Skidmore Scope Fall 2012

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FALL 2012




25 health promoters at work




IN THE PIN K Cover story: Skidmore’s pre-health studies have a healthy glow all their own

6 family face time


PROG N OSES Research faculty share some predictions about the next wave of health care advances


PATIE N T BY PATIE N T Alumni in health care apply pragmatism as well as passion

18 pre-health’s health



22 new waves in biomed


ON THE COVER: Health studies are big and strong at Skidmore— see page 18. (Photoillustration by MBPhoto Inc. and Michael Malone)

Scope C O L LY E R V I C E P R E S I D E N T F O R A D VA N C E M E N T


Dan Forbush EDITOR

Susan Rosenberg A S S O C I AT E E D I T O R



More thoughts on success I train people in nonviolent social change, and whenever I talk about success [see last spring’s Scope], I tell the story of how I first defined success. It was when I was a student at Skidmore. As the Student Government Association president back then, I decided that if I could get one person to wake up, get a lightbulb to turn on, and hopefully motivate action toward justice, then I was successful. Many years later now, after having trained and motivated tens of thousands of people around the

world, I have been hugely successful! Thanks, Skidmore, for the opportunity to learn this valuable lesson. Lisa Fithian ’83 Austin, Texas

DO THE WRITE THING Scope welcomes letters to the editor. Send your comments by e-mail to or mail c/o Skidmore College. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.


FALL 2012 Volume 43, Number 1

Mary Monigan DESIGNERS

Michael Malone Maryann Teale Snell WRITERS

Kathryn Gallien Bob Kimmerle Peter MacDonald Maryann Teale Snell Andrea Wise EDITORIAL OFFICES

Office of Communications Skidmore College 815 North Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 518-580-5747 SKIDMORE COLLEGE

Switchboard: 518-580-5000 Alumni Affairs and College Events: 518-580-5670 Communications: 518-580-5733 Admissions: 518-580-5570 or 800-867-6007 Scope is published three times a year by Skidmore College for alumni, parents, and friends. Printed on recycled paper (10% postconsumer)


s bulldozers raze the site, it’s time to toast (or roast?) Scribner Village. Share your memories and anecdotes of Scribner life at, 518-580-5747, or Scope, Skidmore College, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.



Science at Skidmore: Back to the future program is attractaffirms our mission of In this issue of Scope, we explore ing considerable inpreparing every Skidmore Skidmore’s growing engagement with terest from students graduate to live as an inthe world of health care. I reference not and will, we hope, formed, responsible citizen. only the impressive and varied achievebecome a model for Today this requires the abilments of our alumni but also the ways future collaboraity to understand and conin which we are responding to the resurtions. Additionally, tribute to public discourse gence of interest among our students in we created a new on scientific issues ranging the health professions. I say “resurgence” position in our Cafrom energy security to because this is, in many ways, a case of reer Development cloning. To foster such engoing “back to the future,” for as many Center, the responsigaged scientific literacy, we S KIDMORE P RESIDENT P HILIP of our graduates know, Skidmore has a A. G LOTZBACH bilities of which inhave launched a number of long and storied history of preparing clude supporting students in their efforts efforts to help all our students understudents for successful careers—indeed, to explore opportunities in the health stand how science-related issues inteleadership roles—in nursing and other fields, whether in medicine, nursing, or grate with and inform a wide array of health fields. Today, more than ever, we other allied professions. disciplines. For example, this fall more need creative, interdisciplinary thought As I noted earlier, this increased emthan a dozen Skidmore faculty members in these areas, and we are preparing our phasis on the sciences and the medical are including modules in their first-year students to provide it. professions is, in many ways, a return to Scribner Seminars From 1922 to TODAY’S INCREASING INTEREST IN exploring ideas an important part of our heritage. It also 1985, Skidmore THE HEALTH PROFESSIONS ALIGNS about the end of is another example of what makes a trained several NEATLY WITH SKIDMORE’S BROADER the world, rang- Skidmore education unique, for what we thousand women are doing is not simply teaching science as nurses, many of EFFORT TO RAISE THE PROFILE AND ing from the STRENGTH OF OUR PROGRAMS IN but teaching it in a specifically Skidmore Mayan calendar whom went on to THE NATURAL SCIENCES. way. Science at Skidmore is intensely into the “Rapture” become influential terdisciplinary, grounded in a fundato global warmleaders in the field, mental belief that good science must fosing and the looming global water crisis. improving the quality of nursing care ter creativity and new ways of thinking Many of our investments have alaround the country and setting stanand learning. It also is informed by a ready borne fruit. Roughly a third of our dards for the industry. Skidmore’s prostrong desire to help students find ways students now major in the natural scigram stood out for its combination of to bring what they learn into the world ences, with much of that growth coming intensive, real-world experience and rigto make a real impact on the lives of over just the past decade. Science faculty orous course work. In an era when most others. members now compete more successfulnurses completed only a two-year certifiIn its report to the board of trustees ly than ever for outside grant support cate program, Skidmore offered a fouroutlining the importance of investing in from agencies such as the National Sciyear BS-degree program incorporating new science facilities, the Skidmore Science Foundation and the National Institwo years of study and practical experience Working Group argued that “the tutes of Health (currently providing ence in various New York City hospitals. 21st century poses global challenges that Skidmore with more than $6 million in Today’s increasing interest in the will require new modes of thinking and active grants), and our students regularly health professions also aligns neatly new technologies to resolve; among gain admission to the most prestigious with Skidmore’s broader effort to raise them are food and energy security, science graduate programs. the profile and strength of our programs human health and disease, and natural A particular driver of renewed interest in the natural sciences. Over the past resource depletion. Indeed, improving in nursing is the exciting collaboration several years we have made a number of science education to support innovation that we have established with the New investments to move us along this path: and creative problem-solving is a nationYork University School of Nursing: an aradding a neuroscience major, splitting al priority.” I couldn’t agree more, and I ticulation agreement to fast-track Skidchemistry and physics into two separate believe that the stories you will read in more graduates into NYU’s graduate departments while increasing staffing in this issue will confirm how much Skidnursing programs. Spearheaded by Terry those areas, and expanding opportunimore students, faculty, and alumni have Fulmer ’76, Skidmore trustee and former ties for summer research in the sciences. to offer in meeting those challenges. dean of the NYU School of Nursing, this More broadly, our strategic plan re-

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Gala graduation



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Family values, Skidmore style While workplace day care is still a rarity in America, Skidmore is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its Greenberg Child Care Center. (Opened in 1987 through the efforts of then-trustee Toni Greenberg, P ’81, and others at Skidmore, the day-care center was named in her memory a few years later.) Enrollment priority goes to children of

Skidmore faculty, staff, alumni, and students, with others welcomed as space is available. Eight infants, 15 toddlers, and 20 preschoolers are cared for by a staff of 10, often with help from Skidmore students and volunteers. Longtime director Nancy Wheeler says Greenberg’s teachers work “to provide quality care in a safe and loving en-

vironment” that nurtures children’s early development and also “to serve as a support system to families.” Clients of all eras seem to agree those goals are met and exceeded day after day. Scope asked a few Greenberg families past and present to share an anecdote, imagine being a teacher, and reflect on what Greenberg has given them.

Matt Hockenos, history Oscar, 2


DAD: “Some kids cry when their parents drop them off in the morning, and some can hardly wait for pick-up time. Oscar just jumps right into an activity and never looks back. Would it hurt him to cry now and then when I drop him off? “The teachers at Greenberg are what make it a special place—and a place Oscar loves. They’re perpetually upbeat, enthusiastic, nurturing, and loving. They make it all look effortless, but when I stop and think about it, it looks exhausting to me. If I were a teacher there, my favorite part of the day would be nap time! “As an only child, Oscar has benefited from his experience at Greenberg, where he’s learning how to socialize with other kids his own age. At first when another kid took his toy away, he would just sit there in disbelief. But now he can stand his ground in the sandbox.”


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Mary DiSanto-Rose, dance Maria, 23, Class of ’12


MOM: “Maria and I remember Melinda, her preschool teacher, joining the ‘creative dance’ classes I taught the children. She took a marvelous leap and tumbled, but she was graceful and a good sport!” MARIA: “I loved learning to make bread and taking it home for my family. (Except I think my mom and I ate it on the way home.)” MOM: “I think the hardest part of the teachers’ jobs is helping the children learn to share and listen. They were always very consistent so the kids knew what was expected of them, and they had creative ways to refocus the children on more productive behavior—say, sitting down with them and encouraging them to work on a project. “Both Maria and her brother Matt had such a good time that when they started school they enjoyed it and did very well.” MARIA: “At Greenberg, I learned by exploring. And now I love travel (Central America, Africa, Europe, Asia), because you’re constantly learning by doing, just like a child. You have a million questions, you say things you didn’t know enough not to say, you get lost and find something even more exciting. Travel teaches you how to say yes again and dare to be the best version of yourself in the moment.”

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Paul and Karen Arciero, health and exercise sciences Nick, 18 (front), Aidan, 11 (center), Noah, 16 (right)


MOM AND DAD: “As infants, our boys loved cuddling with us, so sometimes the transition in the morning was a challenge. We would carry a kid or two on each hip into Greenberg and sit with them in a chair before making the ‘hand-off’ to a caring teacher or foster grandparent. Another memory we cherish is coming to pick them up and having them ignore us because they were having so much fun.” NOAH: “I remember sitting with my dad at the snack table in the morning and eating the famous Greenberg french-toast sticks. And having a great time playing hoops with the other kids.” AIDAN: “I loved lunch and snack time!” MOM AND DAD: “Greenberg fostered independence and creativity; all of our boys have a love of music and art that started and was nurtured there. Greenberg was a gift from above that made our family better.” NICK: “I’m still friends with kids I went to Greenberg with. What’s fascinating is that we all went to different elementary schools but then reconnected in middle or high school. We’re still friends now as we go off to college.”


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Jane Greenberg ’81 Max, 23 (left), Benjamin, 23 (right)


MOM: “Benji was in the very first toddler class, right after my mother helped get the center launched. I had used other day cares, but this one was phenomenal, largely because we were lucky enough to hire excellent staff who didn’t just care for the children but also taught them. We allied with the early-childhood center and its student interns, and we took part, by design and by osmosis, in the flowering of Skidmore’s interdisciplinary culture in those days. “Max started there as an infant, and he was . . . a handful. He could never settle down for a nap. So Nancy the director, who used nap time for her time off or to run errands, would carry him around campus with her in a baby backpack, which kept him happy while the rest of the kids napped. She did this for over a year. What a demonstration of selflessness and caring—no wonder Max insisted, until he was at least 4 years old, that he was going to marry her! “Working in cramped quarters, the teachers were brilliant at structuring the kids’ days, setting expectations, giving them jobs to do at snack time— all those procedural things. It struck me every day that my boys were learning how to help, how to be kind, how to interact in a group—skills that really served them well as they grew up.”

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John Brueggemann, sociology Emilia, 9 (left), Peter, 4 (top), Anabelle, 7 (center)


DAD: “I remember vividly the guilt and fear when we dropped off eight-week-old Emilia. Putting her name in all her clothes felt like some kind of prison situation. Just three years later, when we left for a sabbatical, we were worred that she and her new sister would be permanently harmed by missing a year at Greenberg. “For the staff, I think dealing with all the parents must be tough. Every one of us is either too worried or not worried enough about something related to our kids. Also, the teachers never sit. They’re always moving, always attending to the needs of the children. My favorite part of the day would be encountering the kids’ joy of discovery, which constantly unfolds. “At Greenberg, all three kids learned how to play, draw, share, appreciate nature, eat healthy food, negotiate conflict, say sorry, poop on the potty, tie their shoes, and give and receive love. We parents learned too. We realized we’re not alone in raising our children; we’re not the only ones who think they are decidedly special. During our time here, all other things were possible because we knew our kids were safe and valued.”


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Aiwu Zhao, management and business Stacy, 4


MOM: “I remember seeing the little kids walking across campus for activities in other buildings. Compared with other daycare kids, Greenberg kids have a much richer environment to stimulate their exploration. They are frequent visitors to the library, gym, and museum. As I work at Skidmore, seeing them around campus creates a feeling of family for me—my kid’s day-care experience is an integral part of my workday. “Parents can drop off their kids at any time they want in the morning, so I think this must be very challenging for the teachers to coordinate. Story time is always a treasure—kids sit there with eager ears and eyes, listening and looking at the book. And on the playground, younger kids and bigger kids play together, so they learn how to get along with others as in a big family. “Stacy increased her skills in terms of how to share, treat her friends, and follow instructions. I am also impressed by the appreciation for beauty, nature, and various cultures and traditions that developed in Stacy’s little mind. When I introduced the Chinese New Year to the preschoolers one time, I was surprised to see that these kids can find different countries on a globe very easily.”

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Stonewalling BOB KIMMERLE

Another campus repair project has won a Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation award. Along the Fourth Street edge of campus, a low stone wall had lain in disrepair—until its entire 545-foot length was rebuilt using the original stones, thanks to local mason Nick Vacchio in cooperation with the Skidmore grounds crew. “It’s a real art form to fit the stones together with no mortar to hold things in place,” notes Bruce Murray, grounds supervisor. Samantha Bosshart, who heads the Preservation Foundation, cited Skidmore for investing in its historic property, which helps “make Saratoga Springs a wonderful place to live, work, and visit.”


till—made of steel, wood, glass, and whiskey—embodies the approach of artist Terry Adkins, whose show Recital is at the Tang Museum through December 2. In his sculpture, photography, video, and performances, Adkins transforms and repurposes found materials and archival imagery in order to uphold and reexamine the life and legacy of such immortal figures as Bessie Smith, Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins, Beethoven, Matthew Henson, and John Brown. Also at the Tang, through December 30, is Dance/Draw, which explores drawing with the body, drawing with thread or wire, dance as a line drawn in space, and similar blends of line art and bodily performance. For full Tang information, visit or call 518-580-8080.


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Wish you knew more about the college admissions process? Skidmore invites high school juniors who are the children of Skidmore alumni or employees, and siblings of current students, to attend

JUNIOR ADMISSIONS WORKSHOP January 27–28 on campus Look for more details soon at or call 518-580-5610

A gift for science Can you briefly describe your research? I am interested in cellular triggers of neurodegeneration (neuron death). Carefully regulated, highly complex signaling pathways control the normal functioning of neurons throughout our lives, but individuals with neurological disease have slight alterations to these pathways. If we can pinpoint early on in a patient’s life what alterations are occurring and how they affect the cellular pathways, we may be able to maintain normal function in the neurons and prevent neuronal death.


The Williamson Chair in Neuroscience has its first incumbent: Sara Lagalwar, who joined the Skidmore faculty this fall. Given by longtime trustee and benefactor Susan Kettering Williamson ’59 during Skidmore’s “Creative Thought, Bold Promise” campaign, the endowed professorship recognizes and supports faculty excellence in the field, honors the memory of her late husband, worldrenowned Dartmouth neurologist and epilepsy expert Peter Williamson, and underscores her own deep commitment to Skidmore’s undergraduate education. Lagalwar earned her PhD at Northwestern University and went on for postdoctoral research at the University of Minnesota. Scope caught up with her just before she moved to Skidmore. Why Skidmore? It’s been exciting to see the integration of neuroscience into small colleges in recent years, but I was still surprised to find that Skidmore has had an established program for years. It’s great to join a team of faculty already teaching in neurobiology and neuropsychology and conducting research with undergraduates.

So, will we see progress on What courses are you teaching? Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s is a “Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience,” challenging disease because there is no which prepares students for advanced easily identifiable cause. But I’m opticourses in neuroscience and biology, and mistic. Research is growing rapidly, and “Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration,” the technology with which we can comb which delves into the neurobiological through genomes has exploded. I think basis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and it’s a matter of time before we may be Parkinson’s. able to assess a per“IT’S BEEN EXCITING TO SEE son’s likelihood of deTHE INTEGRATION OF How do you involve veloping sporadic NEUROSCIENCE INTO SMALL (nonfamilial) students in your COLLEGES IN RECENT YEARS, Alzheimer’s. research? In every AND IT’S GREAT TO JOIN A step—from learning TEAM OF FACULTY ALREADY What would you the biological concepts TEACHING AND CONDUCTING like the average and research tools and RESEARCH NIN THE FIELD.” person to undertechniques to formulating hypotheses, from conducting lab stand about the disease? Alzheimer’s experiments and analyzing and interis so devastating because it slowly propreting the data to potentially writing gresses through the brain, triggering new symptoms as it goes—from early minor manuscripts for publication. memory loss to later major changes in

personality and behavior. It is difficult to watch this happen in a loved one, but important to remember that it’s a consequence of disease. Friends and family can be a huge resource by sharing their stories with each other and with researchers. How can colleges and universities educate more scientists? Science is such a highly dynamic and creative field of study, and we should present it to students that way. The more we can involve them in research, present them with cutting-edge literature, and give them novel problems to solve, the more students will become passionate about science. Skidmore has already created this type of environment, and I am looking forward to being a part of it. —KG

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What’s the mixology behind drug cocktails? More and more, physicians are collaborating with mathematicians to refine the science of chemotherapy in cancer, AIDS, and other illnesses where medications are often given in certain combinations or sequences. There’s plenty of clinical evidence that giving drugs in different combinations and orders can affect the success of treatments, but how and why are not easy to pin down. Not a lot of physicians have all the math training to do detailed modeling of the variables. And of course mathematicians don’t usually have biology labs for testing their models. So it’s great when they can collaborate—as they’re increasingly doing in clinical trials and major research hospitals affiliated with universities. Getting a handle on the statistics through mathematical modeling can greatly improve the predictability of multiple-medication dosing options.

a medication, the fraction of cells killed by it, and the continuing growth of those cells not killed. But we’ve also learned that drugs can have different effects on cells in different phases of life, as they’re preparing to reproduce, actively dividing, resting, or transitioning between phases. So we expanded our model to account for drug timing and cell-phase timing. With differential equations we managed to model the effectiveness of two drugs given either sequentially—for example, as AAABBB—or in alternating doses—as ABABAB. And our models showed that when cell lifecycles are factored in, the order of the drugs does matter. So this kind of mathematical modeling can help researchers and clinicians figure out how to target cancer cells when they’re most vulnerable to each drug in a combined therapy.

What are you learning about cancer drugs?

Can patients make use of such information?

I started modeling biological and medical phenomena in grad school, specifically working with the order and timing of certain cancer drugs. We began by assuming a simple or ideal state in which tumor cells all stay the same so you’d never need to change the medication, and we developed our basic equation to reflect the drug’s effect against the cells. Then we incorporated new variables, and relationships among the variables, to account for some of the differences in real-life cancers. My study focused on two factors: a particular genetic mechanism for withstanding the drugs and also where the cells were in their life cycle. We can quantify the kill fraction of a drug (what percentage of cancer cells it succeeds in killing), and we can define tumor-cell proliferation rates (the exponential process of cells doubling over time), so we can simulate the delivery of

There’s a huge amount of data out there that you can access directly to get an idea of a drug’s success rates in clinical trials, or just to familiarize yourself with the terminology so you can be more informed when you discuss medication options with your doctor. Two good online resources are PubMed (pubmed .com) and the National Institutes of Health (


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Is there student interest in this field? As a pre-health-professions advisor at Skidmore, I often point to medication modeling as a great example of why and how math is so important for pre-med students. Plus it has become a hot career field in itself and is now being used for streamlining the way drug trials are designed and set up. Math really gives you a different set of tools for critical


EXPERT OPINION : Meds and math, with Rachel Roe-Dale

thinking—a crucial skill for students— and in this case for evaluating drug testing and other research results—a useful skill for anybody. Rachel Roe-Dale earned a doctorate from RPI and joined Skidmore’s faculty in 2005. She teaches calculus, algebra, statistics, and other applied-mathematics courses.

She doesn’t back down from a chalwhite identity and racism—notably, the lenge, take things for granted, or lose white students were able to examine the hope. Sociology professor Kristie Ford is implications of their whiteness without all about engagement. the presence and input of peers of color. Only the second tenured black female Related work with students of color and in Skidmore’s history, Ford is laser-focused white and multiracial students addresses on elucidating what it takes to create how inter- and intraracial dialogues can campuses where everyone can underbenefit students both immediately and stand, talk about, and foster healthy relalater in society and the workplace, where tionships and selfthey can bring to bear THE STRONG “ANGRY BLACK enlightened attitudes images among people MAN” IMAGE EMERGED FROM and behavior. Ford of all ethnicities, inTHE CIVIL RIGHTS AND BLACK believes such struccomes, genders, and POWER MOVEMENTS, BUT ages. And she puts tured dialogues can EVEN THAT COMMANDING her research to work foster understanding, PRESENCE IS OFTEN OVERas Skidmore’s new dipersonal growth, conSHADOWED BY MEDIA CHARrector of intercultural flict resolution, interACTERIZATIONS, SHE NOTES. studies and as direcgroup friendship, and tor of the Intergroup Relations Program social change. Findings from these studthat recently developed into an academies appeared in the Journal of Diversity in ic minor, making Skidmore the first colHigher Education and Equity and Excellence lege in the nation to offer an IGR minor. in Education. Raised in Ohio and educated at In a Symbolic Interaction article, Ford Amherst College and the University of looked at how black male students, Michigan, Ford knows firsthand what it’s through work and relationship choices, like to encounter—and overcome—stigproject a “fake masculinity,” built matizing presumptions such as that black on notions of how a black male is academics are not as prepared intellectu“supposed” to look and act, or a ally as their white counterparts or that a “real man” identity, reflecting political agenda is always embedded in a values like responsibility. She course taught by faculty of color. says, “Slavery remains a funSeeking what she calls “core narradamental historical marker in tives” that emerge in face-to-face interunderstanding how stereotypiviews, she has probed questions like how cal images of black men have white students perceive and interact been created and maintained with female faculty members of color, in from the past to the present.” a study in the Journal of Higher Education. She cites the “happy-go-lucky She found that women of color at one black Sambo” image that university often restrict their dress, lanhelped support white domiguage, or gestures to establish boundnation. Then the strong aries with students. She also heard that “angry black man” image white students sometimes treated them emerged from the civil rights inappropriately; one reported having a and black power movements; paper thrown at her. Also reported was however, even that commandwhite students’ overt surprise at the eruing presence is often overshaddition of female professors of color. owed by media characterizaShe has also researched how white tions of black men as thugs, she students define and act on their own notes. Since pervasive stereoperceived race roles, and how frank types also affect self-image, she inter- and intragroup conversation can hopes “this research gives voice to help them gain new understandings of black men struggling to challenge

inaccurate cultural constructions of black masculinity.” Ford loves the small, liberal arts college environment but admits she’s sometimes exhausted by the demands on her to represent faculty of color on a slew of campus committees. “There just aren’t enough of us. That’s a problem to solve. Skidmore is going in the right direction, though, increasing the number of students and faculty of color and expanding the opportunities to candidly examine and improve race relations.” “The goal,” she says, “is not to make everyone ‘the same.’ The goal is social justice.” —Helen S. Edelman ’74


Improving race relationships





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Baseball. Skidmore won four straight elimination games to take the Liberty League title and earn a trip to the NCAA Division III championships, thanks to slugging and RBI leaders like Erik Watkins ’14 (at left). The squad’s season record was 30-17. Golf. The team qualified for a 26th straight NCAA national tournament, where they finished 20th, back by 13 strokes. Riding. The equestrians, unbeaten in the regular season, finished second behind St. Lawrence at the IHSA nationals, where Julia Mazzarella ’13 won the team Intermediate Over Fences and Kayla Kleinman ’14 won the individual WalkTrot. Kelly Campbell ’12 took second in the USEF/Cacchione Cup featuring the nation’s top riders. Tennis. The women beat Vassar to win their second straight Liberty League tournament. They advanced to the NCAA regional final by beating Simmons and College of New Jersey, and then lost to Amherst. All-Americans Lee Ford ’14 and Nataly Mendoza ’13 qualified for the NCAA doubles tournament. The men also beat Vassar to win the Liberty title, their program’s ninth. In the second round of the NCAA tournament, they lost to Trinity College of Texas. Oliver Loutsenko ’14 qualified for the NCAA singles tournament. Lacrosse. The men fought injuries to finish the season at 5-10. The women finished 9-7, just missing a berth in the Liberty tournament. Ali Evans ’12 was selected for the IWLCA North/ South Senior All-Star game. Softball. The squad went 13-24. Batting .409, Julia Schwartz ’13 made the Liberty first team. Crew. The women’s varsity four finished second in the New York State Championships after winning the Liberty League title. The men’s varsity eight was fourth in the Liberty League. Olivia McQuade ’13 and Brian Geraghty ’14 earned ECAC All-Conference honors. THOROUGHBRED NEWS: Get full results and schedules for all teams at


OCTOBER 19–21 President’s Hour Minicollege Presentations Exhibitions at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery Thoroughbred Athletic Contests Under the Big Top with talented student performers

Registration and schedules:,, or 518-580-5670 Lodging and dining information: or 518-584-3255

In the

pink Skidmore’s pre-med and other health studies are thriving, popular, and on the grow BY SUSAN ROSENBERG

UNDER A TENT on barren dirt, a doctor in a ball cap and exam gloves looks over a young boy while his brother and mother wait their turn. They need medications for parasites they’ve picked up from the local water. Also the mom gets gynecological screenings and the kids get lessons in tooth-brushing. College students help set up, handle intakes, and observe operations at these mobile clinics for needy communities in the steep, rocky outskirts of Lima, Peru. That was last year’s spring break for 10 Skidmore students on a medical mission with the nonprofit Med Life. With the prospect of trips like that, no wonder Skidmore’s Pre-Med Club is growing. More than that, though, the rising popularity of health sciences is fueling such opportunities for more and more students. The 2012 Peru trip followed up on a 2011 mission to Honduras. Pre-Med Club activities have also included alumni panels and networking (a very popular event with career-minded students), guest speakers, and other visits. For this year’s copresident Julie Ochs ’14, shadowing clinicians in Peru “gave us not only the opportunity to learn about health care in another country but also a unique experience to see firsthand the importance and results of what we’re studying.” While the student club is just a few years old, Skidmore’s faculty-based Health Professions Advisory Committee has


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been at work since the 1960s. Chemistry emeriti Paul Walter and Eleanor Samworth were early chairs, and biologist Bernie Possidente has chaired it for the past 15 years. The charter purpose of college HPACs was to give institutional imprimaturs to students’ applications at medical schools. Skidmore’s HPAC has enlarged its purview to advising a wide range of students on everything from course choices to life goals, facilitating internships and job shadowing, and supporting applications to medical, dental, nursing, and other graduate programs, including veterinary. “When I started,” Possidente says, “the natural sciences at Skidmore were relatively small and just starting to grow.” In recent years, Skidmore has boosted its recruitment and admission of science-minded students while also improving facilities and expanding academic programs in the natural sciences. At the same time, more science students across the

want a science education but in a liberal arts college.” country are turning to health sciences in particular. After its venerable nursing program closed in the 1980s, Skidmore had a relatively small cohort of students preparing for health ES professor Pat Fehling, the new HPAC chair as of this professions—until the past few years, when its percentage of year, foresees only more variety and cross-pollination in pre-health students has pretty much matched its peer colpre-health studies, including and beyond medical and dental. leges, according to Possidente. “We always want to help our students see the full spectrum In view of its longtime strength in the arts, humanities, of postgraduate opportunities,” she says. Along with becomand social sciences, Skidmore “did need to balance its portfoing physical therapists, her students are increasingly drawn lio,” says Ray Giguere, chair of the chemistry department. to careers as physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and One step was the 1998 establishment of the Porter Scholardoctors. Another fast-growing field is public health. Fehling ships in Science and Mathematics, competitively awarded to says HES offers some courses in it and is partnering with Skidfive freshmen each year. Another program, funded by a 2007 more’s health promotion director in student life, Jen McDonNational Science Foundation grant, supports the Skidmore ald, who has a Harvard PhD in public health. Currently McScholars in Science and Mathematics program, providing fiDonald is advising three students doing self-determined manancial aid and mentoring to some 30 students from populajors in public health. tions traditionally underrepresented in the natural sciences. Fehling says, “Advising is one of my favorite parts of my Funding for faculty laboratory work is up, and so are foundajob, so I love being involved in HPAC.” To start, HPAC advition and individual gifts that let students skip a summer job sors welcome all comers, supporting students right through and still earn money working in close research collaborations to a med-school application if that’s what they choose. First, with faculty, many of them in health-related lab sciences. advisors help them decide if health care is really where they Possidente watched a yearly average of 35 interested freshwant to build a career. Fehling likes to ask “what they have men and 10 senior med-school applicants around the 1990s in mind for their quality of life and their home life—that rise steadily to more like 100 and 30 can help them choose between, say, “TODAY’S COLLEGE STUDENTS, by 2005. “That’s more growth than preparing for med school or aiming EVEN MORE THAN IN MY DAY IN THE ’60S, toward physician’s assistant training.” we’ve seen in science majors in genARE IDEALISTIC, UNSELFISH, AND EAGER To tease out each student’s talents and eral,” he observes, and it hasn’t TO WORK IN THE HELPING PROFESSIONS. tolerances, HPAC works to find inslowed. He attributes the explosion THEY’RE PURSUING MEDICINE FOR partly to idealism. Today’s college ternships, summer jobs, or watch-andALL THE RIGHT REASONS.” students, “more even than in my day learn experiences in clinics, offices, or in the ’60s,” he says, “are unselfish, humanistic, and eager to hospitals. Those high-intensity immersions often clarify a work in the helping professions. They’re pursuing medicine participant’s ambitions, so that HPAC advisors can then recfor all the right reasons.” ommend which courses to take and information to master. Another driver is the growing variety in health professions The Pre-Med Club is another resource: Leela Chandrasekar and in Skidmore’s offerings. The exercise science department, ’12, club president last year, “loved speaking with students now called health and exercise sciences, is booming; psycholabout their interests. It was very satisfying to be a catalyst ogy is still popular; and the new neuroscience program is that helped them pursue their interests and get involved in growing. Indeed HPAC advises (and the Pre-Med Club’s memthe local health community.” The club’s peer mentoring and bers include) not just majors in biology and chemistry but camaraderie, says Possidente, helps “keep students going also HES, psych, math, “even history and music and Engthrough the hard work and sustains their motivation for a lish,” Possidente says. About 20 percent of pre-med students career in the health sciences.” major outside the natural sciences, which, he says, “reflects Working with HPAC from inside the health and exercise the fact that the sciences, and health care, are becoming sciences department is internship coordinator Karen Arciero. more interdisciplinary.” As a physical therapist in Saratoga before joining the SkidThat’s a pivotal notion in Skidmore’s strategic plan for the more faculty, “I have a good network of health practitioners natural sciences. As President Philip Glotzbach has written, I can call on in almost any field,” she says. An internship can “Solutions to many contemporary problems reside at the inbe formulated to carry one or two or three credits, depending tersections of traditional scientific disciplines—at the confluon its hours and intensity. HES majors have always done ocence of biology and chemistry, computer science and biology, cupational and physical therapy internships, but Arciero has biology and psychology…” His vision calls for all Skidmore also set up students in everything from orthodontics to nutristudents “to understand the processes of scientific discovery tion, from Pilates to performance training for the Adirondack and the central role of creative thought in those processes.” Phantoms minor-league hockey team. She’s served plenty of It seems the word is getting out: Possidente says, “We used non-HES majors too: “Often it’s students who take my anatoto attract students who wanted a liberal arts education and my course, so I’ve placed art majors, bio and chem majors, maybe would pursue science; now we get kids who expressly even American studies and English majors.” g


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Along with eclectic, individualized internships, Arciero oversion interviews, on which med schools rely heavily. “I think sees two larger programs, in nursing and medicine, at Saratoga Skidmore has a healthy social and cocurricular life that builds Hospital. (She’s also a liaison for Skidmore’s new articulation our students’ social skills. We educate kids, plus we foster their with New York University’s nursing school, spearheaded by its development into well-rounded people and community memformer dean Terry Thomas Fulmer ’76. bers.” He says medical schools “do recEVEN THOUGH SKIDMORE’S NUMBER OF The first two students in that program ognize that broadly educated students PRE-MED APPLICANTS HAS MORE THAN earned their NYU nursing degrees this make better doctors, with better clinical DOUBLED, THEIR ACCEPTANCE RATE IS skills such as dealing with patients and past spring, so “it’s getting rolling niceHOLDING STRONG AT 75 PERCENT, WELL colleagues.” Even though Skidmore’s ly,” Arciero says.) Each spring up to 12 ABOVE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. students do six one-week rotations with number of pre-med applicants has more nurses in various departments of Saratoga Hospital. At 45 hours, than doubled, their acceptance rate is holding strong at 75 perthe internships are worth one credit. The medical internship, cent, well above the national average. totaling 90 hours for two credits, is offered each fall to three Pure academic horsepower also fuels the success of Skidmore outstanding students. Orthopedist Bill O’Connor facilitates physicians: they complete joint MD/PhD programs at more three four-week rotations, each beginning with lectures by one than twice the national rate. “These are the people who will or two participating physicians, whom the students then shadrun scientific foundations, make research grants—they’re the ow closely in their specialty work in orthopedics, general surones who’ll lead the field of medical research,” Possidente says. gery, urology, nephrology, and cardiology. All the while, they’re But two new wrinkles will crop up in 2015. That’s when the enrolled in a one-credit independent study in medical patholoMCAT will start covering more social sciences and humanities. gy with Arciero. At the same time, instead of a standard course list, medical col“I can tell stories from my health-care career,” she notes, leges will specify each year the 300 or so “competencies” “but the hospital experiences are firsthand. Our students don’t they’ll seek in their candidates for admission. “With both these just observe surgery by standing against the wall like other visihistoric changes,” Possidente says, “pre-med students and advitors; they get to scrub in and sors can shape courses of stand shoulder to shoulder with study more creatively and the surgical team at the operatflexibly.” Still, Ray Giguere ing table.” She says she loves in chemistry counsels cau1990s Skidmore freshmen interested in pre-health each year: 30–45 hearing the excitement (or tion. He says, “We know 1990s Skidmore seniors applying to med school each year: 10 reading it in middle-of-thewhat works in preparing our Medical schools in the US: 135 night e-mails) when students students to succeed in medApplicants to US med schools each year: 43,000+ recount “holding a one-hourschool applications. I think old baby in their arms, or helpwe should keep a strong, 2010s Skidmore freshmen interested in pre-health each year: 70–120 ing to summon the emergency solid base of natural-science 2010s Skidmore seniors applying to med school each year: 30 team and watching them save a knowledge—surely that Med schools that Skidmore students typically apply to: 15–20 patient’s life.” Sponsoring won’t hurt anybody’s record Med school acceptances they typically receive: 1–3 physician O’Connor enjoys or admissibility.” He worries passing along his craft, plus, he that the MCAT’s demand for US applicants admitted to one or more med schools: 44% says, working with “young, inwider knowledge might Skidmore applicants admitted to one or more med schools: 75% quisitive minds sharpens my leave pre-med students less Proportion of MDs earned by grads of liberal arts colleges: 30–40% game.” Recalling his early untime for arts or other elecProportion of all undergrads who attend liberal arts colleges: 5–10% certainty about the right career tives. But he hopes SkidUS medical students nationwide who earn a joint MD/PhD: 3% niche for him, he hopes the inmore’s “emphasis on interternships help clarify students’ disciplinary liberal educaMedical students from Skidmore who earn a joint MD/PhD: 10–15% decisions, “whether positively tion, which already requires or negatively,” about the career they truly want. plenty of breadth, will mean that our students will have those non-life-science competencies well covered.” That breadth is at hanks in part to such real-life experiences, Skidmore’s medthe heart of the Skidmore strategic plan’s third goal: to “achieve school applicants have done remarkably well. Possidente a unique integration of the sciences with the arts, humanities, has records showing that those with grade-point averages and and social sciences.” Certainly Possidente sees that upside to Medical College Admissions Test scores a bit below the nationthe MCAT revisions, positing, “Now medical school is even al average for admission (3.65 and 31) have enjoyed a 100 permore of a perfect fit for liberal arts students.” cent acceptance rate over 10 years. Of course, even those with Fehling says nursing and PA programs still require or favor more stellar GPAs and MCATs face stiff competition. But Possiparticular courses, but “as the new HPAC chair, I’d like to meet dente believes Skidmore students’ interpersonal and self-presthis year with every department and program, to get updates entation skills help them outperform other finalists in admisabout which of their courses cover any of the crucial competen-



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PAT FEHLING, JULIE OCHS ’14, AND BERNIE POSSIDENTE—GUIDING LIGHTS FOR PRE-HEALTH STUDENTS cies for the MCAT as well as for other health programs.” At the same time, she agrees with Pat Hilleren, chair of the biology department, who says, “Do we want to teach to the test? No. We want our students to learn deeply and with intellectual integrity.” A fresh addition to HPAC is Shannon Rodriguez, hired into a new position in the Career Development Center to focus on preprofessional and grad study, including pre-health. As Possidente notes, one consequence of the sharp rise in the number of pre-health students is that HPAC’s doughty band of faculty volunteers just can’t keep up any more. Now with the CDC facilitating pre-health programs and assisting with applications, he says, “HPAC faculty can focus on academic planning. Stu-

dents will get even better support.” Fehling is already working with Rodriguez (“she’s terrific, and what a great move it was to create this new position!”) to discuss more internship possibilities, perhaps at Glens Falls Hospital as well as Saratoga. Possidente feels now is a good watershed moment to pass the HPAC chairmanship to new hands. And he’s delighted that Fehling is so well-positioned to broaden and update its dooropening services into the ever-widening and fast-changing world of health care. He says, “Everything is just about in place—CDC and HPAC, the student club, hands-on experiences, science facility upgrades becoming a key fundraising goal, and more and more great students coming through.”

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With the “Obamacare” refOrms starting to move ahead, questions are boiling about their implementation and impacts. Many critics say the current health care system is broken; some call it more of a “health scare system.” Statistics show the US spends twice as much on health care per capita as other developed nations but ranks lower in many measures of health and wellness. In a recent Physicians Foundation survey, 57 percent of young doctors say they’re pessimistic about US health care, citing especially its red tape and insurance costs.


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Meanwhile, as health care policies and finances wend tortuously through new rules, an ongoing rush of research could turn the legal evolution into a clinical revolution. The CEO of the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company recently told a national health and life-sciences conference, “Time and time again, medical innovation has reset the standard for what we can expect from the health care system and from human life.” He declared, “We are only at the beginning of what will be known as the biomedical century.”

Several Skidmore professors are doing fascinating work with potentially profound medical implications, so Scope asked six of them to share a prediction about America’s health care future.

therapies, in offices and clinics as well as through exercises that patients can do on their own on smartphones and computers.” He sees this trend as crucial in addressing pediatric obesity. “Being told to follow a new diet regimen isn’t enough. There are strong underlying reasons why people don’t stop certain behaviors. People negotiate and embrace change differently and need different psychological supports during the process. There’s interesting research trying to identify interventions that best match the stages of thinking that kids and their families go through in changing their eating habits.” He adds that insurance plans are seeing the value of covering psychological support in pediatric obesity, because the cost of covering lifelong adult obesity is far higher.

think a cancer Walk means fundraising? Think again. Chris Repka says walking, lifting weights, cycling, and other exercise should and will be a standard treatment in cancer care and rehabilitation. Certainly physical therapy helps patients regain strength and flexibility after surgery. But his research shows that aerobic, cardiovascular exercise after and even during chemotherapy and radiation is especially valuable as well. “Radiation and chemo kill cancer cells by causing them severe oxidative stress,” Repka says, “and exercise helps healthy cells recover from just that kind of damage.” Post-treatment anebig brOther cOuld save yOur life. From blood-pressure mia is a common problem, but exercise speeds the body’s genercuffs to EKGs, more and more equipment can send health data ation of red blood cells. Cancer survivors often talk of “chemo directly to a doctor’s computer or cell phone. This mobile ebrain—forgetfulness or fuzzy thinking that can linger for years medicine may be “the most exciting development in health afterward. We know that exercise stimulates not just blood flow care,” Denise Smith says. to the brain but actual neuronal development.” One common Consider chronic congestive heart disease. Blood pressure is and effective chemo drug is known to be so cardiotoxic that it crucial to manage, but it fluctuates frequently, so occasional can permanently weaken patients’ hearts. readings in a doctor’s office (where it com“time and time again, Repka’s lab rats show significantly reduced monly rises anyway) aren’t as informative medical innOvatiOn has heart damage when they do even a little bit as daily monitoring at home, to watch for reset the standard fOr trends and responses to medications. With of exercise before, during, or after being What We can expect frOm a wireless link, a home blood-pressure dosed with this drug. His conclusion: “Exthe health care system gauge can transmit readings directly to a ercise is a way of treating the treatment.” and frOm human life.” Just as patients used to be told to take it doctor’s office. easy after a heart attack but are now given exercise programs, In her research on cardiovascular stress in firefighters, Smith cancer patients may soon find exercise among their prescripsays, “we’ve helped develop a T-shirt with a sensor that monitors tions. “Cancer exercise is growing but is still years behind cardiac heart rate, breathing, and temperature,” she says. As the little rehab, in that it’s not part of the oncologist’s or surgeon’s or prigizmo transmits over Bluetooth wireless, “we integrate the data mary-care doctor’s standard protocol and it’s not covered by into get a good overview of how the firefighter is recovering after surance. But it should be,” Repka says. The American College of working.” Future firehouses could have baseline stats for each Sports Medicine just created an official “cancer exercise specialcrew member on file, and then during or after a fire the shirtist” certification. sensor data could be collated and compared to track each fireAs cancer treatments keep improving, more and more people fighter’s cool-down and return to normal heart rate. are living long-term with the aftereffects. “That’s a huge populaThe more telehealth can keep people out of hospitals, the tion that can benefit from cancer exercise rehab.” more health costs can drop. So Smith says, “Companies are investing heavily in these technologies, and health care reform Our “prOzac natiOn” is a failed state, according to will drive this even more.” She predicts it’ll happen fast: “Once “extensive research showing that psychotropic drugs like antideyou figure out and devise a system, it’s relatively easy to expand pressants are often no more effective than placebos,” says Andy it. For e-medicine, it’s just different sensors or diagnostics.” Molteni. Studies are reviving the reputation of “talk therapy” as She sees this as a “monumental change, because it’s not just more efficacious than mood-altering pills. Molteni also points to for one condition or injury. It can change our whole approach “alarming research about the dangers of such drugs for chilto doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, home care—it’s a new paradren.” (He cites the too-frequent practice, when attention-deficit digm for health care across the board.” meds don’t work, of “rediagnosing the kids and switching them onto antipsychotic drugs, which have serious long-term risks.”) What cOlOr is yOur bOdy fat? That question may be “an Reacting to the research, pharmaceutical companies aren’t important watershed for developing really novel therapies for investing as much in new depression and anxiety drugs lately, obesity,” predicts T. H. Reynolds. Using PET scans and then Molteni says. He adds that as more states pass mental-health biopsying the hot areas, Dana Farber Institute researchers have parity laws, more insurance companies will be required to cover found that adults retain some adipose tissue that resembles the psychological treatment costs as thoroughly as physical ones. He “brown fat” that babies have. Brown fat’s role is not to store enpredicts, “We’ll be returning to more behavioral and cognitive ergy, as regular white fat does; instead, it burns energy to gener-

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ate heat and keep the body warm. “What if we could increase the amount or thermogenic activity of a patient’s brown fat?” Reynolds asks. In theory, the patient would burn off much of the energy stored in white fat cells, so those fat cells would shrink and the person would lose weight. He also points to related research identifying one of the substances generated by muscle contractions as a hormonelike protein called irisin, which “can make white fat ‘browner’—that is, more metabolically active, more thermogenic.” Certainly exercising is healthy and burns calories, but Reynolds says muscle use produces a wide range of effects— often including increased appetite—that may balance or counteract the irisin release. Extracted irisin could turn out to be useful in, or as, a future anti-obesity medication. Yet another avenue is stem-cell therapy. Since brown fat cells begin as the same stem cells that produce muscles but then differentiate during embryonic development, Reynolds explains, “we could potentially figure out how to culture these stem cells to become brown fat cells and then inject them into a patient.” As with any really safe, really effective obesity treatment, of course, “the implications for health, and for health care costs, would be huge.” “care cOOrdinatiOn has gOt tO imprOve, and I’m optimistic that it will,” Crystal Moore declares. Specialists who don’t communicate with each other, family care-givers left out of the loop, factors that medical personnel don’t even know about— these are big issues in geriatrics especially. And geriatrics itself is big, because the number of US citizens over the age of 65, now at 40 million, will explode to 72 million by 2030, Moore reports. An office visit with an elderly patient typically takes longer and may involve fewer reimbursable procedures. If the geriatrician wants to talk with one or two of the patient’s specialists, that phone time isn’t billable. At the same time, Moore cites studies showing that several key factors in older adults’ hospital readmission rates aren’t even medical—such as marital status, race, and income. This is where comprehensive care teams show real promise, she says. When care is planned and delivered by a group including, say, a visiting nurse, a social worker, a physical therapist, and a geriatrician, health and wellness improve and costs de-


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cline. Her research finds that elderly patients at Veterans Administration clinics using such coordinated care strategies do not have different readmission rates according to race or class; the integrated approach is more equitable, and communications are better with the VA’s “incredibly good electronic medical-records system.” When a team gets pay incentives for good outcomes rather than reimbursements for each test or procedure, she adds, everybody wins. Moore says, “America is finally waking up to the fact that health care is a scarce resource. And the baby boomers who will be its main consumers tend to have high expectations and demands. Today’s fragmented fee-forservice health care marketplace won’t be sustainable much longer.” hOme pregnancy tests are sO yesterday. Coming soon are far smaller kits for far more complex biomedical testing; in fact, such lab-on-a-chip technology is already in use. Kim Frederick and her peers around the world have been developing plastic chips, smaller than credit cards, and etching into them thinnerthan-hair channels and tiny wells to hold droplets of blood, urine, or other liquid. The researchers are also optimizing concentration and filtering methods and fine-tuning ways of stimulating the fluids to flow through the etched capillaries into the testing stations laid out on each chip. In disaster zones or other unequipped locations, as well as in kitchens and bathrooms, a wide array of tests—say, for air- or food-borne toxins or for any number of medical conditions—are now and will be increasingly doable on chips. One application of this technology is for diagnosing malaria: instead of a microscopist peering at a blood smear on a slide to look for malaria parasites after the patient is already dangerously sick, Frederick says, a chip device can quickly identify d-lactate, which is produced by the parasites and is detectable very early in the infection. Frederick’s own lab is working on food-allergy screening. “Life-threatening food allergies have increased dramatically in recent years,” she says, and “unfortunately, the best tests still involve taking multiple vials of blood from a screaming child.” But soon multiple allergy screenings could be done with just one drop of blood in a little plastic chip. Analytical chemistry labs like Frederick’s are working on improvements (some are even trying waxed paper instead of plastic for affordability) that could revolutionize medical testing and enhance health care both here and abroad.


RISKS AND REWARDS Her patients are pregnant, but there’s a concern: they may be silent carriers of cystic fibrosis or sickle-cell disease, or they’ve had an abnormal screening for Down syndrome or spina bifida, or they’re simply 35 or older. Amniocentesis could tell them more, but it carries a small risk of miscarriage. For them and genetic counselor Stephanie Brubaker Cape ’96, a new, noninvasive test is good news. Researchers in her field “have found a way to isolate fetal DNA in the mother’s bloodstream, so they can test it for chromosome abnormalities,” Cape explains. “It doesn’t pose any risk to mother or baby; it’s just a blood draw.” A biology major at Skidmore, Cape


HUNDREDS OF SKIDMORE ALUMNI work in health care, spanning just about every specialty and angle from traditional to cutting-edge. There are top cancer and allergy researchers, midwives, chiropractors and acupuncturists, nurses of every kind, scientists at pharmaceutical and healthinsurance firms, autism experts, home-care agency CEOs, epidemiologists. . . Below, a few glimpses into the real world of health-care work.



says, “I knew I didn’t want to just do bench work; I wanted to work with people.” The burgeoning field of genetic counseling allowed her to do both. She earned an MS at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and became Toledo Hospital’s very first counselor in maternal fetal medicine. Cape emphasizes frank conversation. If patients are anxious, she says, “the best thing to do is get it all out on the table.” She talks through the options they can pursue, such as amniocentesis and ultrasound. Immediately after giving bad news (which “never gets easier”), she stays quiet and waits. Once the patients have a chance to take it in and talk to family members, they return for a fuller dis-

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cussion, and that’s where Cape can provide solid information, and often counter the worst-case scenarios the patients have found on the Internet. A small percentage of patients may decide to terminate the pregnancy, but most embrace the situation with a determination to help their children live to their fullest potential. Those with a poor prognosis can work with a palliative care team that Cape serves on, in order to make a birth plan—do they want to hold the baby? do they want any intervention for it?—so everything’s in place at the delivery. “It’s really hard for them,” she says, “but I think this helps a lot.” One thing Cape will not give is advice on what the expectant parents should do. “My opinion is never important,” she says. Of course, they do ask. But she replies, “I’m not you. I want you to have all the information so you can make the best decision for you and your family.” And most of the time, even when patients are considered high-risk, there’s no problem with the baby. “It’s what we try to reassure patients: most babies are born healthy,” she says. —KG


YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT A licensed, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, Jean Strathearn-Daniello ’76 has her finger on the pulse of American wellness. And it’s pretty thready. Starting her career in the USDA’s Women, Infants, and Children program in Maryland, she has also worked with aging populations, in group homes for people with disabilities, and at the Joslin Diabetes Center. Today she serves a broad spectrum of outpatients at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster, Md. She first studied diabetes because she enNUTRITIONIST JEAN STRATHEARN-DANIELLO ’76 countered more SAYS TOO MANY AMERICANS ARE SIMULTANEpatients suffering OUSLY OBESE AND MALNOURISHED. from it—even before type 2 diabetes became quite the epidemic it is now—and saw an opportunity to help them through dietary reform. She views the explosive growth of the disease as a logical outcome of a larger sociopolitical situation. She says, “The big agribusinesses are subsidized to grow crops such as corn, soy, and


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wheat,” much of them used in making high-fructose corn syrup, processed foods, and carbohydrate-heavy snacks. It’s not just that the government is underwriting the production of unhealthy food. The subsidies, she adds, also make it less profitable to grow produce in the US. “We import a lot of our ‘healthy’ foods such as fruits and vegetables from Latin America.” She argues that the American industrialization of food is strictly about profit, not health. Every taxpayer subsidizes high-fructose syrup production on the front end, then pays for spiraling health-care costs on the back end. With that kind of agricultural economy, “for the past 30 years our diet has been going in the wrong direction,” she says. Strathearn-Daniello recalls a poignant moment when she was working with preschool children who weren’t participating in the National School Lunch Program. “It wasn’t uncommon to see kids bringing in a lunch that consisted solely of a pouch of Doritos chips (basically carbs, sodium, and preservatives) and a juice box (full of high-fructose corn syrup).” Particularly heartbreaking is the preponderance of severe obesity in the lower income strata, she says. She calls it a “malnourished obesity”—brought on not just by overconsumption, but more specifically by overconsumption of empty calories from junk food and soda-pop. “There’s such an imbalance between nutritive and non-nutritive foods available in certain neighborhoods, which makes it hard for those residents to find or select healthy food.” She says that, as a society, and particularly in poorer or less educated communities, we need to educate people about healthy eating: “real fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein.” While the scales are still tipping ominously, StrathearnDaniello has been particularly pleased with First Lady Michelle Obama’s crusade to combat childhood obesity. She was also surprised and delighted that New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on “super-sized” sodas. And she does have patients who have taken ownership of their diets and are now making healthy choices. From her perspective, “Diet isn’t a cure-all, but eating poorly is a sure way to get sick.” —Jon Wurtmann ’78

BODYWORKER Carl Rabke ’94 got a painful wake-up call in college. A herniated disk in his spine—from years of lacrosse and basketball, and from too much sitting—was so severe that he had to write his thesis while lying on his stomach. Shortly after graduation he opted for surgery. It relieved the pain, but Rabke says he realized, “I had to change my relationship with my body, or I’d be back in the same situation.” In Utah he began practicing tai chi and yoga and studied with a Tibetan Buddhist who focused on “embodiment.” The more Rabke learned, the more he saw how disconnected he was from his body’s “wisdom and intelligence.” He enrolled in massage school, then studied Structural Integration (also called Rolfing, created by American biochemist Ida Rolf) and the Feldenkrais Method (developed by Russian-born Israeli physi-



cist Moshe Feldenkrais). Rabke says “Then, since I loved to cook, I went the many benefits of Feldenkrais, to culinary school, which opened a which uses body awareness to imnew world,” she says. With that trainprove one’s mobility and promote ing, she became a pastry chef in San well-being, include increased vitality, Francisco before launching a catering greater balance and coordination, easand event-planning business in Newier breathing, freer hip joints, and betport Beach, Calif. “I loved ‘throwing ter sleep. People of any age or physical parties,’” she recalls, but she soon deability can benefit from the method, cided to combine food with nursing. according to the Feldenkrais Guild of She returned to New York City and North America—including those with became a registered dietitian, then “chronic or acute pain of the back, earned a master’s in nutrition. As part neck, shoulder, hip, leg, or knee.” of the master’s program, she complet“Learning to be in your body is the ed a clinical internship at New York greatest gift you can offer yourself,” University Medical Center—exactly Rabke says. “We all sit too much, have where she had studied as a Skidmore most of our attention in our heads or student. “Talk about déjà vu,” she on the screens in front of us, and miss muses. out on a huge part of our experience Underwood practiced as a nutrithat can come from being present in tionist, and then more than a decade our bodies. What often prevents us ago she accepted an administrative from continuously improving and rejob with the New York City-based CARL RABKE ’94 OFFERS STRUCTURAL THERAPIES VNSNY Choice health plan, where she fining what we do is our network of FOR GAINING HEALTH AND LOSING PAIN. habits”—which we may not even be is associate director of quality manaware of. agement. The plan is a subsidiary of Visiting Nurse Service of Rabke, a licensed massage therapist and somatic educator, New York, the largest nonprofit home-care agency in the Unithas been practicing Feldenkrais since 2005. He offers hands-on ed States. Serving people on Medicare and those with special sessions for individuals and also teaches group classes. His needs under long-term and at-home care, Underwood develclients range in age from toddlers to seniors. Often the people ops methods and criteria for evaluating the quality of the care who come to him are in distress, and he delights in seeing and of care-management services and oversees compliance them find relief and experience greater ease in their bodies. with regulations. Among his success stories are two clients with debilitating back Underwood predicts that the need for high-quality home pain who were told their condition was untreatable and they services, especially long-term care, will continue to burgeon as should simply look to pain management. Within two months more aging, ill, or disabled people—who may require personal of coming to him, Rabke says, “one was able to bike pain-free care, medication across Iowa, and the other was able to play cello in the Utah management, Symphony for the first time in years without pain.” physical therapy, While therapies such as Feldenkrais are considered “alternaand other servictive” by mainstream medicine, Rabke believes bodywork is es both medical gaining wider credibility. “There is a good deal of ‘woo-woo’ and social— stuff out there,” he acknowledges, but he appreciates that Rolf choose to live in and Feldenkrais “were both hard-core scientists and made sure the community their findings could hold up to empirical scrutiny from their rather than an peers.” Rabke’s Web site is —MTS institution. Case in point: Underwood’s current NURSE OF ALL TRADES roommate is her Susan Gross Underwood ’69 has never let a road go untraveled. recently retired She was “restless, but practical,” she says, when she was drawn 91-year-old to Skidmore’s nursing program, which featured two years of mother. Medicaid clinical training at a medical center in New York City. She foreredesign should saw as bonuses of the degree both professional opportunity expand longand freedom of movement. Sure enough, after graduation Unterm care services SUSAN GROSS UNDERWOOD ’69 SEES TO THE QUALITY OF CARE PROVIDED BY THE NATION’S derwood worked in Honolulu and on a Navajo Indian reservaaffordably, she LARGEST VISITING-NURSE SERVICE. tion, and earned an MSN in psychiatric nursing. argues, because

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REHAB FOR THE WHOLE PERSON “Surgery just wasn’t for me,” Rob Skerker ’82 recalls. “The training is very competitive and intense, and the relationship with each patient is so short.” Still, he liked orthopedics, so he gravitated to rehabilitation medicine. After completing med school at UMass and several ROB SKERKER ’82 ENJOYS THE LONG-TERM years of internRELATIONSHIPS HE BUILDS WITH PATIENTS ship, residency, NEEDING COMPLEX REHAB. and fellowship training, he’s an expert in physical and sports medicine, rehab, and wound care. His practice ranges from younger patients, often accident victims, who need rehab in conjunction with orthopedic surgery or prosthetic fittings, to older patients recovering from strokes, falls, or joint replacements. While simple cases may require just outpatient physical therapy, he’s brought in for more complex cases. He works with a team of doctors, nurses, and therapists to address everything a patient might need for rehab—say, diabetes or heart meds, antibiotics for a wound infection, speech and occupational therapy, and prosthetics training. From intake to discharge planning, he says, “I work closely with colleagues on each case to coordinate care, and that collaboration is very gratifying.” Likewise, he enjoys working with patients for weeks or even months, developing a relationship with them and their families, “and often watching them make remarkable recoveries,” he says. “It’s pretty cool to see somebody who was badly injured eventually walk again.” On the down side, Skerker says, “We’re seeing patients in rehab who used to be kept in hospitals—they’re on oxygen or they’ve got infections or unhealed wounds—but for insurance


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and cost reasons they’re already out of the hospital.” As small hospitals lose money and large health systems keep growing, cost cutting becomes a stronger drive than ever. At this rate, he laments, “hospitals are going to become nothing but intensivecare units.” (His employer is Atlantic Health, which has several hospitals and centers in metropolitan New Jersey.) Along with getting more bureaucratic, medicine is becoming so high-tech, he says, that he sees the caring, personal touch disappearing. With financial and technology imperatives making health care “so fast-paced, I always advise my patients to have their loved ones on scene and involved as their advocates.” His advice on health care careers? “You’d be crazy to become a physician; be a nurse instead.” He says med school is so expensive that only those entering very lucrative specialties can pay off their debts in reasonable time (“I was naive and just focused on the learning; I didn’t realize I was choosing one of the lower-paying fields”), years of postdoc training delay the start of one’s practice, and then “you become pigeonholed in your field.” But nurses have flexibility: “you’ll always have a job, and you can choose to be a practitioner or an administrator, in a huge range of fields and settings.” He adds that “nurses are great people, and actually have enormous influence on patient care and outcomes.” He says he was pleased to win a state award for wound care recently, but even more pleased that “I was nominated by my nurses.” —SR

SAFE SEX IN THE CITY Our nation’s capital may have the highest HIV rate in the country, but that doesn’t deter Mariel Cedeño Edge ’02 from tackling the issue head-on. As a public health analyst at the D.C. Department of Health’s HIV/ AIDS, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Administration, she runs the city’s condom-distribution program. Her work involves everything from purchasing condoms in bulk to providing sexual health education to high school students and doing communi- IN PUBLIC HEALTH, MARIEL CEDEÑO EDGE ’02 ty outreach. TAILORS HER APPROACH FOR THE POPULATIONS SHE SERVES. Washington, LISA HELFERT

these days “many of us outlive our money” and will become Medicaid clients. A larger issue at the root of health care, she believes, is individual responsibility. “How do we motivate people to take care of themselves, so they don’t burden the health care system with diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions associated with obesity and unhealthier lifestyle choices? I’m not real optimistic here.” —Helen S. Edelman ’74


D.C., is one of just two US cities to HEALING ARTS have a government condom-distribuElspeth Seddig ’94 first came to Skidtion program. “I consider it a success more to study art. Her deep examinastory,” Edge says. “We’ve launched an tions of woodcut prints depicting award-winning social marketing camhealers and witches in medieval Eupaign, a female condom initiative, and rope led to a fascination with curative a program for youths in all public powers. As she continued her work in schools.” In the five years since its inand out of the art studio, she also ception, the effort went from dispenslearned, through imagery and text, ing 500,000 condoms annually to about the healing traditions “beyond nearly 5 million. conventional medicine,” she recalls. When Edge graduated from Skid“And I began to wonder. . .” more, she worked as a paralegal at the Later, teaching art in San Miguel Legal Aid Society in New York City bede Allende, Mexico, Seddig visited fore switching gears and entering grad with a group of midwives, doctors, school for Africana studies at SUNYhealers, medical students, and homeAlbany. During a summer in Ghana opaths from around the world who’d and Ethiopia, she was struck by the gathered there to study and lend a overwhelming effects of HIV/AIDS hand in local clinics. After sharing a there and decided to pursue a career few thought-provoking dinners with in public health. them, she knew she had found her Back in the States, she worked as a true calling: “to make the world a client advocate for the San Francisco NATUROPATH ELSPETH SEDDIG ’94 DIAGNOSES AND better place through healing.” TREATS HEALTH PROBLEMS THAT CONVENTIONAL AIDS Foundation, serving a largely With her recently earned doctorate black and Latino population. She says MEDICINE OFTEN OVERLOOKS. of naturopathic medicine from the many issues within the poor and minority communities there National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore., Seddig mirrored those she encountered at the Legal Aid Society. She now practices in San Francisco, together with an acupuncturist was frustrated by “inadequate public health structures and reand Chinese herbalist and a psychiatrist. Conventional westsponses for establishing sustainable solutions.” In D.C., where ern medicine, Seddig notes, “is phenomenal for acute and she recently earned a master’s in public health from George emergency care. Every day it saves people’s lives. However, Washington University, Edge says she enjoys the satisfaction of when patients don’t feel well and standard diagnostic proce“making a difference for the people of the city that I live in dures show they are ‘healthy,’ a doctor of naturopathy can and that I love, by promoting safe sex and sexual health.” often find non-life-threatening issues like food allergies or One public health issue she’d like to make disappear: “ungut inflammation.” equal access to quality health care.” She says, “Everyone plays Her training does not involve surgery or trauma medicine, a part in addressing public health issues, from medical practibut focuses on primary and chronic problems such as respirationers and mental-health providers to lawmakers and individtory infections, sleep or digestive issues, and hormonal imbalual citizens. We all have an important role in making sure we ances. She begins with a comprehensive intake that pays close have access to the best possible health care system.” She adds attention to life circumstances and subtle factors—from stress that she is “very excited” about this summer’s Supreme Court and diet to family history and environmental exposures—that decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. might contribute to health problems. She also assesses sympHer vision for the future of public health? Tailoring services toms that could point to chemicals or toxins in the environto the clients is crucial, so she’d like to see “sustainable comment that have begun to bio-accumulate in the patient. Treatmunity clinics that provide education on preventive initiatives ments offered at her office (which she describes as “harmonious as well as mental and physical treatment for specific populaspace”) include medication management, detoxification, vitations.” She wants to use her training to “implement programs mins, mindfulness meditation, diet modification, and lifestyle that approach issues with lasting, comprehensive solutions changes, usually with pharmaceuticals only as a last resort. based on both health and social considerations.” She advocates As deeply as she once examined medieval art, the doctor a public-private mix “where medical providers work with comnow investigates root causes that may be leading to disturbmunity and faith-based organizations, welfare agencies, and ing symptoms. The approach, she explains, is designed to the businesses around them to nurture stability and empower“optimize health and use preventive measures” that empower ment in at-risk communities—and help families feel a sense of patients to influence and improve their own well-being. “It’s worth for themselves.” —MTS a paradigm of wellness versus ‘dis-ease,’ and I believe it is the wave of the future.” —Helen S. Edelman ’74

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Whether you’re interested in a sustainable source of life income or sustainability initiatives at Skidmore College,

consider a charitable gift annuity.

The student-run garden supplies the dining hall with fresh vegetables. It’s just one of the many student activities supporting sustainability and the environment at Skidmore.

Charitable gift annuities are the most popular form of life-income arrangement at Skidmore. In exchange for your gift—which can be designated to support student programs, such as sustainability initiatives—the College provides you with a guaranteed fixed income for life. (Payout rates are based upon age.) AGE


80 75 70 65

6.8% 5.8% 5.1% 4.7%

Learn more about charitable gift annuities and other gift-planning options at or by calling 518-580-5655. GIFT pLAnnInG FoR SkIDMoRe

Always a Reunion highlight, the alumni awards ceremony this year honored 10 remarkable graduates. (A video and clickable profiles are at Distinguished Achievement Award winner Scott Kennedy ’87 majored in theater and also studied film with English professor Bob Boyers. Working his way up in corporate and commercial films, Kennedy directed his first documentary about an inner-city school mounting a theater production. The film won several major awards and led him to The Garden, about needy immigrants fighting to preserve their community garden from developers. Among its many honors was being short-listed for an Oscar. In his new Fame High, he hopes “to capture the same depth in the soul of the characters.” The Creative Thought Matters Award went to Jane Baldwin Henzerling ’97. A Spanish major, she saw during graduate school how lucky she was to have had such a good education, so she devoted herself to helping youngsters get a strong academic start. She was a bilingual schoolteacher, led Teach for America in the Phoenix and Miami areas, and won a grant to create a charter school in San Francisco. With awards and other support, she opened her Mission Preparatory School in 2011. She says creativity is critical to her ability to “forge a vision, work through obstacles, and figure out new strategies” to help children in need. The Palamountain Award for Young Alumni Achievement went to foreign-service officer Kareen Thorpe ’02. After graduating with a self-determined major in linguistics, she taught English in China and won a fellowship to earn a master’s in international affairs. She has worked in Nairobi with the US Ambassador to Kenya and also served in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Luxembourg. She is now a key State Department

resource, in the Africa Bureau, specializing helped organize a huge turnout for their in economic, health, and human rights 50th reunion. issues. She says she loves serving her Tax manager Chris Wilsey Goodwin country, and the job “keep me guessing, ’67, P ’96, has chaired the FOP Commitkeeps me on my toes.” tee and taken part in regional Skidmore The Porter Award for Young Alumni Service honors the volunteerism of busy litigator Kate Nedelman Herbst ’02. Three-year president of Skidmore’s Boston club, she’s also been class secretary, FOP chair, and reunion co-chair. Since 2010 she’s been VP of the alumni board of directors. She says Skidmore “gave me a lot and I enjoy giving PRESIDENT PHIL GLOTZBACH SHARES A THOUGHT WITH THE back.” AUDIENCE AND AWARDEES. 50th Reunion Service Award winner Mollie Klee Heron events including a “town hall” meeting ’62 has a long record of service to Skidand enjoyed a “fabulous” alumni trip to more, including work for the Wide Horithe Amazon. A longtime class fund cozons Campaign and National FOP Comchair, she helped raised funds for her mittee, plus roles as class secretary, presi40th reunion to create a five-year term dent, fund chair, and reunion chair. She professorship, held by Spanish professor led her classmates’ 45th-reunion effort to Paty Rubio, in the class’s name. fund a five-year professorship, filled by Nancy Brennan ’72 admits her Skidchemist Ray Giguere, in the class’s name. more involvement “spans a lifetime.” A Outstanding Service Awards went financial services professional, she served to five volunteers. Virginia Miller Lyon on Skidmore’s board of trustees in com’47 (whose mother and two sisters were mittees ranging from audit and advancealso alumnae) started attending reunions ment to academic affairs. She has also in the late 1990s and was hooked. She been a class agent, reunion fundraiser, has been class fund chair for 10 years, and class president as well as member of using creative cards and funny gimmicks the alumni board, FOP Committee, and to inspire more and more participation in Business Advisory Council. annual giving; last year the class boasted Education policy leader Amy O’Leary a whopping 81 percent. ’92 cites her “strong connection” to SkidJoan Firmery ’57 remembers how all more, whose faculty “encouraged me to students served at the dining hall in her think differently and take risks.” In reday and has honored the ideal of service turn, she has served as class president, ever since. She has been a class agent, agent, and reunion chair and as a regionpresident, and reunion volunteer, and al club leader and phonathon volunteer. also a member of the larger reunionAs an alumni board member, her roles giving advisory group and the alumni have included VP for involvement and board. She and fellow class officers reunion chair.

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kudos x 10





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Scenes from Reunion











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Reunion archaeology: “early man” at Skidmore


Coeducation began at Skidmore with just 33 male freshmen matriculating in 1972–73. The early and mid-1970s were both daunting and galvanizing for the pioneering coeds and for their college. This summer, in a Reunion Weekend symposium titled “Skidmore Admits Men! Panel Discussion from the Front Lines,” ’70s-era alumni engaged in a rollicking recollection and reflection on the tumultuous early years of coeducation at Skidmore. Organized by Art Richardson ’77 and Alan Braunstein ’75, and featuring panelists Bill McKendree ’74, Andy Burling ’75, Fred Goldstein ’75, Nancy Hamilton ’77, Jed Lavitt ’77, and Mickey Ravin ’78 along with commentator Walter Bazar ’76, the discussion was moderated by Pete Sipperly, Skidmore’s associate dean of students from 1972 to 1979. (Each has great comments and bios posted on the Scopedish blog.) To kick off the festivities, Scott Sager ’77 screened his “tone piece”: a hilarious

We started as a club sport, scraping up a the hair, and the hijinks depicted in few hundred dollars and just enough those old photos (who drove that sportsfresh-faced recruits—no experience recar into the laundry room?) brought the quired—to field a team with no replacehouse down. Were we ever that young? ments on the bench. Did we really have all THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK Our “uniforms” were that hair? ABOUT BUILDING A MALE yellow T-shirts and Next the panelists— TRADITION FROM SCRATCH: black gym shorts.) older, wiser, certainly “WE GOT DUMPED OUT OF The discussion cagrayer—offered stories, THE BOX WITHOUT AN reened from the ridicumemories, and perINSTRUCTION SHEET AND lous to the sublime. To spectives. The idea of FOUND OUR OWN PARADIGM.” the question whether solidarity, a bond anyone chose Skidmore because of the forged by sharing the experience of tilted ratio of women to men, most disbeing in a small minority, was menmissed the idea and cited “academic extioned often. “It was kind of like a fratercellence” and other old chestnuts, but nity, but very nonfraternity fraternity,” one audience member called out, “Heck, said Fred Goldstein. From the audience, yeah! I came from an all-boys school!” As Matt Rosen ’77 chipped in, “Some of my the laughs and stories flowed, it became best friends in the world today are right abundantly clear that those years were a here in this room.” pivotal time for all involved. One prevaThere was a lot of talk about building lent theme was the friendships that men a male tradition from scratch. “We got and women formed without the entangledumped out of the box without an inments of traditional dating. Also, many struction sheet and found our own paracredited their success in the workplace to digm,” Richardson recalled. In those the democratic ideals of equality that they first learned at Skidmore. When planning this gathering of kindred spirits, Richardson and Braunstein wisely understood the need to depart from class-year restrictions and recognize an era and its vanguard: the founding fathers of Skidmore’s coed student body. Judging by the turnout and enthusiasm, their “early man” concept is compelling. The group has started and is planning a comeback tour for ReCOED COMMENTATORS IN BACK: RICHARDSON, SIPPERLY, RAVEN, BURLING, L AVITT, AND BAZAR; AND IN union 2015. “I’m already FRONT: SAGER, BRAUNSTEIN, HAMILTON, MCKENDREE, AND GOLDSTEIN thinking about Manstock II,” Richardson reports. seminal years the WSPN radio station slideshow of college snapshots set to rock Meanwhile, a sound recording of the was started and the polo, hockey, and music. (For his omission of five particular entire discussion is available on the lacrosse teams were launched. photos, he noted ominously, “Men of Scopedish blog. —Jon Wurtmann ’78 (I was a lacrosse team founder in 1976. Kimball, you’re welcome!”) The clothes,


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More than 10,000 alumni, parents, and friends flexed their joint philanthropic muscle this year to contribute just under $21 million (making this the sixth consecutive year Skidmore has surpassed the $20M mark) in support of a wide range of College activities. This total included a record $6.9 million for the Annual Fund, which provides funding for everything from financial aid and student research to developing new exhibitions at the Tang Museum and implementing new teaching approaches in the classroom. Once again volunteer leaders played a central role in our fundraising success. In the Annual Fund, the alumni board’s Vice AT REUNION, THE CLASS OF 1947 CHEERS ITS President for Alumni Giving Nancy Hamilprize for highest participation (76%), ton ’77 partnered with Judy Allen Wilson while the still-maturing class of 1992, not ’69, chair of the National Friends of the to be outdone by their elders, set a record Presidents Committee, to continue a string with 31 FOP donors at their 20th reunion. of strong performances for the fund. Both While reunions capped off the fundstep down this year to make way for their raising year, the end-of-year push actually very able successors, Emily Rover Grace ’99 began with the wildly successful 5/01 and Nancy Brennan ’72. They will take Challenge on May 1. With a goal of securover a group of nearly 700 alumni voluning 500 donors in a single day, and fueled teers who make time each year to reach by a $50,000 challenge grant if that mark out to classmates and friends and encourwas met, the effort’s social-media blitz exage them to support the College. ceeded everyone’s exReunions conFILENE ANNIVERSARY pectations by securtinued to be a driving gifts from 1,038 er for fundraising highlight of the 2011–12 fund year was donors and qualifysuccess, inspiring the 30th anniversary of the Filene Music Scholarships, established by the Lining for a second classes to give back coln and Therese Filene Foundation, in$50,000 challenge. to the institution cluding Helen Filene Ladd ’22. With tweets and ethat helped launch Freshman Filene Scholars gave a conmails flying all day them in their lives. cert in October, Filene alumni Alta Boover long, the event was Barbara Underhill Dantzler ’00 and Ryan Klein ’08 performed marked by an outCollyer ’52 rallied on campus in November, and members of pouring of support her 60th-reunion the Filene and Ladd families attended the rededication of Skidmore’s Filene Hall in and affection perclass to raise an imthe spring. Trustee Bill Ladd ’83, an actor haps best summed pressive $2.8 miland filmmaker, and Filene Foundation up by the tweet from lion. Celebrating president Mike Ladd, father of Chris ’05, one grad: “No donatheir 50th reunion, were among the celebrants. Along with tion amount could the Class of 1962 viewing the auditions for this year’s round match my love for raised funds to proof Filene Scholarships, guests enjoyed a you! Proud to give vide scholarship Filene-tribute video written by Bill Ladd (posted at what I can!” support to 11 new In honor of Skidmore’s long, strong reAs graduates “Class of 1962 lationship with the Ladd family and Filene opened their wallets Scholars.” Virginia Foundation, the main performance space in and pocketbooks to Lyons ’47 led her Skidmore’s Arthur Zankel Music Center is support Skidmore, remarkable 65thnamed the Helen Filene Ladd Concert Hall. many current parreunion class to the



Strength in numbers


ents and students joined them in expressing their belief in the importance of the College’s work. The Parents Fund surpassed $1.5 million for the second year in a row, with the Senior Family Project, led by Skidmore trustee Scott McGraw and Cathy McGraw, parents of Carolyn ’12, raising nearly half a million to support renovations to Scribner Library. Those efforts echoed the work of the seniors themselves, as more than 400, led by cochairs Logan Brenner ’12 and Jono Zeidan ’12, stepped forward to create a Class of 2012 scholarship. Finally, we continued to receive strong external validation for our work from a range of foundations. Major grants included $600,000 from the Cargill Foundation to support a number of sustainability efforts, $500,000 from the Davis United World College Scholars Program to provide scholarship support for more than 20 international students, and $60,000 from the Andy Warhol Foundation to help fund last spring’s retrospective of Nancy Grossman’s work at the Tang Museum. These contributions and the thousands of individuals behind them are essential partners with faculty and staff in the work of preparing our students to become leaders in their communities and professions. In a very real way they make it all work, and we are deeply grateful for every gift, large and small, to support this work. It truly makes a difference.

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1923 •



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Join us at Skidmore for • 2003 • 1998 • 1993 • 1988 • 1983 •

Women of ’69, Unboxed is the title of an hour-long documentary being made by journalist and author Liz Roman Gallese ’69 with film and TV producer Jane Startz ’69 and public-interest filmmaker Peter Barton. Using the 1969 Eromdiks yearbook —not a book, but a box of very creative loose-leaf photographs—as a launching point, they’ve toured the old campus and interviewed several 1969 alumnae around the country in order to explore, as Gallese says, “where the iconoclastic, rebellious spirit of ’69 led its grads.” Emerging from the era’s social and cultural explosions—ranging from political dissent to new personal freedoms—a large proportion of Gallese’s classmates became “assertive young women with high hopes and powerful intellects who continue to make waves in today’s world,” she says. Through the portraits and voices of these women, most of them turning 65 years old this year, the film “will examine, with affection and insight, what it meant for a generation to be ‘unboxed,’” and what that meant for Skidmore, youth culture, and America’s history over the past 50 years. The filmmakers have already made a short demo and are now seeking grants to complete the editing for a premiere in 2014. To follow the film, go to facebook .com/womenof69unboxed. —SR

All roads will lead you back.

Reunion 2013 May 30–June 2 Rekindle old friendships • Rediscover Saratoga Springs Reconnect with faculty • Join the parade • Picnic on the green Go back to class • Visit the alumni art exhibition Enjoy live music and fireworks For news and details, visit

983 • 1978 • 1973 • 1968 • 1963 • 1958 • 1953 • 1948 •

968 • 1963 • 1958 • 1953 • 1948 • 1943 • 1938 •


2008 • 2003 • 1998 • 1993 • 1988 • 1983 • 1978 • 1973 • 1968 • 1963 • 1958 • 1953 • 1948 • 1943 • 1938 • 1933 • 1928 • 1923 • 2008 • 2003 • 1998 •

class of ’69 on camera

2008 • 2003 • 1998 • 1993 • 1988 • 1983 • 1978 • 1973 • 1968 • 1963 • 1958 • 1953 • 1948 • 1943 • 1938

Enjoy Skidmore’s campus in the fall and connect with students at the

4th annual Career Jam! The Career Development Center is seeking volunteers from all career fields for our largest and most diverse on-campus networking event, held Friday, October 19, during Celebration Weekend.

If you are interested in volunteering, contact Deborah Loffredo, Director of the Career Development Center, at 518-580-5790 or


8 CLUB CONNECTION: WASHINGTON, D.C. Art for joy’s sake: Two dozen alumni and parents enjoyed a tour of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., in July. Art teacher Marguerite Miller ’66 led the group through the site, one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art anywhere. Miller has led three art tours for Skidmore alumni, and event coordinator Lynn Faught ’73 calls her “a dynamic and enthusiastic guide.” Karen Schnell ’89 thought the tour was “delightful, but it was even more delightful to meet other alumni from a wide span of class years and to meet some Skidmore parents.” Ellen D’Isidoro, P ’02, in D.C. that weekend to visit her son, says she “liked learning about the history of some of the artists.” Helen Earsy Pechacek ’59 attended with her husband and “loved it ... I would like more events like this one.” —PD

Where to next? Alumni, parents, and friends of Skidmore can experience first-class educational opportunities in world-class destinations with the Skidmore College Alumni Travel Program. When you think of travel, think of Skidmore first! TAHITI AND FRENCH POLYNESIA Feb. 21–March 3 CELTIC LANDS, WITH DAVID EISENHOWER AND CELIA SANDYS, FEATURING PROF. TILLMAN NECHTMAN May 1–10 THE GREAT JOURNEY THROUGH EUROPE Aug. 27–Sept. 6 SYMPHONY ON THE BLUE DANUBE, FEATURING PROF. TOM DENNY Sept. 19–Oct. 1 For details visit Questions? Call 518-580-5610 or e-mail


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LAWN THEATER? Who are these outsize characters, what are they doing at Skidmore, and when? Tell us your answers at 518-580-5747,, or Scope c/o Skidmore College. We’ll report answers, and run a new quiz, in the upcoming Scope magazine.



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Skidmore’s first recycling intern (pioneering the way to the college’s hiring of part-time North Woods stewards and a full-time professional sustainability coordinator). The photo shows them loading a rental truck with items left behind in the residence halls by departing students. With help from a nonprofit called Dump and Run, Patterson and volunteers gathered four truckloads of stuff (mattress toppers, clothes, fans, you name it), sorted and stored it, and then drove it all to Saratoga’s farmers’ market pavillion, where they held an enormous tag sale. The sale did a brisk business, and by its end she handed over $2,500 to five Saratoga charities. —SR TIMOTHY SOFRANKO/DAILY GAZETTE

Spring cleaning? Michelle Person ’01 is “pretty sure the girl in the photo is Mary, whose last name I can’t remember. She was an Accent with a powerful voice. I watched her in many a concert where she sang with my roomie Sarah Conti ’01.” Kerry Shearman ’01 remembers her as “an ’00 graduate who was part of the Sonneteers,” but she’s surer about the other person in the photo: Zak Trojano ’02. Person admits she has “no idea what they’re doing,” while Shearman guesses that they’re “collecting donations for a community project.” Pretty good. In fact, Trojano is volunteering with Mary Patterson ’01 in May of 2002, when Patterson was finishing a yearlong stint as


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CUISINE-A-GO-GO Sure, the potato chip has pride of place in Saratoga’s culinary history. But for recent generations—thousands of Skidmore alumni among them—the snack of legend around here is the doughboy. Invented by Skidmore psychology professor Sheldon Solomon, who co-founded the Esperanto eatery in 1996 with his former student Will Pouch ’86, the doughboy is the snack of choice for late-night Caroline Street revelers. “I’m quite surprised and delighted that the doughboy has become a local favorite,” says Solomon. For just $3.50 you can enjoy the chicken, cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, and spices baked in a crisp pocket of pizza dough—and maybe grab a gyro or burrito while you’re there. Perhaps equally iconic in Saratoga’s take-out scene is PJ’s barbecue, recently restyled as a year-round eatery. The down-home drive-up on South Broadway has been serving dry-rubbed, slowcooked chicken and ribs for three decades to Saratoga natives, horse-racing enthusiasts, and passing packs of motorcyclists, all waiting patiently together in long lines on summer evenings. Among PJ’s staples are New York State Fair chicken, Memphis or Kansas City ribs, Texas brisket, and North Carolina pulled pork, with a wide range of classic picnic sides. For the meat-free set, there is the buffet at Four Seasons on Phila Street, where you can help yourself to hot and cold favorites like noodles with peanut sauce, seaweed salad, chickpea curry, tofu stir-fry, mushroom barley pilaf, and, if your timing is lucky, Phil’s Famous Felafel with tahini sauce. Load up a nifty cardboard container, and then it’s weigh, pay, and away you go. The same system applies at the salad buffet at Putnam Market on Broadway, where selections might include curry chicken salad, broccoli salad 68 SCOPE

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with apples, whole artichoke hearts, and sesame noodles. Also in the cold case might be salmon with sour cream and dill sauce, turkey meatloaf, grilled chicken with lemon and capers, cheeses, and more. Can’t decide? They’ll make you a boxed lunch—say, the Tuscan: a baguette with prosciutto, mesclun, and butter, plus fresh mozzarella and tomato salad, fruit, and homemade biscotti, for $15. New on the scene is Comfort Kitchen in the Saratoga Marketplace, offering soothers like mac and cheese, club sandwiches, and burgers. But don’t be fooled. Chef-owner Rory Moran has a deft touch and a gift for presentation. His club, for example, is all gourmet—thick slabs of brown-sugar-brined turkey, avocado, bacon, leaf lettuce, and a gently herbed mayo. And you can take extra comfort in knowing he shops devotedly at the local farmers’ market. On Tuesdays there are dueling Italian take-out specials: Jacob and Anthony’s on High Rock Avenue sells a platter of pasta, another of salad, and bread for a large family for about $25, while Forno Toscano on Broadway offers specialty woodfired pizzas and salad. A fried chicken dinner from Hattie’s (still a Phila Street institution) always hits the spot, keeps well in a warming oven, and doesn’t drain the wallet. Mrs. London’s mini-quiches, with vegetables or the classic Lorraine, make a great dinner with a side salad, and they freeze and reheat beautifully. Many Asian restaurants also specialize in food to-go, a particularly charming example being the recyclable bento box with sections of well-prepared teriyaki, tempura, and shumai from the chic new Duo on South Broadway. Hungry yet? —KG

“Skidmore has prepared me to explore the real world. None of this would have been possible without financial aid, because I know for a fact that I would not have been able to attend otherwise.” Altagracia Montilla ’12

With financial support from alumni, parents, and friends, Skidmore was able to provide scholarships totaling $34 million last year to more than 1,000 deserving students.

Majoring in psychology and minoring in religious studies, Altagracia Montilla ’12 took advantage of just about everything Skidmore had to offer: a study-abroad experience in Australia, leadership roles in committees and clubs, campus jobs, internships, and community service, along with a diverse selection of academic courses. She is now headed to Chicago to work with the Schuler Scholar Program, which prepares underserved, high-potential students to succeed at private colleges and universities.


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