Because of Barnard

Celebrating the contributions of our alumnae community

Barnard is the collegiate home to extraordinary people who explore their talents and passions — and in many cases, it’s the place where students discover the power of their own unique voices.

Here, eight members of our community share how their educational experience gave them the confidence to pursue their dreams.

Every student’s Barnard experience is unique, and this is just a sampling. To share your own reflections with your peers, as well as with future generations of changemakers, join the conversation online using the hashtag #BecauseOfBarnard.

Michelle Lopes Maldonado

Michelle Lopes Maldonado ’91

“Because of Barnard, I learned that anything was possible and that I was capable of stepping into my dreams and making them a reality. This incredible education, supported by an incredible community of students and faculty, gave me the confidence to become a lawyer, create a startup working with changemakers from all over the world, and, ultimately, run for — and win — political office as a public servant in my community. Because of Barnard, I know there’s no ceiling and the sky isn’t my limit.”

Diana Nguyen

Diana Nguyen ’05, DDS

“Because of Barnard, I’ve learned to be unapologetically fearless in the professional challenges and leadership opportunities I take on as a woman in a historically maledominated field. A senior work colleague — who didn’t go to Barnard — once told me that if I wanted to get ahead in my career, I should keep my head down, play dumb, and just focus on being well-liked. Barnard taught me that the most successful women are the ones who aren’t afraid to show the world what their generosity, talents, and intellect can do.”

Ashley Lannquist

Ashley Lannquist ’10

“Because of Barnard, I learned how to write clearly and think independently. Writing clearly has been an essential asset in my career. Thinking independently has allowed me to be ahead of trends and evade hype, which is extremely prevalent in my field of financial technology and digital currency.”

Jeanine Barone

Jeanine Barone 

“Because of Barnard, I was introduced to such a wide array of subjects that when people find out the many professions I practice successfully, they conclude I’m a true Renaissance woman. After all, I’m a travel writer, medical journalist, photographer, nutritionist, exercise physiologist, children’s book author, comedy screenwriter, artist, and apparel and accessories designer. What runs through these seemingly disparate fields is a thread of curiosity and creativity, which was instilled and nurtured in me during my time at Barnard. I will forever be grateful that I attended this institution that opened the world to me.”

Reni Calister

Reni Calister ’11

“Because of Barnard … I am strong and bold, baby. Four years spent surrounded by truly excellent, fabulous, ambitious women who had the confidence to chase their interests made a deep and lasting impact on my life. In my career, I have sought to work with and learn from women who are the very best at what they do, and that is a direct result of my time at Barnard. Get after it.”

Gauri Saxena

Gauri Saxena ’06, Ph.D.

“Because of Barnard, I have the confidence and courage to do the extraordinary: from living and working abroad after graduating to gaining admission to a competitive doctoral program in clinical psychology and making key career pivots within my field 15 years later. Barnard’s community of incredibly smart, talented, and inspiring students and alumnae has enriched my life personally and professionally, and I would not be who I am today without its unwavering guidance and encouragement.”

Sydney Brinson

Sydney Brinson ’16

“Because of Barnard, I realized that psychology could blend my passion for social justice and my interest in understanding human behavior. Science has given me a path to understand how people and communities function — and to use that understanding to enhance the wellbeing of others. My personal experiences as a Black woman have shown me the resiliency, complexity, and beauty of diverse communities." 

Geraldine Pontius

Geraldine Pontius ’68

“Because of Barnard, my architecture career has flourished, and I was recently recognized by the ‘Say It Loud’ Library of Great Designers, celebrating contributions by women in profession." 

Latest IssueSpring 2022

In this issue, you'll read about the New York governor's deputy chief of staff Linda Sun '06, a student-led mission to study bacteria in space, the alums leading the way in the sustainable flower movement, and more.