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July 29, 2008

Look Who's Coming to Smith College

Smith will welcome 647 new vibrant, high-achieving and talented young women this fall, selected from a record-breaking 3,771 applicants to the Class of 2012.

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Jessica Haycock never held the typical teen summer job serving ice cream or renting bicycles to the tourists who visit her coastal Maine village of Prospect Harbor. Since the age of 13, she has worked aboard the family lobster boat, named “Jessy’s Dream” in her honor.

As a fourth-generation fisherman, Haycock has most frequently served as sternman on the boat, baiting the traps, plucking lobsters from their confines and putting rubber bands on the keepers while throwing the others overboard. She leaves the house with her father every morning at 4 a.m. to make the 5-minute walk to the dock.

But Haycock has different ideas about how she will make her own living.

“I would love to be involved with some kind of research, though I’m not sure exactly what kind of job I see myself working. I’ve always been interested in people and behavior.”

Haycock is among some 647 talented, high-achieving and vibrant first-year students who will enter Smith in the fall of 2008. In all, 3,771 students applied to Smith’s Class of 2012. In addition to Haycock, the college’s newest students include the following notable young women.

Anya Eber of Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Eber’s family has taken many bike trips over the years, but none of them compare to the one on which they embarked May 7, 2003 – National Asthma Awareness Day. In 16 months, Eber, her parents and sister, biked 9,320 miles through 25 countries to raise awareness and money to find a cure for asthma. The Ebers slept in tents and met many different people along the way. The experience wasn’t all fun; they encountered a 6.2 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan and a pack of rabid dogs in Greece. Plus, Eber was bitten by a 10-inch poisonous centipede in Tonga. In all, the family raised $70,000 for asthma research programs, money that was used to build a clinic in Calcutta, India, and to provide grants for research.

Celeste Lavin of Merion Station, Penn.
Lavin graduated from high school a year early, but that’s hardly the most unusual thing about her. When she was 16 years old and looking for her first job, she discovered the lack of resources for young people in search of employment. As she began compiling information for herself, she decided to share it with her friends. Out of this idea, she and her brother started their own business: Since the Web site was launched in 2007, it has expanded geographically to include Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The sister/brother business partners also added a résumé builder, interview advice and blogs. Lavin now serves as the company’s chief marketing officer.

Lynx Marks of Miami, Fla.
Instead of spending her summers in a traditional academic preparatory program, Lynx has chosen to focus her energies on training her body and “conquering space.” For seven to eight hours a day, seven days a week, she trains in aerial circus arts. Marks enjoys the physical and mental discipline that performing on a circus apparatus provides. She writes that “flying through the air in a controlled spin and actually catching a bar at the end gave concrete meaning to physics, while feeding the performance artist in me at the same time.”

Bhavna Mungur of Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of Africa
Mungur will have quite a distance to travel to Smith this fall. She hails from an island nation located in the southwest Indian Ocean that was formed by a series of undersea volcanic eruptions. Sugar cane accounts for about a quarter of the nation’s exports, but tourists are also drawn to the island’s white beaches and turquoise surf. Even with that as a distraction, Mungur pursued a number of activities ranging from violin to sports to national essay competitions. At Smith, Mungur wants to study neuroscience and, one day, return to her country to perform that work. “Since Mauritius is still lagging behind in this branch of science, I would take the initiative to introduce this novelty in my home country.”

Julea Vlassakis of Abington, Mass.
The summer before her senior year in high school, Vlassakis spent nearly two months performing original research in a biophysics lab at Harvard University. In addition to her work in the lab, she attended weekly biophysics group meetings and presented her findings at each session. As a result of her research, Vlassakis is the first author on a paper submitted to the Journal of the American Chemical Society – a tremendous feat for a college undergraduate, let alone a high school student.

Catriona “Catie” Blunt of Needham, Mass.
As a young high school student, Blunt began working at a lab in Newton, Mass., that designs and manufactures materials and devices at the nanoscale – that which is at the atomic and molecular level. Blunt sought out NanoLab to broaden her knowledge of nanotechnology. She did so well there that she was later awarded the Commonwealth School’s “Women in Science Grant” which provided funding for her to work at Harvard University’s neurobiology lab studying the branching of axons and movement of synapses across muscle cells. The project captured her interest, and even after her position ended, she volunteered two days a week in the lab the next summer.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. By linking the power of the liberal arts to excellence in research and scholarship, Smith is developing leaders for society’s challenges. Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country, enrolling 2,800 students from nearly every state and 61 other countries.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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