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Samples of My Work On Behalf of Applicants to Liberal Arts Programs

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Where are the female historians?

Philosophy: Margaret Cavendish.

The Heroines of Liberal Arts

Liberal arts programs may include the study of literature, philosophy, mathematics and social and physical sciences, history, language and more. This is one of the top ten college majors for women, according to Forbes.

In Time magazine, it was also stated that HBO, Starbucks and Disney´s CEOs were also once liberal arts majors. You never know where it could take you. Here are some women we´d like to celebrate that studied liberal arts that went in different directions post-university.

Baroness Ingrid Daubechies

Baroness Ingrid Daubechies is a Belgian physicist and mathematician. Between 2004 and 2011 she was the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the mathematics and applied mathematics departments at Princeton.

She taught at Princeton for 16 years, then moved to Duke University in 2011, where she worked as a professor in mathematics.

She was the first woman to be president of the International Mathematical Union (2011–2014), and is best known for her work with wavelets in image compression.

Andrea Jung

Andrea Jung has a B.A. in English Literature, which she earned at Princeton University, in 1979. She never imagined being a Fortune 500 CEO. A trailblazer for female CEOs, Jung finds it hard to believe how a Princeton bookworm came to lead the world’s largest direct cosmetics seller. She was chief at Avon from 1999 to 2012.

“What I find myself doing [now] was pretty unimaginable for me in 1979, after I finished my much-loved thesis on Katherine Mansfeld and my junior papers on Virginia Woolf,” Jung told students in a 2012 speech. 

“To be standing here, and saying, ‘I now run a $10 billion global company’—I would’ve said, ‘Couldn’t be possible, that is not an imagined career path, not an imagined journey”.

“Because I was an English major, I loved journalism. I thought perhaps I’d go back to journalism school or law school,” Jung said during her speech. But a friend told her about a training program at Bloomingdale’s to gain experience in marketing and merchandising. “I fell in love with the business and the consumer,” says Jung. So she ditched her grad school plans, and dove into the women’s apparel, accessories and cosmetics industry instead. The rest is history.

Karen Smith

Karen Smith is an American mathematician, specializing in commutative algebra and algebraic geometry. She studied for her bachelor's degree in mathematics at Princeton University before earning her PhD in mathematics at the University of Michigan in ‘93.

She is currently the Keeler Professor of Mathematics at the University of Michigan. In addition to being a researcher in algebraic geometry and commutative algebra, Smith wrote the textbook An Invitation to Algebraic Geometry alongside a few other authors.

Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Ardelia Wofford) is an American novelist, editor, and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University.

Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters and we think her best novels are The Bluest EyeSula , Song of Solomon, and Beloved.

Morrison won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for her book Beloved. It was later adapted into a film of the same name (starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover) in 1998.

Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993. Three years later, she also won the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government's highest honor for achievement in the humanities.

Morrison was honored with the 1996 National Book Foundation's Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, too. She was commissioned to write the libretto for a new opera, Margaret Garner, performed for the first time in 2005.

On May 29, 2012, Morrison received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016, she received the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.

Carly Fiorina, Former Hewlett-Packard CEO

Carly Fiorina has a B.A. in Medieval History and Philosophy. She studied at Stanford University.

Armed with a Stanford history degree yet still “completely unemployable,” Fiorina worked short stints as a receptionist, taught class as an English teacher and labored away as a secretary.

But at 25, she landed a sales rep job at AT&T. She quickly rose up in the IT and tech industry, eventually becoming HP’s chief (1999 to 2005).

Interestingly, when asked if her degree was of any use, Fiorina said how learning about the transformation from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance helped her approach the ongoing technological revolution. “We have, in fact, seen nothing yet,” she says.

She is proud of her liberal arts background. “While I joke that my medieval history and philosophy degree prepared me not for the job market, I must tell you it did prepare me for life,” the 2016 Republican presidential candidate said in March on education policy. “I learned how to condense a whole lot of information down to the essence. That thought process has served me my whole life… I’m one of these people who believes we should be teaching people music, philosophy, history, art.”

Fiorina also earned an MBA from the Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1980. She received an MS from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1989.

Daniela Kühn

Daniela Kühn is a German mathematician and the Mason Professor in Mathematics at the University of Birmingham in the UK. She is known for her research in combinatorics, extremal combinatorics and graph theory.

Alexa Hirschfeld

Alexa Hirschfeld went to Harvard University and received a B.A. in Classics in 2006. She quit her first job to co-found Paperless Post with her brother. 

This e-vite service was conceived in 2007 by her younger brother, James. He was a Harvard undergrad at the time and was planning his 21st birthday party when the idea came to him.

He then called his sister, who was planning to leave her first job as an editorial assistant at CBS. She was often merely opening mail. She needed a job with more creativity, she says.

“[James and I were] really focused on not having lives that were really awful and conventional,” Alexa told the Harvard Crimson in 2011. But starting out wasn’t easy, either. “We sat in my parents’ living room and we didn’t celebrate any holidays for two years,” she adds. Both lost a lot of weight.