Stories of Leadership

FRANCESCA RUSK-WALLACE (’97) graduated with a Political Science degree and is now a preschool teacher with the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity. She volunteers as a Vestry Member and Sunday School teacher with her church in Mount Vernon, VA. She articulates how important an all-women’s education is to her:

“I did not want to attend a single sex college. I refused to attend a single sex high school. I told my parents that this was the real world and I needed to learn how to deal with both sexes. And then the College Advisor at my high school in New Jersey told me he had visited a school in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and he thought it would be a good fit. And then someone from Admissions visited my school and pulled out the Mary Baldwin coffee table book. And then I started receiving Valentine’s Day cards from Mary Baldwin…and scholarship offers…and more letters from my admissions counselor.

And then I visited the campus. And it was love at first sight. I remember moving into Spencer 3 in August 1993 and meeting my two roommates and all of the girls on my floor. 20 years later, we are now middle aged moms and wives, professionals and really adults. And those are some of the friendships that have lasted the longest in my life. Because Mary Baldwin taught me all about loyalty and love.”

Francesca is a beautiful example of how we can impact future generations through what we learned and the incredible culture we felt at Mary Baldwin. Join Francesca in donating to Boldly Lead!

KELLY KERSMARKI HALL (’02 & ’16) graduated with a Studio Art degree with an emphasis in Drawing and Graphic Design and a minor in Art History. She played field hockey and lacrosse, where she served in leadership positions including Team Captain, Representative and President of the Student Athletic Association and Intern for the American Shakespeare Company (formerly Shenandoah Shakespeare.) She has two daughters, Grace and Eileen, who she raisedas a stay-at-home mom with her husband Mark while working part time as a preschool teacher and field hockey referee.

Kelly loved Mary Baldwin so much that she came back to earnher Masters in the Arts of Teaching! She is currently working as a 4th grade teacher for a special education inclusion class in Gloucester, VA. In her own words, “[Teaching] is a challenge but I love my students and the job.” Kelly has given to Boldly Lead, and when we asked about her experience at Mary Baldwin, she said:

“Mary Baldwin played an enormous role in helping me become the woman I am today. I was deeply saddened when I learned of the plans to admit men to the campus life. I am thankful for the opportunity to do my part in helping prevent these changes from occurring.”

Kelly shows how incredible her education was to helping her find a career that she loves through not one, but two degrees from Mary Baldwin.

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