Mawrginalia, May/June 2015

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ALUMNAE

In Their Own Words For this issue, we spoke with two alumnae from classes that celebrate their reunions in 2015. The reunion festivities will be rescheduled for October 2015 – please stay tuned for more details!

Valerie Williams Brennan ’85 Valerie Williams Brennan ’85 serves on the Alumnae Board, was on the Reunion Committee for the Class of 1985, and is a long-time Bryn Mawr volunteer. Brennan’s experience at Bryn Mawr led her to Boston University, where she majored in anthropology. After graduating, she became a community organizer, which in turn revealed her passion for teaching. She currently works for Baltimore County Public Schools. When I entered Bryn Mawr in tenth grade, my grades dropped and I didn’t know how to communicate or write effectively. But I was met by teachers who were full of passion. Diane Levine, in particular, had a huge impact on me. It was she who spent hours and hours with me after school helping me learn how to write and analyze critically. In the end, Bryn Mawr really prepared me with the skills I needed for college.

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In addition, the freedom I got at Bryn Mawr, to walk around campus and go to Gilman, was a real opportunity for growth and maturity. One lesson that I have learned from my time at Bryn Mawr is how to be effective as an individual, and how to work towards accomplishing a goal that is going to be beneficial not only for myself, but for others as well. After college I became a community organizer; I was teaching adults about environmental policies and I fell in love with teaching. So, I went to school and got my teaching degree. The senior room was my favorite tradition at Bryn Mawr; decorating it, painting it, and hanging out there was a tremendous way to build a sense of community. Looking back on that time, I wish I would have lightened up and gave myself a chance to really learn life lessons. If I could give one piece of advice to

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the current seniors, it would be to make sure you are enjoying yourselves and taking a break from the rigor and the expectations.