Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

She has got it covered

Covers Charlotte Strick 95Charlotte Strick ’95 succeeds as award-winning book designe

Charlotte Strick ’95 is a tactile designer and creator, preferring her hands above all other tools when making art.

So when the award-winning book-jacket designer was tasked with developing the cover art of the Amelia Gray novel Threats, she took it as an opportunity to get her hands dirty—quite literally.

Threats tells the story of the mysterious death of the wife of the main character—a recluse suffering from amnesia and delusions. “Around his home and garden, small terrifying ‘threats’ appear to him on scraps of paper,” Strick said. “The description of his garden and the things once buried there presented an opportunity for a type-driven cover that could do the same.” [Read more...]

Promoting wellness 

Valerie Tobia ’07 joins Wheaton as director of counseling and health 

Valerie Tobia ’07 chats with a group of students who are in the Active Minds club.

Valerie Tobia ’07 chats with a group of students who are in the Active Minds club.

Valerie Tobia ’07 aspires to help students achieve wellness not only in their physical health but also in their mental well-being.

Tobia—who joined Wheaton on Sept. 19, 2016, as director of counseling and health services—is using holistic, integrated methods to support mental health that incorporate the body and respond to what individuals need, she said.

“This position speaks directly to my passions, education and identity as a public health social worker—focusing on prevention, support, programming initiatives, and linking students to needed services within Wheaton and the surrounding community,” she said.

Tobia, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and double minor in women’s and gender studies and English literature (with a focus on race and ethnicity), received her dual degree in public health and social work from Boston University. She has worked at the Justice Resource Institute, providing intensive in-home therapy and counseling within a residential program, and at Family Health Center in Worcester, Mass., as a public health social worker, where she provided mental health access, education and collaboration on primary care medical teams. [Read more...]

Preserving the past

Amy Halpern Degen ’82 leads charge to save Jewish cemetery in Poland

Amy Halpern Degen ’82Amy Halpern Degen ’82 is a stalwart believer in preserving the past, and honoring the lives before us. She has taken up the cause of saving one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Bialystok, Poland, which is at risk of fading into obscurity.

“I want people to understand what is happening in Europe in terms of Jewish memory. This project has given me hope,” said Degen, who majored in sociology at Wheaton and currently serves as a Holocaust teacher at Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford, Mass.

Although Jews lived in Bialystok for more than 400 years, “there is no visible sign of a Jewish presence, except for a few memorials where Jews were killed during the Holocaust,” Degen said. When the Nazis invaded Poland during World War II, they murdered the Jews in town, and then destroyed their cemeteries, even stealing gravestones to use as building materials.

In summer 2016, Degen and her husband, who is a landscape contractor and stonemason expert, traveled to Bialystok to help restore the Wschodnia Jewish Cemetery. This cemetery is the resting place of an estimated 30,000 Jews. In the 30-acre space, approximately 3,000 tombstones are visible and remain in various states of disarray.

With eight other volunteers, the couple was able to set the stones and apply special adhesive to put the broken stones back together. They removed the grass away from the stones to expose them, scraped off dirt and moss, and washed and painted the lettering on the stones, Degen said.  [Read more...]

Finding success in the federal sector

Margaret ‘Meg’ Offit Gold ’85 excels in government career

Margaret ‘Meg’ Offit Gold ’85While a student at Wheaton, Margaret “Meg” Offit Gold ’85 was tasked with serving as a tour guide for visiting scholar and Foreign Service officer Curtis Cutter.

The history major did not know it then, but their meeting would spark a chain of events that propelled Gold into a successful career in the federal government.

“While spending the day with [Curtis Cutter], he asked me, ‘What are you going to do when you graduate?’ and I told him, thinking that it was a longshot, that I would like to have an internship with a United Nations agency,” Gold recalled.

Fortunately for her, Cutter got in touch with Gold about a six-month internship at the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, in Geneva. She seized the opportunity, and “in many ways, it changed my life,” she said.

Gold—now a senior program analyst at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—has worked both overseas and domestically for various federal agencies. Both during college and in the professional world, she steadfastly pursued opportunities to further her career.

“I, 100 percent, took advantage of my liberal arts degree at Wheaton,” Gold said, adding that while a student she participated in study abroad programs in Kenya, South Africa and England—and even played field hockey on the women’s team.  [Read more...]