Kirkland Alumnae

Sharon Rippey

Kirkland Mentoring

Kirkland Mentors

If you have any questions about mentoring or are interested in joining the committee, please e-mail Mentoring Committee Chair Susie Hartman at susanhartman@verizon.net.

Susie Hartman
Journalist and Chair of the Kirkland Mentoring Committee

E-mail: susanhartman@verizon.net

Susan Hartman was educated at Kirkland College, and received an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University.  She has written cover stories and profiles from places as different as Northern Ireland and Queens, Las Vegas and Brooklyn for The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and Newsday, often following her subjects for months.

For the past three years, she has been working on a multi-media documentary project about a group of young women she first profiled for The New York Times when they were talented jumpers on a troubled Brooklyn block.  She re-visited them in her Times cover story, “Jump Rope Girls, 20 Years On.”

She is the author of two books of poetry, Dumb Show and El Abogado, and a chapbook, Satyr.  Her poems have appeared in Carolina Quarterly, Hanging Loose, The Black Warrior Review, The Florida Review, and Sun Dog, among other literary magazines.

She teaches journalism and nonfiction at New York University, and is also on the faculty of the International Center of Photography (ICP) in Manhattan. 

She lives outside New York City with her husband and daughter.  Her son, Asa Jones, is an artist.

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Shelley Gertzog Cowan

E-mail: scowan@cinci.rr.com
I graduated from Kirkland in 1975 with a BA in anthropology. During my junior year, I spent six months living in a village in Colombia, conducting ethnographic fieldwork and studying the connection between beliefs about nutrition and household economies. At the time, medical anthropology was just emerging as a field of study. Thinking it might be an interesting career choice, I applied to graduate school and was awarded a full fellowship at the University of Kentucky. I completed my MA, but with the intent of pursing medicine or nutrition. By then I was living in Michigan, waiting to become a state resident. Having been a photographer and Super-8 moviemaker for many years, I got a job at a camera store where I met people who worked in Detroit's commercial film business.

After a few years in film production I moved to advertising – the first of many career evolutions. I spent my free time working on documentaries with Detroit filmmakers. When we moved to Cincinnati – a city with very little film production – I became an advertising agency copywriter. When the agency closed its Cincinnati office, I went out on my own again and gradually moved toward business communications. I design communication strategies and programs, write speeches, and produce corporate documentaries. Most of my work has a common focus: I help executives explain strategic change to their employees, partners and shareholders. I use a variety of storytelling techniques to show why changes in markets, cultures and economies demand changes in strategy. I use my training as an anthropologist every day.

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Kate Faison
Professional Mentor to Artists

E-mail: kate@artists.co.nz
Kate studied at Kirkland College and Tyler Art School in Rome to graduate in the first coed class at Hamilton in 1979. She generated her income solely from her Fine Art in New York and internationally from 1981-97. She opened The Space Gallery (Christchurch, New Zealand) in 1994. In 1996 she formed a national website shared by artists across the disciplines called www.artists.co.nz. She continues to oversee the development of this large website of emerging and established artists across the disciplines.

Now supporting emerging artists is her passion. Together with former Space Gallery Director Sarah Amazinnia she devised the FUSE Art Business Initiative course in 1999 from their combined experience teaching and mentoring emerging artists. Kate has also served on the Christchurch Arts Council and the Christchurch Creative Communities Board. She has worked with groups from preschool to adults, and peer groups such as women, men and adolescents in maximum security prison, developing skills, and exploring self-expression using a variety of media. She currently delivers seminars for Canterbury University, Christchurch Polytechnic and Work and Income NZ. Kate's work is now predominantly mentoring creatives of all descriptions one-on-one internationally.

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Judy Silverstein Gray

E-mail: newsgirl1@tampabay.rr.com
Judy Silverstein Gray is an award-winning journalist who has covered the arts, parks, the environment, as well as business and medical beats. She believes good journalism includes passion, a thirst for learning and a fascination with visual and written storytelling. She studied art history as an undergrad, obtaining a dual M.B.A. and a Master's in Organizational Management. Other employment has included work as a park ranger/ public information officer for the National Park Service in locations ranging from Maine to California, work as a medical public information officer at the University of California San Francisco and similar work for the United States Coast Guard (where she has served in the reserves). Her military public affairs assignments have allowed her front row seats to unfolding historic events ranging from inaugurations to maritime exploration. She has also covered space exploration and bio-agricultural defense issues. In 2007, Judy authored a book on the Coast Guard for young readers, has written scripts for dozens of documentaries and has contributed to the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Currently, she writes about water and economic development issues by day, while continuing stints as a freelance feature and news writer. Judy professes a continuing passion for writing about the arts, the environment and public health issues. She also serves on the Freedom of Information subcommittee of the America Association of Healthcare Writers and on the boards of the Public Relations Society of America, USF Women in Philanthropy and the National Parks and Conservation Association and Operation Rainbow. She encourages Hamilton students with an interest in writing, history and critical issues facing our society, to blend their passion and skills. Judy welcomes the opportunity for conversations about choosing one's life work.

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Constance (Connie) Halporn
Photographer, Videographer

E-mail: constance.halporn@gmail.com
I graduated from Kirkland College with a concentration in Media Studies, and received a Masters in Media Arts from Long Island University in 2008.

In 1978, right after college, I joined Hamilton as Assistant Director of Audio-Visual Services. My team implemented the re-wiring of the Electronic Music Lab, and initiated the recording of the Burke Library's collection of vinyl records on audiocassettes.

In 1981, I returned to New York City, and was hired by Columbia University's Biomedical Communications Department as a medical photographer. In addition to regular photographic assignments, I shot in the operating rooms.

Currently, I work at Columbia's Office of Development, where I am the first responder for all computer hardware and software issues for a staff of approximately 30.

I have a number of pro-bono positions that keep me on my toes: I have produced multimedia presentations for museum exhibits and media campaigns. I also shoot photographs and videos for the YMCA of Greater NY's International Judo camp.

I edit the quarterly online magazine, American Judo. (I started Judo while in junior high, and now hold the rank of Godan, 5th degree black belt.) I also produce print advertisements and have done video promos for use by all United States Judo Association member clubs, and have served as a photographer and videographer for USA Judo, shooting at the 1984 World Judo championships, as well as the 1985 and 1986 Olympics for Judo.

For my summer vacation, (with my husband) I volunteer instruct at the YMCA International Judo Camp held each year at Camp Greenkill in New York State.

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Cassandra Harris-Lockwood
Community Activist

E-mail: forthegoodinc@netzero.com
Born in Washington, D.C. in '51, Cassandra was educated in local schools and graduated from high school in 1969. Matriculating into Kirkland three weeks after Woodstock, Cassandra left school after the first semester returning a year later. Cassandra has had a lifelong involvement in activism beginning with student government in grade school through to the Anti-War Movement and the Women's Movement in college. Cassandra was one of the founders of the Hamilton Womyn's Center, originally the Kirkland Women's Center. Covering a wide range of majors in her four years, Cassandra finished with a degree in Art and Dance, having won scholarships at the Alvin Ailey Dance Studio, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the George Faison School in NYC.

After finishing at Kirkland she lived in the East Village of NYC for five years. Her first job was Production Assistant for the Tony Award winning musical Raisin. She continued to work in production for two other hit Broadway shows, Bubbling Brown Sugar and the Wiz. Cassandra's time spent in NYC was full of artistic endeavors including acting, writing, music, healing, martial arts. She returned to the Utica area in 1979 to marry Stephen Lockwood and has since dedicated her adult life to work for the betterment of the poor and needy of the Utica area. (see www.forthegoodinc.org) She raised two boys in Clinton with her husband Steve, one birth son Gabriel and one a Gambian son Kekoye Sagnia, the son of Kirkland '73 graduate, Lena Manga.

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Liz Horwitt
Freelance Reporter, Writer

E-mail: ehorwitt@comcast.net
I graduated from Kirkland in '73 with a major in creative writing. I worked as a freelance general interest reporter for awhile, then landed a job as a senior editor at Computerworld, an IT business publication. During the last ten years I've been a freelance reporter, covering IT trends for online news publications. I also generate vendor-sponsored white papers and other marketing material which pays much better.

In the area of fiction, I am unpublished but well versed in strategies and sources that can help a writer network with other writers and hopefully get published: conferences, Web sites, industry events, workshops, writing groups, agent and publication listings, etc. I can discuss issues like whether to try and get an agent and a contract with a major publishing house or go the independent press route. I can pass on material I've collected on how to write a query letter, how to approach an agent, etc. I am currently trying to publish a short story and find an agent for a recently-completed novel which is set in Cambridge, MA in the 1970s. I am also working on a new novel for young adults.

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Jennifer Morris
Business Consultant, Entrepreneur

E-mail: morris@localwatt.com
Jennie Morris offers communication strategy, opportunity research and evaluation for firms seeking to generate returns through responsible business practices and social impact strategies, and is also starting a new enterprise, LocalWatt Systems, in alternative energy services.

In 1979 she launched a successful start-up focused on entertainment technology and multi-media production, and later became VP of Marketing at Preston Productions, a boutique communications firm in Massachusetts. A skilled writer and presenter, she has worked with senior executives and CEOs at public corporations such as EMC, IBM. VeriSign, Tyco, Unisys and Microsoft. She holds an MBA from Simmons Graduate School of Management. An avid outdoor enthusiast, she enjoys hiking, kayaking and cross country skiing in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

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Jo Pitkin
Poet, Educational Writer

E-mail: jop@bestweb.net
Jo Pitkin received a B.A. from Kirkland College in Creative Writing and Literature and an M.F.A. in Poetry from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. While a Kirkland student, she founded and edited the college's literary magazine, Red Weather, and won the George A. Watrous Poetry Prize. Jo won the First Annual Hudson Valley Poetry Contest and Lyra's Fourth Annual Poetry Prize. She has been a finalist in numerous national literary contests, including Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Felix Pollak Prize, Nimrod/Hardman Literary Awards, Owl Creek Press, Peregrine Smith Poetry Competition, and Wesleyan University Press New Poets Series. She was a semifinalist in Ohio University's Hollis Summers Prize and the "Discovery"/The Nation Contest. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, The Measure. Her poems have appeared in Ironwood, Quarterly West, Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, Stone Canoe, and others.

A former editor in Secondary English at Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston, Jo has worked full time as a freelance educational writer since 1983. Jo currently lives near the Hudson River in a former schoolhouse built in 1830.

Selected Publications:
  • Around the Sun: Our Solar System (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill)
  • Stargazing: A History of the Telescope (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill)
  • Stargazers: Astronomy in Ancient Times (Macmillan/McGraw-Hill)
  • FOCUS on Comparing and Contrasting, Books A – H (Curriculum Associates, Inc.)
  • ZOOM IN on Comparing and Contrasting, Books E – G (Curriculum Associates, Inc.)
  • SPOTLIGHT on Revising and Editing, Book F (Curriculum Associates, Inc.)
  • George Caitlin, Frontier Painter (Houghton Mifflin Company)
  • The Tennessee Tornado: Wilma Rudolph (Houghton Mifflin Company)
  • Bill Pickett: Rodeo King (Houghton Mifflin Company)
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton and Related Readings (McDougal Littell)
  • Jubilee by Margaret Walker and Related Readings (McDougal Littell)
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok and Related Readings (McDougal Littell)

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Judy Shapiro
Attorney, Indian Tribal Affairs

E-mail: jshapirolaw@earthlink.net
Judy Shapiro graduated Kirkland College in 1974 with a concentration in Anthropology (along with substantial course work in Biology and Philosophy). After one year's employment as a lab assistant in a biochemistry lab, she attended an Early Music Performance Program at Sarah Lawrence College, receiving the degree of Master of Fine Arts in performance of Renaissance Wind and Stringed instruments. She spent the next few years teaching and performing early music in and around New York City, and had a number of day jobs.

Judy's current career is in the law. She holds a JD from Georgetown University Law Center (Magna Cum Laude, 1983), and served a two year judicial clerkship with the Honorable Richard Owen in the Southern District of New York (Judge Owen also composes opera). Judy has worked at two law firms in Washington D.C.: one very large (Arnold & Porter), and the other significantly smaller (Hobbs, Straus). Although trained in general litigation, she pursued a specialty in federal Indian law, focusing on the representation of Indian tribes in addressing a broad range of issues. She is nationally recognized as expert in areas of federal recognition and Indian gaming, and dedicates substantial time to preservation of cultural resources and tribal sovereignty. In 2003, she left law firm practice to establish her own office, continuing to work wholly on Indian affairs.

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Pamela Shipley
Educational Consultant

E-mail: pamelashipley@comcast.net
I specialize in college process and placement, focusing on standardized test prep and application preparation. (As a Kirkie and Sarah Lawrence graduate, the irony of being a whiz at standardized tests is not lost on me.) The most fun I have is in teaching the creative personal essay to my students who have survived the rigors of the test prep with me. Originally, I was known as an "organizational specialist" and "multi-subject tutor." Somehow I managed to receive teaching certification in New York and receive a masters in "curriculum & teaching" from Teachers College, Columbia. There, I had the amazing fortune to have Dr. Lucy Calkins as both my academic & action research advisor. Lucy's brain-child is a major think-tank in the teaching of writing and reading called "the reading and writing project," which has recently revised the k-8 curriculum for all of New York City. I mention all of this only to underscore the amazing graduate education I have received that has built on the educational values I experienced at both Kirkland & Sarah Lawrence.

The tradition of mentoring through all stages of my learning life has been the cornerstone of my practice. Through mentoring at Hamilton, I hope to encourage all self-possessed, passionate learners, mavericks & nerds to blaze their own trails professionally as well.

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Susan E. Skerritt

E-mail: susan.skerritt@earthlink.net
Susan Skerritt is a Managing Director at the Bank of New York Mellon, responsible for a newly-formed Strategy, Development and Investment Group. Since joining BNYM in 2006, Susan has been involved with several high-profile projects and products. She had business management responsibility for the Global Corporate Trust CDO product during a period of extensive internal transitions and external market upheaval.

Susan also served as the Chief Administrative Officer for Global Corporate Trust. In that role, she co-led the complex global integration and conversion efforts associated with the Bank's acquisition of JPMorgan Chase's corporate trust business. Susan has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. Before joining BNYM, she was a partner of Treasury Strategies, Inc., where she was responsible for the Corporate Consulting practice and management of the firm's New York office. She joined Treasury Strategies in 1998 after serving in increasingly senior positions at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, Ernst & Young and Morgan Stanley, primarily in the areas of treasury management, global custody and international treasury. Susan graduated from Kirkland College in 1977 with a BA in Economics and received her MBA in Finance and International Business from New York University's Stern School of Business.

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