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The Invaluable Wellesley

What it’s worth; stories from college and beyond

7 reasons we are so very valuable 01

Sinta Cebrian ’11, a political science major and softball team co-captain at Wellesley, is from Seattle Washington. She is now studying and teaching through the Boston Teacher Residency, an innovative graduate program in urban education.


Monica Colunga ’10 came to the U.S. from Mexico at 11, finished high school in three years, and was the first member of her family to go to college in the U.S. She majored in political science and French; now she’s enrolled in a master’s program in international affairs at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po).


Dorothy Jones-Davis ’98 grew up in a housing project in Connecticut. At Wellesley she majored in psychobiology, published her research, and went on to get a Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Michigan. She’s now a postdoctoral fellow in neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.


Betsy Masiello ’03 grew up in suburban California, majored in computer science and economics at Wellesley, got a master’s at MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, and was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. Now she’s a member of Google’s public policy team in Mountain View, California.

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Alexandra Olivier ’11 came to Wellesley from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, through the QuestBridge program. A computer science major, she won Wellesley’s Pamela Daniels Fellowship, which gave her $3,000 to complete her dream project, an art/technology installation called “Social Synapses.”


Sonya Rhee ’98. Her parents immigrated to the U.S. from Korea. She went to Bronx Science, an exam school in New York; at Wellesley she designed her own major (film and media), minored in astronomy, and helped start the ASTRO Club. She’s now a documentary filmmaker based in New York City; her films have been shown on PBS and in the Media that Matters Film Festival.


The 2,300 women at Wellesley—and our 35,000 alumnae—whose stories are just as amazing. And who are uncannily eager to offer guidance and support and encouragement to other women. Which is pretty much the essence of sisterhood. And which is invaluable. And forthcoming.

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1 big question about the college search process What made you choose Wellesley? Sinta: “My interests were all over the place. I was classically trained in violin, I was a performance poet, softball was huge, and I thought math and science were the coolest things. I saw so many opportunities at Wellesley, and then I met with the coach and the team, and we just clicked.”

Alexandra: “I don’t like to be on the sidelines, and it seemed like that would never happen at Wellesley. You could make connections with professors, you could form relationships with people that would shape the direction you’re going.”

Monica: “I’m one of those kids who had a life plan at 15. I looked at Wellesley and saw their alumnae—women who had made big plans and gone on to achieve great things—and I thought, ‘That’s who I want to be.’”

Sonya: “I’m pretty unusual; I was set on a women’s college. A close friend had gone to one, and when I visited her I was thinking, ‘Who are all these amazing, cool women?’ My parents were not keen on it; they thought it was weird. In the end, Wellesley gave me a great deal of aid, and I followed my intuition.”

Betsy: “I was more of an athlete in high school. My boyfriend did computers—they were scary to me. But I got the sense that at Wellesley I could push my boundaries; I could take risks that I wouldn’t have considered before.”

Dorothy: “My first visit to campus. It was during a blizzard—but the campus is actually more beautiful in the snow. It looked like a fairy tale. It was such a contradiction to where I was from. I thought: ‘I need to be here. My life could change here.’ And it did.”

Roasted squash seeds Made by Elizabeth Rowen ’11, a resident of SCOOP, our sustainable living cooperative. In general, we’re built to last.

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2 questions about college itself

What surprised you about Wellesley? Dorothy: “The first thing that surprised me was the financial aid. When Wellesley says its admission process is need-blind, that’s real. I couldn’t have gone to Wellesley without full financial aid, and I got it. That’s liberating. I made choices about my career without worrying about debts.” Sonya: “I think a lot of people surprise themselves. I felt much more at ease with making mistakes, trying something new. I knew I wanted to be an artist, but at Wellesley I took an astronomy course with a professor who loved what she was doing—loved it—and I thought, ‘Whatever she’s doing, I want to be part of it.’ I ended up minoring in astronomy, doing research on binary stars, and helping to start the ASTRO club.” Alexandra: “The freedom you have to make your education your own. A professor got me interested in electronics, and I kind of went crazy. I work electronics into all of my projects. I’m making a superhero DJ for a class in tangible user interfaces. I’m making an interactive coral rock for a 3D design class. For my thesis I’m designing a tool kit that allows people to design their own interactive spaces.” Monica: “Wellesley funded my internship at a children’s rights organization in Costa Rica and a semester studying in France; both experiences shaped my thinking about my future. I reached out to advisors and professors to help me understand my

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options. The women who come here have a lot of passion, a lot of drive—and Wellesley helps you channel it.” Sinta: “Outside of academics, the softball team. I’ve learned so much about leadership and teamwork. We want to be the best for each other; we literally throw ourselves on the ground for each other. We’re a young program, a successful program, so you feel like you’re actively building something real.” What was the most important resource you used? Betsy: “The faculty. I’m thinking about my junior year, when I was stressing about applying for a summer internship at the National Security Agency—not an obvious path to take. I was so stressed that I skipped one of my favorite classes, with Franklyn Turbak in computer science. I went to his office later and told him what was happening. He said, ‘Of course you should do it. How can I help?’ That kind of instant, wholehearted support for an alternative, risky choice—I can’t tell you how meaningful that was to me.” Monica: “You know, in high school I didn’t have a lot of friends who were girls. The friends I’ve made here have really made a difference. I’ve met so many women who are so genuine, so generous. And they inspire me. In my first year I met women who’d already—this is just one example—started a nonprofit in Africa. The women here change your definition of what’s possible.”

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Gumboot dance Part of Mamaland, an annual celebration of Africa, brought to you by the Wellesley African Students Association.

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2 impertinent questions about the value of college What’s the practical value of your education? Betsy: “When I hire people at Google, this is what I’m looking for: wide-ranging curiosity, leadership qualities, and analytical intelligence—the ability to go into any situation, size it up, and solve problems. Nearly every organization looks for those things. A great liberal arts education gives them to you.” Dorothy: “If you want to be the best in your field, you have to practice. In science, that means getting in the lab and doing experiments, using the equipment, mastering the skills. At Wellesley, you can start practicing on day one.” Sinta: “In my urban education seminar, the students are passionate, the discussions are amazing, and every Friday I work with kids at a pilot school in Boston, supervised by a mentor teacher. The professor takes time to know us; she told me about a teaching fellowship that’s perfect for me. All of that feels very practical—but what matters is that it’s meaningful to me.”

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What can you do with your degree? Sonya: “Wellesley gives you the audacity to believe that you can do anything.” Dorothy: “I’m a research scientist, and I teach too. I didn’t know that this career existed when I came to Wellesley. I was a first-generation college student. No one in my family could tell me how to proceed. Wellesley showed me a whole other path.” Betsy: “When I was a senior, I’d talk about the job I wanted: translating between lawyers and engineers, working with public policy and technology. That’s the job I have now. My thesis at Wellesley was on biometric surveillance—using facial recognition in video to identify people. It turns out to be completely relevant to the field right now.”

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Monica: “I’ve been out of Wellesley for a year, and I’d say that whatever you do, you don’t do it alone. Wellesley’s alumnae network is a huge resource. This is a small example: I was trying to figure out whether I wanted to apply to law school or graduate school or take time off. I went to an alumnae panel, and a woman who’s now a successful lawyer in Washington, D.C., talked about that same decision. Later I ran into her in a dining hall and sort of shyly asked if we could talk. She sat with me for an hour, gave me her card, told me to call her if I need help finding a job. That conversation changed my thinking about my future.”

Sonya: “I make ethnographic films for advertising firms and corporations. I spend 8–12 weeks with a certain population—kids in Mexico City, winemakers in Napa Valley, green homeowners in San Francisco— totally immersed in their world. I love it, and I get paid to do it, which is pretty crazy. And it allows me to pursue my own documentary projects. In my field, you have to think independently, come up with great ideas, and learn on the job. There’s no technical degree that can prepare you for that. But there is Wellesley.”

Alexandra: “I’m applying to graduate programs in art and technology. Eventually I’d like to do the kind of work I did for the Tanner Conference. The Center for Work and Service paid four Wellesley students and one from Olin College of Engineering to build a tabletop computer and three apps for the College’s conference on experiential learning. It was a great experience—collaborative, creative, iterative, leading to a finished product. I want my future to look like that.”

Tower Court Great views of the lake, loads of history, 300 residents of all class years.

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A thrillingly brief overview of Wellesley Facts 2,300 women 50 states represented 83 countries of birth 8 to 1 student to faculty ratio 98% of tenured faculty hold a Ph.D. or the highest degree in their field 100% of classes are taught by professors 1,000+ courses 54+ majors 50% of juniors study abroad 75% of students participate in an internship 10,000 objects in the Davis Museum and Cultural Center 14 Division III athletic teams 160 student-run organizations 250,000 college students in Boston and Cambridge 100% of demonstrated financial need met 58% of students receive aid 10 active alumnae on the “W� network for every student on campus 500 acres 1 lake

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Division III athletic teams Basketball Crew Cross Country Fencing Field Hockey Golf Lacrosse Soccer Softball Squash Swimming and Diving Tennis Track Volleyball

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Majors Africana Studies American Studies Anthropology Architecture Astronomy Astrophysics Biological Chemistry Biological Sciences Chemistry Chinese Cinema and Media Studies Classical Civilization Classical Studies Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences Comparative Literature Computer Science East Asian Languages and Literatures Economics English Environmental Studies French French Cultural Studies Geosciences German German Studies Greek History

History of Art International Relations Italian Studies Japanese Jewish Studies Latin Latin American Studies Mathematics Media Arts and Sciences Medieval/Renaissance Studies Middle Eastern Studies Music Neuroscience Peace and Justice Studies Philosophy Physics Political Science Psychology Religion Russian Russian Area Studies Sociology South Asia Studies Spanish Studio Art Theatre Studies Women’s and Gender Studies

Blue field hockey Three NCAA appearances. Five-time ECAC Champions. Go Blue! Thank you.

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A short list of helpful resources

Funded internships. Hundreds of them, around the world, through our Center for Work and Service.

Our libraries. The Clapp library, plus libraries for art, astronomy, music, and science. Hightech—and still relevant, people!

Funded student research opportunities. With faculty at Wellesley, at other campuses, or around the world.

Our art museum, our arboretum, our greenhouses, our observatory.

Funded service opportunities. Through our Community Service Travel Grants. Funded sustainability projects. Up to $10,000 for student-designed on-campus initiatives. Through our Class of ’57 Green Fund. More funded craziness! The Schiff Fellowships, which give at least $2,000 to seniors working on their thesis. The Pamela Daniels Fellowship that Alexandra mentioned. And so on. Our faculty. Brilliant, highly accessible, and dedicated to advancing the cause of you.

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First Year Mentors and Big Sisters. Juniors and seniors who give advice, courage, treats, etc. Residence halls. Social units with their own spirit and character (and social calendar). Lulu. Our super-modern, surprisingly cozy campus center. Open 24 hours. Free transportation to Boston and Cambridge. On weekdays; small fee on weekends. Boston and Cambridge! The world. Meaning a robust set of study abroad programs. Your financial aid travels with you.

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A few helpful words about admission and financial aid Apply! Go to and complete the Common Application and the (free!) Wellesley Supplement. Obey! Early Decision: November 1 Early Evaluation: January 1 Regular Decision: January 15 Transfer/Spring: November 1 Transfer/Fall and Davis Degree Program U.S.: March 1 International: January 15 Be not afraid! 59% of our students receive financial aid $36,600 average annual scholarship aid award—money that does not have to be repaid

2012–2013 Costs: Tuition: $41,824 Room and meal plan: $13,032 Student activity fee: $258 Total: $55,114 Talk to us! Email: Phone: 781-283-2270 Fax: 781-283-3678 Wellesley College Admission Office 106 Central Street Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 Visit us! Find travel directions and details about visiting campus at

100% of demonstrated need met

Three-ring binders Functional and almost stylish. We also use the Knapp Media & Technology Center.

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Final thoughts from people who are thinking about you What advice would you give to someone who’s looking at colleges right now? Alexandra: “Apply anywhere you want; don’t let the tuition stop you. I was sure I wouldn’t be able to go to a private school— and then Wellesley’s aid package came in.” Sonya: “I’m working on a documentary about math geniuses. What makes someone great in their field? The answer is, they don’t stay in their field. They stay open, they’re curious about everything, they find connections between different fields. That’s where the great ideas are, that’s where the surprises are. And that’s what college should give you.”

Sinta: “College is a journey. Find the place where you can be exposed to ideas and opportunities that will help you discover how to do what you love for the rest of your life.” Monica: “Most women will not go to a women’s college. It’s a different choice. I can tell you that if you spend four years in an environment where the smartest, most accomplished students are women, and where they receive the support to go as far as they want to go—that experience gives you power. And that power sustains you in ways you can’t even imagine.” Betsy: “Don’t set limits on yourself. Push your boundaries. Take a chance. The world needs more women like that.”

Dorothy: “A Wellesley alumna said this to me the other day: ‘You’re an alumna longer than you’re a student.’ So think about the kind of student you want to be—then think about the kind of alumna you want to be.”

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Stepsinging Right, so, four times a year we assemble by class (wearing our class colors) and try to out-sing and out-cheer each other. That’s not weird, is it?

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Wellesley College Office of Admission 106 Central Street Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 Phone 781-283-2270

The Invaluable Wellesley  

What it's worth: stories from college and beyond

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