Student News

Class of 2022 Graduates Hit the Ground Running

On May 27-28, Bennington College will celebrate the achievements of the Class of 2022 at the 87th Commencement. Learn more about graduate outcomes across the years. 

class of 2022

2022 Commencement Speakers

The 2022 Commencement Speaker will be Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown. Brown is author of The Tradition (Copper Canyon 2019), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and he is the winner of the Whiting Award. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. 

The student speaker will be Sofia Pacheco Pardo ’22, whose studies have focused on political science and Latin American studies, in particular the impact of US interventionism in Central America and its influence on migration. In her work outside the classroom, Sofia was one of the founding members of the International Student Task Force, which partnered with College leadership and staff across departments to ensure international students have the necessary tools to be successful at Bennington. 

This year’s faculty speaker will be Elena Demyanenko, who has been a faculty member in Dance since 2014. Demyanenko is a Russian-American dance artist and graduate of the Academy of Theatrical Arts (Moscow). She has been performing, teaching, and choreographing in New York City since 2001. She was a member of Trisha Brown and Stephen Petronio Dance Companies, which premiered original choreography at Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York Live Arts, and other venues. Her long list of performance credits includes Martha Clarke’s Garden of Earthly DelightsContinuous Replay with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and a lengthy engagement as guest artist with Riverdance.

Friday's Commencement speeches and Saturday’s Conferring of Degrees ceremony will be available to watch on the College’s Commencement webpage

In and Beyond the Classroom: Projects from the Past 4 Years

Srichchha Pradhan ’22 assisted with the College’s STARS Reporting, which provides sustainability tracking, assessment, and rating for colleges and universities, and completed a Field Work Term with the newly established ELECTRIFY NOW Field Work Term internship.

Marley-Rose Liburd '22 was the assistant Director (alongside director Sarah Hughes) of staged reading for “Hurricane Diane,” which premiered at The Bennington Performing Arts Center . Marley-Rose has spent her final working on the reorientation of The WE Project from solely a virtual resource to a platform by and for the collective community that spans across mediums as well as completed research on cultivating spaces of peer education. She is also currently designing a website resource on behalf of The WE Project Collective, which will be presented on the 25th of May.

Thomas Finegar '22 plans to present their thesis on morally ambiguous characters in theatre in May. In collaboration with friends, they also co-created the Bennington Improv Club with Hazel Peters '22 and Elizabeth Quincy ‘22. Finegar also served as a Drama SEPC representative and spoke about their myriad leadership roles with fellow senior Mary Brothers '22.

During the spring 2020 term, members of the class of 2022 examined the definition, history, challenges, and production of public art for In the Public Realm: Chiang Mai Project (Thailand). Ashely Edwin '22, Ryan Emerson '22, and Reshavan Naicker '22 collaborated on a presentation of their research. 

Maddy Wood '22 contributed two tracks to The Five Obstructions class compilation, where twelve songwriters challenge each other to rewrite their songs in unique ways. She was featured on Music Junkie Press for her song, “Too Old to Play Pretend.”

Bennington Drama students, including Jacqueline de Loos '22, Asa Lowengard '22, Pietrina Poritzky '22, and Thomas Finegar '22 presented a Zoom reading of a script for Can't Weed All Just Get a Bong?, a modern-day adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

During 2020, students in Jean Randich's Devising: Moving Through Time and Space class presented their virtual coursework through video reels. Jaqueline de Loos '22 was a deviser/videographer for the final reel project.

Vera Yarmo-Gray '22 contributed to tracks for Senior MusicFest 2020, a full double album of the senior’s diverse work that was presented in lieu of in-person concerts that year.

Thirteen students in Tatiana Abatemarco's Resilience and Food Access in Bennington, VT course presented their market basket study, which analyzes the availability of healthy foods in an area, to the Bennington Hunger Council via Zoom. Participating class of 2022 students included Ashely Edwin '22, and Eunice Rodriguez '22. 

In the culmination of the Bennington Plays Drama course in 2020, Benjamin Wickett '22, Sofia Pacheco Pardo '22, Daniela Naranjo-Zarate '22, Mary Brothers '22, Annabel Hoffman '22 and Florence Gill '22 presented their original works of theater, online and on air. 

Students in Kerry Ryer-Parke's Sing course, including Asa Lowengard '22, Skyler-Marie Lane '22, Marilyn Blakewood '22, Maddy Wood '22, Marley-Rose Liburd '22, Srichchha Pradhan '22, Libby Green '22, and Sofia Pacheco Pardo '22, participated in a virtual arrangement of Love Is Love Is Love Is Love by Abbie Betinis. 

Several students of the class of 2022 participated in senior projects for the stage, including LA TIENDITA, an exploration of David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity In Chicago, and adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein called CREATURE. Participating seniors include Daniela Naranjo-Zarate '22, Florence Gill '22, Celina Einem '22, Luke Taylor '22, Thomas Finegar '22, Iñigo Auza de la Mora '22, Marley-Rose Liburd '22, and Mrunal Khadke '22.  

Hafsa Zulfiqar ’22 shared their experiences meeting with French filmmaker Alice Diop, whose documentary Towards Tenderness won the 2017 CÉSAR award for Best Short Film. 

Members of the class of 2022 participated in Student Works, an annual showcase of projects done across disciplines—from poetry and play readings, to musical performances, genetics research, oral histories, and more. Participants included Vera Yarmo-Gray ’22, Celina Einem ’22, Luke Taylor ’22, Tighe Ridley ’22, and Dion Nataraja ’22.

With the goal of creating a communal understanding of the general well-being of the campus community, Jacqueline de Loos ‘22 designed and implemented “The Wellness Tracker.” The results of the Tracker are shared monthly with students, staff and faculty—building trust and gaining transparency in the understanding of each other. Ultimately the hope is to implement targeted solutions to what is reflected within those results. Additionally, de Loos intends to pass this down to another student upon graduation.

In 2021, Florence Gill '22 and Daniela Naranjo-Zarate '22 collaborated with Delaney Circe ’21 (co-director and actor) to create a socially distanced, outdoor production of Jessica Dickey's The Amish Project

Florence Gill ‘22 also co-directed and stage managed the performance, and Naranjo-Zarate set designed and performed in the play. Gill also performed in Antigone with fellow graduating classmate Ernesto Cruz-Barriga '22. Additionally, during 2019, Gill stage managed The Place We Built, a new work by Sarah Gancher and directed by Jean Randich, featuring performances by John Baller '22 and Thomas Finegar '22 in the cast, and Dion Natajara '22 and Tighe Ridley '22 in the band. 

Julia Itzler '22 conceptualized how studies of Realism and Post-Impressionism affect the Art Histories of Mary Cassatt, and how that information contextualizes her own paintings within current and past scholarship on women and gender in Art History. 

Ryan Emerson '22 investigated how restaurants and dining culture are an avenue to explore the history of American empire and hegemony.

Ben Wickett '22 produced a musical titled Golden Chain, a live concert mixed with a recording.

River Castaneda '22 sought to give microorganisms the indigenous names they (for the most part) have not yet had, in order to generate enthusiasm for weaving new names and new organisms into our stories and culture.

Kayly Hernandez Panameno '22 created a documentary that explores family dynamics through a lens of identity, gender, race, and age, specifically how the Salvadoran Civil war and immigrating to the United States impacted one family, and how those children handled the intersectionality of being American and maintaining their Salvadoran culture.

Anh H Nguyen '22 created an NFT collection that revolved around central female figures with the goal of presenting women from different cultures and her own identity as an Asian woman living in a multicultural environment.

Awards and Honors

Julisa Juarez ’22 received a National Science Foundation Fellowship that will assist in her pursuit for a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Washington. After participating in the University of Washington’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, Juarez was also the recipient of the Clean Energy Bridge to Research Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award for her work. She also wrote a helpful guide for other undergraduate students to use when applying for REU programs. 

Thomas Finegar '22 received the Mark J. Bojanowski ‘83 Memorial Scholarship, which helps support students studying social science

Works by Reshavan Naicker '22 were featured as part of the Bennington-Williams Student Exhibition, held at the Cynthia-Reeves Gallery on the campus of MASS MoCA.

Amadea Bartle ‘22 is among the recipients of the Bennington Undergraduate Writing Fellowships for 2022, which allows a select group of undergraduate writers working in poetry, fiction, or literary nonfiction the opportunity to further their study of craft with a remote residency at Bennington’s MFA in Writing program. Elizabeth Quincy ‘22 was selected as an alternate for the fellowship. In 2020, Ashley Escobar ‘22 was a recipient of this fellowship for Fiction.

Mary Brothers ‘22 was an on-campus reporter for the College’s Newsroom, where she published many features in a variety of topics, including community efforts during the pandemic, faculty profiles, and student news, to name a few.

Ryan Emerson '22 was a recipient of a SEALC-GETSEA Language Tuition Award for the 2021-2022 academic year. This award offers assistance to students who incur tuition fees when studying a Southeast Asian language during the academic year at an institution other than their home institution via synchronous distance learning. Emerson studied Lao via synchronous distance at Northern Illinois University. 

Ashley Escobar '22 wrote about the advantages of studying Philosophy at Bennington, with a quote from Vivian Shamma '22, for College Magazine. Escobar also co-founded and co-edited Wind-up Mice, a literary and arts journal. She published a short story called "Our Dog Julio" in The London Magazine, the longest running literary journal in the U.K. The piece was chosen as part of the magazine's TLM Young Writers Series. In 2021 her poetry chapbook, Sometimes, was published by Invisible Hand Press.

Lika Torikashvili’ 22 received a full Davis UWC Scholarship to attend the Semester at Sea Program. Lika is also a recipient of a full Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace to attend Middlebury Language Schools in Hebrew in Summer of 2022. In 2021 she received a Study Abroad Public Action Grant to pursue her exchange at UEA University of East Anglia School of International Development. Additionally, in 2021, 2020, 2018 Lika also received Newman and Cox Public Action Student Fellowships to work with Ashoka, a social entrepreneurship organization in Manila, Philippines, in 2018; to bring her Paint the World project to Borneo, Malaysia and do art therapy sessions with a local children’s hospital, in 2020; and in 2021, to design a project of online art therapy sessions with local Georgian artists and Zoom call children in a Cancer Hospital.  At the end of May 2022, Lika ​​was invited to represent Bennington at a Diplomacy Summit in Brussels. This conference brings together top Jewish student leaders from universities around the world to have high-level meetings with the representatives of EU, UNESCO and NATO, as well as Networking opportunities with the members of the World Jewish Congress.

Inigo Auza de la Mora '22 was a recognized artist in the 120˚ Intercollegiate Art Regional Exhibition. His stop motion piece, “The Robot,” was selected as Juror’s Choice.

Following his time working at the Sunrise Family Resource Center, Alexander Gallagher '22, was honored with an Individual Community Service Award.

Works by Allie Fredette ’22, Reshavan Naicker ’22, Sydnie Hyam ‘22, and Iñigo Auza de la Mora were featured at The W. Collective in downtown Bennington. 

Ahwar Sultan ‘22, Elene Charkviani ‘22 and Iñigo Auza de la Mora ‘22’s projects were selected for Davis Projects for Peace grants, a global program that encourages young adults to develop innovative, community-centered, and scalable responses to the world’s most pressing issues. 

Graduate Studies and Future Plans

Bennington graduates bring innovation, creativity, and drive to their work. With an average of ten progressive work experiences woven into their self-driven educational Plan, Bennington graduates are uniquely prepared for the world of work, earning rave reviews from the College’s network of employer partners

Thomas Finegar ’22 plans to work in college admissions for a few years before applying to Yale's David Geffen School of Drama for their dual degree program, in hopes of getting an MFA in theatre management and an MBA from Yale School of Management. 

Because of her determination to pursue a career in investigative journalism, Andreea Coscai ’22 has been accepted to a mentorship program for young journalists offered by the Ratiu Forum in Romania, which connects 14 young students with mentors who are leaders in independent and democratic journalism in Romania. She has also been accepted to graduate school in journalism at NYU and Columbia University, with plans to defer for next year.

Dion Nataraja ‘22 has received a full scholarship to UC Berkeley for music. His senior music project at Bennington was a translation of Kafka sung in Javanese style.

Sydnie Hyams ‘22 will be attending University of the Arts London, Camberwell College of Arts to pursue an MA in Graphic Design Communication.

In alignment with her interests in public health, Nosizo Lukhele ‘22 will be working as a Clinical Informatics Specialist for Oak Street Health in Tempe, Arizona.

Ashley Escobar ‘22 will be attending the Columbia University MFA Writing Program in Fiction with a Writing Program Scholarship. 

Because of her interest in foreign language studies, Allie Fredette ’22 has been accepted to the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) for the 2022/2023 school year. TAPIF is a government-sponsored English teaching program in France. She will be working in a French school district teaching primary school students English for one school year. She hopes to gain teaching experience and to perfect her French speaking abilities before applying to graduate school in France. 

Vivian Shamma ‘22 will be attending the 2022 Telluride Film Festival Student Symposium this fall in Telluride, Colorado. Each year, the Symposium hosts 50 inspired college and university students to screen the year’s best films and to have in-depth discussions with some of the greatest names in cinema.

Florence Gill '22 has received a fellowship for Production Management from the Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California. 

Celina Einem ‘22, Henry Locke ‘22, Dion Nataraja ‘22, Luke Taylor ‘22, Maddy Wood ‘22, and Vera Yarmo-Gray ‘22 were the recipients of the John Hendrick '86 Memorial Music Award, which is given annually to gifted Bennington student composers chosen by the music faculty.

Colton Chaney ‘22 will be attending Shakespeare Theater Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University, for his MFA in Classical Acting.

Do you, your employer, or others in your network have entry-level job openings? Submit opportunities for graduating seniors. To learn more about hiring Bennington talent, visit Recruit Bennington or contact Sarah Clader, Associate Director of Career Development.

We Work Here 

Work-integrated learning has been integral to a Bennington education since its founding. Through their four Field Work Term experiences, the class of 2022 explored passions, made professional connections, and gained work experience at institutions ranging from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Vermont Department of Health, The Endeavor Foundation, and more.  

Members of the class of 2022 participated in The Lucille Lortel Theatre Foundation Fellowships in Theatre, a grant program offering internships during Field Work Term in off-Broadway non-profit theater companies for exceptional Bennington drama students.

Thomas Finegar '22, Jacqueline de Loos '22, Asa Lowengard '22, Marley-Rose Liburd '22, Amanda Tafeen '22, Ernesto Cruz-Barriga '22, Hazel Peters '22, and John Baller '22,  worked at Classical Theatre of Harlem, Harlem Stage, INTAR Theatre, National Black Theatre, Pregones/PRTT, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. 

Isha Shah ’22 and Mirza Cevra '22 worked at Lever’s Bennington County Intrapreneur Challenge, doing market research and consulting work for the five Bennington County companies competing as finalists in Lever’s Bennington challenge, which has the overall goal of fostering regional economic development. Shah worked primarily with Old Mill Road Media, a publisher of regional magazines, and Cevra worked with Grateful Dog Training Inc. Shah and Cevra regularly met with the clients to share their research support. Shah was specifically helping her clients introduce an LGBTQ+ guide for the region.

Members of the class of 2022 participated in the 2021 Food Insecurity & Population Health Fellowship, Jacqueline de Loos '22, Sizo Lukhele '22, and Kunlek Tamang '22, worked at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services, Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, and Meals on Wheels of Bennington County. Kaylyn Riddell ’22, also worked at the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union during the 2022 Field Work Term.

In 2022, Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship in Public Action fellow Marley-Rose Liburd ’22 worked for the The WE Project Collective, designing and implementing a workshop series for the First Year Forum. Promoting innovative scholarship and cultivating a new generation of changemakers, this fellowship offers Bennington students a unique opportunity to combine theory with material practice.

Rojay Bryan ’22 worked on an independent project for the Newman and Cox Public Action Student Fellowship. Through this fellowship, students complete an FWT position or Independent Study focused on public action, either domestically or internationally, each supported by a grant. Work may take place anywhere across the globe. 

Daniela Naranjo-Zarate ’22, Sakshi Rakshale ’22, Clara Schiller ’22, Ahwar Sultan ’22, and Srichchha Pradhan ’22 participated in the inaugural cohort of the The Endeavor Foundation Environmental Changemaker Fellowship Program, which includes funded internships for Bennington students to work in nonprofits with a focus on environmental justice. 

Inigo Auza de la Mora ’22, Elene Charkviani ’22, and Sydnie Hyams ’22 received funding and mentorship to spend a term pursuing an entrepreneurial venture Through the Iftekhar Entrepreneurial Fellowship. This fellowship empowers students to start and run their own business or nonprofit or launch themselves as an independent artist. 

During her most recent Field Work Term, Sophia Grimani '22 completed a dance residency in Berlin at Lake Studios. During the residency she alsoI developed her senior work in dance and taught classes with the other residents. 

M.A Ly '22 participated in externally funded National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates. REU sites included the University of Utah, Emory University, Keene State College, and Vassar College, respectively.

Over the summer of 2020, Kayly Hernandez Panameno ’22 worked remotely as a Research Intern at the Institute for the Future (IFTF), a future-focused think tank based in Palo Alto, CA. She was also a Production Fellow at XTR, a nonfiction film and television studio founded by Bryn Mooser '01.

During one of her field work  term experiences, Andreea Coscai '22 interned with Romanian Member of Parliament Oana Bîzgan, who as a Vital Voices Fellow has advocated globally for women’s rights, children’s rights, and social justice.

Annabel Hoffman '22 played Mash in Aaron Posner's Stupid F**king Bird, a re-adaptation of Anton Chekov's The Seagull, during her Field Work Term at Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education in Cambridge, NY.

Through the Bennington Regenerative Food Network—which seeks to revitalize the economic, social, and ecological health of areas in and around Bennington, VT— Ernesto Cruz-Barriga '22 and Jacqueline de Loos '22 interned with partner organizations working to connect local producers with markets, develop sustainable farming practices, and create a progressive curriculum and training in regenerative food and agriculture. 

Genevieve Roby '22 and Nori Hilton '22 worked with Bennington County Mutual Aid (BCMA) to create a Bennington Mutual Aid Resource Guide. Composed of volunteers, BCMA worked to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as connectors between organizations, people in need, volunteers, farmers, other COVID-19 response groups, hospitals, and government organizations.

Albert Aleksanyan '22 worked with the Bennington Rec Center in order to strengthen the connection between the College and the local community. As a community intern well-versed in art therapy, he designed art-based activities for the community members he served.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 22 Bennington College students interned for local organizations working to support food sustainability, public health, family initiatives, and other resources for Bennington community members. Sophia Grimani '22, Sakshi Rakshale '22, Luke Taylor '22, River Castaneda '22, Srichchha Pradhan '22, Bryce Sullivan '22, and Bach Le '22 interned with Vermont Department of Health, Meals on Wheels, United Way, Bennington Coalition for the Homeless, GANAS: Latino Community Outreach Mission, Center for the Advancement of Public Action's Food Studies, and Center for the Advancement of Public Action's Real Food Challenge

During Field Work Term, Florence Gill '22 served as a community cast member and assistant producer on The Good Book, a short film produced by Slung Low, a theatre company based in Leeds, England.

Ren Barnes ’22 and Elene Charkviani ’22 participated in the inaugural Population Health Fellowship, where they lent their ideas, creativity, and energy to this emerging field. This fully-paid, health-related internship opportunity was jointly offered by Bennington College and Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC). 

Nosizo Lukhele ’22 assessed, designed, implemented, and evaluated diverse and inclusive participation in biodiversity conservation fields during their internship with Arizona State University Center for Gender Equity in Science & Technology + Center for Biodiversity. She reflected on her time working for this program for ASU’s website.

Grace Kenney '22 was interviewed for the Vineyard Gazette about her experience working at the Slough Farm with the Island Grown Initiative. 

On Art Spark Texas's blog, intern Sierra Armor '22 explored the ways disability is reduced to metaphor in classic literature and how contemporary works are improving disability representation.

While working at the Bennington Project Independence, Mrunal Khadke '22, Bach Le '22, Albert Aleksanyan '22, M.A. Ly '22, and Adriel Munoz '22 reflected on their heartfelt experiences working with elderly participants. 

Hazel Peters ‘22 directed Too Much Light Makes the Baby go Blind as their senior work and for the student MainStage show for fall 2021. She also worked with Benjamin Wickett ‘22 to co-direct his senior work project, Golden Chain, an original musical, through the Platforms class.

During her field work term in 2019, Vivian Shamma ‘22 worked as a casting assistant for Risa Bramon Garcia at CBS in Studio City, CA.

Mrunal Khadke ‘22 worked for the Endeavor Foundation Environmental Action Fellowship at Bronx River Alliance, New York during 2021; she was also a student assistant at the Transboundary Water In-cooperation Network (TWIN), co-founded by Susan Sgorbati during the 2022 field work term and currently continues her work as a student assistant for the organization.

Campus Collaborations

Sofia Pacheco Pardo ‘22 was one of the founding members of the International Student Task Force, which works across departments on campus—including financial aid, psych services, and student life—to ensure that international students have what they need to succeed.

Jacqueline de Loos ’22, along with Cass Skarka ’21, brought community, nutrition, and local farms together by co-organizing the Slow Cooked Movement, which hosted weekly community dinners for students remaining on campus during Field Work Term. 

Pie Exley '22 and Sydnie Hyams ’22 were interviewed about their campus experiences during the pandemic in 2020, noting an appreciation for special pop-up classes and a presentation given by faculty member Ben Anastas, which featured works by Hafsa Zulfiqar ’22 and Ahwar Sultan ’22

Rojay Bryan ’22, Andreea Coscai ’22, and Marley-Rose Liburd ’22 served as members of the Bennington College Community Builders, which seeks to build a more diverse and inclusive community through conferences, performances, and other events.

Ayesha Bashir '22 contributed a recipe to the community cookbook project for the Bennington community during quarantine and social distancing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Several members of the class of 2022 contributed their art and music to the FLoW (first-generation, low-income, and working class) student pop-up gallery, which highlighted and celebrated work that FLoW students create on campus. Participants included Andreea Coscai ’22, Celina Einem ’22, Pie Exley ’22, Nori Hilton ’22, and Luke Taylor ’22. And Sutton Trust Scholar, Florence Gill '22 has mentored various other FLoW students applying to undergraduate programs in the United States.

Ashley Escobar '22, Mary Brothers '22, and Thomas Finegar '22 participated in Jeepers!, a short film in which an intrepid group of Bennington students fall into supernatural hijinks. 

Ernesto Cruz-Barriga '22 played Cohen in the independent film The Bob Zula, which premiered in 2019.

Lika Torikashvili ‘22 and Thomas Finegar ’22 co-organized Paint the World Zoom Calls sessions with children undergoing cancer treatment in Iashvili Hospital in Tbilisi, Georgia, where Thomas did magic performances through Zoom to uplift children and share positive energy. The project was a part of the Paint the World initiative.  

Ayesha Bashir ‘22 organized a film festival on campus that focused on Pakistani Independent Cinema in the midst of the pandemic in 2020. After months of putting the program together and interviewing the directors, she realized how passionate she is about facilitating people and organizing events to bring the community together, especially during the pandemic. She has also been working as a Film Programmer at MUBI, where she has acquired content and media management, archiving digital works, and online programming skills. One of her short films, 0:28, was recently screened at the Girls in Film Festival (GiFF) at House of Vans in London.

With the mission of preventing harm and developing community connection, Nori Hilton ‘22 and Madelyne Wilson ‘22 hosted weekly restorative justice circles. These weekly restorative circles featured themes relevant to the student experience in response to a lack of positive social relationships on campus and in order to strive toward a community of collective care and support. 

Outsized Impact

Elinor Philips '22 was instrumental in assisting in the compilation of work for climate justice in St. Croix, an initiative headed by David Bond in collaboration with residents and local environmental groups in the US Virgin Islands to hold the Limetree Refinery accountable for a legacy of environmental contamination.

In 2020, Andreea Coscai '22 established Her Time Romania, which utilizes social media to guide young Romanian women toward leadership through networking. Through these peer-to-peer connections, the Her Time Romania leadership and networking Facebook group has grown to 3,000+ members. On Instagram, the nascent organization boasts over 10,000 followers. Inspired by Her Time’s webinars and community connections, group members have begun branching out to begin their own projects, in fields ranging from creative writing to environmental justice.

Lika Torikashvili '22 received a mandate of Georgia's Youth Representative to the United Nations, and worked at the UN Mission of Georgia. In 2018 Lika made a speech at the 73rd session of the General Assembly, as United Nations Youth Delegate. In 2020 Lika founded a youth organization uniting all UN Youth Delegates - Network of Former Youth Delegates to the UN, which works on UN SDGs and Youth Peace and Security agenda. Some of the projects Lika co-organized with Network include: a webinar on Localizing Youth Peace and Security through iPEACE, Youth In Diplomacy Talks with the UN Ambassadors of Israel, Ukraine, Georgia, Germany, Antigua and Barbuda.  During the Spring 2022 term, Torikashvili collaborated with Bennington College's Center for the Advancement of Public Action to welcome Afghan students to Bennington online courses.

Additionally, in collaboration with the Afghan UN Youth Delegate, Ramiz Bakhtiar, in 2021 Torikashvili was awarded a $5,000 grant for Peace in Our Schools project during the sixth annual Campus Pitch Competition from the World Jewish Congress, where she was previously a Ronald S. Lauder fellow. She also founded the international youth organization Paint the World and used her FWT Newman and Cox grant to organize the “Zoom Calls for Peace” project, bringing art therapy to children in Georgian Hospitals, online. In collaboration with a Mexican cinematographer Clint Kattwinkel, Lika produced a series of documentaries called “Painters of the World,” showcasing inspirational stories of community work and public action.  

Students in Judith Enck's Plastic Pollution and What Students Can Do About It course wrote letters to the editor about the need to protect the environment and marine life from the growing problem of plastic pollution. Ren Barnes '22, Lika Torikashvili '22, Srichchha Pradhan '22, Grace Kenney ‘22, M.A. Ly '22 and Aubrey Elwes '22, each published letters in the Vermont Journal, Brattleboro Reformer, Bennington Banner, The Kathmandu Post, The Martha’s Vineyard Times, Vietcetera, and The Argonaut, respectively.

"Herutjokro as Posthuman," a music composition for Javanese gamelan and electronics by Dion Nataraja '22, was presented in the Prince Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music International Symposium (PGVIS). The piece explores the ideas of Romo Herutjokro Semono, a figure of Javanese animism, in relation to the discourse of posthumanism. The piece itself is an attempt to deconstruct and build new ideas based on the Javanese idea of rasa.

In 2019, Annabel Hoffman '22, and Ella Stewart '22 volunteered with Vermont Arts Exchange's TLC Dolls program. These handmade fabric comfort dolls were donated to survivors of abuse and to emergency room patients.

Libby Green '22 and Kestrel Osman ’22 participated in the 2019 Bennington Empty Bowls Supper, which is the largest annual fundraiser for the Kitchen Cupboard of Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services, providing food to one quarter of the town of Bennington’s population.

With a goal to reintroduce the Chestnut tree to our landscapes today, guaranteeing food sovereignty for hundreds of years to come, Libby Green ‘22 will be planting five chestnut trees on campus: one near the student center, two in the orchard, and two at the Frost House. Her website focuses on this project, and she also created a zine that will be distributed around campus and at the library.

Marley-Rose Liburd '22 Kayla Phillips ‘22 and River Castenada ‘22 facilitated several fundraising opportunities on campus to generate funding to donate to mutual aid and support.

Thomas Finegar '22, Florence Gill '22, Marley-Rose Liburd '22, and Jacqueline de Loos '22 served as mentors for Vermont students participating in the Dorset Theatre Festival’s Young Playwrights Competition.

Grace Kenney ’22 was a driving force behind Coastal Caps, a hat shop with a mission to “help put a lid on plastic pollution.” Their one-of-a-kind hats made of repurposed materials reflect their designers’ love for art, fashion, and environmental sustainability. 

Jacob Sanders ’22, originally from Mercer County, KY, organized a fundraiser for the victims of the tornados that hit Kentucky last year. Sanders directed scenes from Robert Schenkkan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, The Kentucky Cycle, which premiered over Zoom.