Fourth Annual Professional Connections Brings RPCS Alums Back to Campus

Fourth Annual Professional Connections Brings RPCS Alums Back to Campus
On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, nine Roland Park Country School alumnae returned to campus for the school’s fourth annual Professional Connections program. Organized by the Alumnae Office, the RPCS graduates met with small groups of Upper School students, where they discussed how they chose their respective careers, offered wise advice for handling life’s challenges and revealed how being a RED helped prepare them for life after graduation.
Katharine Fox Castro, 2004, CFO & director of Corporate Development at The Bond Distributing Company, shared her three rules for life with her group of students: work hard, treat everyone well, and be fearless. She spoke about the importance of having goals, but being flexible and open to the possibility that career paths can often change directions. Katharine also gently reminded the students to be grateful for their education and aware of the responsibility it brings. “It is a gift to be at RPCS,” she told the girls.
Jenny Jensen, 1980, a retired special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wowed the crowd with highlights from her 30-year career, including serving on the task force to solve the Oklahoma City bombing investigation in 1995. She credited RPCS with cultivating her strong research skills, which helped with several complicated cases, such as international terrorism investigations, complex financial and environmental crimes, and public corruption matters.
The speakers also encouraged students to not be afraid to take professional leaps. Allie Mason Hoffberg, 2011, professional blogger and founder of The Health Mason, explained to students about why and how she left her marketing job to pursue her passion and be her own boss. Krista Romita Grocholski, 2005, an associate physical scientist at the RAND Corporation and program manager for the NOAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center in Alexandria, Virginia shared her personal experiences with rejection and resilience and how RPCS prepared her for hard work. “I was not good at physics the first time I took it and I was not good at physics the second time I took it. But just because you’re not at good at something at first doesn’t mean you can’t make a living doing it.”
Victoria Rose Pass, 1999, an assistant professor at Maryland Institute  College of Art (MICA) encouraged the Upper School students to consider opportunities that may not always seem like a perfect fit, but could lead to a dream job. “When you cast a whole bunch of things out in the world, something will happen for you, “ she said. Vicky also spoke about overcoming imposter syndrome and the importance of learning resiliency. “Build community wherever you are. These people will buoy you when you need it…Collaborating and keeping a community around you can help lead to exciting things.”
Students also enjoyed presentations by Maura Chippendale, AuD., FAAA, 1980, owner of Chippendale Audiology, Suzanne Kim Doud Galli, MD, PhD, 1983, a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Serena Allison-Ptak, 1990, a senior engineer for the Southern Nuclear Engineering Services Project, and Valene Whittaker, Ph.D., 1998, a psychologist in the Outpatient Mental Health Clinic and the Military Sexual Trauma Services coordinator at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center in Bedford Massachusetts.

The fourth annual Professional Connections program was held on October 8, 2019 for Upper School students. The following alumnae returned to campus to share the stories of their career paths and their best advice for current REDS: (from top left, clockwise) Katharine Fox Castro, 2004, Allie Mason Hoffberg, 2011, Valene Whittaker, Ph.D., 1998, Victoria Rose Pass, 1999, Suzanne Kim Doud Galli, M.D., Ph.D., 1983, Jenny Jensen, 1980, Krista Romita Grocholski, 2005, Serena Allison-Ptak, 1990, and Maura Chippendale, AuD, FAAA, 1980.