Alumnae Share Their Professional Journeys During Career Day Workshops, Part 1
In addition to our phenomenal keynote speaker Andrea Ewing Reid ’80, eight other alumnae offered students opportunities to hear, and ask questions, about their education and career journeys. Those alumnae included: Wendy Arundel ’80, Margaret Midyette Barber ’00, Patia Fann ’16, Claire Foster ’01, Adela Griswold ’06, Caitlin Lighthouse ’06, Lisa Lowman ’87, Flora Theden ’07.
Students enjoyed the small-group sessions as they explored the wide range of careers available to choose from this Career Day. Their stories were as varied as their careers! Following are a few highlights from the day, watch for the rest next week.
Patia Fann ’16 Electrical Engineer
Patia graduated from Foxcroft in 2016 and went to Vanderbilt intent on studying Chemical Engineering because of her experience with chemistry while at Foxcroft, but after her first engineering “module,” wasn’t so sure. Fortunately, the next modules in Electrical Engineering, followed by Circuits won her over, and she switched her major. A study abroad opportunity in France and several internships, including one at Chevron where she works today revealed the diverse fields within electrical engineering — everything from microelectronics to robotics to instrumentation and control systems (Patia’s current specialization). Her advice for the first year of college is to not take yourself too seriously. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, definitely get to know your professors, and take advantage of all the opportunities available to you.
Adela Griswold ’06 Certified Nurse-Midwife
Adela got her BA in International Comparative Studies with a focus on Africa at Duke after graduating from Foxcroft in 2006, but it was her study abroad experience that changed the trajectory of her career. Her host mom was a midwife and as a result, she discovered midwifery — something she had thought no longer existed! When she returned to Duke, she immediately started the prerequisites for nursing school. She opted for the Certified Nurse Midwife program in which you receive your RN, then a master’s in Midwifery. Because she already had a BA when she started her nursing degree, she completed her accelerated RN program in just 15 months, then began her midwife training. Adela currently works for the Virginia Department of Health in their Sexual & Reproductive Health Clinic but is also very involved in managing the state’s COVID-19 response. Though she’s not currently “catching babies,” she likes having the systems-level view that she has now.
Caitlin Lighthouse ’06 Veterinary Technician
Caitlin started her career journey working as a small animal veterinary assistant in her home state of California as a way to get her foot in the door, shortly after graduating from Foxcroft in 2006. After two years, she was able to move on and become a large animal ambulatory veterinary technician, which means that she — and all of her equipment — travel to a client’s facility to treat sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, and cows but about 85% of her time is spent with horses. With her 20-year background in riding and general horse knowledge, Caitlin is considered to be “on the job” trained and opted not to do special schooling or certification, but did walk students through the various educational options available and some of the skills needed to do her job. She also shared some of the best (births), worst (euthanasia), and most rewarding (working with rescue centers to aid animals saved during fire season) parts of her job.
Flora Theden ’07 Public Relations Manager
Flora went on to Pepperdine University following her graduation from Foxcroft, but after feeling a bit homesick, transferred to the University of Tennessee (UT) where she sort of fell into the journalism program and solidified her interest in writing, ultimately becoming the managing editor of UT's daily newspaper. She shared her firm belief in the importance of internships and offered up a few things that she wished she’d known in high school: you don’t have to know what you want to do, don’t let high school or even college define you because there is so much more life after them, showing up and working hard matters, and work can be fun. As she said, “I really enjoy my job and there's so much cool stuff out there that you can do. Anything you're passionate about, there's a job out there.”
An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.