Mentors, Colleagues, Friends
A relationship that started with an admissions interview endures.
Pippa Jones Barrett ’88 and Alison Bischoff Cameron ’97 (left with Ali’s daughter Ella Jane) met at a St. Louis Starbucks for Ali’s admissions interview. They connected immediately, and Pippa recalls her excitement at hearing that Ali was heading to Bryn Mawr. The two reconnected when Ali sought advice about law school and later interned at the prosecutor’s office where Pippa worked. The two ended up working together for 11 years in that office, and their friendship was further buoyed as mothers of daughters—a sisterhood they say is as strong as that of Mawrter-hood.
Pippa Jones Barrett ’88
I went to Bryn Mawr as pre-med but had a miserable experience with organic chemistry. But I was enthralled with a class called African-American Culture and Community. I had to ask myself if pre-med was the right choice for me. I made the switched to sociology in junior year and never once regretted it. That’s what Bryn Mawr does for you. It helps you to develop courage to make changes you never anticipated, and that courage stays with you through life. I recently had an unexpected transition from law to the software industry. The learning curve is steep but fascinating, and I believe that Bryn Mawr taught me to embrace that kind of challenge.
That’s why I feel I owe Bryn Mawr some credit for my professional success and personal development. I am grateful and feel an obligation to ensure that other young women have the same opportunities. Alumnae connections were instrumental in why I chose Bryn Mawr. So I volunteer for the Admissions Office, which is a great way to stay in touch with the College and students. I took a break once my own daughters were applying to college (both were accepted to Bryn Mawr but chose other colleges for reasons I respect) and missed meeting the kinds of young women who are interested in Bryn Mawr. It is also important to me to support the College financially. If my gift helps support just one student, buys a few bricks for the Park renovation, or allows a pre-med student to change her major to sociology because of an inspiring class, then I am content.
Alison Bischoff Cameron ’97
I learned a lot about myself and the world at Bryn Mawr. In my first semester, I met a volunteer coordinator who would start me on my career path without my realizing it. As a volunteer at a women’s crisis intervention agency in Philadelphia, I learned to advocate for others and soon realized I could do more with a law degree.
Bryn Mawr prepared me for the rigor of law school and taught me to stand up for myself and those around me. I forged lifelong friendships while learning in a competitive but supportive environment and had exceptional role models, including Dean Karen Tidmarsh, who was my Customs group faculty member.
I can never repay Bryn Mawr for the joy, persistence, and exceptional women it brought into my life. I have known Pippa since I was 17, and this August will be 25 years since I walked into Merion to meet my Customs Group. Six of us still plan to get together annually though we all live in different cities. I stay connected by serving as an alumnae admissions representative who interviews applicants just as Pippa did with me. At my 20th reunion last year, I volunteered to serve as my class co-chair for The Bryn Mawr Fund. Though finding time in my busy family schedule can be challenging, it will be well worth it. Attending Bryn Mawr would have been a mere dream for me without significant grants and other financial aid, and I want to help the next young woman to learn about herself and the world through the experiences Bryn Mawr offers.