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Graduating College Women Talk About "The Douglass Difference"

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Photo Credit: Douglass Residential College/ Kristen Huang, Class of 2016

On May 17, 2014, Margaret Frimpong, Gabrielle Rossi, Dawn Angelicca Barcelona, Jenae Keith, and Khoobi Gangdev graduated from Douglass Residential College along with 439 other women. These graduates joined a long list of alumnae (more than 36,000) since its founding in 1918.

Douglass alumnae who have gone on to have rewarding lives and fruitful careers include Patricia Smith Campbell '63, inventor of the transdermal patch; Carol Tecla Christ '66, president emerita of Smith College; Janet Evanovich '65, NY Times bestselling author of the Stephanie Plum series; Irene Etkin Goldman '65, advocate for Human Rights, Coalition for Peace Action in Princeton, NJ; and Sandra Harding '56, feminist philosopher of science.

The future of these new graduates also is bright. I say this because their alma mater, like other women's colleges, prepared them for success (regardless of their career ambitions). All of these young women possess skills employers are demanding today: written and oral communication; decision-making; critical-thinking; analytical, interpersonal, and research skills. As a former recruiter, I know this is music to the ears of many companies that want these very skills and find them difficult to get.

I believe it is the "Douglass Difference" that makes these graduates unique and why, if I were recruiting today, I'd be making a special effort to recruit from women's colleges. See for yourself.

In this blog post, I've included a bit about their backgrounds and also provided a link to their on-line profile. (This way, you'll be able to see how accomplished these women are.) I've also asked Gabrielle, Jenae, Margaret, Khoobi, and Dawn to share what "The Douglass Difference" means to them.

Gabrielle Rossi, a Douglass legacy replied:

The Douglass Difference to me means that Douglass gives her students the resources, opportunities, advising, and advantages to take the world by storm. Douglass women graduate with confidence, poise, and leadership skills they need to go on to do truly exceptional things.

Gabrielle graduated from the School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program with a double major in Women's & Gender Studies (receiving highest honors for her thesis) and American Studies and double minors in history and psychology. In addition to her academic studies, Gabrielle has hands-on experience managing large-scale projects and events, including the New Jersey Folk Festival and Dream4TK. Gabrielle is looking to leverage her non-profit experience into a career and is currently interviewing with various non-profit organizations.

Jenae Keith received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, with a minor in Spanish. She recently finished an internship at the White House and is looking forward to a summer internship with Deloitte before starting graduate school in accounting. To Jenae, the Douglass Difference means camaraderie:

On a visit to Mount Vernon, George Washington's estate, I was impressed by the 'game room' where, as the tour guide said, 'George Washington frequently played cards with his closest friends, John Adams, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton'-- some of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. Imagine having a group of friends like that.

Then I remembered that, thanks to Douglass College, I too have a great group of friends. My first year living in Katzenbach Hall I met women who are not only intelligent, beautiful, outspoken, artsy, powerful, and successful, but are also the women with whom I can trust my deepest secrets and who accept me for who I am. Douglass gave me that and it is what I think is so unique about this campus. I am so excited for all of our futures, and I thank Douglass for bringing us all together. Thus for me camaraderie is the Douglass Difference.

Margaret Frimpong, having earned two Bachelor of Arts degrees-- one in human resources and the other in labor studies and employment relations--will be continuing her studies in the Rutgers Human Resources Master's Program. After completing this one-year program, Margaret looks forward to securing a full-time position in human resources.

Douglass Difference to me meant 'Sisterhood'. It was where I bonded with like-minded women who inspired me to go after my dreams. The Douglass Difference meant leadership, academic support, and financial support from our associate alumnae, and endless friendship for life! I have really enjoyed my time at Douglass and living on Douglass Campus for three straight years; I know I wouldn't get that wonderful experience anywhere else!

Khoobi Gangdev, an international student from India, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing with a minor in psychology. She gained valuable marketing experience with various internships throughout her four years at Douglass--her favorite was as a social media and communications intern with her alma mater. Khoobi's now eager to apply her social media-digital marketing skills and knowledge with an employer, and she is actively interviewing.

The Douglass Difference for me is the ability to look at things from a very different perspective than four years ago. The Douglass Difference has made me bolder and more willing to take risks. The Douglass Difference is what I feel sets each Douglass woman apart from her counterparts.

Dawn Angelicca Barcelona:

The Douglass Difference for me meant having a chance to try new things in a supportive environment without feeling self-conscious over it. The deans, fellow students, and the all-women's living environment created an amazing environment for me to step out of my comfort zone with things like public speaking. Douglass gave me a chance to become a better leader and learn how to work with other leaders. Douglass was also the first place I felt I had a 'voice' that mattered and found people who were willing to listen to my input and fuse their ideas with mine to make an even greater vision and plan happen. Douglass was truly a home away from home too. I love that I am still so close to the friends I met during my first year at Douglass (Gabrielle Rossi has been my roommate for three years--freshman, sophomore, and now senior year)! Douglass was also a community where I could have an identity and not 'get lost' at the huge school at Rutgers.

Dawn also earned two degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a creative writing concentration, and a Bachelor of Arts in human resource management. Dawn is the recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant, and for the next year she will be teaching English in South Korea. She'll return to the United States in the fall of 2015 to teach high school English in Las Vegas Valley as part of the organization Teach For America. Her long-term career goal is to "either work as a Chief Diversity Officer in a corporation or teach English literature and creative writing on a high school or college level. Those are two very different career paths, but I have such a diverse academic/professional background that I can still see myself being happy in either of those roles."

Congratulations to Douglass Class of 2014! It is an exciting time to be launching your career or going on to graduate school. The education you received will serve you for many, many years to come as will the Douglass Difference.

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Photo Caption: (from left to right) Jenae Keith, Khoobi Gangdev, Margaret Frimpong, Dawn Angelicca Barcelona and Gabrielle Rossi

Photo Credit: Douglass Residential College/ Kristen Huang, Class of 2016