When Danielle Wieneke McCarty ’04 and Allison “Kinsey” Robb ’00 return to the Williston Northampton campus on Friday for assembly, they won’t be delivering speeches.
Instead, the two accomplished alumnae, one an investment banker for Goldman Sachs and the other an art gallery curator, will be answering specific questions about how to take a Williston education and translate it into an incredible career.
History teacher Peter Gunn will facilitate the session, which will begin with introductions (who were you when you sat in the chapel pews back in the day?) and continue with the advice each alumna would give to her past self, who at Williston had the biggest impact on her, and what about their careers each alumna finds enjoyable.
The assembly will end with a question and answer session between the students and the alumnae. Ms. McCarty and Ms. Robb will also meet with students who are interested in their respective fields later in the day.
“The point of this assembly is to showcase a few Williston outcomes,” noted Elizabeth Cheney in an email to faculty. “Many thanks to Peter Gunn who has agreed to facilitate what promises to be a wonderful discussion.”
After graduating from Williston in 2004, Ms. McCarty attended Providence College where she was captain of the soccer team. She has been in investment banking since 2007 and an associate for the margin valuations and pricing operations for the past five. Ms. McCarty, who is based in New York City, also worked as an analyst for funding operations at Goldman Sachs.
Ms. Robb went from Williston to Syracuse University, where she completed her undergraduate degree. She went on to earn her MFA in the history of art from the University of Manchester (UK) where she is currently a PhD candidate in art history and visual culture. Ms. Robb aworks at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City, curating shows of work by modern artists, and has served as director for the Rebecca Hossack Gallery.
As soon as Abigail Judge took the podium for the special, all-school assembly, she had a question for her audience. “Why did Williston make me come here?” she asked the gymnasium of students, faculty, and staff. “Any ideas about what I might tell you?”
There was a thoughtful silence as the crowd glanced at the title of her talk, “Social Media and Teenagers: Finding Low Tech Solutions to High Tech Challenges,” projected onto a screen on the stage. Then, one by one, students began to raise their hands.
The psychology and social media expert might be there, they suggested, to talk about subtweeting, sexting, or cyber bulling. She might tell them to use technology without being harmful to others, remind the students that what they post online is permanent, and let them know that there were offline ways to express emotions such as anger or desire.
There’s a special table reserved in the Birch Dining Commons. On it sits several knives and a container of peanut butter.
On Wednesday, December 18, Dr. Jonathan Bayuk, a board certified allergist and clinical immunologist, will speak to Williston Northampton students about why that peanut butter sits so far from other options—and other mysteries about food allergies.
“Food is one of the things that brings people and communities together,” noted Kerry Beth Garvey, director of the Health and Wellness Center, who arranged to have Dr. Bayuk speak at the school. “Here on campus, we dine together every day. It’s fantastic…Unless perhaps you or a family member has any food allergies, then you might wonder how that special meal is prepared, what the ingredients are, and if you can eat that!”
An expert in psychology will talk to Williston Northampton students and parents about social media use during special sessions on December 12 and 13.
Abigail Judge is an instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School and practices clinical and child forensic psychology in Cambridge. Her work at Harvard examines adolescent sexual behavior and how it relates to social media, digital technologies, and the law. She has published articles on topics such as “sexting” and is the editor of a forthcoming book on the issue, Adolescent Sexual Behavior in the Digital Age: Considerations for Clinicians, Legal Professionals and Educators.
Dr. Judge said her approach was developed in response to “scared straight” stories she heard on the news. The reports were alarmist, she explained in a statement about her work, and caused anxiety among families rather than helping parents and teenagers talk about the issues.