Stories from our Alumnae Community
Our “Sharing Our Stories” series was designed to show how our AADC alumnae sisters coped with the changes in their lives resulting from the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and today’s critical issues. Read our collection of stories published here thru February 2021. Scroll down to click on links to read stories.
Valerie Anderson ’81 has served as Executive Director of the AADC since March, 2011. She has guided the organization through challenging times with outstanding leadership and commitment. Here is her story of an outside activity close to her heart — leading a grief support group filled with people who really relied on her outreach and their connections with each other, published on February 22, 2021. Read her story.
Lynn DeLean-Weber ’87 was an economics major and a Mary I. Bunting student at Douglass. She is the CEO and co-founder of Edelbrand Pure Distilling in Marthasville, Missouri, and serves as an officer in the Missouri Craft Distillers Guild, representing almost 40 craft distillers across the state. She taught early childhood education as an AMS Montessori teacher for 10 years, and during that time completed her M.A. in Education from Maryville University with her thesis, “The Parent Cooperative: A Model for Early Childhood Education in Rural Communities.” She is a donor to the AADC and has participated in several AADC programs. Here is her story, shared on February 16, 2021.
Bonnie Gutman ’72 was a Spanish-Education major at Douglass College. She spent a good part of her career in the U.S. State Department and is a long-time resident of Washington, D.C. She enjoys taking pictures of the sights and events in D.C. She is a supporter of the AADC and has attended her Class Reunions, and she still has her dink! We broadened our scope to include the extended length of this story and its accompanying photos because of the historic nature of the moments it captures. Here is her story, shared on February 4, 2021.
Maryjane McCloskey Finne, Class of 1969, was a pre-med student from Vermont when she attended Douglass. Following graduation, she worked in the pension industry, was a Y2K programmer, and taught high school in Rahway and Roselle, NJ. Her current writing endeavors include poetry, essays and informational stories at maryjanefinne.com. She enjoyed attending her first reunion, her 50th in 2019, but also had stayed connected with the AADC through her support of the AADC Annual Appeal and advocacy and by reading our publications. Here is her story, shared by the AADC on January 7, 2021.
Lisa Dorio Ruch ’89 graduated from Douglass with a degree in English and Spanish. She earned a law degree at Columbia University School of Law and works as a mediator and hearing officer at State of New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission. She currently serves as the AADC Vice President for Administration for the second time and is also in her second stint as a member of the Board. She has also chaired the AADC’s Nominating Committee. Here is her story, shared by the AADC on December 15, 2020.
Fredricka (Ricki) Maister ’70, graduated from Douglass with major in art history and a minor in English. Since then she has returned for several AADC Reunions. After decades of living in New York City, Ricki, a freelance writer, currently resides in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in a variety of print and online newspapers, magazines and anthologies. This article first appeared in BroadStreetReview.com. Here is her story, shared by the AADC on December 2, 2020.
Stephanie Morehead Noce ’06 studied Women’s and Gender Studies at Douglass. An active member of the AADC Marketing & Communications team, she also participates in the AADC Mabel’s Alumnae Mentoring Program. Stephanie resides in northeast Pennsylvania with her husband and sons, Jonathan (7 years old) and Christopher (5 years old). Here is her story, shared on November 18, 2020.
Tatianna Amatruda ’17 majored in journalism and media studies. She served as the student liaison to the AADC Board of Directors. A California native, she lives in Los Angeles, where she is the social media editor at E! Entertainment at NBCUniversal Media, LLC, in Beverly Hills. Here is her story, shared on November 4, 2020.
Samantha Bruno ’11 is the Communications Manager for Red Lobster, the world’s largest seafood restaurant company, headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Prior to that, Samantha worked for nearly 10 years at Janine Gordon Associates and Peppercomm, two New York based Public Relations firms representing a variety of clients in the luxury and consumer goods space. She has participated in the AADC Mabel’s Alumnae Mentoring Program as both a mentee and mentor for several years. Here is her story, shared on October 21, 2020.
Ellen Sue Spicer-Jacobson ’59 has shared her creative spirit with alumnae through her books and by designing the Class of 1959’s 50th Reunion class banner. She is active with her Class, attends AADC Alumnae Reunion Weekend and also participates in the annual AADC Cabin Fever knitting and sweet treat event. In addition to previously published books, she hopes to publish her first novel, “Full Set of Nails,” based on her experiences and those of friends who divorced in midlife, what she calls “gray divorce.” Ellen Sue considers herself a “rhymnast” or a gymnast with words, rather than a poet. Here is her story and one of her “rhymes.” Here is her story, shared on October 8, 2020.
Author Barbara Poti Crooker ‘67 was preparing to launch her latest book of poetry, “Some Glad Morning” (Pitt Poetry Series, University of Pittsburgh Poetry Press), when the pandemic meant cancelling book events. “Still,” she says, “I’m writing, because that (and gardening) is all I know how to do.” She has shared updates and poetry through Class Notes and shared her work at AADC Alumnae Reunion Weekend. Here is her poem, shared on October 1, 2020.
An English major at Douglass, Kathryn Ruth Bloom ’67 enjoyed a long career in corporate communications in the biopharmaceutical industry. After retiring, she completed a Ph.D. in literature at Northeastern and now has a second career leading literature classes in retirement communities in the greater Boston area. Her articles, op-eds and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Boston Globe, Boston Herald and Hadassah Magazine. She is a loyal supporter of the AADC and of the AADC Annual Appeal. Here is her story, shared on September 24, 2020.
Kristina DePinto ’14 graduated as a Bunting. She majored in Sociology, Education & Psychology. Her experience in the former AADC Externship Program exposed her to the field of Autism and led her to a career with a focus in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Kristina continues to mentor classmates in pursuit of attending graduate school. Here is her story, shared on September 17, 2020.
Vilma Olsvary Ginzberg ’48 graduated from NJC with a degree in psychology and worked as a clinical psychotherapist in Wisconsin for four decades. Now 93, Vilma has published seven small collections of poetry, many of which can be obtained through Amazon, all of which can be sampled on her website, www.vilmaginzberg.com. She attended her 40th and 50th Vanguard Reunions and enjoys reading AADC publications to stay informed. She is a consistent donor to the AADC Annual Appeal. Here is her story, shared on September 4, 2020.
The Honorable Harriet Farber Klein ’70 was a Political Science and History major. She earned her J.D. degree from Rutgers Law School-Newark in 1973. She began her career as a law clerk to the Hon. Irwin I. Kimmelman in the Essex County Superior Court, Chancery Division. Harriet practiced as a litigator with two New Jersey law firms, becoming a partner at the Woodbridge firm of Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis. In 1998, she was appointed to the New Jersey Superior Court bench in Essex County. Harriet has attended numerous AADC events and has been a consistent contributor to the AADC Annual Fund and Capital Campaign. Here is her story, shared on August 27, 2020. Read her story.
Lisa Taubenblat ’95 is a psychotherapist in a clinic setting and private practice in New York City. She graduated from NYU Silver School of Social Work in 2003. She works with adults, couples and families and focuses on mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic illness, aging concerns and multi-generational conflict. She is a certified divorce mediator. She was inspired by the former AADC Extern Program, in which she participated at a child welfare agency in Colorado. Here is her story, shared on August 20, 2020. Read her story.
Rayna Addabbo ‘11 was inspired to pursue a Ph.D. in biophysics through her experiences in Professor Jean Baum’s research group studying the protein collagen while she was an undergraduate. She earned her doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018, where she was a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow. Her dissertation focused on protein folding in the context of the cellular environment. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Molecular Virology. Rayna stays connected with the AADC and sister alumnae through our virtual programs, such as AADC Virtual Tea with Tina. Here is her story, shared on August 13, 2020. Read her story.
Marie-Louise Carkhuff Meyers ’59 is in the process of writing a book about the pandemic and is the author of three books of poetry and a children’s book, “The Case of the Missing Silver Star.” She is a frequent contributor to Class Notes and celebrates at AADC Alumnae Reunion Weekend. She writes every day and shares one of her poems about what she calls “our present predicament.” Here is her poem, shared on August 6, 2020. Read her story.
Marilyn Urso is a member of the Class of 1969. She is a strong supporter of the AADC and its mission. She has had several careers and is currently a New York State licensed real estate broker and a NYS Certified real estate instructor. Here is her story, shared on July 30, 2020. Read her story.
Meryl Stoller Orlando ’75 served as a house chair at Corwin dorms in her junior year. She currently serves as vice president of her class, has helped plan milestone reunions and has attended nearly every five-year reunion for the Class of 1975. In addition to other AADC events, she has participated in workshops hosted by the AADC along with her friend, Beverly Greenhouse Perry ’76, who is included in her story. Here is her story, shared on July 23, 2020. Read her story.
Julie Stern-Delfiner, MD, is a 1989 graduate of Douglass. She earned her medical degree from Northwestern University Medical School in 1993 and today is a pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a position she has held since completing fellowship training in 1999. Here is her story, shared on July 15, 2020. Read her story.
Fredda Klein Sacharow ’71 graduated from Douglass College with a degree in journalism and most recently worked for “Rutgers Today,” until she lost her freelance assignments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. She recently connected with alumnae on the AADC virtual event, “Tea with Tina.” Here is her story, shared on July 9, 2020. Read her story.
Karen McLane Torian, Class of 1973, is a former member of the AADC Board of Directors, a past chair of the AADC Black Alumnae Network Jewel Plummer Sisters Conference and a consistent donor to the AADC. Here is her story, shared on June 26, 2020. Read her story.
Deborah Hipkins ’73 graduated from Douglass with a degree in American Studies. After getting a degree in nursing in 2006, she spent many years working as a nurse. She has returned to celebrate milestone reunions and traveled to Egypt with the AADC Alumnae Travel program in 2019. Here is her story, shared on June 18, 2020. Read her story.
Stephanie Cayne, Class of 1989, serves on the AADC Board as Secretary. She is a teacher who has seen major changes in education during this crisis, but here she focuses on her work as an EMT. Here is her story, shared on June 4, 2020. Read her story.
Kathryn Jenkins Cooke ’10 has served as Class Secretary since her graduation. She works in Medicaid policy for the AIDS Institute, New York State Department of Health in Albany, New York, where she lives with her husband and two children. She celebrated her first five-year Reunion in 2015 along with her daughter Lexi and her mother Nancy Mencel Jenkins ’77. We shared her story on May 28, 2020. Read her story.
Jennifer Ansbach ’93 is a staunch supporter of the AADC and its mission. She has taught high school in Manchester Township, NJ, for 13 years and currently is in the PhD program in American Studies at Rutgers University Graduate School – Newark, where she also serves as a teaching assistant. We shared her story on May 22, 2020. Read her story.
Tiffany ’04 (last name and other details have been omitted to respect the privacy of her employer), serves her class as Alumnae Council Representative and is a member of the AADC Black Alumnae Network Jewel Plummer Cobb Sisters Conference Planning Committee. She is a doctor in New Jersey. We shared her story on May 15, 2020. Read her story.