About the Center
About the Center


The Wurtele Center for Work & Life gives students the skills and habits-of-mind they need to thrive at Smith and beyond.  Programs help students to deepen their knowledge of themselves and their passions, as well as to explore their personal capacities.  Students are encouraged to question and confront predominant cultural expectations for women as they learn about recent research and acquire important skills.  

The Wurtele Center for Work & Life is located on the third floor of Clark Hall. We are open by drop-in or appointment Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please e-mail Ally Einbinder, Program Coordinator, to schedule an appointment.

Jessica Bacal, Director

Phone: (413) 585-4914
E-mail: jbacal@smith.edu

Jessica Bacal grew up in New York City and lived there until she moved to Northampton with her family in 2006. She began at Smith on the Women's Narratives Project, and then worked with the team that was developing the Center for Work & Life. She became its first director in 2010. Jessica holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College, an MS.Ed. from Bank Street College of Education, and an M.F.A. in fiction from Hunter College. Before coming to Smith, she worked as an editor, an elementary school teacher and an educational writer and consultant. Her writing has appeared in Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Moms, on HuffPost Women and in Inside Higher Ed. Her book, Mistakes I Made at Work: 25 Influential Women Reflect On What They Got Out of Getting It Wrong, includes interviews with high-achieving women from a variety of fields, and was published by Penguin Random House on April 29, 2014. Jessica lives with her husband and two children.

Ally Einbinder, Program Coordinator

Phone: (413) 585-4678
E-mail: aeinbind@smith.edu

Ally Einbinder arrived at Smith in 2006 after a childhood spent in Albany, New York. While at Smith, Ally was active in several student organizations, including Students for Social Justice and Institutional Change and VOX: Voices for Choice. During the fall semester of her junior year, Ally studied abroad in the Netherlands through a program offered by the School for International Training with a focus on gender and sexuality. She graduated from Smith magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in May 2010 with a B.A. in the study of women and gender and sociology, and was the recipient of the Wahrsager Scholarship in sociology. Ally began her position at the Wurtele Center for Work & Life in July 2010. When she's not at work, Ally spends most of her time playing bass in her band, Potty Mouth, with fellow Smithies Phoebe Harris '11 (guitar) and Victoria Mandanas '13 (drums). The band released their debut EP in summer 2012, which was called "excellent" in a review by The New York Times, and their debut album in September 2013, which was called "one of the best rock albums of the year" by NPR.