Jamie Paul: Exploring the arts in Appalachia

By Molly Booth ’13

When he graduated from Marlboro in 2008, with a Plan in photography, Jamie Paul settled into a small community in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. “I moved here shortly after finishing at Marlboro, with the intention of learning something about the elemental way of life that is still championed in these parts.”

By day, Jamie works as a photography technician and archivist for documentary photographer Rob Amberg. Jamie got to know Rob when he was hired to do construction work around his farm, and Rob’s pictures of the inhabitants of Madison County inspired him. “His images are incredibly intimate, as they provide a glimpse into a way of life that is beautiful and authentic,” Jamie said.

By night, Jamie pursues his love of music and performing. He plays shows in the surrounding area, and has found an audience for his original folk songs. “There are some late nights and a good deal of driving, but nothing beats playing music to people who enjoy it.”

Jamie feels Marlboro truly prepared him for his current life. “During my time at Marlboro, I learned how to communicate who I am and what I want to do. That is big in a place like this, where honesty and transparency are highly valued.”

Emily Field: Helping the homeless and beyond

By Molly Booth ’13

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school, and figured this would be a fun place to think about it,” said Emily Field ’11. She works as a shift supervisor at the St. Elizabeth Emergency Shelter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Emily keeps the homeless shelter clean and in working order—but that’s just the job description.

“Really, what I do is spend time with friends that I value beyond belief.” Emily loves to interact with the people who stay at the busy shelter—“Everyone has a different story. For a Marlboro alum like me, someone who hates it when things get predictable, this is ideal.”

Emily’s Plan focused on writing, and she has discovered how those skills translate to her job. “Because I spend so much time thinking of other people’s stories and how to write them, I am able to listen to people for long periods of time without getting bored or trying to tell them my own story.” Her writing skills have also helped in her work as a legal assistant for another shelter.

For Emily’s next step, she’s considering a law degree, editing jobs or becoming a kayak tour guide. “Who says you have to stick with one line of work? Marlboro sure never taught me that.”


Brady Godwin: Exploring the otter side of the mountains

By Molly Booth ’13

“I float down beautiful western rivers with my dog and get to take pictures of pronghorn, foxes, moose, coyotes, eagles and occasionally even an odd otter or two.” Brady Godwin ’08 isn’t describing a vacation adventure; he’s describing fieldwork for his master’s program in zoology and physiology at the University of Wyoming, studying river otters in Wyoming’s Green River basin. “When I crawl out of a tent in the morning and chase off a moose, or see a Wyoming sunset without another soul for miles I think, ‘This is my job.’”

While Brady’s Plan was in conservation biology, it doesn’t directly relate to his master’s work on otters. But he has found his Marlboro education was excellent preparation for the demand of graduate work.  “The amount of reading, writing and organization it takes for Plan is very similar to grad school. Also, the one-on-one meetings with my Plan advisors really helped me learn how to get the most out of quick meetings with very busy graduate advisors.”

After completing his program, Brady hopes to find a job with an environmental consulting firm or organization that reaches out to the public. “My studies at Marlboro really made me realize the need for good communicators to explain ecology to the general public.”


First Person Singular: John Whelan ’11 puts music in reach of low-income youth

I’ve started a nonprofit organization, Wolf Industries, which is devoted to putting musical instruments in the hands of low-income youth and teaching them how to play. The inspiration for the organization actually came from the combination of my Plan, which covered the industrial development of musical instrument manufacturing, and the Certificate in Non-Profit Management offered at Marlboro College Graduate School. I must also give fair credit to my incredibly skilled board of directors, including Marlboro senior Max Cliggott-Perlt, our treasurer and mathematician.

First of all, I am establishing a connection to potential constituents by volunteering my time as a mentor at a local outreach program called just-a-start. Second, I have been developing a professional network of music students at Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory. I have been corresponding with the presidents of both of these institutions to establish an internship program between my organization and their music education students. The idea there is to give those students some practical experience in their field in exchange for professional references and college credit. The third piece will be to contact musical instrument retailers and producers about supplying us with instruments.

In the mean time, to pay the bills, I have taken a job with Laura Fisher & Associates, a subsidiary of American Income Life Insurance Company, which is proving to be a spectacular opportunity with plenty of growth potential. Laura Fisher & Associates works directly with labor union members, and as a licensed agent I carry the stamp of approval and support from a variety of unions. The largest union we work with is the International Union of Police Associations.

With high revenue sales like this the most important thing is energy, so I am keeping all my efforts toward a positive outlook. My favorite part about the job, as trite as it may be, is the money. There is of course a fair amount of speculative risk since I am not paid hourly or salary, but rather as an independent contractor. However, as a Marlboro alumnus I have little difficulty working independently. Commissions and bonuses add up quickly, so long as I’m maintaining a healthy level of tenacity.

My juggling act between LF&A and Wolf Industries has little to do with being sensible. But as a student of the esteemed Jim Tober, I learned reliable modes of time management and dedication. Having written a Plan of Concentration, I realize that I am the only thing that can stand in my way. For instance, I have taken on a hobby of filing taxes for a few friends. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the IRS website had all the information anyone would need. Of the many things you think you learn at Marlboro, the one that should never be neglected is learning how to learn.