Greetings Class of 2008!
I hope that this October finds you well as we transition from summer to autumn. To me, this season is always filled with new starts - a new academic year, the Jewish new year, my birthday - and overall, I find that it is a good time to reflect upon the previous months and my goals for the upcoming season. In that vein, I have asked two of our classmates to share a few thoughts about their work since graduation and their hopes looking forward. Both Sonja and Ruth attained a degree in English while at Westmont and now find themselves in graduate programs of study currently, and their pursuits took both of them outside of the United States between undergraduate study and commencing their respective Ph.D. programs. Notwithstanding these similarities, the women have taken their Westmont education in very different directions while advocating, fundraising, serving, and studying.
We all have taken our liberal arts degree and Westmont relationships out into the world and ended up engaged in very different pursuits. Thank you to Sonja Egeland Kelly and Ruth Cheadle for sharing their stories with the rest of us, which you'll find below. Please let me know if you would like to be included in a future newsletter - I would love to hear from you!
Abundance and contentment this autumn,
Sonja Egeland Kelly
When I graduated from Westmont in 2008, I knew I wanted to go back to school at some point. However, getting a great job in the microfinance industry and starting my professional career seemed to take priority. For two years, I was privileged to raise awareness about the daily reality facing those living in chronic poverty, and the solution that microfinance offers, promoting economic development. But my passion for learning brought me back to thinking about academia again. Now I am enrolled in American University in Washington, DC, pursuing a PhD in International Relations. I hope to someday apply what I am learning by either working in a think tank or actually implementing economic development strategies on the ground. I credit my mentors at Westmont for instilling in me a curiosity for learning how the world works and an enthusiasm for making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than I am.
The past two years have taken a trajectory that continues to surprise me. After completing my BA in English at Westmont I undertook a Master of Studies in medieval literature at St Hilda's College in the University of Oxford. It was there that I developed my interest in how Old English and Old Norse poets dealt with biblical narrative in their work, and this year I will begin a three-year PhD at University College London to further investigate this topic.
While living in Oxford I decided to take a gap year to save money and gain work experience. I served as Junior Dean for the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, which I formerly attended as a student while at Westmont, and for the past eight months I have worked with the Linacre College Development Office, hosting events for Oxford alumni and helping to raise funds for the college. I am deeply grateful for the encouragement from my instructors at Westmont, and the opportunities in conference work, tutoring, and research offered by the college, which have so directly influenced my research and work in the past two years.
Voskuyl Library has been transformed!
Students are grateful for the newly renovated Voskuyl Library. Thank you for your generous support during our Class Challenge! Read more...
Fall 2010: Adams Center and Winter Hall are finished and open for class
After nearly 2 years of construction, Adams Center and Winter Hall are now complete. Together they offer nearly 80,000 square feet of new space for students and professors. Read More...
Facebook for 2008
You may already be a member of our group called "Westmont Class of 2008," but in case you aren't, here's the link.
Westmont Impact tells the story of us!
Why is the world different because Westmont College exists? For the answer go to westmontimpact.org.
Westmont and your job search
WestmontLink is Westmont's free online job site for alumni. Sign up to search for jobs. Or if you'd like to share an opening with Westmont alumni, click here.