Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Talent, luck star in award-winning producer’s life

Emmy Award–winning television producer and founder and president of Molly Two Productions.“A series of happy accidents,” that’s how Marion Lear Swaybill ’63 describes the journey that took her from a Wheaton freshman to Emmy Award–winning television producer and founder and president of Molly Two Productions.

“There was no path,” says Swaybill, “no bold idea.”

Marion Lear Swaybill ’63Swaybill majored in American history, “mainly because it interested me.” History proved fertile ground for the future documentary filmmaker. Her films have covered a wide range of topics: the Holocaust (“Witness: Voices from the Holocaust,” 2000); growing up in war-torn Kosovo (“A Normal Life,” 2003, winner of the Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary award); sex trafficking in America (“10,000 Men,” 2012); and choral music (“Conspirare: A Company of Voices,” 2009).

After graduating from Wheaton, Swaybill studied for her master’s degree in social work at Columbia University but left after a year. Though she worked in foster care for a time afterward, social work did not fulfill her, she says.

In the spring of 1966, she met Roger Swaybill, her future husband. “He hated the fact that I didn’t like what I was doing and encouraged me to quit my job and find something more satisfying—and fun. So I did.”

[Read more...]

Which way to medical career

Which way to the medical career?

Anthropology majors map out their varied routes into health care

Why do so many Wheaton anthropology majors work in the health care industry?The question came to Donna Kerner, professor of anthropology and department chair, when she was thinking of a way for her department to participate in “Science at the Center,” a series of lectures and events held at the Mars Center for Science and Technology.“I thought it might be interesting to connect students in our course on medical anthropology—one of the fastest-growing subfields in the discipline—and our alums who had gone on to careers in medicine,” says Kerner.

When she examined the alumnae/i database, she found anthropology graduates in every area of health care, from medical doctors and international health policy experts to scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Read more...]

Binh Nuygen ’99

Binh Nuygen ’99Director of global operations, InterSystems

My interest in public health developed at Wheaton. As a junior, I had the opportunity to work with elderly Vietnamese immigrants in Dorchester, Mass., who lost their health benefits due to newly enacted health care reform. Most of them were tax-paying, legal immigrants who no longer qualified for benefits because they were not citizens. This moved me so much that I spent a year volunteering as a teacher to help them pass their citizenship test, so that they could qualify for basic benefits. [Read more...]

Kerry Skiffington ’78

Certified clinical hypnotherapist

Kerry Skiffington ’78My mother was a hospital bacteriologist, so I grew up with a scientific understanding of medicine. I also learned to respect other cultures and was always curious about how shamanism worked.

When I came to Wheaton, I hoped to be an anthropologist who studies Native Americans, but I planned to get there through writing. It was the era of Native American nationalism and the Second Battle of Wounded Knee. I thought I would major in English and minor in anthropology. [Read more...]