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Profiles

‘Know Better, Do Better’: Charlane Oliver, BS’05, focuses on educating and energizing the Black electorate

Jul. 23, 2020—Oliver is a co-founder of the Equity Alliance, an organization dedicated to educating and energizing the Black electorate.

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Barbara Bell, EdD’18: Veteran Vision

Feb. 17, 2020—As director of the Center for STEM Education for Girls at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, retired Navy Capt. Barbara Bell wants to give girls the confidence and knowledge to excel in technical careers long dominated by men. A 28-year veteran and one of the first women graduates of both the U.S. Naval Academy and...

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Duc Pham, MD’98: From Vietnam to Vanderbilt

Feb. 17, 2020—Duc Pham often speaks about how lucky he has been, despite a difficult childhood during the Vietnam War after which his father, a police captain in South Vietnam, was sentenced without trial by the North Vietnamese to seven and a half years of hard labor in a prison camp. “When my dad was released from...

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Lauren Mandel, BA’15: The Art of the Possible

Nov. 7, 2019—Like many people her age, Lauren Mandel developed her funny bone to the antics of comedians like Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live. That Mandel, an aspiring entertainer since childhood, would one day work behind the scenes at that iconic sketch show—first as a page and then as the writers’...

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Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta, MS’84: UNESCO Education Leader

Nov. 7, 2019—It was with a scholarship from the Africa–America Institute that Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta enrolled at Vanderbilt to study educational leadership. Honored in September with the institute’s Distinguished Alumna Award, she now invests those skills in her native Africa. In 2016 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization named Ndong-Jatta director of the multisectoral office...

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Amanda Iovino, BA’08: Pushing for Positive Change

Nov. 7, 2019—Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in June 1919, and the amendment became law Aug. 26, 1920, giving American women the right to vote after a decades-long fight. This year, the centennial of women gaining the right to vote, a record number of women are serving in the U.S. Congress, many elected...

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Tom Mulder, BMus’12: Musician and Mentor

Nov. 7, 2019—Look no further than Tom Mulder to sing the praises of ArtSmart, a nonprofit begun three years ago in which classical musicians provide free individualized music lessons to high school students in underserved communities. “There’s a power in that one-on-one relationship between a teacher and a student,” says Mulder, a tenor who currently is performing—in...

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On the Hunt: Elaine Shannon, BA’68, Investigative Journalist

Aug. 20, 2019—As an English major at Vanderbilt, Elaine Shannon learned critical thinking and self-reliance—and that she was not cut out to sit in a library and write papers about poets. Instead she lined up a job as a reporter and launched a career as an investigative journalist and New York Times best-selling author that has led...

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Border Roots: Donald R. “Dee” Margo, BA’74

Aug. 20, 2019—EDITOR’S NOTE: As this issue of Vanderbilt Magazine was going to press, the world was just starting to hear about the tragic mass shooting that took place in El Paso on Aug. 3. Mayor Dee Margo wrote on Twitter in the immediate wake of the news, “Our community will not be defined by this senseless...

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Engineering to Inform Medicine: Dr. Jeffrey Williams, BE’92

Aug. 20, 2019—On the wall of heart-rhythm specialist Jeffrey Williams’ medical office is his seventh-grade essay in which he writes that he wants to be a cardiologist. He doesn’t remember writing it, but his younger self accurately predicted the future. As co-director of the Heart Rhythm Center at Lakeland Regional Health in Lakeland, Florida, and assistant quality...

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A Focus on Women’s Health: Sarah Vaillancourt, MSN’18

Aug. 20, 2019—Sarah Vaillancourt’s mission—to help women get the care they need—far predated her nursing degree. “I knew I wanted to work in women’s health before I knew exactly what I wanted to do or how I wanted to do it,” says Vaillancourt, who earned her master of science degree last year. Having also considered medical school...

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Dr. Constance Mobley, PhD’98, MD’03 Transplant trailblazer

May. 23, 2019—As a molecular physiology and biophysics doctoral student at Vanderbilt, Dr. Constance Mobley never had designs on practicing medicine. Her passions were in the lab. The young scholar was infinitely more interested in clinical research. “I wanted to discover how to cure everything in the world,” she says. “I was always interested in science, and...

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