“Life can change in an instant.” After Sally Wood Needell ’71, her siblings, and father contracted polio in the 1950s, shortly before the vaccine was developed, she learned how quickly one’s circumstances can change. Thanks to reconstructive surgeries for her leg and foot fixing the lasting effects of the virus, Sally is always motivated to be active and outdoors as much as possible. From her home in New Hampshire, she paddles and hikes, in addition to being deeply involved in the civic life of her small town. Add to that being on the planning committee for the Class of 1971’s virtual 50th reunion later this month! In this Spotlight feature, Sally shares her journey from being one of the few women working on marine geology research ships for the United States Geological Survey in the 1970s to raising children and teaching science at Berwick Academy to local governance and activism.
For Dierdra “DeeDee” Howard ’98 success is all about personal relationships. From the teachers at Laurel who inspired confidence and direction, to being an active member of Delta Sigma Theta and her work as a Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration,she believes, “Individuals who are successful yet cannot develop good working relationships are only performing 50% of their job.” DeeDee works every day to leave a positive imprint, focusing on overcoming hurdles and then eliminating them for those after her. She wears many different hats as Chief Administrative Law Judge—from managing other judges and overseeing budgets to fielding legal inquiries and conducting hearings—but the skills that guide her are always compassion and humility. Read on to hear more about DeeDee’s journey from art major to judge and beyond!