I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Kitaj’s Last Word essay, “Just Do It!” in the Winter 2011 Barnard Magazine. Her story regarding a medical internship at age 45 is amazing. Her courage, diligence, and perseverance in pursuing such a noble vocation is truly inspirational and admirable. Thank you for such a wonderful and uplifting article.
Also, President Spar’s “A Stacked Deck” illustrates a caring and compassionate viewpoint, which I would like to believe that Barnard women everywhere want to emulate. I am assuming that Tonya’s mentor must have seen academic potential in her, otherwise to encourage her to apply with no possibilities for acceptance and success might be viewed as wishful thinking or cruel. After having been encouraged to apply, Tonya, I imagine, will feel discouraged and brokenhearted if denied this opportunity.
Let us not forget that, thanks to Annie Nathan Meyers vision in 1889, many women are grateful to have been given the opportunity to excel in spite of the stacked deck for being female.
—Yolanda Irizarry Giraldo ’73
San Juan, PR
Thanks to Dr. Kitaj for the inspiring and entertaining account of her travails and successes as a 40-year-old medical student. Well done! I’d love to read more about her experiences.
—Marie Cotter ’82
My mom, Audrey Snyder Harding ’38, really enjoys your magazine and, in particular, the Class Notes. The article “Alumnae in the Military” in the Spring 2011 issue also piqued her interest.
Mom served in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) from Jan. 1, 1944 to Dec. 31, 1947, and is registered at The Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington, D.C. The mission statement of WAVES was to expedite the war effort by releasing officers and men for duty at sea through their replacement by women in the shore establishment of the Navy, and for other purposes. When she joined, she told her mother that since the family had no sons to serve our country, she’d be honored to serve. When she looks at old photos of that time, she says she is reminded of how pleased and proud she always was to wear that uniform.
While serving in the WAVES, Mom did secretarial work as well as intelligence testing. She later earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan under the GI Bill. She said that her experience in the WAVES paved the way for a very rewarding career of helping people.
Thanks for honoring these special women who serve our country.
Thank you for acknowledging an unusual path that some Barnard alumnae take. The women you featured represent us well. I, too, serve in the military; I am an Army Major approaching my 12th year of service. Like the women you featured, I am also scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan and have completed graduate work while in the military (MA, PhD candidate in history, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill). Before 9/11, a Barnard woman in the military was a far rarer thing. For my entire four years in Fordham University’s Army ROTC program, I was the only Barnard cadet. As a ’99 graduate, my extra years have given me the additional distinction of being a mother to a feisty 2-year-old.
While women increasingly serve in combat positions, the military is a decidedly male world. I find that I am supposed to be two people—a soldier and a mother—which makes for almost a contradictory dichotomy. As I prepare to go to war in the coming months, I look at my young daughter and hope that the example I set for her is a good one. I am convinced that we women who serve help ensure that the women after us have positive—and more—careers options and fewer limitations. I hope my daughter also understands that my deployment ensures her own safety and allows her father (also in the Army) to stay home with her. I don’t believe that America has quite figured out yet how to allow women to do it all (career and family). I can only hope that our daughters are inspired by those of us who try to embrace both personas.
—Courtney Kjos Short ’99
Thank you for profiling five alumnae who are serving or have served in the Armed Forces. I read their profiles with interest and cheer their commitment to our nation’s defense. I have served as a physician in the United States Air Force for the past 11 years. When I signed up, I looked in the Barnard directory and found only one other alumna serving in uniform. I am glad to see that young alumnae have considered and entered into military service. I hope it becomes more of the rule than the exception.
—Karen Toubin Dacey ’92