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Alumni introduce students to careers in healthcare

Today, Susan Froshauer ’74 is president and CEO of Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, a multi-million dollar company that is developing new drugs.

Thirty-five years ago she was learning about botany at Connecticut College, never imagining where the future would take her.

“I never would have thought that I would be an entrepreneur,” said Froshauer.

She spoke on campus Dec. 6 as part of a new discussion series connecting students and professionals called “Sundays with Alumni.” The first panel, titled “Good Medicine: Careers in Healthcare,” brought back to campus five Connecticut College alumni who work in healthcare.

Other alumni returning to campus recently to talk with students in class include Debo Adegbile ’91, an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund who recently argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, and David Rubin ’85, an award-winning landscape architect based in Philadelphia.

In addition, Penny Howell ’75 returned to Abbey House, where she was a housefellow in the 1970s, to talk with students there about life on campus 35 years ago. Read more.

At the panel discussion, Froshauer, Jennifer Brosius Gallagher ’78, Gintas Krisciunas ’03, Meg Meyer ’06 and Matthew Tyler ’06 shared their opinions and advice with current students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare after graduation and discussed the often winding paths they took after leaving the College.

Meyer, who plans on earning her master’s in public health, lived in Ecuador for seven months after graduating, teaching first aid in rural villages and then translating for UMass medical students in Peru. She hopes to focus her graduate studies on women’s health in developing countries.

Tyler, currently in his third year at UMass Medical School, said that Connecticut College prepared him well for a life in medicine. Doctors with liberal arts backgrounds are known to communicate well and “are really in desire nowadays.”

The panelists impressed upon students that with a degree from Connecticut College, you’re prepared to take on any challenging healthcare career, be it in primary care, research or business. Several said they wished they had taken a broader selection of courses, in areas such as English.

“Doctors with a background in English are consistently rated to have the best bedside manner,” said Krisciunas, program administrator at the Boston Medical Center. “Be sure to diversify your course work while you’re at Conn.”

Keith Winking ’11, who is majoring in behavioral neuroscience, attended the panel because he is interested in medicine, though he hasn’t decided what he wants to do after next year. “There are just so many things I could do, so many opportunities.”

The next “Sundays with Alumni” panel will take place Feb. 7. The topic is “Careers in the Business of Music.” Others follow on March 7 and April 4, on fashion and environmental sustainability. Talks are free and open to the public. E-mail for more details.

-Matt Zientek ’10

December 10, 2009