What did you do when you were a student at UVA?
I discovered myself! I made my lifelong friends; I explored classes and experiences that broadened my horizons and my learning opportunities. My most memorable experience was studying abroad in Avignon, France during my third year. Who knew! I also worked during my fourth year for University Catering behind the scenes for major dinners and events. I also spent time with the Luther P. Jackson House outreach programs as a student ambassador. I am confident that I am the woman I am today because of a variety of people and experiences during my four years as an undergrad and then subsequent opportunities as a graduate student.
Is there something you learned at UVA that you apply to your life now?
I learned to speak up and speak out on issues that matter and to create space for everyone so that our experiences are more complete. I also learned that self-governance is a privilege, and yet it requires responsibility. And I knew this before UVA, but my time there reinforced it: education is so important and a privilege to be appreciated (my grandparents always reminded me of how important a college education would be for me).
What does the UVA alumnae community mean to you? How have fellow alumnae affected your life/career/journey?
I am proud to be a UVA alumna and I’ve met so many impressive women who are also ‘Hoos! It’s a diverse group and yet our common thread is impact! We show up! Most of the women I know who are UVA alumnae have made a difference in their respective spaces and created opportunities for others (and other women), simply by representing the University. I know one of the women (African American) who was in the first class of women and she was so proud to meet me so many years later—I reconnected her to UVA after a long sabbatical. I have also always been so grateful for the ways in which alumnae are willing to support each other and help make connections.
If you could impart a piece of advice to a female student on Grounds today, what would you tell her?
This is the time and place to stretch your wings! There are no boundaries. . .and UVA is a great safety net.