Incipit Vita Nova: a Look at Students' Plans after Scripps

GRADUATE SCHOOL Marjon Nik-Khah will attend Stanford University next year to begin working toward a PhD in Chemistry. She will be joining a class of 39 PhD students, and the completion of her degree will take somewhere between five and six years. In her first year, Nik-Khah will take a few classes, and be a Teaching Assistant for undergraduate chemistry courses. Her subsequent years at Stanford will mainly consist of research. Nik-Khah hopes to work in the field of chemical biology, but she won't know her specific area of research until she selects a professor and research group to work with at the end of her first semester. "Being a biochemistry major at Scripps made me feel like a chemist, which is why I applied for the chemistry program," Nik-Khah explained, "but my interest was always less in synthetic chemistry and more in using chemistry to solve biological problems." "My dream," Nik-Khah admitted, "is to do research for a large cosmetics company." At this point, however, she is focusing on moving to Palo Alto and beginning her PhD this September.

Zoe Larkins will "begin new life" as she travels to London to participate in a year-long MA program in Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art. With support coming from the Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Scholarship that she received, Larkins will study with Dr. Julian Stallabrass, who gave a speech called "Aestheticizing Politics? The Political in Globalised Contemporary Art" at Scripps during the 2008 fall semester. Once she completes the MA program, Larkins will continue on to the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in Manhattan, where she will pursue public art and photograph. Ultimately, she hopes to be a curator in a museum. "I came to Scripps in large part because I knew that after four years here I would be an independent woman, sure of herself and ambitious," Larkins said. "Now, as I prepare to graduate, I see that I was right, and I made a great decision in coming to Scripps. It's funny how such a small, supportive community can launch women into such exciting opportunities. I am aware that I will be forever indebted to Scripps for the support and opportunities its faculty members, staff and alumnae have offered me."

Dani Clark is headed to Indiana University, Bloomington to pursue a Masters Degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs.  As part of her degree, she will work as a Student Development Specialist, which is comparable to a Hall Director at Scripps, in a first year building.  Clark said, "I feel that I am well prepared after four short and full years at Scripps to go on and be prepared for whatever the world throws my way.  While I'm ready to move on, I'm very excited to come back over the next three years for my term as the Recent Graduate Trustee."  Earlier this semester, the class of 2009 elected Clark to serve as the Recent Graduate Trustee.


Melissa Lewis was overjoyed when she found out that she had received a Fulbright Award for teaching English in South Korea. "I tearily broke the news to my parents, who were just as excited as I was," Lewis said, recounting the moment when she heard about her acceptance. Lewis, who was born in South Korea and adopted 22 years ago, will fly back to her country of origin on July 3 and undergo a six-week orientation in a major city. From there, she will move to a rural area where she will teach English and live in a homestay with a local family. "I speak about five words of the language and am currently studying the 24-letter alphabet," Lewis said. "Understandably, I am both excited and nervous. I also feel very fortunate to have a plan after graduation."

Kyle Delbyck received the prestigious Watson fellowship, a grant best known for its support of a wide range of distinctive studies. "For my Watson year I will be traveling to Lithuania, Taiwan, Cambodia and Ghana with the goal of exploring processes of forgetting and remembering in post-conflict societies—how historical memory is formed within these societies," Delbyck explained. "I will be specifically looking at the ways in which theater plays a role in shaping historical memory, either lending credence to certain narratives or challenging others. I'm going to be interviewing people, attending theatre performances and doing a little of my own writing on the side about the people I meet and the stories I hear." Delbyck will have a year to travel and gather research, and is ecstatic about the adventure that lies ahead. "I'm really excited about the year and think that it will be an amazing experience—it's pretty rare for someone to get to devote an entire year to exploring a specific topic he or she is passionate about." This is exactly what the Watson fellowship was designed for: to fund college graduates looking to study a unique topic they are ardent about. "I'm expecting that there will be a lot of challenges along the way," Delbyck added "and I'm pretty nervous about being on my own for a whole year, but know that it will be worth it."

Alissa Petrites received the 2009 Davis Projects for Peace Scholarship, in the amount of $10,000, to fund her "Promoting Breast Milk Donation" project in South Africa.  The project is designed to encourage the use of breast milk to feed infants in Durban, South Africa (where Petrites studied abroad her junior year.) Breast milk donations will provide milk in a safe way to promote the health of infants in the town.  Of her transition from Scripps back to South Africa, Petrites wrote, "of course I'm sad to be leaving Scripps, but I also feel ready to go out into the world and apply all the things that I've learned here—particularly on a project that's so important to me."


Courtney Peterson will move to New York City this summer to begin working at Vogue magazine. She will work in the Fashion Editorial department, which is the section "responsible for aesthetically translating everything from the editors' stories visually," Peterson said. Peterson will specifically be involved in the "Fashion Closet," helping fashion editors prepare for stories and for photo shoots. In addition to this, Peterson will also work full-time as the Fashion Editor for Closet Couture, a website based in Los Angeles for which she currently works. Peterson will be able to continue her work next year, as the company is moving its office to New York City in the fall. "I've had an amazing four years at Scripps and one year abroad in Milan at Cattolica University," Peterson said, adding, "I definitely feel ready to start my career and a new adventure in NYC."

Gwende Silver will begin a 10-week intensive political leadership training program through Politicorps this summer. Politicorps is a non-profit organization that provides college graduates with intensive public policy and grassroots campaigning skills through their "political boot camp." Politicorps accepts several promising college graduates every year, and covers their cost of leadership training and other program fees. The program is based in Portland, Oregon, but most of the actual hands-on public service work will be in smaller, more rural cities, so that participants can get a working knowledge of grassroots activism. Silver will begin the program on June 14, and has high hopes for the direction in which the training will lead her. Politicorps is known for filtering many of its alumni into a range of different campaigns, and Silver hopes to gain access to this political networking. "I would be interested in pursuing marriage equality," Silver explained, "and Politicorps will hopefully provide me with the campaign training and experience necessary to do that."