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Three Ada Comstock Scholars Win 2014 Magic Grants

Alumnae News

Published May 6, 2014

The 2014 Helen Gurley Brown Magic Grant recipients were recently announced, and they represent a range of expertise. 

Established in 2011, Magic Grants are awarded to graduating or alumnae Smith College Ada Comstock Scholars to provide funding for innovative and transformative projects. Endowed by the late legendary writer and editor Helen Gurley Brown, who penned the groundbreaking book Sex and the Single Girl and headed Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years, Magic Grants honor Smith’s commitment to educating women with diverse life experiences through the Ada Comstock Scholars program, which enrolls nontraditional-aged students. Here are this year’s winners:

Amalita Grimes AC ’12

Sunny Patch at Hilltop Farm: A Children’s Heritage Teaching Garden

Grimes has been awarded $25,000 to design and build a sustainable heritage garden for children at Hilltop Farm in Suffield, Conn., which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The garden will serve as a center for classes and activities for children and their families to explore nature and learn to garden, while understanding greater issues concerning agricultural heritage, sustainability and responsible land use. A government major at Smith, Grimes is also a master gardener who has previously used her skills to create a community vegetable garden in Enfield, Conn., which grows produce used by local food relief agencies.

Kirstin (Jaz Tupelo) Dand AC ’14J

Jaz Tupelo Production Media and Sound Design

A former local talk radio show personality and producer of The Bill Dwight Show and Liberal Oasis, Tupelo will receive $4,000 to revive these shows as podcasts and create additional programs on feminist and social issues as well as an original radio sitcom, Radio On. Tupelo, a theater major at Smith who worked extensively doing audio for student productions, also plans to develop a freelance sound design business. She writes, “My Smith education has given me confidence in my creative vision and my ability to take the lead on these projects and make them happen.”

Jessica Sarno AC ’14

Internship: Sheva Women and Children’s Welfare Center in Bangladesh

Sociology major Sarno interned at the Amherst, Mass.-based fair practice and global-labor agency, Verité, where she gained experience in the world of comparative policy, specifically as it applies to women’s issues in developing nations. Before attending the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, to complete a master’s in public policy, Sarno will use her $6,000 Magic Grant for a summer internship at the Sheva Women and Children’s Welfare Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a partner organization of Verité’s. There, she will work closely with the executive director and gain firsthand knowledge of the daily operations of the center, especially Sheva’s microcredit program, which is the organization’s primary focus.