Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

About Mary Howard

Mary Howard ’85 is a freelance writer and editor who lives in southeastern Connecticut.

Homegrown champion

Judith Garcia ’13 elected to Chelsea City Council

Judith Garcia ’13Growing up in Chelsea, Mass., Judith Garcia ’13 played in an empty lot littered with used syringes and trash.

“My friends and I called it ‘War Zone,’” she says. It was not an optimal playground, but it was better than the city’s parks, which were ruled by gangs, she says. “At an early age, I wondered why we had no access to small things like parks.”

That wonder grew into a passion for community service, culminating in her recent election to Chelsea’s City Council, representing the Fifth District. With virtually zero political experience, she was the top vote-getter in the city’s primary (unseating the incumbent) and won the general election with 60 percent of the vote.

It was a historic election, with Latinos taking six of the 11 council seats, balancing what had historically been a mostly non-Latino council in a predominantly Latino city. Garcia was pleased with the outcome.

[Read more...]

Feature Winternship

Working through winter break

Interns explore careers, expand knowledge

Winter break is traditionally a time for students to go home and visit family and friends or pick up a part-time job to cover college expenses. But last December and January, 26 Wheaton students spent their breaks learning new skills, engaging in creative endeavors, and exploring postgraduate opportunities.

In its second year, the Winternship initiative at Wheaton provides $500 stipends for students who want opportunities to be productive during winter break, says Lisa Gavigan, director of career services at the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services.

Funding for the initiative comes from several different sources, including the Nancy Lyon Porter ’43 Community Service Fellowship program, the Blakely Fetridge Bundy ’66 Work and Learning Fellowship, and the Talanian Family Work & Learning Fellowship.

“With the stipends, students can have an enriching experience that connects to their academics and earn money,” says Ben Chalot, associate director of career services at the Filene Center. [Read more...]

Events help establish student-alum relationships

Hillary Shusterman ’14 participates with students and alums in a yoga session on Chapel Field during the new SWEATworking event.

Hillary Shusterman ’14 participates with students and alums in a yoga session on Chapel Field during the new SWEATworking event.

This May, several hundred students walked across the stage at Commencement and headed out into the world. But if Hillary Shusterman ’14, coordinator of alumnae/i relations, has her way, the new alums won’t go too far away from Wheaton—at least not mentally.

That’s because Shusterman, working with Becky Ebeling, senior associate director of alumnae/i relations, has spent months building relationships with graduating seniors to bring them into the strong alum network.

“We have 17,000 alums in our network who can help students with internships, jobs and networking opportunities,” Shusterman says. “We want to reach students early enough, so they know we are a resource.”

And, adds Ebeling, “The student-alum connection is an important part of what builds our community.” [Read more...]

Keeping the network strong across the miles

Alumnae/i and friends enjoy a Phillies game in June 2014. Back row: Jeannine Suwalski, Arthur “Ace” Brinkmann ’05, Kate Miller Brown ’95, Andrew Brown ’95; front row: Marjorie Gelb Jones ’62, guest, Michael Oppenheim ’09 and Laura Naden ’04

Alumnae/i and friends enjoy a Phillies game in June 2014. Back row: Jeannine Suwalski, Arthur “Ace” Brinkmann ’05, Kate Miller Brown ’95, Andrew Brown ’95; front row: Marjorie Gelb Jones ’62, guest, Michael Oppenheim ’09 and Laura Naden ’04

Walking the Wheaton campus during Homecoming or Reunion weekend, it’s easy to share memories and connect with friends and former classmates. But what about all the time between the special events and all the miles separating you from campus? How do you keep that shared Wheaton spirit alive?

Two words: regional chairs. They are the behind-the-scenes volunteers spread out all over the country who lead regional groups that bring Wheaton into the communities where they live. Through social, networking and educational events (including lectures by Wheaton professors), and local volunteer opportunities, regional chairs engage alumnae/i across the span of class years, and help keep them connected to each other and the college.

“We always say that when you can’t come to Wheaton, we’ll bring Wheaton to you,” says Becky Ebeling, senior associate director of alumnae/i relations and the campus point person for regional chairs. “The relationship between alumnae/i and Wheaton is a lifelong one. Regional activities help maintain and strengthen that connection by being Wheaton in an alum’s ‘backyard.’” [Read more...]