Amanda Sanders ’22

Amanda Sanders ’22 becomes fluent in storytelling

Amanda Sanders

In her final year at Conn, Amanda Sanders ’22 became the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The College Voice. But her journey to this leadership position started when she joined the Media, Rhetoric and Communication Pathway as a second-year student.

“I selected the Media Pathway to learn more about effective communication and presentation within various media outlets,” said Sanders, an English major and government minor from Great Neck, New York.

Her study of communication rhetoric was enhanced through internships at The Norman Rockwell Museum, where she worked as a marketing intern, and with the College’s Office of Communications, where she published her first magazine story, “Pixels Instead of Paint Strokes,” about museums going digital during the pandemic, in CC Magazine. She also published articles in New London’s The Day newspaper, thanks to her newfound ability to pitch story ideas.

“My internships, as well as working at The College Voice, informed me about the diversity of life on campus, as well as the utility of reliable news sources to filter out the rhetorical noise.”

Sanders wove her academic and cocurricular knowledge into her animating question, “How do the technologies available to us circumscribe or deepen our thinking and how do tech companies control our understanding of different events,” which she will present on at the All-College Symposium in November.

“My college experience presented communications rhetoric to me in different forms, which enabled me to learn more about how organizations and institutions utilize media to attract consumers or tell a story. I also saw firsthand what a career path in journalism would look like.”

Jessica Archibald ’95

A $1 million leadership gift is transforming Conn’s riverfront

Jess Archibald

A $1 million leadership gift from champion rower, Athletics Hall of Fame member and Conn trustee Jessica Archibald ’95 is transforming Conn’s waterfront along the mighty Thames River.

“Our waterfront is a tremendous asset, but we haven’t been taking full advantage of it,” said Dean of the College Victor Arcelus. “This project is changing the relationship between the campus and the waterfront in a way that will benefit the entire community.”

The Waterfront Revitalization Project, a goal of both the College’s strategic plan and Conn’s Action Plan for Competitive Success, will further develop the College’s terraced property and provide new spaces and facilities for sailing, rowing and recreation, as well as marine science.

With the gift from Archibald, who serves as managing director and a member of the Investment Committee and Management Committee at Top Tier Capital Partners, the College is completing the first phase, which includes a new floating dock system for sailing, as well as a new roadway, sidewalks and lights.

Also planned in the near future is an addition to the Athletic Center, which will include new spaces for strength and conditioning and sports medicine, a new squash center, offices and event spaces, and stadium seating for 500 overlooking the Lyn & David Silfen Track and Field. Future phases will include a new waterfront center to support sailing, rowing, marine science and outdoor recreation; a second turf field; and an event plaza.

“The goal is to introduce our students to this wonderful natural resource and open up this beautiful piece of property to the entire community for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, and other recreational, educational and research opportunities,” said Director of Athletics and Chair of Physical Education Mo White.

“The riverfront is now a wonderful, safe and inviting place for our students, faculty and staff to learn to sail, go for a walk, or just sit and unwind.”

Jazmine Hughes ’12

A New York Times journalist got her start at Conn’s student newspaper

Jazmine Hughes

“Gifted writer.” “Innovative editor.” “Avid observer of local news and politics.”

That’s how The New York Times Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jake Silverstein and The New York Times Metro Editor Clifford J. Levy described Jazmine Hughes ’12 when they announced in 2020 that she would write full-time as a metro reporter for the paper and a staff writer for the magazine, where she had served as a staff editor since 2015.

“Who can forget her puckish profile of Judge Judy, whose ‘eyebrows do a cartoonish slant from left to right, like an emoji meant to signal anger.’ Or her wonderful first-person essay on learning to swim. She’s also written many pieces for Arts, Books and Styles,” they wrote.

A 2020 ASME Next Award winner and 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree, Hughes is now covering New York City—at one of the most tumultuous times in its history—for America’s “newspaper of record.”

It’s an impressive career that began at Conn—specifically, in Cro 215, headquarters of Conn’s student newspaper, The College Voice.

“I started writing for the Voice my freshman year. When the editor-in-chief pitched the articles [my first] week, I was too nervous to volunteer, so I pulled a random editor aside and asked if I could write an article about relationships, something I knew nothing about,” Hughes recalled.

“A week later, I had a byline, an 800-word article praising the power of open lines of communication, and a newfound love for The College Voice.”

Hughes worked her way up to news editor, and then, as a senior, editor-in-chief. In her last editorial column for the Voice, Hughes reminisced on the importance of the co-curricular experience.

“I have grown up in Cro 215, a nurturing, productive, encouraging environment,” she wrote.

“The past four years have been real: an examination of what we like, an inquiry in what we are capable of, a constant investigation in what comes next.”

Chakena Sims Perry ’16

A champion for voting rights got her start at Conn

Chakena Perry

Chakena Sims Perry ’16 is a talented community organizer and voting rights champion who has garnered national attention for her work to expand political engagement and break down barriers to civic participation.

As the chair of the Cook County (Illinois) Young Democrats, the past board president of Chicago Votes Action Fund, and the founder of Black Millennial Renaissance, a network of Black millennials and their allies working to end systemic racism, Perry has worked tirelessly to make participation in the electoral process easier for people of color and young people.

“There are plenty of tactics that have been used over the years and are still being used today to disenfranchise people of color, from blatantly removing Black people from the voting rolls to voter ID laws that unfairly impact people of color,” Perry said. “And when it comes to the issue of whether incarcerated people and people with convictions should have the right to vote, that of course highlights the fact that Black people—particularly Black men—are disproportionately represented in our criminal justice system.”

Perry and her team have pushed aggressively for legislation that makes voting easier and more equitable on a fundamental level, such as online voter registration, same-day voter registration and automatic voter registration, all of which broaden access. She’s also worked on numerous projects, from partnering with the public system to register students to helping make the enormous Cook County Jail an actual voting precinct so that inmates awaiting trial can exercise their right to vote. For her efforts, she was honored with the 2020 Ainslie Alumni Achievement Award from the Posse Foundation.

Perry traces her intense passion for community engagement back to an internship with Chicago Votes, which she held as a student at Conn in 2013. She spent the summer knocking on doors in 90-degree heat, speaking with people throughout the city and encouraging them to register to vote.

“One day during that internship, I met a man with a felony conviction who said he had been told he couldn’t vote,” Perry recalled. “Something seemed off about that, so I looked into it, and it turned out that in Illinois, people with felony convictions actually can vote. That’s when I realized how misinformation is leaving a lot of important voices out of our democracy, and I wanted to do something about that.”

Carolyn ’60 and Jerry Holleran GP ’07

Carolyn ’60 and Jerry Holleran GP ’07 fuel Conn’s pursuit of a more equitable world

For more than two decades, the generous support of Carolyn and Jerry Holleran has propelled collective action by Conn students, faculty, staff and community partners to advance social justice through civic engagement.

In 1996, a landmark gift endowed the center that now bears the Hollerans’ name. In 2017, they contributed $2.5 million to expand its global reach — and a $1 million challenge grant to expand the impact of their generosity.

One of Conn’s five centers for interdisciplinary scholarship, the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy spurs teaching, research and collaborations that help Conn students develop the intellectual tools and ethical foundations needed to imagine and foster a more equitable society.

The center’s far-reaching impact is boldly illuminated by hundreds of Conn alumni across the globe whose research, activism, advocacy and public policy contributions are advancing human rights, public health, educational equity and environmental ethics — embodying Conn’s ethos of defying boundaries for the good of the world.

Student Life