You Can’t Major In That
The wild, wonderful career paths of Bennington alumni, as told on LinkedIn by Briee Della Rocca
Many years ago I interviewed a candidate for an alumni relations position at the College. I asked them how they would describe Bennington alumni. Without hesitation they said Bennington alumni are “the interested and interesting.” They were right. One need look no further than the member list on Bennington’s LinkedIn Alumni group to confirm that exact assessment. From the cool and quirky to the full-on visionary to completely out-of-the-box paths, alums are designing fascinating careers in all industries. In the great and growing menagerie of directions one can take after Bennington, here are just some of the courses that alumni have charted. For a fuller, richer view, join the College’s alumni group on LinkedIn and check out the member list.
INSIYAH MOHAMMAD BERGERON ’12
TITLE: Holyoke Innovation District Manager/ Transformative Development Initiative Fellow
WHAT SHE DOES: Bergeron works with local residents, businesses, community organizations, as well as regional and state institutions on economic development projects in downtown Holyoke to spur and support innovation, entrepreneurship, and equity. She has worked on several projects, including helping to design and pilot a hydroponic food-production training program in downtown Holyoke on a previously vacant site, in partnership with Holyoke Community College, the City of Holyoke, Nuestras Raices, and MassDevelopment.
CHRISTOPHER BISHOP ’72
TITLE: Chief Reinvention Officer
WHAT HE DOES: Bishop starts his LinkedIn summary the same way he begins his talks—with a series of jobs most people haven’t yet heard of, but soon will: nanopharmacist, lunar tour guide, virtual lawyer, robotic ethics consultant. A perennial reinventor and career hybridist, his degree in German Literature has led him to multiple, unrelated careers—from a touring rock musician to social media executive at IBM. He brings his insights about the future of work and invention to the borderless workplace as a speaker, writer, and consultant.
MIKE RUGNETTA ’06
TITLE: Host of PBS’s Idea Channel
WHAT HE DOES: Rugnetta was host of the PBS web series Idea Channel, which last aired in 2017. There he reinvented the critical essay for the web and explored the idea that technology holds the power to make us happier. His videos tackle questions such as, “Does playing Dungeons and Dragons make you a more successful person?” and “What are the similarities between Santa Claus and professional wrestling?” He is currently producing a podcast called Reasonably Sound, hosting for Crash Course—a popular YouTube series by the Green brothers, as well as other digital production work including work on a video series for Atlas Obscura, the travel company / publication led by Dylan Thuras ’04. Rugnetta recently completed a Kickstarter Creator in Residence this summer and was a launch artist on their new crowdfunding platform drip.
KATIE JACKSON ’08
TITLE: Tiny House Business and Community Development Specialist
WHAT SHE DOES: Jackson champions tiny house legalization and promotes the DIY movement as the northeast regional director of the American Tiny House Association. Working with B&B Tiny Housing, Jackson helps bring modern tiny homes to market. She is also the author of Hand-Built Furniture: 20 Step-by-Step Projects Anyone Can Build.
BLAINE GRABOYES ’95
TITLE: Co-Founder and CEO
WHAT HE DOES: Graboyes is co-founder and CEO of GameCo, inventor of the Video Game Gambling Machine (VGM™) and creator of the category of The New Casino. He was the co-founder and CEO of The Gamer Agency—a premiere independent e-sports production company. Graboyes’s work combines creativity, technology, and business to explore new areas of entertainment.
ERICA HERMAN ’91
TITLE: SVP, Director of Brand Planning at CramerKrasselt
WHAT SHE DOES: Herman is a strategist solving unruly problems. In her current role she leads brand planning at C-K NY, drawing on the shop's rich strategy practice of data and the qualitative human insight that strategists have drawn on for years. Prior to this work she helped shape a collaboration between Cornell University and Ronald McDonald House New York to explore the nexus of health and hospitality. Herman is credited with helping to launch WNYC’s “On the Media”; helping establish NGO Doctors of the World USA during the Ebola outbreak; and strategically reshaping a business question (How does Tampax attract a new generation of girls?) into datadriven, globally adaptable how-to videos for girls who don’t yet know their own bodies.
ALLISON SCHERMERHORN ’97
TITLE: Showrunner | Post Showrunner | Content Creator
WHAT SHE DOES: Working with Stage 13/ Warner Brothers Digital Network, AT&T/DIRECTV, Animal Planet, CBS, TLC, VH1, Lifetime, MTV, the CW, A&E, Oxygen, e!, NBC, ABC Family (now Freeform), and many other networks, Emmy-nominated Schermerhorn produces, directs, and oversees the edits of unscripted television series and documentaries. Specializing in first season shows, she establishes the tone and look of series, taking them from pre-production to online/mix and final delivery.
JEFF WILLIAMS ’91
TITLE: Chief Strategy Officer
WHAT HE DOES: Williams calls the work he is doing “making the Internet a cleaner place.” By providing data driven, anti-crime, specialized operational support services, Williams helps software and technology companies understand how their products are used by employing cyber forensics, advanced analytics, big data management and exploration, and investigations.
MICHELLE HOGLE ACCIAVATTI ’05
TITLE: Founder and End of Life Specialist at Ending Well / Co-Founder of Green Burial Vermont
WHAT SHE DOES: At times Acciavatti has called herself an end-of-life specialist, which sums the difficult-to-describe work that encompasses improving end-of-life care and planning. Acciavatti works with the dying, as well as the living on advanced care planning, hospice outreach and education, and advocates for patient and family rights, meaningful after death rituals, as well as for home funerals and green burials. Acciavatti is a subject matter expert in two endof-life doula training programs, including the UVM program—the first medical school to affiliate itself with end-of-life doula training.
SANDY CURTH ’16
TITLE: Researcher, Designer, Emerging Objects Fabricator
WHAT HE DOES: Working at The Long Now Foundation, Curth assembles components of the 10,000 Year Clock. He designs and builds the clock’s test assembly components and control systems. As a researcher for Ron Rael of Emerging Objects, Curth works on largescale 3D printing techniques using a wide range of materials. In the 2017 issue of Bennington, Curth explained how large-scale, 3D printing might be a way to develop promising space elevator designs. Curth is also pursuing his Masters of Architecture at UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design.
The Bennington professional network is extensive and well represented on LinkedIn. Be sure to add Bennington College to your profile before requesting to join the LinkedIn Alumni Group. We look forward to seeing you there.