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Language Lunch Tables

On any given weekday, rookies and native speakers, professors and students alike gather for lunch at tables sponsored by a variety of Smith's foreign language departments and programs. If it's Friday, it's Korean, and visitors and students at all levels of language proficiency are welcome. They tell stories, crack jokes, make weekend plans. The beginners fall back on English words when they are flummoxed. The more proficient Korean speakers talk easily and quickly.

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MacLeish Field Station Trail System

Exploring the woods of the 200-acre MacLeish Field Station is becoming a lot easier thanks to new hiking trails designed and built by Smith students. This summer, student volunteers and a team of interns from the Botanic Gardens working with Reid Bertone-Johnson, landscape studies lecturer and field station manager, and Scott Johnson, outdoor adventure coordinator, began constructing nature trails on the property.

Related story: Where Academics Fuse with the Great Outdoors >

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At Smith, Art is Everywhere

Two restrooms in the Smith College Museum of Art blur the boundaries between form and function as well as personal and public space. The public restrooms, located on the lower level directly adjacent to the exhibition gallery, are permanent works of art created separately by noted artists Ellen Driscoll and Sandy Skoglund. Driscoll's women's room, titled Catching the Drift, is a serene immersion in an underwater world. Skoglund's men's restroom, Liquid Origins, Fluid Dreams, is a visual blizzard of black and white that Skoglund, a Smith alumna, hopes will intrigue startled visitors into a closer look at the images on each tile.

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Smith Women in Education

"Smith Women in Education: Charting a Changing Education Landscape" features Smith alumnae educators, as well as President Carol Christ, discussing some of the most pressing issues in the field today.

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Lead in Life: Smith Executive Education for Women

No major organization can afford to be late to the game when it comes to fielding a first-class roster of women leaders. At Smith College, the goal of the Executive Education program is to build world-class leadership in women executives. The program provides senior level managers, directors and high-potential women with the knowledge, competencies and innovative insights to drive change and performance in their organizations.

Learn more about the Executive Education program >

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How Do You Produce The Pirates of Penzance?

Gilbert and Sullivan's famous comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance requires a cast of many, singing and dancing to lavish orchestral accompaniment in multi-layered Victorian costumes on a stage with a vast, ornate set. "It draws on so many sources," says Ellen Kaplan, professor of theater, who directs the production. The Pirates of Penzance will open on Thursday, April 14, with performances Friday and Saturday, April 15-16 (including a 2 p.m. matinee April 16) and Thursday-Saturday, April 21-23, at 8 p.m. in Theatre 14, Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts.

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Rachel Maddow Delivers 2010 Commencement Address

Rachel Maddow, a political commentator who rose to national prominence after launching her career on local radio, was the speaker at Smith College's 132nd commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 16, 2010. Maddow and four other accomplished women received honorary degrees prior to the address.

Visit the Commencement 2010 site >

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My aunt graduated from Smith, and my mother graduated from Simmons. So the idea of studying at a women's college was not new to me. Still, I didn't expect to attend Smith. What changed my mind was learning about the open curriculum. I liked the fact that I could freely explore my interests.

During my first year I was homesick, but the housing system helped me adjust because I met some of my closest friends. What also helped was that the women of color on campus really support each other. Since then, I've become active with the Black Students Alliance and also Black Educators of Tomorrow, which mentors students in Springfield, Massachusetts.

I'm grateful that Smith made it possible for me to spend a semester of study at Spelman College, one of the nation's historically black colleges. Now I'm off to London for a semester. I'm hoping ultimately to work in entertainment or media and attend law school.

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I came to Smith planning to study religion and art history. Then I took a child development course taught by Janice Gatty, who works with infants and toddlers at Clarke School for the Deaf, which adjoins the Smith campus. Through her teaching, I became fascinated by issues of language acquisition and deafness. I later volunteered with Clarke's drama club and just loved it. I'm now doing a self-designed major in speech and language science.

Over the summer I did research with Professors Jill and Peter de Villiers, who are world-renowned psycholinguists. After graduation, I hope to enter Smith's master's degree program in the education of the deaf. Eventually, I'd like to earn a Ph.D.

Smith's wonderful dance program has allowed me to also continue my dancing. And Smith is where I have made the most amazing friends. I do think fate led me here.

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The first time I was in college was in 1974. Since then I have had a career as a bank vice president, opened a retail store where — for 22 years — I sold my work as well as the work of other artists, and raised our five boys. But throughout this time there was this little nagging voice in the back of my head saying, "school... school... school!"

After spending a year at the community college in Brattleboro, I applied to the Ada Comstock Scholars Program. Having the camaraderie of so many women — especially after the excess of testosterone at home — has been wonderful. We can have open discussions about women's issues that just wouldn't be happening with guys around.

I stay on campus Monday through Thursday in the commuter housing for Adas: it's another great part of this experience. We share our papers, meals, concerns about school and home, and offer each other support and encouragement. There's a real sense of community.