Welcome to the Fall edition of Around the Hill. In this issue you’ll find our usual personal announcements and job change information from Human Resources. And, since we just celebrated Fallcoming on the Hill, the feature stories in this edition reflect a Fall theme. We asked for submissions from people that have a favorite Fall activity and alums who “haven’t fallen far from the tree” – meaning they love the college so much that after graduating they have returned here to pursue their career.
You will also find a recap of the busy summer on campus and a new feature entitled, “Getting to Know Hamilton.” This section describes in prose and photos the Getting to Know Hamilton series of events that began this summer. Check out old and new!
Katrina was a 2003 graduate in Chinese Languages and Literature. After graduation, she married a fellow Hamiltonian, David Kolb ’02 and took multiple part-time jobs – a driver delivering gourmet lettuces and edible flowers from a local farm to higher-end restaurants in Herkimer, Oneida and neighboring counties; secondly as a ward clerk in the medical/surgical/pediatrics unit of Rome Memorial Hospital.
She relates, “It is said at Hamilton that if you walk across the map at the center of campus, you’ll never graduate. I’ve never been able to leave well enough alone, so where others occasionally crossed the map, or more often skirted the perimeter, I made the map my own. Every trek across campus was a gleeful challenge to campus superstition and my own uncertainty about the unknown future.” Eleven years later, she wonders if perhaps there was some truth to the campus superstition, as she has never really left Hamilton.
Katrina now works as a Circulation and Interlibrary Loan Assistant in Burke Library. Among other responsibilities, she processes course reserve materials and borrowing requests and supervises 24 student assistants. The latter is her favorite part of the job, as well as the most demanding and most rewarding. Katrina also enjoys “moonlighting” as a visiting storyteller for some of the literature classes on campus.
Cameron Feist graduated in 2004 in Religious Studies. He then worked at the Hamilton admissions office until 2009, when he “left to test the waters of secondary education,” working as a college guidance counselor until he returned to the Hill in January, 2012.
Cameron was born and raised in southern Florida. However, his parents were from New York and both of his older siblings attended Hamilton before him (Corey, ’95 and Megan ’98). So in many ways, Cameron grew up on the Hill, attending family weekends and graduations. Over time he came to view Hamilton as the prototypical example of college and a bit of a utopia. As he and his wife Liz considered where they wanted to raise their son, the thought of doing so in Clinton as a member of the Hamilton College family was too enticing to pass up.
Cameron currently serves as Hamilton’s Director of Financial Aid.
Phyllis A.H. Breland, Director of Opportunity Programs at Hamilton College, is a 1980 Hamilton Theater graduate.
Her first job was as a fundraiser; then she began working with corporate America. She then held positions in service delivery, program development, and as an educator with the Onondaga County Health Department, focusing on colorectal and prostate cancer.
When asked what brought her back to Hamilton, Phyllis reported, “I was suffering from the disease of ‘too many rules’ to get the job done effectively. Throughout my working career, I had always brought in students, developed internships, and created initiatives that involved teaching, helping students achieve job experience goals, and exposing potential to those capable of doing so much more than they were doing. Chris Johnson, who was the director of Opportunity Programs for over 30 years, asked me to take up her journey, and I gladly accepted the offer.” Phyllis saw that her earlier career choices made sense, and that it was time to give back to the program and place that had given her so much.
Laurie Russell enjoys Bald Mountain near Old Forge. It is a fairly easy hike, so she felt that it could be a family affair. Now that her children are grown, they bring friends’ children for an afternoon of exercise and to show them the beauty that is in our own backyard. Lauri suggests to go near or at peak in order to enjoy the fall foliage.
Phyllis Breland’s favorite fall place was the family gathering where her mother would cook everyone’s favorites, It didn’t make for a cohesive menu, but it was delicious and love-directed. This was special to her because it was “where I became me, and home is where my children can see everything I represent, and the road I have come.”
Katrina Schell’s favorite place in the area is a specific maple tree in the glen (which she calls “Lady Maple”) where she travels by a specific route. “Lady Maple” provides a place where she can commune, undisturbed, with the universe.