Class of 2012 begin new experiences
June 14, 2012 By Elizabeth Trollinger
graduating just a few weeks ago. Liz Bressler ’12 works in the
nuclear medicine department at Oak Ridge National
Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Jordan Fitch ’12 will begin teaching math in Chicago with
Teach For America (TFA) this fall. “I'm really excited about TFA
and all of the opportunities that come with it,” he says.
Although it’s only been a short few weeks since members of the Class of 2012 graduated from Centre, many of them already have exciting plans for the future. A large percentage of the group of new alumni will enter the workforce—pursuing interesting work that will make a difference in the world.
Ellen Cartmell ’12, for instance, will be joining Hospice of Hope in Maysville, Ky., as fundraising coordinator while simultaneously attending Morehead State University in pursuit of a master’s in public administration. Cartmell looks forward to helping those in need.
“Not all patients can afford the care that Hospice provides, but we have a policy that no one ever gets turned away due to inability to pay, so there's an inherent deficit within the organization. My job is to help take care of that, as well as raise money for expansion,” Cartmell says. “I'm excited about all of it.”
Liz Bressler ’12 has already begun working in the nuclear medicine department at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., getting unparalleled experiences with important scientists and top-of-the-line equipment.
“My mentor, Saed Mirzadeh, is a world-renowned nuclear chemist. He wants me to learn as much as possible and get the most out of my experience while I am here. He has some hands-on things lined up for me. I will be working with stable isotopes in a ‘cold’ lab, as well as making a target and taking it over to High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) to irradiate it,” Bressler says. “I love everything about the hands-on projects here at ORNL, especially in the hot labs. It feels very rewarding when I can go into a hot lab and know exactly what I am doing due to the excellent training and guidance I have received from training programs and mentors here.”
Rachel Beckman ’12 will spend her summer as an acting apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.
“As an acting apprentice, I get to audition for festival productions. There are nine shows this season, plus cabarets and readings. I'll also participate in workshops and master classes with professionals,” Beckman says. “The first four weeks, I'll be working on Shakespearean monologues and sonnets in class. Apprentices also work on technical and administrative crews. I don't know where I'll be assigned yet, but I put literary, scenic painting, wigs and make-up as my top choices.”
Jordan Fitch ’12, along with several of his classmates, will spend the next two years teaching with Teach For America (TFA). Fitch, who will be teaching math in Chicago, is eagerly anticipating his new role.
“I'm really excited about TFA and all of the opportunities that come with it,” he says. “TFA provides a unique opportunity to get alternative teaching certification while helping close the achievement gap that exists in many cities and communities today. By achievement gap, I mean the disparities that exist between children that are provided with opportunities to receive a good education, and those that are not afforded those opportunities.”
The new alumni are all excited about the experiences ahead.
“I'm looking forward to growing as a person and a performer,” says Beckman. “I'm excited to make friends and professional connections. And of course, working with celebrities like Blythe Danner, Tyne Daly and David Hyde Pierce is unbelievable. I want to soak up as much knowledge and experience as I can.”
“I've always been passionate about working with kids and teenagers, because oftentimes college students and recent graduates don't realize the impact that they can have on a young person's life,” Fitch says. “The experience is going to bring many challenges my way, but I'm excited to try to do my part for these kids while learning from them.”
“I have already become great friends with several of my co-workers, and the connection I have with my mentors actually reminds me of the connection that I had with my professors at Centre,” says Bressler. “My mentors at the lab go out of their way to help me, and I know that I can go to them to ask them questions and voice my concerns.”
The members of the Class of 2012 aren’t too far removed from their Centre experiences, but are already fully aware of how much Centre has prepared them for their new careers.
“Centre has definitely prepared me well for this job, not only because I worked Phonathon, but also because of my extracurricular and academic responsibilities. I can multitask without getting overwhelmed, I know how to work with deadlines, and I know how to work under pressure when it gets down to ‘crunch time,’” says Cartmell. “The job is time-consuming, but after four years at Centre, I'm used to that and I know exactly how to color-code my planner to make it all work.”
“Centre gave me a great foundation in performance—acting, singing and dancing—that will serve me well at Williamstown. My Intro to Tech Theatre class will help me feel proficient in almost all my crew work,” Beckman says. “Most importantly, Centre taught me what it means to serve, to belong to a supportive community and to believe in my dreams. These are lessons that I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Keep an eye on the Centre homepage for more stories on what the Class of 2012 plans to do next.
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Centre College, founded in 1819 and chosen to host its second Vice Presidential Debate in 2012, is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges, at 42nd in the nation, and ranks 27th for best value among national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 34th among all the nation’s colleges and universities and has named Centre in the top five among all institutions of higher education in the South for three years in a row. Centre is also ranked fourth in the nation by U.S. News for its study abroad program. For more, click here.