Skip Navigation

The Grécourt Gate welcomes your submissions. To discuss a story idea of interest to the Smith community, contact Barbara Solow at 413-585-2171 or send email to

Smith eDigest
The Smith eDigest is sent to all campus email accounts on Tuesday and Thursday each week during the academic year and on Tuesdays during the summer. Items for eDigest are limited to official Smith business and must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the day prior to the next edition’s distribution.


Grécourt Gate

News & Events for the Smith College Community
Campus Life January 2, 2018

People News, January 2018

Winter shot of College Hall

Engineering major Sarah Chu ’19 was part of a NASA team that developed a parachute deployment system designed to help small spacecraft safely return science experiments to Earth.

Nouhaila Norredine ’20 and Anmei Zhi ’20 won First Professional Pitch Award at last month’s annual Elevator Pitch Competition for their idea, “Rebike, a mobile app for bike sharing on college campuses. Other winners in the competition, hosted annually by Smith’s Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, were:

  • Second Professional Pitch: Elizabeth Boahen ’20 for SchedulRing, an app that digitizes handwritten schedules;
  • Most Viable Venture: Katharina Geppert ’19 and Rachel Laflamme ’20 for Survival of the Fitted, a clothing-size web extension for online shoppers;
  • Smith Nominee for Grinspoon Pitch Competition: Jacqui Ritchie-Dunham ’18 for FitYes, a mobile workout app;
  • Honorable Mention: Madeline Turner ’21 for Fresh Fork in the Road, a sustainable food truck venture.

Sustainability projects proposed by students in three Smith houses have been selected to move to the final round in the college’s House Sustainability Challenge :

  • Yuqing Geng ’21Erika Melara ’20 and Tasbiha Chowdhury ’19 for increasing the efficiency of heating systems in Chase and Ziskind;
  • Katie Knowles ’19 and Karime Gutierrez ’20, for shower flow regulators in Comstock;
  • Julianne Borger ’21Sadie Wiese ’21Sophie Guthrie ’21Yolanda Chigiji ’21 and April Hopcroft ’21 for sustainable drying racks in Capen and Morrow.

The winning house will be awarded $1,000 and the chance to implement the pilot project campus wide.

Kate Carruth ’20 published a letter to the editor in the Placeville, Calif.-based Mountain Democrat about the impact of climate change on Lake Tahoe. Her letter grew out of a class assignment at Smith.

“Parents as Partners,” a program co-created by Marsha Kline Pruett, Maconda Brown O’Connor Professor at the Smith College School for Social Work, was awarded Best Family Support Intervention by Tavistock Relationships, a UK-based research and training firm. The program Pruett created with researchers from the Yale Child Study Center and the University of California Berkeley has been shown to help reduce conflict between parents and improve the psychological wellbeing of children.

Ginetta Candelario ’90, professor of sociology and Latina/o studies and editor of the Smith journal Meridians, was a speaker in November at the 27th annual Congress of the International Association of Hispanic Women’s Literature and Culture in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Paula Giddings, Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor Emerita of Africana Studies, was a panelist for “Black Feminists and the Transformation of American Public Life” hosted in November by the Syracuse University Humanities Center. Giddings discussed the importance of black feminism and the history of activism in the United States.

Professor of Music Margaret Sarkissian was a panelist for “Performing Within Parameters: Government Policy and the Performing Arts in Taiwan, Malaysia and Venezuela” at the annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in Denver, Colo.

Billy Dean Thomas ’14 performed a hip-hop piece in November at OUT’hood FEST, a musical festival featuring original works by LGBTQ artists of color in Boston. Thomas, who majored in psychology at Smith, performed from her 10-track conceptual album “Rocky Barboa,” which draws parallels between a boxing match and the rhythm and rhyme of hip-hop.

Julea Vlassakis ’12 is the 2017 recipient of a Graduate Education Fellowship Grant from the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening for her cell research at the University of California Berkeley, where she is studying for a doctorate.

Kim Noltemy ’90 is the new president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra—the first woman to hold the position. An East Asian studies major at Smith, Noltemy worked for 21 years for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, most recently as chief operating and communications officer. She also served as president of Boston 4 Celebrations, a nonprofit that produces that city’s July 4 celebrations.