assiduously documented her travels at http://blog.sondy.com/.
Throughout the ten years that I’ve known her, her fearlessness and dedication to living a life of adventure have set an example for me. Sondy exemplifies the best that a Wellesley alum can be: driven by a desire to discover and share knowledge, while also committed to helping other people develop their own abilities to do the same.
I’m not boycotting Hobby Lobby - hereinafter referred to as Hobby Labia. I’m buying their products, and you can see what I’m making with them at https://www.etsy.com/shop/MyBigPinkCraftyBox. Right now you’ll see some felt vagina-shaped pillows, some stickers, and some sassy cross stitches.
If you come back later you’ll see vagina-shaped makeup bags, coin purses, more cross stitches, hairpins and necklaces with picture of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, greeting cards, clitoris-themed jewelry, and more. It’s not just me making these things, by the way, a bunch of friends are helping and if you’d like to help too just let me know. If you buy something at my shop, I will donate the profits (and with most of the items that’s 80-90% of the sale price) to Planned Parenthood and the Eastern Massachusetts Abortion Fund. You may be wondering why I don’t just buy my materials elsewhere. First, boycotting for me would not have been an active choice. I wasn’t previously a Hobby Labia customer. Second, like I said before I (and my team) am donating my time, so 80-90% of the purchase price goes to causes that Hobby Labia stands against. That means, for a cross stitch say, I spent a couple bucks - even less - on supplies but since it takes me hours and skill a sale generates $65 for pro-choice causes. Third, it’s not about the money with these people. I’m sure he thought it was in the bag and wouldn’t have made this threat otherwise, but one of the founders said he would close all the stores if they lost the case. I would rather actively subvert their anti-woman, anti-human message, and I hope you will help me defend our rights by buying ho made.
XO, Ferocia LaDyke
High school in Nebraska provided countless opportunities to roll my eyes and clarify that I liked “the REAL Hairspray" and cultivate a wardrobe as "teenage delinquent" as I could get while still abiding by the dress code (I was alternative, not irrational).
It takes an ex-Catholic to be so deliciously sacrilegious.
My relationship with computers has been a tumultuous one. Given how they’ve treated me in the past, and how I’ve treated them, I would not have expected to end up writing code for a tech startup, nor would I have expected the job to bridge the gap between my most opposite-seeming interests. I recently completed the NYC Web Development Fellowship, a 5 month long intensive program to learn how to code, run by The Flatiron School. Before the program, if I had told someone I was going to be a Web Developer they would have thought I was kidding.
As a kid I didn’t pay much attention to computers. I always thought I would be an artist. I grew up in an artists cooperative between a Sherwin Williams Paint Factory and a Peets Coffee roasting plant, in a small industrial city in the San Francisco Bay Area. My parents and neighbors were all artists and I loved to make things like sock creatures, collages, and cardboard shoes. I saw computers as something completely opposite to the art world in which I lived.
Then middle school happened. I was not cool in middle school; I was probably the only person who never had an AIM. I was also the only one who never finished the typing program in computer class. Typing was my first big falling out with computers and I really wanted to just leave them behind and not look back. But, unfortunately, this was not an option. Computers were always going to be there.
Thanks to Tucker Rosebrock ‘10 (@Tuckneverending) for this month’s submission!
I’m nominating EB Bartels for Young Alum of the Month because she deserves it. As long as I have known her (and that is a very long time), EB has unflaggingly pursued her passions with an enthusiasm and tenacity that is truly to be admired.
During her time at Wellesley, this led her to spending a year abroad in St Petersburg, and ‘taking the long way home’ through Mongolia, China, Japan and Australia. In the years since, they’ve lead her to teach at Mother Caroline Academy in Boston, and most recently, to New York City, where she will be graduating from Columbia University with her MFA in Creative Nonfiction in just a few short months. We’ve always bonded over our mutual love of writing and reading, and I am forever impressed by the drive and determination with which she approaches everything. I’m also so proud of how well all that effort has paid off - EB has amassed a hugely impressive publication resume, including her story ‘Russian Face’, which was featured in a book anthology of young travel writers. This means you can literally go to the bookstore, pick up that book, and read a story by EB. Which always kind of blows my mind in the best way.
But of course, EB will never tell you this herself (which is part of why I want to submit her for YAOTM too). While she is immensely accomplished, she’s also eternally humble and down-to-earth, as well as one of the most selfless people I know. She is always eager to celebrate and promote another’s accomplishments, and she has mastered the art of the thoughtful gesture. After she finishes at Columbia, I’m pretty sure EB is planning on going back to teaching. Following her Wellesley roots, she taught at Mother Caroline Academy after graduation, an all-girls middle school in Dorchester MA. I was fortunate enough to help out with some extracurricular activities, and I was blown away by her patience and rapport with her students. She is pretty much every teacher I would have wanted back when I was that age.
Whatever EB does next though, I know it will be just as awesome and amazing as everything she has done thus far. We should all be excited to see whatever it will be!
Know an awesome alumna/alum? Nominate her or him for YAOTM here.
I was a Finance nerd at Wellesley. I majored in Economics, minored in Math. I took accounting at MIT and Math for Finance at Wellesley. I sat on both the Investment and Finance committees on the Board of Trustees. Had internships all 4 years of school which were banking or finance related. I was sure I wanted to be a banker. So with my diploma in hand, I began work at Lehman Brothers as an Investment Banking Analyst … in 2008.