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Caitlin M. Allen ’06
Member of AmeriCorps*VISTA in Missoula, Montana

Major: Political Science major and a Media and Society minor

Leadership roles: The most important leadership role I took was as William Smith Congress President. I learned so much about responsibility, integrity and creativity from the quorum members and my Executive Board.

Extracurricular activities: Alternative Spring Break, William Smith Congress, Senior Gift Campaign, Laurel Society and Hai Timiai. I also dabbled in the College Democrats, Women's Collective, Mock Trial, Debate Team and Neighbor's Night events.

Favorite professors: Professors Jodi Dean, David Ost, John Shovlin, Susan Henking, and Craig Rimmerman.

First job after college?
VISTA is my first job. My VISTA service focuses on providing economic advocacy to battered women, helping them to break the cycle of poverty and abuse through financial self-sufficiency. I spent the first four weeks following graduation traveling non-stop across the East Coast with my best friends from the Colleges. We called it the "Brain Train." We were unemployed geeks! I also traveled 2,500 miles with my mother to move to Montana. It is a trip I will never forget. Now, I live in the Bitteroot Mountains of Montana and ride my bike to work every day. I recommend any graduating William Smith student to take a risk after graduation - move somewhere, be unemployed, get a job, go to school, make your life interesting and exciting!

On leadership
While serving as President of WSC, I learned an important lesson in leadership - to lead is to serve others. WSC exposed me to an idea that "the questions are just as important as the answers." I once believed that leaders make decisions based on their own knowledge of right and wrong. I learned to listen to others and to serve others at William Smith College. Not only did I receive an expansive and deep education in liberal arts, but I also received a supportive network of strong women. These women supported me as William Smith Congress President and showed me how to help make collaborative decisions incorporating many interests - decision-making from the bottom-up, not the top-down.

On the coordinate system
The coordinate system enhanced my understanding of (in)equality as well as demonstrated the strength and diversity of women. I don't think I would've had the confidence to take a leadership position in a co-ed student government environment. And, William Smith traditions are just better (sorry, Hobart!). William Smith has a distinct character that is defined by the changing attitudes and experiences of its students, which are reflected in our vibrant traditions. I will always be proud to be a William Smith woman.


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