"Home Away from Home"

Featured Alums 2016

guanqun-li-2Guanqun Li H’14

Guanqun Li, Hobart class of 2014, majored in Biochemistry and minored in Health Professions. While on campus, Li served as the president of the Health Professions Club, MCAT tutor, house manager for the international house, Chemistry Teaching assistant, Biology Lab Assistant and worked on Biology and Chemistry research. Li also served as the coordinator and teacher for the Geneva Chinese for Kids Program, volunteered at Geneva General Hospital Child Care Center and was a site leader for HWS Day of Service. Li is currently a third year student at SUNY Upstate Medical University.

How did you get this current position?

“I was accepted to Upstate Medical University via early assurance program.”

What prepared you for your current position?

“I credit a lot of people who helped me go through the process and get into medical school. Without them, I can’t go anywhere this far. First of all, I would want to thank prof. Molina. Without her constant encouragement, I can’t even make it this far. She brought my up when I was down. It is difficult to get into medical school as an international student. I was once, only once, thinking about giving up this route. However, it was prof. Molina who encouraged me to pursue my passion. She also supported me, and other pre-med students, via buying a whole set of MCAT prep book for us to use. I also want to thank Scott for preparing me for personal statement, interviews, and etc. He gave me useful tips in how to do well in the process. I also want to thank all my professors who are knowledgeable, kind, down-to-earth, and enthusiastic in teaching, including but not limited to prof. Carla, prof. Pelkey, Prof. Mowery, prof. Allen, prof. Polak, prof. Flynn, etc.”

What are your future plans career wise?

“I plan to become an urologist. I love this field because of its high tech, emphasis on research, and combination of surgery and medicine.”

Any advice for current HWS students?

“Enjoy your college life! It will probably be the only time you can take multiple different disciplines and explore your interests widely. College is not all about learning the textbook knowledge. It is also about learning the world in different ways, eg: scientific, philosophic, artistic, you name it. Don’t limit yourself to one discipline. Secondly, be nice to people! There is a scientific proof that even fake smile can lower the cortisol level, so why not smile to people? Last, but certainly not least, be you. Nothing besides being unique will make you stand out from the crowds.”

Julia Hoyce WS’11, Gabrielle Perez WS’12
& Laura Alexander WS’14


Julia Hoyce 2011, Gabrielle Perez 2012 & Laura Alexander 2014, return to campus for the Fall 2016 IC Welcoming Reception & Open House

Julia Hoyce, William Smith class of 2011, was a double major in Women’s Studies and French and Francophone Studies, with minors in Art History and Religious Studies. Julia is currently working as an Assistant Winemaker at the Sheldrake Point Winery. When Julia was on campus, she was sang with 3ML and in the Chorale, worked with NARAL, Women’s Collective, Sankofa and PRIDE. Julia also worked at the Field House during the summer as well as during the semesters. She was a Student Trustee, and also spent time working as a French TA. Julia was also very involved in the community as she volunteered at Safe Harbors and the Boys and Girls club and tutored for America Reads. Julia was also a member on the Active Transportation Committee in Geneva, NY.

Gabrielle Perez studied both Woman’s Studies and Education while she was on campus. Gabrielle graduated with the Class of 2012, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY and works as a Case Planner with Good Shepherd Services. On campus, Gabrielle was highly involved with many different clubs and organizations. She was a member of CSA, Women’s Collective, PRIDE, NARAL, Learn 2 Lead, the Native American Student Association, the Student Movement for Real Change, Late Night Krew and the Boiling Points Collective. Gabrielle worked as an RA and as the Student Publicity Coordinator. She was also very involved with the Class of 2015. In addition, Gabrielle was also apart of the Laurel Society.

Laura Alexander, member of the William Smith Class of 2014, currently lives in Geneva and works as a Campus Liaison for Safe Harbors. She was a Writing & Rhetoric and English double major, with a double minor in Writing Fellows and Education. On campus, Laura was extremely involved with the Women’s Collective and Coalition of Concerned Students. She played for the Wind Ensemble, and worked with the Writing Fellows and Writing Colleagues.

Kay Payne WS’73

Kay Payne, William Smith class of 1973 majored in Psychology and minored in Education. While on campus she served on the executive board for the Third World Coalition, presently known as Sankofa: The Black Student Union.

What is your current position and how did you get there?

payne“I am professor in the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders at Howard University in Washington, DC. and a certified speech-language pathologist (SLP).

During my junior year at William Smith as a psychology major/education minor I was introduced to the profession of communication disorders on a field trip to a special needs school in Geneva, NY. Upon graduation, I found that SLP was a great profession and there would be plenty jobs into the distant future. (This remains true today). I enrolled in graduate school and was encouraged by my professors to seek a PhD and become a professor in order to do research that would provide answers to the many mysteries about treating individuals with communication disabilities.”

What prepared you for your current position?

“First, a master’s degree is required along with some clinical experience. A natural ambition to reach the top of the profession, as well as a curiosity and thirst for answers provide a solid foundation. The road to a PhD is rough, so tenacity is also a requisite. At the end of the road is the ultimate reward because I consider being a professor as the best profession in the universe.”

What are your future plans career wise?

“I can hardly believe it, but I will be retiring at the end of this academic year. In my second career, I aspire to teach in a seminary in the area of disability ministry. This is a new area of scholarship and inquiry, so I’ll have to carve my own path. With all my experience behind me, I know the journey will be exciting.”

Any advice for current HWS students?

“As young people just starting out in life, you may not be able to envision your future. (I know I didn’t). My Mom’s advice to me was this: “Kay, if you don’t know where you’re going, hitch your wagon to something that’s going somewhere.” So at HWS, I hung around people who knew where they were going, such as Presiding Bishop of the U.S., Michael Curry, The Honorable Elijah Huling, CBS 60 Minutes correspondent, Bill Whitaker and eminent neurologist Trent Davis. (Dr. Davis never finished Hobart—he enrolled in medical school after his junior year). If you haven’t decided on a career, find those who have and adopt their characteristics.”


Sky Davis '10 pic

Sky Davis WS’10

Sky Davis majored in Writing and Rhetoric and minored in Media and Society. While she was on campus, she was served as Public Relations officer of Sankofa, Vice President, Public Relations and Media Coordinator for the Latin American Organization, was part of the Late Night Krew, and was a member of the Hai Timiai honors society.

Currently, Sky serves as Creative Director for Mommy Nearest, a mobile app which features parenting advice and latest news for parents.

How did you get this current position?

“Networking and skill-set.”

What prepared you for your current position?
“During my first year of HWS, I was introduced to PR by LAO. I sat underneath Tina Lee who served as my advisor. As time went on, I became more and more interested in different aspects of PR, specifically, communication design. I taught myself Adobe Photoshop and began designing flyers for different intercultural clubs. I won’t lie. In the beginning, I was a terrible designer. I didn’t know the basics behind graphic design, but as time went on, every design I created made me a bit better. Because I knew I wanted to make graphic design a career choice, I applied to Pratt Institute my senior year. After HWS, I spent two years at Pratt and received my M.S. in Communications Design. Pratt taught me the design skills I was lacking. My time at Pratt also gave me the chance to get my feet wet in Web Design and Development. I was first introduced to Web Design and Development in a writing class taught by Michelle Polak (Writing and Rhetoric). Our task was to create our own personal blog.”

“Instead of focusing on the writing portion (as you may guess was the goal of the class), I was more interested in the coding and design of the site. Best ‘C’ I’ve ever received. At Pratt, I stuck to teaching myself coding, sticking to 2 programming languages, PHP and Javascript. My design skills complimented my tentative leap into programming. After graduating from Pratt, I attended an iOS development bootcamp. My intention after grad school was to go into mobile design and development. I spent 3 months learning Objective-C and building an iOS app. Hardest three months of my life. Word of warning– all programming roles and design roles are not the same. While I loved my 3 months at my bootcamp, I couldn’t ignore the call of the web. So I returned to it. After my bootcamp, I began working as a Designer / Web Developer at Scratch.com. I was in charge of completely overhauling their DJ Academy site as well as re-branding the three vertices of the company. After almost two years at Scratch, I was hired at Mommy Nearest, a parenting app, as Creative Director, the role I currently have. I’m currently in charge of re-branding the company as well as the designs of our two products, our app and website.”

What are your future plans career wise?
“I honestly don’t have a roadmapped trajectory. In my spare time, I’m currently working on developing an online personalized learning platform for middle schoolers. My ultimate goal has always been to create something that will help serve the education of middle schoolers of lower income families.” The project is listed at: http://mynameisskydavis.com/portfolio/the-a-plus-plus-club/ Check it out. I always welcome feedback/ideas/collaboration.

Any advice for current HWS students?
“1) The relationships you make at HWS will probably last forever. Be intentional with your friendships and network. I still have lunch and dinner with the friends I made the first day of HEOP. These are people who supported me at my worst and still carry me through becoming my best.”

“2) Explore yourself and who you are. Cliché, yes, I know. But this is so true. Getting out into the “real world” and not knowing a bit about your strengths and weaknesses will leave you floundering. Make time for yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in college. Caught up in drama. Caught up in relationships. Caught up in absolute BS. Take time to focus on and explore just you.”

“3) Don’t get stuck in learning what you already know. Take a random class, go to a talk you weren’t planning on attending. This will be one of the only times you truly get to explore different areas of studies in a classroom setting. HWS is amazing because its small size gives you the chance to get to know your professors. It also gives you wriggle room to take classes that aren’t required. Art major? Take an Economics course. Math Major? Take a Women’s Studies Course. Science major? Take an Intro to Computer Science course. You always hear stories of startups that turn into billion dollar companies that were started in dorm rooms. That’s because college is one of the only times in your life that you won’t have to worry about the real world (rent, children, etc), and get the chance to focus only on learning and creating. Take advantage of it while you can.”

“4) When all’s said and done, don’t forget about reality. This is where I keep it real. Remember, at the end of the day the most important thing about college is what comes after. Search the job market to understand your prospects once school is done. I originally wanted to give everyone the advice to learn the basics of programming since by 2020 it’s projected that most American jobs will have to do with tech, but the reality is that everyone’s passions are different. Be real with yourself. If your plan is to go into Social Work, Teaching, Writing, etc., don’t take out extra loans. If you’re not blessed to have parents who pay for your tuition, start working now to pay off school while you’re still there. Need to take a small job on campus? Do it. Ultimately, your pockets will thank you. Don’t bullshit yourself. Thinking about becoming a lawyer or doctor with a 2.5 GPA? Understand that you have to do better. Research the job market and be honest with yourself. College is a small but unforgettable stepping stone to the rest of your life. Make it count and don’t forget to have fun while you’re doing it.”