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Hamilton’s Class of 2020 returned to campus for a celebration more than two years in the making after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the spring 2020 semester. From the thought-provoking coursework and off-campus study opportunities to the support they’ve found on campus and out in the world from the alumni network, members of the class have discovered how their time on College Hill has shaped their initial post-graduate pursuits.

A few 2020 graduates shared how learning to think independently, communicating ideas clearly, and adapting to change has helped them be successful. (Note: Responses have been edited for length.) 

Gabe Linden ’20

Gabe Linden 300 x 400

Major: Biology
Where are you now?

I am a clinical research assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital. The research I work on is related to improving care for pediatric orthopaedic conditions, especially those of the spine. I will leave my position this summer to pursue medical school at Tufts University School of Medicine in the fall.

How did Hamilton help you get there?

I was connected with a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon at Boston Children’s through the Hamilton network. I set up an informational interview with the surgeon, then subsequently learned about job openings in the research department. I joined Boston Children’s upon graduating Hamilton in the summer of 2020.

What is something you learned at Hamilton that has been invaluable in your current role?

Hamilton helped build my written and verbal communication skills. In my current role, I have used my writing skills to author a peer-reviewed publication, and several abstracts which have been presented at national medical conferences. Verbally, I have used my skills to interact with patients in the clinic, conduct informed consent for research studies, and work with the team of surgeons and research staff to advance our projects. 

What courses, programs, or experiences would you recommend to current students interested in a similar path?

My greatest advice to anyone pursuing medical school as a Hamilton student is to have a strong relationship with your pre-health advisor. Completing all of the necessary academic requirements for medical school can be a major challenge, but having an advisor in your corner will help you stay on track and focus on your path. My pre-health advisor, Leslie Bell, also connected me with many alumni who provided me with amazing insights about their summer internships, post-grad experiences, and applications to medical school. Don’t hesitate to ask for help during this process!

Ashley Ramcharan ’20

Ashley Ramcharan ’20

Major: Sociology
Minors: Mathematics and Africana Studies
Where are you now?

I moved to New York City where I have a full-time position in marketing strategy. I also freelance for Brown Girl Magazine where I am the co-editor for our Indo-Caribbean team.

What is something you learned at Hamilton — about yourself, others, or the world — that has been invaluable in your current role?

As a sociology major, I studied what I loved but remained unsure what field I would enter throughout college. Postgrad, I realized that I have a lot of transferable skills and could pursue many career options. I am especially thankful for the small discussion classes that helped me break out of my shell and become a confident speaker.

Who is one Hamiltonian (professor, staff member, classmate, alum) who helped you get where you are today?

Professor [Nigel] Westmaas! Similar to myself, [Associate Professor of Africana Studies] Westmaas is of Guyanese descent. He has constantly encouraged me and provided support.

Abby Rosovsky ’20

Abby Rosovsky ’20

Majors: Government, Hispanic Studies
Where are you now?

I am working as a compliance coordinator at the law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in Washington, D.C. This fall I’m starting law school at Boston College!

How did Hamilton help you get there?

The Career Center. Every person I worked with (special shout out to [Student Fellowships Coordinator] Ginny Dosch!) not only helped me prepare my resume and polish my narrative, but also instilled in me a feeling of self-assuredness that I was capable of getting the position. I think this confidence helped me both in my interviews and at the start of my career.&

What is something you learned at Hamilton that has been invaluable in your current role?

Learning that it’s encouraged to ask questions. My professors motivated me to understand the “why” behind the course material. In my first job out of college, I felt pressure to perfect a task after seeing it done once, which I quickly realized was unrealistic. I came back to this lesson that it’s okay to break things down and ask questions in order to learn something more thoroughly. This has made me more productive, knowledgeable, and thoughtful in my work.

What courses, programs, or experiences would you recommend to current students interested in a similar path?

Participate in the Community Outreach and Opportunity Programs (COOP). I think one of Hamilton’s most underutilized resources is the plethora of opportunities to get involved in the local community. The initiatives that I participated in influenced the classes that I took and shaped what internships I applied for. Hamilton Reads, Alternative Spring Breaks, and so many other programs allowed me to take on leadership positions, learn about a variety of issues, and meet new Hamilton peers and individuals from the surrounding areas. As a residential campus, it’s important for students to venture off the Hill to make these connections for any career path they choose.

What do you miss about Hamilton?

The KJ couch clusters! Kidding (kind of). I actually think the KJ atrium embodies the supportive and collaborative environment that Hamilton creates. Living in a city now, the thing I miss most about Hamilton is the nurturing, close-knit community. There was something very comforting about being able to walk down Martin’s Way and be surrounded by familiar faces who were ready to share in your triumphs and challenges.

Ruthie Schmidt ’20

Ruthie Schmidt ’20

Majors: Psychology, Anthropology
Where are you now?

Working for Columbia Sportswear in merchandising with the U.S. Footwear team at the company’s world headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Before this, I worked with a marketing agency I had interned with while at Hamilton.

Who is one Hamiltonian who helped you get where you are today?

I mean it when I say I never met a Hamilton professor/staff member I didn’t like, so I truly can’t pick one, but four names stick out to me: [Director Counseling and Psychological Services] David Walden, [Assistant Professor of Psychology] Keelah Williams, (Associate Professor of Psychology] Tara McKee, and [Director of Outdoor Leadership] Andrew Jillings. They taught me that invaluable skill of how to learn in their own ways, and with their own subject matter whether it was an issue in psychology, or how to lead an Adirondack Adventure trip. These folks set me on a path I’m grateful for with their teaching and support.

What courses, programs, or experiences would you recommend to current students interested in a similar path?

Whatever sounds interesting — because why not? You have so much time in those four years and so much opportunity and all of it can be transferable or catered to what you want to do later on. Seek out the information, utilize your advisors and the resources Hamilton has to offer, and just keep asking questions. If I did have to make one recommendation though, apply to be an Orientation Leader. It was a major highlight of my time at Hammy, and it continues to come up for me in conversations around transferable skills in the working world.

What is something unexpected that you did at Hamilton and how did that shape your college experience and/or life after Hamilton?

I took a figure drawing class my sophomore year! That was one of my first times at Hamilton where I really pushed myself to try something new that I wasn’t naturally good at or had prior experience with. I still look back to that class as an example of the good that can come from making yourself a little vulnerable and trying something new without the pressure of being perfect at it.

Kena Gilmour ’20

Kena Gilmour ’20

Major: Government
Minor: Women’s and Gender Studies
Where are you now?

I live in Brooklyn (home to many Hamiltonians!) and work at the Action Center on Race and the Economy. After graduation, I spent a year in Connecticut teaching English and history and coaching basketball at an independent boarding school before moving to the city. 

Who is one Hamiltonian who helped you get where you are today?

[Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies] Vivyan Adair. In taking many of her women’s and gender studies courses I came to understand how feminist theory can uplift those furthest from the center and is an essential component in achieving equity. Under her tutelage, I also found confidence in my academic capabilities – learning that my lived experiences and identity, often rendered obscure in academia, can be valuable and valid in research, theory, and as forms of data. These lessons have influenced and continue to inform the type of change I hope to engender in the world and the work I will continue to do.

What courses, programs, or experiences would you recommend to current students interested in a similar path?

For those looking into the nonprofit sector and other social justice occupations, I recommend getting a holistic and intersectional understanding of systemic oppression and marginality. Weaving disciplines including women’s and gender studies, Africana studies, and history provides a great base and tethers multiple perspectives to these deeply nuanced and complex issues. I also suggest stepping beyond the classroom and into the local community, especially Utica, which holds a vibrant culture and many remarkable people yet has been under-resourced and over-surveilled for far too long.

What do you miss about Hamilton?

I miss being in an environment of great curiosity, ambition, and compassion that provided both the structure and resources to better oneself (and those around you). To be surrounded by close friends and a supportive community in such a special ecosystem was invaluable.

Sarah Salimi ’20

Sarah Salimi ’20

Majors: Sociology, French and Francophone Studies
Where are you now?

After graduating, I spent a year working in healthcare communications at the PR firm FleishmanHillard. I have since transitioned to social policy research in K-12 education at the nonprofit MDRC. Both roles have been in New York City.

How did Hamilton help you get there?

Hamilton taught me how to be diligent, persevere, and never take “no” for an answer. There was a moment when I was switching industries where I was a little unsure if I was making the right decision, and I was grateful for the support of the generous and thoughtful alumni network in those times.

How did Hamilton empower you to “Know Thyself”?

I felt very free and accepted by my peers and faculty on campus, so I felt comfortable exploring my interests and different parts of my identity as a woman, person of color and Muslim American. It’s really awesome to find a place where you can show up fully as yourself.

What courses, programs, or experiences would you recommend to current students interested in a similar path?

I loved being a sociology major because I got to spend my time reading thought-provoking pieces about how the world works and discussing them with my very smart peers. It gave me a fuller lens to approach my life and work because now I always look for context and historical background, asking “how did this come to be?” or “why does this work the way it does?”

Nadav Konforty ’20

Nadav Konforty ’20

Major: Government
Minor: Middle East and Islamic World Studies
Where are you now?

I work as staff in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington, D.C.

How did Hamilton help you get there?

It was the mentorship of Hamilton alumni that helped me get where I am today. Hamilton has a strong contingent on Capitol Hill and in having the opportunity to intern for the House Democratic Caucus under Chairman Hakeem Jeffries with a history of Hamilton students and alumni interning and working there, I was able to transition from an internship position after graduation from Hamilton, to a staff position in the Speaker’s office.

How did Hamilton empower you to “Know Thyself”?

The open curriculum allowed me to study whatever I wanted and dive deeper into topics and areas of interest. Without the restrictions of course requirements, I was able to grow into myself and my interests and take charge of my education because I was actively personalizing it to my interests, not being a passive participant in a regimented track. For me, the best part of “Know Thyself” is self-awareness and knowing your interests, strengths, and weaknesses. Hamilton constantly put me in those positions to challenge myself to ensure that I'd always be growing for the better.

What courses, programs, or experiences would you recommend to current students interested in a similar path?

The D.C. Program was critical for me and my path. My semester internship in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office cemented the feeling for me that I wanted to work on Capitol Hill.

Maddy Totman ’20

Maddy Totman ’20

Majors: Geosciences, Environmental Studies
Where are you now?

I am a program leader at a company called Booster in the Pacific Northwest/Seattle area. I run fundraisers at elementary school campuses and lead events that go along with these fundraisers.

How did Hamilton help you get there?

My professors and staff advisors at Hamilton always encouraged me to follow what I am passionate about. I had always felt drawn to the west coast because of the outdoor opportunities so I decided to move here independently. Even though this move was very difficult, at Hamilton I learned that I can do hard things and that I should follow where my passions lead.

What is something you learned at Hamilton that has been invaluable in your current role?

I developed many leadership skills through organizations like Outreach Adventure and Alternative Spring Break. My time with these service organizations taught me how to lead and inspire a team whilst doing difficult, labor-intensive tasks. My job now requires many long, active days. It is important to know how to motivate and encourage a team in these circumstances and my time at Hamilton prepared me to do this.

What courses, programs, or experiences would you recommend to current students interested in a similar path?

After Hamilton, I did a service year through the Match Corps, an AmeriCorps program. This program taught me that I wanted to enter the field of education. I would encourage any current Hamilton student who is up for a challenging, rewarding experience and who is still trying to find their own unique career path to complete an AmeriCorps service year.

David Gagnidze ’20

David Gagnidze ’20

Majors: Anthropology, Government
Where are you now?

I have finished my master’s degree in global studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I will begin law school at American University in the fall and will focus on issues of international law.

What courses, programs, or experiences would you recommend to current students interested in a similar path?

Studying abroad is a no-brainer and an opportunity that has greatly benefited me. I would also strongly encourage students to apply for funding for research and internships, both of which I applied for. Hamilton’s generous donors make the possibility of receiving funding a real possibility and I could not have secured two of my internships and one summer of research without that generosity.

What is something unexpected that you did at Hamilton, and how did that shape your college experience and/or life after Hamilton?

My role as a leader for the Shenandoah-Kirkland Initiative (SKI), a student-led outreach initiative focused on building relationships with the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. I had no experience with issues concerning Indigenous Peoples in my past, but this was, by far, the most formative and rewarding experience I have been a part of to date. Apart from SKI, receiving accolades and input from Oneida Nation members as well as Hamilton staff and students about the importance of our work, my involvement in this organization introduced me to a previously unknown world for which I have an unyielding passion and desire to work for.

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