Admissions Blog: 5 grads, 5 stories — How Sweet Briar impacted my life

Posted on February 08, 2019 by Janika Carey

Yes, it’s true — Sweet Briar has a track record for student success after graduation. Perhaps it’s our insanely supportive, interconnected alumnae network. Perhaps it’s our endlessly resourceful Career Services Center, where students are coached from day one.

We asked five Sweet Briar graduates to share how Sweet Briar helped them reach their goals — and how the College impacts their lives each and every day.

Alex St. Pierre
“I consistently credit Sweet Briar with who and where I am today. It allowed me a safe space where I could focus on who I wanted to be as a person and as a professional. I was challenged academically, while being nurtured personally. It proved that kindness is not incompatible with excellence. There’s nowhere in this world that I have traveled and no endeavor I’ve set out on that some Sweet Briar woman somewhere in the world has not helped me with in some way.” — Alex St. Pierre ’12, equine veterinary intern at Newmarket Equine Hospital, U.K. (Major: classical languages; minors: biology, vocal music; D.V.M., University of Pennsylvania)

Emily Pegues
“Having great professors — great in their professional fields but also as mentors and role models beyond the classroom — has been instrumental in my life. The older I get, the more I appreciate what it meant to have such wonderful people take an interest in each of us students. Being accustomed to speak up in the classroom, to take charge on the hockey field, to dive into life as a student in a foreign country are all things we learned as natural at Sweet Briar, and they have shaped my understanding of leadership.” — Emily Pegues ’00, curatorial associate, department of sculpture and decorative arts, National Gallery of Art (Majors: art history, Spanish; M.A., northern Renaissance art, Courtauld Institute of Art)

Citlali Molina
“Never once was I brought down for being a female in a male-dominated industry, and I took that confidence with me when I left the pink bubble. I am who I am because Sweet Briar pushed me to learn and speak up. … Sweet Briar’s general engineering science program made me an extremely trainable and malleable asset to my company. Sweet Briar’s engineering program proved that you can teach me anything and train me in anything. I know my company saw that about me. Sweet Briar allowed me to peek though many job doors until one eventually swung open for me.” — Citlali Molina ’16, manufacturing engineer, Leonardo DRS, Cypress, Calif. (Major: engineering)

Celeste Wackenhut
“My current work all leads back to Sweet Briar and the domino effect it can have on your life. My professors were uniquely positioned to identify my interests and strengths and lead me to opportunities that made sense for me. I received many internship opportunities, including at [the nearby] Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. During an internship, I was asked to interview for a summer position at VCCA and began working even before graduation. This experience led to an internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, and then to graduate school at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.” — Céleste Wackenhut ’08, curator and co-owner, French & Michigan, San Antonio, Texas (Majors: art history and Italian studies; Arts Management Certificate; M.A., modern art, University of Edinburgh)

Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp
“I was not a leader at Sweet Briar, but I became a more determined young woman. I was actually very shy. But, when called upon, I stepped up and overcame my self-consciousness. I think many of us have a lot within us, just waiting to be tapped, when the time comes. I owe a lot of the self-confidence I developed for my professional life to my early experiences at Sweet Briar. I feel like those experiences have shaped who I am today, and I have carried them with me throughout my life.” — Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp ’68, associate director for children with special healthcare needs, Division of Congenital and Developmental Disorders, Centers for Disease Control (Major: biology; minor: chemistry; M.D., Emory University School of Medicine)

Want to know where a Sweet Briar education can take you? Learn more here.

From engineers to entrepreneurs, Sweet Briar women are fierce — but they’re all fierce in their own way. Check out to find out what inspires you!