On Friday, we had the pleasure to welcome back to campus eight inspirational alumnae to meet with our Middle and Upper School students. These phenomenal women who work in the fields of education, law, tech, medicine, management consulting, global research and development, and engineering, discussed their careers and the impact Stuart has had on their lives with our girls. Some were in town to be part of #LEADLIKEAGIRL which took place on Friday night and Saturday, April 6. Thanks to Stephanie Champi '12, Sabrina Comizzoli '88, Alaina Gaines '08, Samantha Hackney '05, Dr. Kiersten Huckel '03, Sarah Rich '08, Catherine McKee van Kampen '84, and Elisa Vera '13. Scroll below to learn more about the alumnae. Click here for photos from their lunches.
Stephanie Champi '12 is a current recruitment manager for Teach For America and one of the founders of the Harris B. Siegel Fund for Student Leadership. After graduating from Stuart, she earned a double major from the University of Chicago in sociology and public policy, with a concentration in urban education. After graduation, she taught seventh grade math in South Boston as a 2016 Teach For America Corps member and deeply believes that every child, regardless of their race, socioeconomic status, and zip code has the right to an equitable education. She is also an Advisory Board member for the National Center for Girls' Leadership at Stuart.
Sabrina Comizzoli '88 has served in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of NJ for over 16 years. Currently, as senior appellate counsel, she briefs and argues criminal cases before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Previously, as executive assistant U.S. attorney, Sabrina was a member of U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman's core leadership team, responsible for a variety of case-related, policy, and administrative matters. In addition, she served as chief of the Government Fraud Unit, where she supervised attorneys prosecuting criminal offenses affecting the federal government. Previously, Sabrina handled affirmative civil rights litigation in the Office of the NY Attorney General. She clerked for the Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin in the Southern District of NY and for the Hon. Maryanne Trump Barry in the Third Circuit. Sabrina graduated from Princeton University and NYU School of Law. She served as president of the Association of the Federal Bar of NJ, 2017-2018.
Alaina Gaines '08 currently works as a team lead in People Operations at Google NYC. She graduated from Ursinus College in 2012 with a Dual Degree in International Relations and Spanish and a Minor in Political Science and African American Studies. Alaina began her career as a founding teacher at Brooklyn Arts and Science elementary school in Brooklyn, NY while attending Hunter College for her M.A. in early childhood education. After several years of teaching and coaching through NYC Teaching Fellows, Alaina transitioned to a position as a full time manager of teacher leadership development at Teach for America. There, she coached teachers on teaching techniques, classroom management, curriculum and culturally responsive pedagogy while leading a cohort of teacher leaders on values based leadership. She is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion work and currently serves as the trainings-lead for diversity, equity, inclusion and integrity for Staffing Services at Google, having been recruited for her extensive experience and skillset.
Samantha Hackney '05, consultant at TCC Group, partners with clients to advance and scale social impact through targeted capacity building, and by facilitating intercommunity dialogue and collaboration that inspires action. Her passion is working with individuals and communities where she can draw on her skills in capacity building, strategy, and communications to customize measurable solutions that are strongly rooted and informed by those directly impacted. Guided by the conviction that a more just and equal society will only be possible if those closest to the problems are at the forefront of making the change, Samantha works with clients across the philanthropic, nonprofit, and corporate sectors. Clients she has advised at TCC Group include the National Wildlife Federation, the Resource for Education, Advocacy, Communication, and Housing (REACH), Sunnyside Community Services, and Urban Resource Institute.
Prior to joining TCC, Samantha advanced the efforts of the Haiti Development Institute (HDI) at The Boston Foundation to address inefficiencies in the deployment of philanthropic capital and increase the intended impact of grassroots organizations in Haiti. She devised a unique three-tiered capacity assessment tool to evaluate the ability of grassroots organizations to affect change in their communities, enabling HDI to effectively function as an advisor for philanthropists and foundations looking to invest in or give to Haitian organizations. Previously, she advised Southwest Airlines on how best to replicate its successful U.S.-based giving and engagement programs in Latin America.
Samantha holds an M.A.L.D. in International Business and Development Economics from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a B.A. in French from Amherst College.
Dr. Kiersten Huckel '03 is a dentist at Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics. She attended Stuart from first through twelfth grade. At Trinity College, Kiersten majored in economics and double minored in German studies and architectural studies. After graduation, she worked in advertising for a short time before deciding to pursue a career in dentistry. Kiersten received a certificate in pre-medical sciences from Columbia University in NYC before continuing on to earn her D.M.D. degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. In 2016, she moved back to Princeton and joined her current practice. Kiersten discussed the struggles she had in picking a career-path after college and her experiences applying and entering into a graduate program as a "non-traditional student."
Sarah Rich '08 graduated cum laude from Harvard, then embarked on a creative international career path. She is an extrapreneur committed to leveling the global playing field in research and development, with a focus on Africa (five years working on the continent, traveling to fifteen countries and living in one, and working with colleagues from 20+ African nations). Sarah's aim is to help researchers from resource-scarce environments bring their ideas to the market, building partnerships and designing initiatives to multiply African researchers' impact on global science and cultivate science-led business ecosystems. She has dared to question the status quo, forging a path that integrates corporate management consulting and international development program design and strategy. Sarah has led effective collaborations between the private sector, academia, nonprofits, foundations, and development banks, raising USD 2.3M (responsible for creative direction of/reporting on 17.8M) and strengthening scientific research and leadership in Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, U.S., U.K., and Zambia, with on-the-ground professional experience in 14 of those countries.
Sarah just moved back to New Jersey from Nairobi, Kenya where she worked as Strategy Consultant to the Global Chief Technology Officer of Johnson & Johnson Consumer, having created this role from scratch after brokering a partnership between J&J Consumer and the Nairobi-based African Academy of Sciences, where she was also a member of staff. Sarah designed this initiative to build relationships between J&J scientists and promising African researchers across the continent, as well as to set up new R&D training programs geared toward creating opportunities for African scientists to collaborate with J&J. Before becoming an independent consultant, Sarah worked at the Institute for Advanced Study for several years.
Catherine McKee an Kampen '84 lived in the Netherlands as an American Field Service Student on a scholarship from the Women's College Club of Princeton. Catherine studied political science and history at Indiana University and has a juris doctorate from Seton Hall University. She interned at the Center for Social Justice's Immigration Law Clinic and clerked for the Honorable Mary M. McVeigh in New Jersey Superior Court.
Catherine's legal practice focuses on class action settlement and overseeing recovered fraud funds on behalf of institutional investors and pension funds. She has extensive experience in complex financial litigation, having managed high-profile fraud cases during the 2008 Financial Crisis.
Catherine donates pro bono hours to NGOs helping refugees and is on the boards of the Free Yezidi Foundation and the Bring Hope Humanitarian Foundation. She supports the Yezidi Emergency Support Charity and donates to YAZDA. In 2018, Catherine was the Ambassador Medalist, New Jersey Governor's Jefferson Awards for Outstanding Public Service and was honored at Stuart for her pro bono work with Yezidi and Christian women persecuted in Iraq and Syria.
Elisa Vera '13 is a Stuart alumna whose love of science has led her towards a path of legalese and innovation! Elisa hold a bachelor of engineering degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University. She passed the patent bar exam and currently works as a patent examiner for the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.