Proud Laurel Class of 1960 grad Holly Worthen attended her class’s virtual reunion gathering this spring, and hearing her classmates’ stories inspired her to spearhead an incredible project finding common ground in their post-Laurel histories, sharing what they’ve learned and experienced since graduating and hopefully using that collective knowledge to benefit students today. As a labor educator, Holly brings a multidisciplinary approach to reading each contribution to the project and drawing out the common themes and ties to events of the time, including the Vietnam War and Civil Rights movements. She has great hope for the future of our country, having seen the strength of people who are often discounted, and encourages Laurel girls to tackle a changing world and make it better. Read on to find out more about Holly’s life journey—from navigating the streets of Paris using the freehand maps Laurel French teacher Miss Gerfen had students draw to being the only female creative writing fellow at Stanford to the healing experience of returning photographs of the Vietnam War to a museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
In the midst of a global pandemic and civil rights movement, Hiba Elbuluk ’13 reminds us that, as “alumnae who embody the Dream Dare Do mentality, we are arbiters of meaningful change in our communities.” She is passionate about the power of sheer intellectual vitality and drive whether that be a societal change or a job. She shares the importance of self-advocacy, strong communication, and asking yourself the right questions to optimize growth and happiness. Read on as Hiba talks with us about cultivating one’s passions, managing career changes, and the current state of retail.
Dr. Ellie Smith-Khuri ’89 is amazed by how rapidly and how dramatically our world has changed in the wake of COVID-19. A pediatrician and senior partner at Children's Pediatricians and Associates in Washington, DC, an urban practice affiliated with Children's National Hospital, Ellie is also a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, a wife and mother of two. In the past eight weeks she has been a part of the huge transformation in how healthcare is provided to protect patients and caregivers from COVID-19. Yet, she remains “deeply impressed and optimistic by the tenacity and resilience of people when faced with real adversity.” Read on for her story about developing leadership skills and confidence at Lyman Circle to her life today, including what she wishes more people knew about COVID-19.
If you had told pharmacist Noreen Wilson ’77 ten years ago that she would be living and working in a small town on the Ohio/Indiana border, she would have laughed! Yet, today, she treasures working at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in Saint Mary’s, Ohio, for the ease with which she can connect with patients. The Alumnae Office is profoundly grateful to Noreen for taking the time to share her story and respond to these questions (which were provided shortly before the outbreak of COVID-19 in Ohio), all while serving on the front line and caring for patients.
If you talk to a film crew, odds are they will have heard of the Douglas House—Marjorie Jamison Douglas ‘44’s home! Originally a two-room Dutch farmhouse built in 1756, Marjorie and her husband completely renovated the Orangeburg, NY, home in the early ’80s, specifically designing it to host commercial, television and film shoots. There are rooms with moving walls, kitchen cupboards with removable doors and many other special touches to make it accessible for a film crew. Yes, Marjorie lives in this remarkable “film set” which has seen a water buffalo in the kitchen and a full-size Ferris wheel in the yard and which has hosted countless famous actors. Well into her ninth decade, she is still involved in the business (although she has turned over part of it to her daughter) and stays active by traveling and writing—she recently finished a book based on her parents’ World War I letters. Read on as Marjorie shares her fascinating life story.
Laurel lifer Melissa Woods ’02 is always looking for the next great band. As Head of Creative Services for Third Side Music in Los Angeles, she discovers and represents amazing musicians and works with composers and artists to create custom work for TV and film. She’s passionate about the importance of female role models, supporting artists with integrity and important messages and advocating for selfcare and mental health in a challenging industry. As Lizzo (the first artist Melissa signed!) sings, “You know you a star, you can touch the sky.” Read on to find out how Melissa’s Laurel-instilled values of confidence,hard work and strong female leadership help her succeed in the music industry!
The 1998 film Sliding Doors follows the parallel lives of a woman, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, which hinge on the small circumstance of catching a train or not. Katie Hecker Scheid ’86 describes it as the movie that best represents her life due to the chance meetings that have set her on her life path. She “love[s] the sheer chance of life and the mystery of what might happen next” and credits her time at Laurel and a liberal arts education for instilling confidence to seize new opportunities as they come! From playing in bands and working in the European music industry to a long career in visual effects for films such as The Big Lebowski and The Lord of the Rings, Katie is always up for a new adventure. Her biggest adventure these days is raising her daughter in New Zealand! Read on to follow Katie on her journey from Lyman Circle and around the world.