“J. Kenneth Smail Professor of Anthropology Emerita Pat Urban supported and encouraged my studies in archaeology, and helped give me the knowledge and confidence I needed to pursue my career in a male-dominated field.”

“Professor Emerita of Music Camilla Cai was a mentor throughout my time at Kenyon. She hosted an end-of-year gathering at her home (behind the football field), and I can remember setting up a croquet set in her front yard. She explained that all of the dandelions were there because the young man who mowed her lawn couldn't bear to mow them down, and she thought this was delightful.”

“Associate Professor of English Deborah Laycock was a wise and thoughtful teacher and mentor. She supported me as I transitioned to college life as a first-generation student, inspired me to go to graduate school and has remained a wonderful friend.”

“I went to Professor of Spanish, Latin American literature and Latino cultural productions Clara Román-Odio’s class just expecting to learn Spanish, but what I really ended up learning, in the long run, was the insidiousness of colonialism and the power of literature to reject it.” 

“(The late) Professor Emerita of Drama Harlene Marley H’05 was a force of nature. Whether it was a lecture during ‘Baby Drama’ or an intimate seminar setting, you hung on her every word. Harlene pushed me to be a better artist and to really understand the power of drama. I use the skills I learned in her classes every day as an educator.” 

“I did not take class with Associate Professor of English Sarah Heidt '97, but her 2010 Baccalaureate address is something I return to consistently. It nourishes me every time I read it. and I am so grateful to have that gift.”

Amelia Armstrong '99 was two years older than me, and one of the most fearsome competitors I ever knew in the pool. She was all passion. Just indomitable. She personified dedication to me.” 

“Head Women's Soccer Coach Kelly (Walters) Bryan made a difference in my life because she gave legitimacy to our soccer program. Even though she was only a 22-year-old assistant coach at the time, she showed us what we could be. ‘Coach K’ led us to believe that a rat pack group of freshmen and sophomores (and four seniors) could build the foundation of an exceptional team and program. She instilled in us that hard work always pays off and to never make excuses. Those two things have served me unbelievably well in life.” 

“I took Professor of Physics Paula Turner’s astronomy class my first semester at Kenyon. She is truly talented at making highly abstract, extremely complicated concepts learnable for students who are not naturally inclined toward math and physics. She does this while also showing non-science majors the beauty and importance of her field. She was an important anchor for me during a turbulent transition period in my life. I am eternally grateful.”

“Professors of Mathematics Carol Schumacher and Judy Holdener model every day that women can do math, women can love math and women can be anything else they want (artists, mothers, people of faith, leaders in professional organizations, etc.), without it being at odds with working in and loving a traditionally male-dominated field.”

“Associate Professor of Biology Karen Hicks shaped my Kenyon experience by pushing me to take on difficult material and challenge myself. She taught me more than any professor, both about biology and about what it means to be a strong woman. Strength comes not only from believing in yourself, but in supporting and encouraging others. She showed me that strength can be found in being vulnerable, as well as in perseverance.”

“Donald L. Rogan Professor of Religious Studies Miriam Dean-Otting ’74: Teacher, leader, engager. Professor Dean-Otting connected with me on such a deep level, inspiring me to believe I was smart, capable and able to create change. The simple act of rewriting an assignment was encouraged for excellence, and I learned that feedback from strong female leaders wasn’t an exercise in shame, but an exercise on receiving and rising.”

“Robert A. Oden, Jr. Professor of Biology Joan Slonczewski taught me to think critically and gave me opportunities that snowballed into a lifetime of small achievements, and eventually culminated in a teaching position in which I hope to support others, as well.”

“Roy T. Wortman Distinguished Professor of History Wendy Singer was an amazing influencer. She suggested I study abroad and I did, in India. I’m now a director of study abroad at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and help students study internationally.”

“Samuel B. Cummings Professor of Psychology Sarah Murnen is one of the key reasons that I pursued my career; she showed me not only that women can love statistics and research design, but that I loved statistics and research design. She has been a constant source of support and mentorship for over 20 years, starting in my sophomore year and continuing long past graduation.”

“Without ever saying anything overtly to our political science class, Professor Emerita of Political Science Pam Jensen somehow managed to encourage intellectual rigor outside the class, and respectful engagement with a wide range of ideas within it. She became a model for me of what a scholar, instructor, mentor and guide could, and should, be.”

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