2012 Alumnae Award Recipients
Distinguished Alumna Award
The Distinguished alumna award is given annually to an alumna whose achievements represent the fulfillment of Chatham's mission of excellence in the liberal arts education of women. Recipients have made inspiring contributions to their particular fields, volunteer organizations, or society in general. The final selection each year is made by a committee of the Alumnae Association Board.
For many years, Nancy Oleinick '62 has been a professor of radiation oncology, biochemistry, oncology and environmental health sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Through her work, she became one of the world's leading authorities on photodynamic therapy mechanisms.
Since 1972, Nancy has been funded continuously by the National Institutes of Health. She has also worked with clinicians in the Cancer Center and the Skin Diseases Research Center to develop clinical trials for dermal malignancies and for psoriasis. Recently, she became the chief scientific officer of Fluence Therapeutics, Inc., a company that is working to commercialize a new psoriasis therapy that is based on a phthalocyanine photosensitizer that she developed to treat cancer.
Nancy received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Chatham and a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.
Can you explain what photodynamic therapy for those non-scientists among us?
"PDT is a treatment for cancer and other conditions that uses a combination of a photosensitive dye and intense visible light. I've developed one of these dyes that is introduced into the tumor or unwanted tissue then irradiated with red light. In PDT, the dye absorbs light then transfers the energy to oxygen to create an activated form of oxygen, which damages and kills the cells. With other photosensitizers, the FDA has approved PDT for some cancers and non-cancerous lesions. In my lab, we have studied the cellular sites of PDT damage and how cells respond as they try to repair the damage or die."
Cornerstone Award Recipients
Established in 1997, the Cornerstone Awards are presented each year at Reunion to identify and recognize the achievements of alumnae in a variety of fields. As a subset of the Cornerstones, the Young Alumna Cornerstone Award has been given out since 2001. Read on to meet this year's award recipients. Q&As by Jane Alexander Givins '63.
Betsy Crone '67 has raised funds for organizations fighting for a cleaner and safer environment, advancing legal and women's rights, protecting women's health, strengthening local arts organizations, and improving social services. She is a founder of EMILY's List, a political action committee dedicated to electing pro-choice democratic women.
Betsy began her career while working on her tutorial on Democratic Senators elected in 1964. Serving as a campaign volunteer for Senator Joseph Tydings (Maryland) gave her the opportunity to attend the Democratic National Convention and secure an internship at the Senate the following year. As more women entered politics in the 1970s, she focused on "breaking the glass ceiling" and expanding women's advocacy organizations.
In 1994, Betsy was recognized for her work to ensure that women are part of the political process with a Mentor Award from the Public Leadership Education Network, of which Chatham is a founding member.
Betsy received a bachelor's degree in political science from Chatham and a master's degree from the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.
You say that the glass ceiling is the being shattered for women in politics. How far away do you think we are in electing a female president?
"We've made a lot of progress both in politics and society. I don't know when we will elect a woman president, but I think it's more an issue of electing the right woman - not just any woman. Women embody important values and bring a different perspective from which everyone will benefit. We must construct a society that values the contributions of all its citizens."
Abbie Goodman '82 is the executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts and director of external affairs for the Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers. She is also a registered lobbyist and director of external affairs for The Engineering Center, which provides administrative support to a variety of associations.
She serves on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's Transportation Advisory Committee and on the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management Construction Law Working Group. Previously, Abbie served as executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and the Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment, where she opened state trade to Berlin and Jerusalem.
A graduate of the CEO Track of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Organization Management, Abbie holds a bachelor's degree in communication with a minor in political science from Chatham.
Anticipating their next steps, what key attributes/skills would you recommend Chatham seniors develop?
"Based on my own experience, these would rise to the top of the list: Develop the ability to write clearly and quickly. Feel comfortable with public speaking. Learn to approach people and introduce yourself. Don't wait for the opportunity - make the opportunity. Volunteer. Pitch in and help. It's a way to meet so many people and to have great new experiences at the same time. Don't sit home and wait to be asked! If you have an interest in politics, volunteer for political campaigns for candidates with views you support, especially women candidates. You can build some great skills in fundraising, advocacy, event management, and human relations from political campaigns."
Inspired by the number of famous women who had attended women's colleges, Patricia Hredzak-Showalter '07 enrolled at Chatham University and pursued a bachelor's degree in chemistry in a curriculum that was tailored to her interests and needs for graduate school. As a Chatham student, she obtained geochemistry work at the University of Pittsburgh and an internship at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
After graduation, Trish moved on to Tufts University to pursue a master's degree in electroanalytical chemistry, and it was during this period that she was involved in the NASA Mars Phoenix Lander, which confirmed the presence of water on Mars.
Today, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in oceanography at University of Delaware's School of Marine Sciences and Policy, working on projects related to the two subjects she finds the most fascinating - space and the ocean.
What would you consider to be a major success or breakthrough in your field?
"There's still so much we don't know about the ocean. Although the scientific community accepts the fact that global warming exists, we're still trying to understand it and know how to impact it. One exciting prospect has to do with somehow introducing more iron into the ocean to see if it will then absorb more carbon from the atmosphere.
"We also know that humans who depend on the ocean in so many ways also assault it with toxins and litter and so forth. If we understand it better, perhaps we can influence the human impact."
Sydney Scarborough '72, former trustee and alumni board member, is a managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle, a financial and professional service firm specializing in real estate services and investment management. She serves on the board of Swedish Covenant Hospital and its Finance Committee and Marketing/Strategic Planning Committee.
Sydney has successively served as first vice president of Mellon Bank, first vice president of First Chicago (JP Morgan Chase), president of Pool, Scarborough & Associates, and co-founder and executive vice president of Lillibridge Healthcare Services.
At Mellon Bank, Sydney established and developed the healthcare banking division, leading a national group of lenders to relationships with 150 hospitals and healthcare systems. She also launched a healthcare financial consulting business for First Chicago and then took the business private.
Sydney received a bachelor's degree in political science from Chatham and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh's Katz School of Business.
Your professional path, even while in banking, has been deeply involved with healthcare. What led you in that direction?
"I was drawn to helping hospitals with their business challenges and plans, but I realized that the ultimate beneficiary was the patient. Patients will never know my name, but they will know that their services are broader and better. Helping a nonprofit healthcare entity enhance its profitability so that more goes right back into the business allows it to pursue an important mission and make essential service enhancements, such as IT systems and specialized care units."