Life after Smith: From Classics to Communications

Grace Oliver ’18
Contributing Writer

Jennifer Beane ’01 has paved a successful career as Director of Alumni and Development at her former high school.

What was your major at Smith?

I was a double major in art history and classical studies.

In what ways did your area of study help get you to where you are now?

I would honestly say that, in my case, it was the skills I learned at Smith rather than my major or any specific class that have helped me the most.  As cliché as it may sound, a good work ethic, as well critical thinking, time management and organizational skills have been the most beneficial.

What does your job require of you? What do you do?

I am the Director of Alumni and Development as well as the Program Coordinator for Bossov Ballet Theatre [BBT] at a private high school in Maine.  I am responsible for the school’s fundraising and alumni relations program. I also coordinate the school’s communications — website, social media, marketing — and both write and design our alumni magazine.  In my role as coordinator of BBT, I am responsible for all program logistics including budget, performances and marketing.

Are there any specific aspects of your Smith career that you feel helped get you to where you are and achieve your career goals?

Maureen Ryan, Barbara Kellum and Frederick McGinness were [my] favorite professors, but, as I mentioned before, I believe that it was the skills I learned in the various classes and work study opportunities at Smith that have helped me the most.

Is there any advice that you would give to current Smithies, particularly those who are unsure of what major or career they may pursue?

There are many wonderful opportunities at Smith; take advantage of classes that are outside your comfort zone.  Even though I loved my art history and classics courses, I took astronomy, discrete math, sociology, psychology, organic chemistry, and introduction to world religions, among others.  The exposure to other disciplines can help you reaffirm your love for a major or it could allow you to find something new that you hadn’t considered previously.

What is your favorite memory from Smith? 

There are so many wonderful memories from my time at Smith!  It is really difficult to choose just one.  I think my favorite memory was the end of my sophomore year when I stayed with a friend for her senior week.  I also loved my house, Lawrence, and the best memories revolve around time spent in the common room, just hanging out.

What are you most grateful to have gained from Smith?

Though I am very grateful for the education I received at Smith, I am most grateful for my friends.  Just this summer I met up with my Smith roommate, who now lives in France, and another friend in Boston and then later attended a friend’s wedding in Vermont where I saw a Smith friend I hadn’t seen in almost nine years.  The most wonderful part about both reunions was that it was like no time had passed.  My friends from Smith will always be a significant part of my life.

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