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Career Connections: LincUPtoLearn 2019

Eleven Lincoln alumnae who are doing inspiring work in their industry of choice.

Twenty-two Lincoln students who are eager to gain experience in a profession that excites them.

Two weeks in April that will bring them together in the fourth year of LincUPtoLearn–Lincoln’s innovative (and wildly popular!) mentoring program.

LincUPtoLearn launched in the spring of 2016 through a collaboration between the Alumnae Board, the Advancement Office, and Lincoln’s academic leadership and has grown steadily, becoming something that both students and local alumnae aspire to participate in. Sixty-four students submitted an application for this year’s LincUPtoLearn (up from 35 applications in 2016!), and the 22 students selected will engage in a day of learning, networking, and bonding with a career role model.

The program–the first in Lincoln’s suite of mentoring and networking programs for students and alumnae–provides a unique opportunity for students to gain knowledge and experience that they can’t get in the classroom. As one student shared on her application, “As I am going to be finishing high school and moving on to college this year, I am particularly interested in networking, exploring different jobs, and gaining new experiences that are not typical to those of a high school student. Having the chance to spend the day following an alumna and learning about her work is a great way to gain those experiences and become familiar with a new career path. LincUPtoLearn will afford me these opportunities while also allowing me to connect with an alumna before I become one myself.”

The alumnae hosts–11 women with impressive resumes and varied backgrounds–welcome the students into their workplace with excitement, sharing insight and exposing them to various aspects of the professional world. This year’s mentors include:

Nicole Gesmondi ’01 | Owner of Nicole Gesmondi Photographer, LLC

  • As the owner of her photography business, Nicole is in charge of it all! She communicates, designs, markets, scouts sites, meets with clients, and takes and edits photos, and students will have access to all of these aspects of the business during their visit.

Barbara Cottam Garrahy ’77 | Executive Vice President, RI Market Executive and Head of Corporate Affairs at Citizens Bank

  • In her role, Barbara represents the bank in the community, and her department handles corporate initiatives, sponsorships, and the Foundation, among other things. Students visiting her will learn about all the facets of her day-to-day, and will also accompany her to the KIDS Count Factbook Breakfast, a premier gathering for the non-profit, which focuses on improving the health, education, economic well-being, and safety of Rhode Island's children.

Lisha Gomes ’97 | Associate Director, Government & Legislative Strategies at Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara

  • Lisha is a contract lobbyist, and represents corporate clients before the RI General Assembly, the Executive Branch, and the Governor’s and Executive Branch offices. During their visit, students will accompany her to the State House, meeting their reps and senators and witnessing votes and committee hearings.

Shareen Zaki Knowlton ’88 | Director of Education at Roger Williams Park Zoo

  • Shareen directs all of the educational programming for Roger Williams Park Zoo. She is involved in everything from the school programs to the development and design of the graphics for various zoo exhibits. On their visit, students will shadow a program and tour different areas of the zoo.

Amanda Davitt McMullen ’88 | President and CEO of the New Bedford Whaling Museum

  • Amanda is the head of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and is responsible for the daily operations of this $5MM non-profit, which is dedicated to telling the regional history through exhibitions and programs. Students spending the morning with her will attend staff and committee meetings, connect with donors, and participate in strategic planning conversations.

Jane Pleskunas Pellegren ’07 | Senior Public Health Epidemiologist at the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families

  • Jane is the lead epidemiologist on juvenile justice research and program evaluation, as well as the lead analyst for the RI DCYF’s Family Community Care Partnerships. Students will learn how she analyzes data to evaluate the programs the state offers to support youth and their families with the goal of maximizing positive outcomes for those in their care.

Jessica Ricci ’91 | Owner and Designer at Jessica Ricci Jewelry

  • Jessica focuses on gathering cultural artifacts from around the world and turning them into jewelry at her studio in Downtown Providence. On this particular morning, students will learn how she uses lost wax casting sculpting to create pieces for her collection.

Prudence Stoddard ’73 | Director of Design at RI Kitchen and Bath

  • Prudence designs projects and mentors other designers at this fast-paced kitchen and bath remodeling company, and will expose students to CAD design, material selection, the client relations process, and site visits.

Jamie Sweeney ’08 | Owner and Manager of Pure Barre

  • As owner and manager of Pure Barre in Rhode Island, Jamie is in charge of instructor training, client maintenance, and retail purchasing at two studios. Students will gain insight into these aspects of the business and also learn more about the Pure Barre method.

Stefanie Casinelli Taylor ’97 | President of Gennaro, Inc. and President and Founder of Zaxie by Stefanie Taylor

  • As President and Co-founder of Gennaro Inc./Zaxie, Stefanie oversees all departments and focuses on high-level company strategy. During their visit, students will work with the marketing team, witnessing the design process from inception of products all the way through to shipping.

Kathan Teepe ’06 | Owner and Farm Manager at Sweet Pea Farm

  • Kathan is the owner of Sweet Pea Farm in Charlestown, Rhode Island, which uses sustainable methods to produce vegetables and flowers. From producing products to marketing them, students will gain exposure to all aspects of running the farm on their visit.  

Stay tuned here, as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Lincoln Connect, for behind-the-scenes footage of LincUPtoLearn!


Are you an alumnae interested in participating in next year’s LincUPtoLearn? Reach out to Courtney Trafton, Associate Director of Advancement, at ctrafton@lincolnschool.org.