How Do You Defy?

Jacqueline Handy '14 is the senior manager for programming at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Childhood Ambition?

An actress, but the grind of auditions wasn’t for me, so I work in the business side of theater.

Path to Bryn Mawr?

I chose Bryn Mawr to be like—but better than—my two older sisters, who went to Smith.

Favorite Tradition?

Step Sing. I was a Songs Mistress, which I thought meant being the life of the party, but is really a teacher, leader, and shepherd for your class. I love it!

Favorite Dorm?

Perry House. It provided a breath of fresh air coming from classes where I would be the only person of color. We’d sit around the living room laughing, talking, and just being together in a space that didn’t require code switching. It was a shocking loss when it was condemned and heartbreaking that the College didn’t see it as a place worth maintaining.

Favorite Bryn Mawr Moment?

Passing down the role of Songs Mistress during the May Day Step Sing in my senior year. Everybody started chanting my name, and it was the most beautiful, magical moment. Like a movie scene. I get a chill thinking about it.

Favorite Academic Experience?

Psychology classes with Professor Louisa Egan Brad. She fully brought out the nerd in me, hooking me on the mating habits of different organisms. I remember a fascinating one on the mating habits of different species. I can still talk about banana slugs and capuchin monkeys. Also, attending the Global Shakespeare Student Festival in Abu Dhabi as part of the Performance Across Language and Culture 360° Course Cluster. It was the cultural exchange of a lifetime. I am floored by the magic that happens when different cultures come together.

Why Do You Remain Engaged with Bryn Mawr?

As a pathway to change. Bryn Mawr has shown its dedication to diversity, but we can do more. I’m optimistic that better collaboration will get us there. I’m a donor for the same reason. I loved my Bryn Mawr experience and want to ensure it is accessible for others like me.

Tell Us About Your Work at the Lincoln Center

I curate performances both virtually and in person. My charge is to make sure our stages reflect the diversity of New York City. It’s really satisfying work but a great responsibility. I’m always asking myself, “Who isn’t seeing themselves on our stage?” And I am mindful to tell stories beyond the typical struggle and survival narrative we often see for children of color. They should see themselves as going to the moon and exploring the deep sea the same way white children do.

What's Next for You?

I’d like to move into the social service arena. I’m not sure what that looks like but giving back in some way.

The Value of a Woman's Institution?

I came from a high school where being smart was important but not as important as looking good. At Bryn Mawr, you were expected to have an opinion and be able to defend it. That was crucial in shaping my world view.

How Do You Defy Expectation?

Every day, the power structures of the world tell me that my potential is limited. But being at Bryn Mawr and having a family of strong women have taught me to identify systems of power, learn them, then break them down.

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