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Learning the Language of Design

Kate Lear ’79 is a screenwriter in New York City and runs a family foundation dedicated to serving disadvantaged youth and raising political awareness. She attended Smith College from 1975 to 1977 and graduated from Stanford University in 1981; she now lives in New York with her husband and two sons. Recently she shadowed Lindsey Allen and Jessica Chiang through a day of classes while doing research for a play she’s writing set in an all-women’s college. NewsSmith asked Lear, as an alumna who’s been away from campus for a while, to jot down some impressions.

On academic rigor: It felt great to be in class again. I was as impressed with the Smith College faculty as I ever had been. Smith continues to be the outstanding educational institution that it always was. This feeling was echoed in the words of all of the students I interviewed. I was happy to see that nobody takes the education they receive at Smith for granted.

On diversity: Today’s greater diversity and emphasis on financial aid has changed the student body in a positive way. When I attended Smith, a larger percentage of students were from affluent families, which made for a more homogeneous and less interesting experience.

On the future: I was happy to see that Smith women are less constrained in their dreams for their future. They may be stressed over their workload and uncertain of what immediate steps to take after graduation; however, they have a variety of choices—graduate school, internships and jobs – that my contemporaries didn’t feel they had.

On Smith students today: The women I met last week were more political about and engaged in both campus and world issues—surely a positive change for us all.

Lindsey Allen: Learning the Language of Design

Jessica Chiang: Finding the Right Path

Rebecca Berman: Where’s Becca?

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