Alumnae Educators

Sadiqa Basiri Saleem: Frances Perkins '09:
Founder, Oruj Learning Center in Godah, Afghanistan

Basiri Saleem came to Mount Holyoke in 2005 through the Initiative to Educate Afghan Women. By the time she graduated in 2009 with a degree in International Relations, she had been honored by the Vital Voices Global Partnership alongside Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other international women leaders. She had also received the Samuel Huntington Public Service award of $10,000 and was featured in an article in Newsweek.

These accolades were in recognition of her outstanding work in educating young Afghan women. She founded the Oruj learning center for girls in the village of Godah and then expanded the initiative to include five more learning centers which are now educating the over 2800 women in Afghanistan.

“…in addition to establishing primary schools, I hope to follow in the footsteps of [MHC founder] Mary Lyon by founding the first Afghan Women’s Leadership Institute to train college-age women in management, leadership, advocacy, and lobbying skills.”

Maile Martinez, class of 2003:
Program Manager at Reel Grrls

Martinez earned a Master’s degree in education and fell in love with teaching while working at Teach for America. In 2005, with the help of the Mount Holyoke College Career Development Center, she won a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship that took her to the University of Cambridge for a Master of Philosophy in European Literature and Culture.

She presently teaches a filmmaking program in Reel Grrls at Seattle. As the program manager she plans and implements the organization’s after-school classes workshops and summer camps which explore various aspects of fimmaking and media literacy.

Anne Conger McCants, class of 1984:
History Department Head at MIT

Conger McCants has demonstrated active scholarship on issues in historical demography, early modern trade and consumption, and the standard of living in pre-industrial Europe. Her published work, including a book on the economic status of orphans in seventeenth-century Amsterdam, has won her national praise. She earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley and went on to join the faculty at MIT.

McCants’ invigorating teaching style is recognized by colleagues and appreciated by students alike. In class, she asks captivating and probing questions like, ‘How much did it cost to discover the New World?’ In response, her students have said that her lectures lead them to question otherwise accepted patterns of the world.

"To the extent to which I can foster in my own students an appreciation for the complexity of life, an understanding of their connection to the past, a sense of responsibility for those living around them, and the development of a personal moral compass by which to chart their lives, I will have gone a long way toward repaying the debt I feel to Mount Holyoke."

In 2009, Conger McCants received the Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award honoring outstanding alumna educators.

Elaine Tuttle Hansen, class of 1969:
President of Bates College

Tuttle Hansen is a scholar of Middle English and, later, Feminist Studies. Her long list of publications includes literary critical articles and reviews, and three books: Reading Wisdom in Old English Poetry; Chaucer the Fictions of Gender; and Mother Without Child: Contemporary Fiction and the Crisis of Motherhood.

Among colleagues, she is known to be “an exceptionally capable leader and administrator” and lauded for her “combination of intellectual leadership, vision for the college, and managerial acumen.” She is currently the President of Bates where she has been serving this position since 2002. Over the past decade, she has led the college through a successful capital campaign, supervised development of a master plan for the campus, initiated several major construction projects, and overseen implementation of a new general education curriculum and new interdisciplinary programs.

In 2009, Tuttle Hansen received the Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award honoring outstanding alumna educators.

Alice Gordon Gulick, class of 1867:
Founder of International institute for Girls in Spain

(from Archives)
This graduate of Mount Holyoke Seminary traveled to Spain as a missionary where she realized it was in the field of education that she could contribute the most to the community she was serving. She set up a small school for women which eventually evolved into the International Institute for Girls in Spain. Graduates of this Institute were not only the first women participating in the Spanish national exams, they were also the highest scorers.

“During her quest in America for funds to erect a College Hall in Madrid someone said to her 'Her Institute is a bright and shining light.' 'Yes.' quickly and aptly responded Mrs Gulick, 'but it sadly needs a candlestick to hold it'.”--Gordon, Elizabeth Putnam ; Alice Gordon Gulick, Her Life and Work in Spain; Fleming H Revell Company; 1917; New York.