Academic fair for high school girls zeros in on liberal arts

Posted on April 15, 2016 by Janika Carey

Shannon Beasley and students Shannon Beasley welcomes high school students to the Guion Science Day in March.

Local high school girls interested in the liberal arts will get a thorough introduction on Friday, April 22, during the “Girls in the Liberal Arts” academic fair at Sweet Briar College. The program is free and takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. at various locations on campus, beginning at the 1948 Theater in the Fitness and Athletics Center.

Rotating activities last about 30 to 50 minutes and will be led by Sweet Briar professors and students. All participants will attend a choral workshop with assistant professor of music Marcia Thom-Kaley and will then have the option to rotate through two of the following activities: a “Learning on the Land” creative writing workshop with Kate Macklin, director of the Sweet Briar Outdoor Program, and assistant professor of creative writing Lindsay Hill; a dance workshop with dance professor Ella Magruder; a theater workshop with theater professor Bill Kershner; and a foreign language workshop with French professor Marie-Therese Killiam and Alessandra Chiriboga, assistant professor of Spanish.

Director of education outreach Shannon Beasley ’02 has invited female students in grades 9 through 11 from Central Virginia’s public and private high schools. In March, she organized a similar event for high school girls interested in STEM fields, which was a big success.

Events like Girls in the Liberal Arts and Girls in STEM demonstrate “what makes a small liberal arts college like Sweet Briar unique,” says Beasley. “Students become enthusiastically invested in learning when they are invited to share their input and interact directly with extremely skilled professors in a small unique learning environment, like what is offered at Sweet Briar. The education outreach program gives them a taste of that environment, while at the same time allowing us to be meaningful partners with our neighboring school divisions. It certainly is a mutually beneficial relationship; one that we would like to see grow and become more and more complementary over time.”

For more information about this opportunity and to sign up, please email