Alumna Reflection: from Goucher to the West to Lyon

Kathryn Walker


In one of Paul Gauguin’s paintings, he ponders the future of mankind: “Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?”
Six months ago, I graduated from Goucher. I walked across a stage and gave Sandy a hug that was forever immortalized, and then paparazzi-printed out everywhere, by my dad. Three days later, with my diploma in hand, I hopped in a plane to Salt Lake City with a sprained foot to work for an active travel company. Flew around Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, California, Chicago, Baltimore, DC, Philly, Alaska, Canada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho.
I spent a lot of this summer falling asleep under the stars and looking up at the world around me and thinking that anything was possible. Sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon with friends and looking out at everything touched and shadowed by the moon. Climbing to the top of mountains and looking out over valleys and canyons and feeling connected to something larger than myself.
Now, I am perched here in my house-on-a-hill in Lyon, France, working as an English teaching assistant, dipping some bread into coffee, and thinking about tomorrow and the day after that and the hill I have to walk down and the applications I have to fill out. I’ve spent a lot of time here sitting on the banks of the Rhone pondering the all-too-human thoughts of, “Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going?”
I guess that explains, somewhat, the bags under my eyes or the pimples that have magically appeared on my face or the two inches of split-ends trailing along at the end of my ponytail.
This real life, or whatever a life this is, can throw so many things at you. It’s life on crack, life on a speedometer going 500 revolutions per minute, life that flashes by. In our post-grad lives, sometimes my friends and I freak ourselves out by thinking about the many-splendored and spangled future, lie on sofas and console ourselves with pints of ice cream,drink one too many cocktails, force unpleasant thoughts to the back of our minds. Six months later, this life, this post-grad real adult freshman-year-of-life life, is still just as bewildering as ever. I haven’t figured out how to cure cancer or resolve climate change or master five other languages. Or how to navigate French bureaucracy or get rid of mice in an apartment or understand how to convey the English language to a group of French high schoolers.
But having a life of my own creation, a job, a place to live, friends, acquaintances, it feels richer almost, more real. It’s not forced or a facsimile. This life, this crazy, awesome, tiring, exhilarating, strange life, is something that I have crafted, more or less, on my own. While a part of me can very easily imagine moving back to my Dulaney apartment to drink some tea and watch New Girl with my roommates, my life and my future here, whatever they may be, seem limitless, expansive, awe-inducing.
So where do I see myself in five years? Good question. But recently my grandma sent me a quote from Dr. Seuss:
But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.
On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.
So as someone once told me, “Be in the moment. And keep moving!” -John Caslin

Goucher Eats: Senior eats finale

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

This is my belated thank you letter, the one that extends hundreds of miles and

Kathryn Walker ‘14 and her brothers outside Stimson Hall after moving in Freshman year (Photo: Courtesy of Kathryn Walker)
Kathryn Walker ‘14 and her brothers outside Stimson Hall after moving in Freshman year (Photo: Courtesy of Kathryn Walker)

oceans wide, the one that I should have written to so many people for so many things, the one that never came in the mail or still lies unwritten on my desk.  For the things big and small, heroic or ordinary, important or inconsequential.  For the people, moments, and places that have swept me off my feet and shaken my small corner of the world.  As the Dictionary of Obsolete Sorrows so aptly describes, a memory, a lifetime, “are not just the moments, not the grand gestures or the catered ceremonies, not the poised person smiling in photos, they’re the invisible things. The minutes, the cheap raw material of ordinary time.”
Four years ago, my family – both parents and all three brothers in tow – dropped me off at Goucher in the sweltering Baltimore heat for my first cross-country pre-season, my first real Goucher memory.  After four hours of unpacking, sweating, and bickering, I waved them off with a factitiously haughty, “I’ll see you at Thanksgiving – maybe.”  Five minutes later, I was lying on my bed staring at the cracks in the ceiling and wishing with all my heart that my family would hear my silent thoughts and come back for me and take me home.  I came to the conclusion that if this was what college would be like – silent, lonely, sweaty – then these next four years were going to suck.
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Reflections from The Q senior editors

The Quindecim staff members at the year end party (Photo: Nora Morgan)
The Quindecim staff members at the year end party (Photo: Nora Morgan)

Jaclyn Peiser

It was my third week at Goucher when I decided to get involved with The Q. At my first meeting, I pitched two features articles, a news article, and a freshman column. They gave me one of the feature stories and the column. Thus began the beginning of a transformative, essential, and defining experience to my time at Goucher.
I have learned so much from this newspaper: How to work with difficult people, how to take and respond to criticism, how to be an effective leader, how to stay organized and productive, and how to put out a newspaper every two weeks. But most importantly, I have learned that being a journalist is something I am meant to do when I graduate. I look forward to attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism this August, honing and developing the skills I have learned through The Q.
Although the job of Editor-in-Chief can be stressful, tough, and unappreciated, it has been overwhelmingly rewarding. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing and supportive editorial staff and that our faculty advisor, David Zurawik, has been an invaluable source of guidance and support. But, I am even more thankful to the previous Quindecim editors, who saw my potential and allowed me to move up the ranks.

Ryan Derham
Co-Global Editor

When I try to remember the person I was when I moved into Goucher College my freshman year, I can’t really. Change happens so slowly, I couldn’t tell you the moment I became a confident writer, a passionate learner, a determined tennis player. The accomplishments we’ve all made are important, and the goals we’ve yet to reach are not there to taunt us. They are there to drive us forward. Seniors, we may be unsure of ourselves, but there are things we take for granted everyday. When things become stressful, remember those things we are so fortunate to have. Lastly, a quote, because we are never too old to believe: “And above all, watch with glittering eyes all around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
-Roald Dahl

Christine Cherry
Sports  Editor

I have really enjoyed my time working on The Q! I was really fortunate to be taken in with open arms despite being new this year. I always looked forward to the meetings, laughs, and spelling errors. It was a great run!

Jessica Hallstrom
Co-Global Editor

I remember my first Q meeting in the first few weeks of freshman year – sitting in the back of the office on the big couch, I was so excited to get a chance to write for the student paper. Though I’ve had various degrees of involvement with The Quindecim over the past four years, I have the same passion for it now as I did during that first meeting. I hope that the upcoming years will bring it the recognition that it deserves and that The Q will continue to be a respected outlet for students to voice their opinions and hone their talents as journalists.

Sara Torgerson
Arts Editor

The past couple of months I have been trying to practice the art of leaving college with a certain sprezzatura. I find that this is damn near impossible. My time at Goucher has been… well… formative. Who I am as a person today has been the result of the forming, shaping, and reshaping of my character by friends, classes, professors, and of course, extra-curricular influences like writing and editing for The Q.
I started writing for The Q last year when the Ecce Homo wall fresco crisis in Spain happened. I thought the whole Jesus mural debauchery was hysterical and needed to write something in response. Since that first article, The Q has become a constant labor of love, and an  every-two-weeks reminder to reflect on Arts and a source of stress when chasing after writers to get their articles in – I mean you Patrick.
The Q has been a source of laughter, support, and brought me together with some of my favorite people. Allison Panetta ‘13 thought up the title of my column, Smart Art, last year on the office couch. In the office itself, there have been a lot of new friends, laughs, tears, stress, and perspectives changed, but like college, it is now time to leave The Q and to pass it on to the next generation of students who will make their own memories.

Sarah Pardus
Chief Copy Editor

Four years ago, I walked into The Q office terrified. I enjoyed writing, but I didn’t want people to judge me. I was intimidated by the editors and afraid to speak up or write any articles. I wrote less than five newspaper articles during my first two years at Goucher, instead copyediting hundreds of others.
It wasn’t until I became the chief copy editor that it clicked for me. I was more confident in my writing after reading everyone else’s. I loved sports and began writing athlete profiles, a  beat that became mine.
Senior year, I stuck with my role as chief copy editor, but I stepped further out of my comfort zone. I actually opened my mouth at the meetings, I wasn’t afraid to walk into The Q office, and I wrote articles outside of the sports section that I knew and loved. I connected with people I otherwise would have never known. I found a place for myself at Goucher outside of being an athlete.

Christopher Riley
Associate Editor

From the first education class I took freshman year to field work this semester, it’s hard to believe what I thought would happen in college versus what actually happened. Coming off yearbook and the newsletter in high school, I vowed to take these four years off from journalism, being a leader, and doing all of the crazy things I used to do in high school. Do I regret it? Of course not. Would I do it again the same way? Maybe. Do I think I’m a more well-rounded person for pushing through it all? Yes.
I can’t begin to tell you how much the friends I’ve made here mean to me and can’t begin to tell you how many feelings I have coming to the realization that there will be some people I won’t ever see again. It actually makes me a little sad. I hope that those people feel somewhat the same feelings. Graduation is 18 days away, there’s nothing I can do about that, and while I can’t wait for it to get here, I know it’ll be one of the hardest days I ever face.
All I can do now is what do every day… Try to take over the world!

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

My time with The Q started my freshman year with an interview with Billie Weiss, then editor-in-chief of The Quindecim. Imagine an interview about writing a column with a senior who wore wingtip shoes – intimidating, to say the least. But somehow, four years later, I’m still writing a food column, albeit one that has morphed into something that encompasses more than just food. “Goucher Eats” reflects my growth  concerning culture, food science, and more. I have been given a space to express my thoughts, experiences, and recipes. And through this editing experience, I have come to form friendships with fellow wordsmiths and Gophers that have made this fourth and final year at Goucher year such a memorable one. Merci beaucoup!

Christine Cherry
Sports Editor

This past weekend, the Goucher Track and Field team finished up their season with the

Danielle Granger ‘16 competing at Gettysberg College (Photo: Goucher Athletics)
Danielle Granger ‘16 competing at Gettysberg College (Photo: Goucher Athletics)

Landmark Conference Championships held at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. With two beautiful days of weather and an almost-new track, the Gophers were granted excellent conditions for their final meet. Even if they didn’t score, many of the athletes had personal bests and put their hearts into their events. The meet was also special for five seniors on the team: Troy Browne, Hugh Geller, Christine Cherry, Shea Staab, Kathryn Walker, and Katelynn Zidanic.
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Goucher Eats: Snacks, snacks, and more snacks

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

After sitting through a four-hour plane ride, a four-hour drive, and a couple of “et cetera” hours in

Various snacks on display in the summer sun (Photo: Kathryn Walker)
Various snacks on display in the summer sun (Photo: Kathryn Walker)

between, my first day of spring break in Utah is filled with a lot of sitting and even more snacks. “Snacks on snacks on snacks,” as one of my brothers pointed out when I sent him a picture of the contents of my backpack.  Loaded-up with snacks, I start the real adventuring/ moving part of my journey as I pull into the driveway of the lodge I am staying at.
Bouncing out of the car and itching to move, to do something with my body other than sit, I dig out my hiking boots from my suitcase and strap them on.  In five seconds, zipzipzip, they are laced up my ankles. I head outside and follow the path of the setting sun over the mountainside.  The sunlight fills and glistens over everything.  I can’t help it – I start smiling to myself. Continue reading

Goucher Eats: What we eat when we eat alone

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

“Inspired by Deborah Madison’s essay collection “What We Eat When We Eat Alone”

On most Sunday mornings, way before my roommates have even thought about rolling out of bed, way before most college students have even thought about the idea of rolling out of bed, I get up and watch the sun rise.  I put some water on the stove, I listen as the water roils around, I slouch on the sofa bemoaning the fact that yet again, I can’t sleep past 9 o’clock.  I watch through the window as the light goes from soft mist to beaming rays, as slowly-yet-surely people begin to walk by my window and head to wherever they’re going in the world.  The water reaches boiling, and I begin the process of drinking copious cups of tea.  I stir some of the water into my oatmeal, waiting for the grains to solidify, then add quick flicks of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
The cinnamon dust sometimes pokes into my nose and makes me sneeze. The honey goes on last, swirled around in small circles on the top.  Then I start eating, waiting for either my brain to start engaging and clicking and making sense of things or for my hands and mouth and stomach to finish off my breakfast before I even have a chance to realize that I’m indeed up and out of bed.  I finish and decide to read something, anything, to jolt myself awake. Sometimes I feel ambitious and strap on my running shoes and fly out the door.  Most of the time I just linger at the table searching for a reason to stand up, brush my teeth, and go ahead with my day.
At the high school breakfast table, my dad attempted to engage me in witty conversation or intellectual dialogue.  Most of the time, he was greeted with a scowl and a lot of under-the-breath sass. Now in college, I reserve the morning scowling and sassing just for my family.

More peanut butter, slathered on bread, some banana wedges and honey layered between.  Some mango slices. Then I jet on with the rest of my day.

At the end of the day, I am famished. So I decide to combine everything that rests on my cabinet shelves – dried rosemary, some lemon pepper, an onion, two cloves of garlic, two eggs, some bread.  I even wrestle some ketchup from the fridge.  I turn the stove on high, slick a pan with oil, slide in some of the onion, the garlic, the rosemary, the lemon pepper, and wait for the sound of a sizzle.
My feet are tapping the floor, my hands are winding a spoon through the garlic. The onion becomes translucent. I crack both eggs and slide them into the skillet, slamming a lid overtop to cook the yolks.  The bread is rubbed with garlic, then put in the oven to toast. Five seconds later, I root through a drawer to find a spatula and slide the eggs, garlic, and spices onto a plate where they are quickly capped by the toast. The yolks are soft, too runny, almost raw; the garlic crisp, the onions clear.
I dip the toast into some ketchup, and then open my mouth wide and devour the egg-toast-ketchup combo in record time, deep yellow yolk running down my hands.  I don’t bother with napkins.  This breakfast-for-dinner is more than I could have ever hoped for.

I ruffle through the drawer and find a single spoon, and I then tip-toe over to the side cabinet and pull down the jar of Nutella followed by the jar of peanut butter.  I scoop up one spoonful of Nutella followed by one spoonful of peanut butter.  I decide there is nothing better in the world than this salty-sweet combo.  So I grab one more spoonful of each and then fall into bed, content.

Running after hyenas: Q & A with Hadley Couraud ‘13, in Kenya

Kathryn Walker
Co-Features Editor

Hadley Couraud

Hadley Couraud graduated in Spring 2013 with a major in Biology and a minor in Peace Studies.

Hadley Couraud doing tests on a hyena in the African Mara with research co-workers (Photo: courtesy of Hadley Couraud)
Hadley Couraud doing tests on a hyena in the African Mara with research co-workers (Photo: courtesy of Hadley Couraud)

While at Goucher, she was on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams, and was also involved in Earthworks and Goucher Leadership Council.  (She also happens to be a 4th generation Goucher student) 

What are you doing now that you graduated?:
Now a recent graduate, I am working as a Research Assistant for Michigan State University’s Mara Hyena Project; I am living in a wildlife research camp in the Maasai Mara studying the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta). The job description hails as purely scientific, “monitoring demography and behavior … bimonthly prey censuses … collecting and processing fecal, blood, and tissue samples.” However, I am presented every day with a certain truth: Contrary to the juxtaposition often posed, biology and peace studies are inextricably intertwined.


Couraud doing some chemical tests on a Hyena DNA sample (Photo: Hadley Couraud)
Couraud doing some chemical tests on a Hyena DNA sample (Photo: Hadley Couraud)

Why work with hyenas?
Thought by many to be the cowardly scavengers of the Mara (who all sound like Whoopi Goldberg, right?), hyenas are in fact some of the most effective predators on the savannah, more likely to have their kills stolen by lions than the other way around. One of the most fascinating things about them is their social complexity – they live in societies whose complexity is more on par with primates than any other animal group. What we are learning and seeing now more than ever however, are the hyenas’ resilience and adaptability in the face of burgeoning human influences. These anthropogenic disturbances are broad, but include livestock grazing, the increasing number of lodges and tourists, and the burgeoning town of Talek which lies just on the opposite bank of the Talek River which partly defines the northern border of the Reserve.  However, the hyenas are but one piece of evidence of how changes in the region are impacting the stability of the ecosystem.  It is vital to see that the changes we see in hyenas’ biology and behavior have causes and ramifications beyond a biological perspective.

Has Goucher guided you?
Coming to Goucher, I knew exactly what direction I wanted to take in my studies. I was going to pursue a Biology degree and enter the field of wildlife conservation with the vision of working internationally to study wild species and conserve them. Then I came to Goucher, and three experiences changed my vision. The first was studying abroad in Tanzania, where I studied community wildlife management for a month – and began to see for the first time how important people were in the story of wildlife conservation. The second was my ecology class, when I learned the language and workings of ecosystems, and began to see how impossible it is to isolate a species and work for its conservation without considering every actor in the environment. Finally, I took my first Peace Studies class, which hooked me into becoming a student of the discipline. With these three stepping-stones, I have begun walking a new path, one heading into the unknown, but in the direction of the intersection of conservation, community, and human rights.


Best part of your job now?:
Recently, I became one of our trained darters for the project, and that has been one of the neatest parts of the job. Using a rifle powered by pressurized CO2, we dart/tranquilize our hyenas to put on GPS collars and/or take blood and bacteria samples and body and teeth measurements. I love getting to be so hands on with the hyenas and when it’s your finger pulling the trigger, there is an element of responsibility, respect, connection and gratitude for the animal that is really powerful to experience.