Kirkland Alumnae

Sharon Rippey

Kirkland Mentoring

Testimonial: Katie Naughton '08

I’ve had a great experience with the two Kirkland women I’ve been in contact with in the year since my graduation.

I met Susie Hartman at a Kirkland alumnae brunch and was interested in talking with her about her poetry background. Our first point of connection was about poetry – Susie looked at some of my work, and we talked about journals and poets I might be interested in checking out. Since moving to New York, I’ve met with Susie a few times for dinner – one spot she showed me has become one of my regular haunts for a good café con leche for $1.25 in a neighborhood dominated by four dollar lattes. She’s tipped me off to good places to check out poetry in the city, cafes that will let you write undisturbed all afternoon – I plan to attend a reading she organized at the Brooklyn Lyceum this weekend!

I’ve never actually met Jo Pitkin, something we’re hoping to rectify this weekend, but nonetheless feel that I know her and she knows me very well. A friend of mine had met Jo at a Kirkland brunch, and thought that I should get in contact with her, as a poet who started working in publishing, and now also does textbook writing. Jo has been really supportive as I’ve been looking for jobs: Though I’m still not working in publishing, she set me up with a Hamilton alumnus who helped me find a freelance job doing textbook writing. Jo has also helped me make contact with a literary press, Nightboat Books; I plan to volunteer there. More importantly, Jo has been consistently supportive, calling or e-mailing to check on my progress.

Having this connection with Kirkland women, in addition to Hamilton men and women, is important to me. There is a similarity between my concerns and interests and theirs. I feel that they’re interested in me as a whole, not just my career aspirations. I’ve developed lasting relationships with Kirkland alumnae that acknowledge their work and my aspirations, but also all the other facets of life – it’s good to speak with someone who has been there. I like Kirkland women, and like their model of alumni networking. I hope they’ll continue with their effort – I plan to keep my experience with them in mind when I’m in a position to mentor younger alumni!