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Helping Hands

Mawrters Step Up

Across the country and the world, Mawrters are stepping up to help others during the pandemic. Below, the Bulletin tells just some of those stories.

We want to hear more! Drop us a line at alumnaebulletin@brynmawr.edu to tell us about your acts of kindness. We’ll be updating this page on a regular basis so check to hear how your fellow Mawrters are helping.


Spirits to Sanitizer

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In normal days, Melissa Green Katrincic ’97 and husband Lee create award-winning Conniption gins at their North Carolina-based Durham Distillery. But these haven’t been normal days. In mid-March, Durham Distillery began a donation program of sanitizing solution to hospitality colleagues. As the crisis expanded, they shifted gears and began producing hand sanitizer following FDA and WHO guidelines. Production is split between North Carolina Emergency Management division and donation to first-responders, shelters, and care centers.

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Maria Hristova ’02 had the same idea.“I’ve made a super-quick pivot,” she wrote on Facebook, “from a distillery owner and craft spirits producer to hand sanitizer manufacturer.” Her distillery, Kinsip House of Fine Spirits, was giving away the sanitizer to people in the community, starting with essential services workers. Kinsip is a craft distillery located in Ontario, Canada.

Crash and Learn

A number of alumnae/i have been giving a lot of thought to the challenges of online learning—issues of access and the strains on what may be a perilously overloaded system.

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Thinking about the technical challenges that may emerge as classes go online, Judith Tabron ’90, an IT consultant whose experience includes academic computing services in higher ed, has created a series of explainer videos. “I made one video to help people understand where the connection failures are going to be,” she says. “I think the shortfalls will surprise a lot of  people.” You can watch on YouTube.

In addition, her video on constructing  asynchronous classes may be of use to faculty. “28 years of working on it," she says, "maybe I can help. :-)”

On the issue of access, Freda Li ’14 has been thinking about students who don’t have reliable internet at home. To address that concern, she's encouraging those living near current students consider adding a guest network to their WiFi for their use.

The Thesis Must Go On

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Thinking back on her senior year, Elisha Colter ’07 realized that the Class of 2020 faces a serious challenge: thesising through a pandemic. To help, she’s offered a lifeline to this year’s seniors by creating a Bryn Mawr 2020 Thesis Support Group Facebook page. 

“I realize that digitization has come a long way since my BMC days,” Elisha wrote, “but there are still resources that just aren’t available on JSTOR. My thesis would have been absolutely impossible without access to the small mount of books I had at my carrel.”

A history of art major, Elisha has a library of books on medieval art and history that she’s happy to share. “Mawrters are a resourceful bunch,” she says, “and let’s be real—a lot of us hoard books.…I for one am totally willing to pore over them and scan any info that might be useful to a fellow Mawrter’s thesis.” 

And, she says, “If nothing else, I’m sure 2020 could use some moral support.”

A Stitch in Time

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Mali Petherbridge ’04, proprietor of Butcher's Sew Shop in Philadelphia, put out a call for Philadelphia sewists to help fill the critical need for face masks. She's posted a pattern for free download and a video tutorial with step-by-step instructions about making an adult-size face mask with elastic at butcherssewshop.com. Although not intended to replace medical masks, these masks can help protect services workers like cashiers, delivery drivers, bike couriers, bus drivers, sanitation workers, and other essential workers. And, Mali adds, “We know so many families right now are struggling to find activities their children can do at home while keeping them engaged and learning.” So Butcher’s is offering a sewscription service that provides a season of sewing projects with accompanying online classes.