People News

Forty-eight Smith employees were honored with annual Spotlight Awards for exceptional contributions in customer service, fostering camaraderie and producing high quality work—among other achievements. President Kathleen McCartney presided over the ninth annual awards ceremony April 21. Click here for a complete list of 2015-16 recipients.


Angela Acosta ’17

Angela Acosta ’17 is the recipient of a prestigious 2016 Beinecke Scholarship to support graduate study in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Acosta, who is majoring in Spanish and English language and literature at Smith, was one of 20 Beinecke Scholars named this year by the Sperry Fund.



Kira Chase ’17


Emily Kaplan ’16

Kira Chase ’17 and Emily Kaplan ’16, both physics majors, rang a quarter peal at the Mendenhall Center bell tower—the first with all local ringers since 1972, according to Sarah Moriarty ’72, director of administrative technology at Smith and tower captain of Smith College Ringers. The college bell-ringing group meets regularly for practice and will be ringing at this year’s commencement and reunion.

Two Smith students studying in Geneva with the Junior Year Abroad program recently addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of UN Watch. Kaitlin Buie ’17 spoke about human rights violations in Haiti, and Caitlyn Vincent ’17 testified about human rights in Mali.


Meg Kikkeri ’19

Meg Kikkeri ’19 is the recipient of a Youth Award from the Paul Walker Foundation for her work on ocean conservation issues. Kikkeri, an environmental science and policy major at Smith, will receive her award on June 4 during World Ocean Day celebrations at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif., where she has been a mentor to girls in the aquarium’s Young Women in Science program.



Arcadia Kratkeiwicz ’16

Arcadia Kratkiewicz ’16 received the Northeast Fencing Conference’s Sachs Award for having the season’s best record for a fencer who began in college. Kratkiewicz competed in the women’s foil event. Another Smithie, Elysia Wang ’18 earned a spot on the conference’s All-Star, Second Team. Wang competed in the women’s sabre event, posting a season record of 31 victories and only 5 defeats against a field of more than 50 competitors.


Jeffrey Ahlman, assistant professor of history, has been awarded a $6,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support two months of fieldwork and archival research in Ghana for an ethnographic study on the legacy of the late Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first prime minister and president.

Jesse Bellemare, associate professor of biological sciences, gave a talk in March at the 2016 University of Connecticut Garden Conference on “Horticultural Insights Into Plant Conservation and Climate Change.”

Floyd Cheung, associate professor of English language and literature and director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning, participated in a recent webinar hosted by the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity. Cheung’s presentation was on “Micro-Aggression, Micro-Resistance and Ally Development in the Academy.”

Kim Yi Dionne is a founding board member of Women Also Know Stuff, a website created by a group of political scientists to bolster women’s representation in the media. The site is an accessible database of female scholars in political science.

Gillian Murray Kendall, professor of English language and literature, will read from her new novel The Book of Forbidden Wisdom Wednesday, April 27, at Broadside Bookshop in Northampton. The book, described as a “fantasy-of-manners,” is published by HarperCollins.

Sara Pruss, associate professor of geosciences, has received a $15,000 grant from the National Geographic Society for a project titled “Environmental Context of Early Biomineralization in the Ediacaran Nama Group of Namibia.” The project seeks to better understand the environmental and biological context around some of the first organisms that evolved the ability to make shells about 550 million years ago.

Assistant Professor of Music Kate Soper is the recipient of this year’s Virgil Thomson Award in Vocal Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Soper, a composer and soprano, was praised by the Academy for her “energized, vivid and colorful” vocal works.

Karen (Kerry) Tombs-Harling AC ’00 gave a TedX talk this month titled “Context is Everything” at the University of Pittsburgh. Tombs-Harling, who majored in neuroscience at Smith, is an Ayurveda practitioner at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Integrative Medicine.

Dedy Fauntleroy ’90 has been appointed planning principal for Cedar Park Elementary School in Seattle. Fauntleroy earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Smith and a master’s in education from the University of La Verne.

Joanne Dunne Murphy ’82 has been elected to the board of directors of the Shaker Museum/Mount Lebanon in New Lebanon, N.Y. Murphy majored in English language and literature at Smith.

Michael Hubner ’69, M.S.W. ’80 received a Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice Award in April from the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter. Hubner has had a long career overseeing social work programs at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.