Among the 832 vibrant, intelligent and talented women who will enter Smith College in the fall of 2006 are 691 first-year students, 72 transfer students and 69 Ada Comstock Scholars – students of non-traditional age. Here are a few of their stories.
Throughout high school, Susannah Calhoun worked at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. As a senior apprentice for the children’s garden, Calhoun instructed youngsters, aged 5 to 13, in botany and horticulture and helped them cultivate garden plots. In addition to the time she spent there, Calhoun devoted much of last year to researching differences in body image between amputees born without a limb and those who were able-bodied prior to an amputation. An amputee below her knee since the age of one, Calhoun investigated how myriad factors – including stress, parental discord, and social support from parents, teachers and classmates – affected an amputee’s perceived physical appearance. Calhoun, of Brooklyn, N.Y., plans to study biology at Smith.
Last fall, Allyson Einbinder of Albany, N.Y., visited Smith to attend the Northeast Anti-Sweatshop Conference. A passionate activist, Einbinder has worked on behalf of Amnesty International, Free the Children and the National Organization of Women (NOW). As the vice president of NOW’s capital district campus chapter, she demonstrated in Nashville for reproductive rights. Einbinder also helped organize a protest of MTV in Times Square and participated in protests against the retailer, Wal-mart. ELLEGirl magazine sought out Einbinder’s participation in a discussion about “young women, feminism and ways in which their magazine could be improved.” She is interested in studying psychology at Smith.
Two years ago, Su Fu left her home in China to attend Bromley High School in the United Kingdom. There, Fu pursued her passion for science with a post-doctoral research team at the country’s National Heart and Lung Institute. She collaborated with researchers to answer immunology questions and was awarded funding to do so. Fu received a CREST Science Award based on her contributions to that research. At the same time, Fu also achieved honors in mathematics, placing in the top six percent of 60,000 candidates in a national mathematics challenge. Earlier on, her talent as a cellist and pianist won Fu a coveted music scholarship to one of Beijing’s best high schools. At Smith, Fu would like to study biology.
Last summer, Lauren Owen looked forward to her senior year at Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, where she would serve as student body president. Hurricane Katrina changed that by dividing and displacing her family. Owen and her father moved to Houston, while her mother and brother remained in Baton Rouge. In Houston, Owen interviewed for Phillips Academy at Andover and secured a place in the school’s senior high school class. Despite the hardships that Katrina created, Owen thrived at Andover, joining such extracurricular activities as the crew team, Young Democrats and music groups. She also became impassioned about infectious disease and for the world AIDS crisis. At Smith, Lauren would like to study the sciences in preparation for medical school. Beyond her love of science, Lauren has worked at art camps and is a certified welding teaching assistant.
As an 8th-grade student in Purchase, N.Y., Winter became one of the youngest people ever to win first place at the Duracell National Invention Challenge. She and another individual won the award for their invention of a visual system to alert deaf athletes to referees’ whistles and coaches’ summons. As a result of the invention, Winter was inducted as an honorary member of the National Inventors’ Hall of Fame, and featured in USA Today and on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” A patent is now pending on the system. Winter is also committed to helping animals. Throughout the last five years, she spent Saturdays and summers volunteering for the local animal shelter. Her work there sparked an interest in biology and veterinary medicine and led her to found the group Friends of Elmsford Animal Shelter.
Shaharzad Akbar comes from Afghanistan where, she says, “the short days of my childhood were filled with the sounds of bombs, gunshots and rockets.” At age 12, Akbar and her family moved to Pakistan. Despite suffering humiliation for her identity as a poor refugee there, Akbar began to teach English and Dari. When her family returned to Afghanistan, Akbar continued to teach, instructing Afghan women in the English language. Eventually, Akbar needed to do more work to support her family. She took a job as a journalism intern at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and also began college to study sociology. Akbar is transferring to Smith to continue learning about human social interaction. “I want to learn about feminist movements in different parts of the world so that I can better understand what is needed for the overall empowerment of women everywhere,” she said.
Ada Comstock Scholar
At 17, Judith Shumway already had one child. By age 27, she had experienced two divorces, given birth to two more children and started a business. Although it went through some transformation, her business, a clothing consignment store, eventually became a collection of vintage fashions and period costumes. Shumway’s attention to detail led to work providing costumes for major motion pictures, including “Amistaad” and “Meet Joe Black,” films on which she was also cast as an extra. Shumway’s store was voted the area’s “Best Consignment Store” by Newport Magazine five consecutive years. In addition to the time she spends on work and raising her children, Shumway teaches yoga and aerobics. In 2005, she entered Bristol Community College and earned a 4.0 GPA. Shumway, of Tiverton, R.I., looks forward to studying psychology and history at Smith.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,600 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.
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