CMC Parent News - Winter 2021
In this issue:
Spring Family Connections
Student Engagement, by Rick Verjee P'21
Life Hacks by Lisa Therron P'24
Recruitment in the New Normal
Senior Thesis Check-In
Quarantine Crew by KK Streator P'18 P'21
Parent Network Board  - October Meeting Minutes

Spring Family Connections

CMC families are vital members of the CMC Community, and the Spring Family Connections line-up is designed especially for you! As you get an inside look into your student’s CMC journey, we hope you will feel engaged and connected while we work together to provide students with a deep level of support.

We will kick-off the programming with a Town Hall discussion with President Hiram Chodosh on Monday, February 15 at 12:00 p.m. PST, followed by weeks of interactive learning sessions, panel discussions, and virtual get-togethers. Each session will give you a window into the people and programs that are important to your CMCer, and the opportunity to interact with students, faculty, staff, and fellow family members.

We can’t wait to see you! Full schedule and registration.

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Together While We Are Apart: A New Initiative to Keep Students Connected

By Rick Verjee P'21

The question, “How can I help my student feel less isolated?" was heard during the fall semester. In response, President Chodosh announced a new initiative to enhance engagement for CMC students this semester, including an administrative team and fund dedicated to facilitating connections and relationships across the virtual campus. This team has already started adding to existing opportunities and creating new programs based on the needs of different communities, and is committed to keeping students connected with each other and CMC. Led by Dianna "DT" Graves '98 and Devon MacIver in the Dean of Students office, and Beth Milev ’05 of the Soll Center for Student Opportunity, the team is working collaboratively with students on program development.

As we move through the spring semester, students will be encouraged to participate and engage in events and offerings in three broad themes:

    • Community Bringing a bit of Claremont to where students are this spring. Ath Watch Parties for those who can’t attend during the live sessions. Opportunities to gather for Collins Late Night Snack – nachos anyone? There will also be service opportunities and free book distribution of Ath authors, alumni authors, and even parent authors! If you are a parent who has written a book, we’d love to hear from you! Email to let us know!
    • PurposeMaking space for continued academic, personal and professional pursuits. Students are encouraged to join CMC’s new Slack Community and receive an annual subscription to MasterClass. As students spend more time at home this semester, CMC wants to support students in pursuing their passions and deepening their knowledge across a variety of subjects including food, arts & entertainment, design & style, business, science & tech, just to name a few.
    • PlayBecause even the hardest workers need to stop and smell the roses! This past fall, students working for Devon MacIver, associate dean for student engagement, curated mystery boxes that were sent to students across the world. In the “friendship box,” students received art and craft supplies, along with forwarding postage, to create something for a friend. More recently, nearly 300 students signed up for the “garden box” and received pots, paints, and succulent clippings from the CMC campus to bring a piece of Claremont into their homes. Later this month, a “baking box” will go out with cookie decorating supplies. “We heard from students that they wanted opportunities to engage on their schedule and away from the screen,” MacIver said. “This is the reason we put together the Mystery Box program—a way to get creative supplies in the hands of students, to use on their own time.”

Finally, as you check-in with your student from time to time, ask if they have been engaging with CMC through this initiative. Beth Milev '05 and Devon MacIver are seriously dedicated to helping students connect virtually, in ways that work for them. If your student is interested in hosting something engaging for them and their friends, Beth ( and Devon ( want to hear from them. They can help!

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Life Hacks: Helping your Student Find Their Way to the Soll Center

By Lisa Therron P'24

We can find hacks online for everything from how to clean your house to how to use your new phone, but unfortunately, there is no user manual for getting your student through college toward a career path. Until now …

At CMC, The Soll Center for Student Opportunity provides CMC students with the resources and support needed to discover their vocational path through sponsored experiences, internships, and career services support. During my interview with Ursula Diamond, Director for Student Opportunities, she shared some tips for parents interested in talking with their students about career exploration and encouraging them to take advantage of the resources available. Read on for a year-by-year guide:

Parent Hacks for First-Years
Ursula describes the summer after the first year of college as a continuation of the transition to college. Finding summer internships for first years can be hard since these students are often hesitant to ask for help. These students may not know who to contact, or even what questions to ask. Great news … CMC has a plan for that!

This year, Amy Hendrickson, Assistant Director of First Year Programming, is reaching out to each and every first-year CMC student to offer support through this transition and to introduce them to Career Services resources. So far, Amy has made contact with approximately 60% of the first-year class. If your student is like mine and in the 40% that have not yet met Amy, encourage them to connect with Amy Hendrickson.

Another important hack involves knowing about the funding CMC has set aside for summer experiences dedicated to the first and second-year students. These experiences are opportunities for exploration in fields of study, passion projects, research, or even work. Past students have used the funding to support travel, writing projects, and paid jobs or internships. Last summer more than 500 students (over 50% of the eligible CMC student population) participated in these summer experiences, even with COVID restrictions, which provided remote funding for local opportunities.

Ursula advises parents of first-years to start the conversation in February and March with a couple of conversation starters, such as “What are you thinking about for the summer?” and “Did you know there are some great resources at CMC for …?” Her main advice for parents is to remember that you can’t mess up your first summer of college … so relax, enjoy, and explore.

Parent Hacks for Second-Years
Ursula’s advice for parents of second-year students is to support them in keeping their options open. To encourage exploration of fields of study and connection to possible opportunities, CMC students are not required to select a major until the end of the second year. If your student is still curious and undecided, this summer is a time to consider multiple disciplines. With a wide focus, new ideas and opportunities are revealed.

The dedicated team at the Soll Center is set to provide your student with personalized support through advising, coaching, and mentoring for three important resources: Career Services, Scholar Communities, and Sponsored Internships & Experiences. But the team is not alone! In fact, CMC has over 12,000 alumni on LinkedIn who would love to connect with students and are energized by giving back to their CMC community. The Soll Center team is ready to guide your student and assist them in connecting with the extensive CMC alumni community.

Parent Hacks for Juniors
In their junior year, students should ideally have tested out some of their ideas through internships or projects, and may now be honing in on potential industries, jobs, or professions for their future. Ursula describes the summer after junior year as a time for most students to look for relevant internship opportunities that could lead to potential full-time job offers. The junior year student’s efforts should be more intentional and geared toward post-graduation jobs or advanced degrees. Accessing resources at the Soll Center for resume writing, interview coaching, and researching internship or job opportunities are just a few of the ways your student can get the support they need.

Parents of juniors might encourage them to gear their summer toward the future buy using conversation starters such as “What are you thinking about after graduation?” and “Are you connecting with people?” Ursula’s most important advice is to remember there is still plenty of time and “no pressure” to find the perfect internship or job. Plenty of opportunities are still available to your student, and the Soll Center is there to guide them.

Parent Hacks for Seniors
Boom! Just like that, your student is a senior. It happens so fast and for your student, it is happening even faster. Senior year is packed with the classes, senior research thesis, job search, or graduate study applications. No doubt your student is feeling pressured and overwhelmed with everything on their plate. You can assure your student that help is out there for them at the Soll Center. For CMC’s 1,300 students, there are four dedicated full-time coaches ready to serve them in their transition.

Like the weather and the calendar, professional recruitment has its seasons. Whether your student is pursuing a career or graduate school, the process is industry dependent and recruitment activity starts in the fall and runs through the spring semesters. The Soll Center staff are the experts on the recruiting seasons and will lead your student thoughtfully through the process, focused on reducing stress and pressure.

For students interested in consulting, software engineering, product management, federal government, and some financial services careers, the primary recruiting season happens in the fall. But this accounts for only 40% of the CMC student interest. For the other 60% of students, parents should know there is still plenty of time. Students interested in investment banking, government, non-profit, education, creative, medical and science fields will find recruiting occurs in the spring of their senior year.

Ursula’s advice for parents of senior year students is to know that every senior student will have individual conversations with her or another coach to create their own plans based on their goals. No student will be left behind, rest assured. Ursula reminds us, “It’s never too early and it’s never too late.”

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Recruitment in the New Normal: Communicating the CMC Advantage

Not to be missed!

During Spring Family Connections, a panel with a wealth of experience in talent acquisition and HR professions will come together to discuss how CMCers can best communicate the CMC advantage in their internship and career search, and what parents can do to support them in the process.

We know that CMC students show themselves as leaders who dig deep and impact their communities, and that they chose CMC for its one-on-one relationships, unprecedented research opportunities, competitive teams, and tight-knit alumni network. Now, as they seek jobs in a challenging COVID-19 environment, these tools become even more vital as they work to stand out once again in an ultra-competitive marketplace. Panelists include Steve Kapner P'22, Co-founder and Managing Director of Aquent; Kristin Mannion P'22, Founder of Aura Leadership and Development, and Grace Koo, Managing Director, Human Capital at KKR. Students are also welcome! Recruitment is the New Normal Registration

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Senior Thesis Check-In

The Senior Thesis is the final general education requirement for a CMCer and is the culmination of their undergraduate career. Below, five members of the class of 2021 discuss their fascinating topics.

Sara Ceja '21  

Sarah Ceja '21
Hometown: Inglewood, CA
Major: Literature and Spanish Double Major
For my thesis project, I am combining my academic interests in Latinx literature (specifically poetry) and education. Focusing specifically on inner-city U.S. high schools with high Latinx student populations, I will research how we can incorporate poetry written by Latinx authors in our curriculum to help foster student engagement and a sense of belonging in the classroom. In the second half of my thesis, I will explore several Laitnx poets and provide a detailed analysis of their work, how it relates to various aspects of the Latinx identity, and recommendations for educators on how to use these poems in class. While I spent last semester researching and putting together a detailed outline of the project, I am currently in the process of drafting the first few chapters!

Brandon Ruiz '21  

Brandon Ruiz '21
Santa Ana, CA
Spanish & Psychology
My thesis is about the monsters featured in Guillermo Del Toro’s films. It looks at some of Del Toro’s most famous monsters, The Judas Breed from Mimic, The Faun and The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth, and the Asset from The Shape of Water under Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic lens of the uncanny. As these monsters, like all monsters, are a byproduct of a culture’s history, fears, and values my thesis aims to not only analyze the monster's significance but also explore the bigger questions monsters ask of us: Why have we created them? Why do they speak to us so strongly? At this point in the semester, I am still in the early to mid-stages of research and getting my hands on anything having to do with Mexican cinema, transnational cinema, and of course, the specific monsters. I have a completed draft of a thesis abstract and a sources page that is starting to fill out. I hope to start writing in mid-February.

Caitlyn Louzado '21  

Caitlyn Louzado '21
Pune, India
Economics and Psychology
My thesis is about sleep consistency of college students and its relation to physical and psychological outcomes. It looks at the role of emotional regulation as a mediator in this relationship. All the data used is primary data, with CMC students as participants, and it has been collected through a sleep monitoring device, questionnaires, and blood spots. The expected findings from this study will underscore the importance of sleep consistency for college students, overall physical and mental well-being and lead in the direction of such programming.

Alejandro Posada-Sanchez '21  

Alejandro Posada-Sanchez '21
Dallas, Texas
Computer Science with a Data Science Sequence
For my Senior Capstone Project, my team and I are analyzing monetary transaction data for American Express customers. We are building case studies based on their transactions, to determine trends where customers use their non-business credit card in order to make business purchases. We are combining these with machine learning techniques in order to create a model that will be able to predict business transactions and determine business owners based on those transactions. The aim of the project is that with this model, American Express will be able to better support small business owners.

Adrienne Kafka '21  

Adrienne Kafka '21 (2 theses)
Bethesda, Maryland
Psychology and Dance
My Dance thesis will investigate how personal pleasure and social justice activism not only coexist, but complement each other, as humans learn that emotional, painful, erotic, revolutionary, pleasurable, and selfless experiences are all necessary in supporting sustainable and fulfilling lives. I will explore insights from leading Black feminist thinkers Adrienne Maree Brown and Audre Lorde, elements of Gaga, a young and evolving movement language, contact improvisation, and TikTok in addition to analyzing related dance-movement works. Parallel to the research component of this thesis, the creative process, development, and analysis of an original dance-movement work will help me delve further into the term “pleasure activism,” the ways that personal identities, positionality, and environments shape individuals, and how people can join with others to create communities more powerful than themselves, ultimately aiming to discover a new conduit for finding joy in the present. For my Psychology thesis, I am exploring the impacts of companies’ various projected diversity values (Colorblind vs Multicultural vs BLM) through advertised messaging and portrayed leader racial diversity on Black vs White applicants’ likelihood of applying, scores on a selection test, psychological safety, and identity threat. My results will help me examine how companies may promote more equitable workplace outcomes and dismantle systematically racist practices through proper diversity management.

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Quarantine Crew

by KK Streator P'18 P'11
Quarantine Crew  

When CMC abruptly closed last March, my son, Charlie, asked if his friends Liam and Matiss (all class of '21) could stay with us. Our older son, Campbell '18, had already left NYC and was back home. We figured the more, the merrier.

Luckily, our old house has lots of nooks and crannies. Everyone carved out a little workspace: Charlie set up on the living room sofa, Liam liked the dining table, Campbell preferred the kitchen counter and Matiss commandeered the semi-finished basement (which he outfitted with a very large screen for classes and nightly videos games with another CMCer locked down in Australia).

We set up schedules for cooking and cleaning, planned around work and class schedules. We ate dinner together and made the three ’21ers responsible for Friday night dinners. My plan was for them to learn to make a few easy dinners. Their plan was to make the most ridiculously difficult recipes possible. (I must admit their Beef Wellington was delicious, and we all learned how to spell “duxelles dressing.”)

Quarantine Crew  

We live in CT, so the weather was cold, wet and dreary. Our town banned residents from local parks or beaches, so exercise was restricted to neighborhood streets. Long Zoom classes were exhausting, and everyone missed their families and friends. BUT…we tried new recipes and baked bagels (not successful). We played games; "Settlers of Catan" became something of an obsession, and vicious ping-pong games became the norm once the weather improved. We argued about world affairs, and watched each other’s recommended movies and TV shows. There were some interesting experiments with hair dye and coiffures. Artsy photo shoots were attempted. The young men helped us celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, and we safely celebrated Matiss’s birthday. It wasn't until mid-May that everyone was finally able to go back to their own families. (We tried to convince Liam’s parents to let us keep him and take Charlie but…)

Quarantine Crew  

This pandemic has been disastrous in SO many ways -- and I am definitely Covid-cranky after 10 months -- but I will admit to one big silver lining. It was a gift and a privilege to have the company of our son’s CMC friends for several months. (Let’s face it, 20-somethings usually have better social options than middle-aged parents.) I was amazed by the intellectual curiosity, work ethic, global views, kindness (and even social graces) of these young men. They give me huge hope for the future, and embody the heart of CMC’s mission: to educate students for thoughtful and creative lives, and train them for responsible leadership in business, government and the professions.

And, if we are ever forced to lock down again, I am definitely requesting that Charlie bring friends.
KK Streator

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Parent Network Board Meetings

The Parent Network Board meets quarterly to discuss ways to enhance the College experience and to hear from College leadership. Read the October Board Meeting minutes.

Past Parent Newsletters:

Fall 2020
Spring 2020
Winter 2020
Fall 2019

Summer 2019
Spring 2019
Winter 2019
Spring 2018