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Madeira celebrates 50 years of The Co-Curriculum Program  

May 3, 2017
Cokie Roberts gives keynote speech at Celebrate Madeira

Nearly 400 guests gathered along with the Madeira community on April 28, 2017 for Celebrate Madeira, an event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the school’s award-winning Co-Curriculum experiential learning program.

Co-Curriculum today provides students with three distinct five week internships over the course of their Madeira experience. Sophomores serve within local community organizations, juniors intern on Capitol Hill, and seniors pursue a passion in a career-oriented placement. This transformational process helps build a robust resume that makes Madeira’s students stand out from the crowd

Featuring an exceptional lineup of distinguished speakers, including Madeira alumnae, Celebrate Madeira was a resounding success.

Noted political commentator Cokie Roberts kicked the day off with the opening keynote. She engaged the audience with political and cultural stories from her roots in Louisiana to her time in Washington, D.C. Noting Madeira’s mission of “launching women who change the world,” Roberts shared the impact that women have had throughout history, including our very own Miss Lucy Madeira. Just ten years out of Vassar, Miss Madeira founded the school, and stated, ‘Other girls’ schools were finishing schools and we didn’t want to be ‘finished’.” Roberts commented that the ‘finished’ comment was such a wonderful metaphor because we are always growing and learning.

Read a recap from each session:

5 Days, 5 Weeks, Co-Curriculum
Dr. Tara Nayak Palmore ’88, Kate Opalack Watts ’94, Sahana Bhagat ’17, Soleil Ephraim ’17
Andre Withers, Assistant Head of School, moderated this panel of current and past students. Tara and Kate discussed their experiences with Co-Curriculum as students then discussed their experiences hosting current Madeira students through Co-Curriculum. Sahana and Soleil both interned with the alumnae on the panel and gave insights as to what they have learned from their internships and the benefits of working with Madeira alums.

Earth in Crisis: Bold strategies to effect social changes
Lucy Blake ’76, Catharine Gilliam Burns ’74, and Meg Goldthwaite P’15, ‘19
Catharine led a fascinating discussion about environmental awareness with Lucy and Meg, who each stressed the importance of messaging and audience. The number one takeaway was to think local. Actions such as contacting your local representatives to discuss how they are voting on environmental issues, and supporting local organizations committed to saving and protecting the planet, help immensely.

Backstage! Professional actors share the good, bad, and ugly of a career in show business
Fatima Quander ’97, June Schreiner ’12, and Holly Twyford ‘86
Holly moderated an absolutely hysterical and lively panel with Fatima and June. They discussed the hardships of working with cast members and directors that may be difficult to get along with, auditioning and not getting parts for reasons out of your control, and the joy of being on stage or on camera and providing an experience for the audience.

Design Thinking in Real Life: How to bring design, creativity, and innovation into your everyday life
Emi Kolawole `00
Emi is a multi-media strategist with over a decade of experience and the founder Dexign LLC based in Fairfax, Virginia. Ms. Kolawole's 10 rules of Design Thinking emphasized human-centric ways to tackle complex problems and reframe the problem to find effective solutions. From learning how to form diverse and inclusive teams, as well as "how to walk in like Beyonce," it was clear that Design Thinking was necessary and fun! By helping integrate these core elements of Design Thinking into our lives, Emi empowered the audience to solve complex problems that occur every day in their companies, countries, and even the planet.

Pandas Gone Wild: Two alumnae take us on a remarkable photographic journey inside China’s efforts to save the giant panda from extinction
Ami Vitale ’89 and Sadie Quarrier ‘88
Ami and Sadie took the audience on a roller coaster adventure, from photographing dangerous, war-torn nations to capturing incredible wildlife shots. Ami shared spectacular images from her time in conflict-ridden Kashmir, to baby elephants and rhinos in Africa, and finally to a brood of baby pandas in China. Sadie shared their joint experience in photo editing and cutting tens of thousands of photos to a few dozen photos for a 26-page spread in National Geographic, while Ami discussed how to convince a magazine to publish a new take on a story that they seemingly had already covered.

Social Justice Movements: Where do we go from here?
Clara Bingham `81, Joan Mower `67 P`10, and Gillian Thomas `86
This award-winning panel, featuring alumnae whose work has focused on social justice and women’s issues, covered topics ranging from climate change to the recent Women’s March, equal rights and 1960’s politics. Clara Bingham and Gillian Thomas discussed their books, and the events that influenced work, family, sex, science, and gender relations. Panelists addressed what actions can best facilitate social justice and how to make a difference in our communities.

The Intern Queen: From internships to entrepreneurship: Career building blocks for every woman
Lauren Berger
Lauren had such positive internship experiences during her undergraduate years that she decided to dedicate her business to helping students achieve similar success. The Intern Queen, the business that she started, aggregates internship listings and offers advice on topics ranging from resume formatting to writing the perfect cover letter. Lauren spoke about the importance of self-motivation, exploring a wide array of passions, and many small but often forgotten tips, such as following up with professional contacts.

Necessity is the Mother of All Invention: Seizing opportunities in the modern marketplace
Samantha Meyer duPont ‘90, Holley Brandon ‘85, and Katherine Petty MacLane ‘96
These panelists have reinvented themselves, sometimes by choice and sometimes by necessity, and they credit their experience at Madeira in giving them the resiliency to do it. A recurring theme through their life and career stories is that they look at where they are, assess it and own it, then plan their own story for the next step. MacLane, who currently is an Executive Recruiter, also stressed that if you are planning to vary from the expected next step in your own career, have an idea specifically about where you want to go and develop your own story about why that makes sense -- what has led you to this point. Work your network not just when you are looking for a job, and work hard to introduce others within your network to each other where it makes sense.

Running for Office: Navigating the course from volunteer to candidate
Sara Akbar ‘92, Janelle Irick Bynum ‘92, Meg Kruizenga Froelich ‘81, and Sylvia Bravo Larsen ‘67
In 2016, Democrat Janelle Bynum won a seat in the Oregon House of Representatives. She joined Sylvia Bravo Larsen, former New Hampshire state senator in sharing experiences about campaigning, fundraising and serving in office. Filmmaker Meg Kruizenga Froelich discussed her documentary, Strong Sisters, which tells the extraordinary stories of elected women in Colorado. Topics included barriers to running for office, secrets to successful fundraising and the importance of putting women on the ballot.

Empower Your Impact
Shari Jaeger Goodwin
Adapting strategies learned from working with dogs and horses, Shari Goodwin shared the importance of reading the non-verbal signals of those you meet in everyday life. In a seconds-long demonstration with Lori Parker '82 just walking up to another alumna, Nancy David Dillon '74, the audience was able to dissect subtle movements that neither participant initially detected in themselves. Following up on the human demonstration, Director of Equestrian Programs Ian McCartney led a horse into the ring and Goodwin repeated the lessons in longer form with the horse, requiring all non-verbal cues. Goodwin uses these techniques to assist people to increase their success in life and work through her company, Jaeger2 LLC, and in her book, Take the Reins! 7 Secrets to Inspired Leadership.

Find Your Balance
Emery Mikel `96, Alexis Merin `00, Reena Lawande Pande `92, and Rev. Katherine Stanford P`18
Coming from several perspectives in art therapy, counseling, medicine, and spiritual guidance, the panel described how to find balance in life and deal with the problems that occur in different areas. One key point: one person's balance is not another person's -- you must find the balance that works for you. Setting up firm boundaries around behaviors that are harmful is also important -- one can and should be messy in how to achieve balance but not cause harm to oneself or others. 

How Co-Curriculum Launched my Career
Julia Reed '78
To cap off the day of celebration, Julia Reed ‘78 sat down with Andre Withers, Assistant Head of School, for an enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining chat. When asked to describe Co-Curriculum in a word, Julia responded, “Revolutionary. The effect of Co-Curriculum was profound and life-changing.” Julia recounted her time at Madeira, how her Co-Curriculum placement at Newsweek and her time at Madeira helped launch her career, her experiences as a journalist, especially in a shifting landscape, and advice she has for future Madeira students.

Million Dollar Gift Leads Co-Curriculum Endowment Efforts
The celebration was capped with exciting news that through the generosity of Heather Muir Johnson ’77 and her husband Jim, Madeira received a lead $1 million gift toward endowing the Co-Curriculum Program, ensuring its longevity and guaranteeing that future Madeira students experience the impact of The Co-Curriculum Program.

Celebrate Madeira was a fantastic day that showcased the Madeira of the past, present, and future. There were many inspiring stories from alumnae and current students, as well as a vision for the continuation of the tremendous tradition that has been Madeira’s Co-Curriculum program.