Center for Community Engagement

Alumni Profiles


Pam Allyn ’84 loves to read. Her life’s mission is to pass that love on. As Executive Director of LitLife, a literacy development organization that provides professional development for teachers, Pam has figured out how to align her life’s dream with her work.  Fortunately for Amherst students, for the last nine years she has involved almost 20 undergraduates in everything she does. Pam traces her love of reading back to Amherst College.  “I was already an avid reader; Amherst College inspired a love of words in me.” Each summer when she meets with her new Amherst interns Pam asks them, “How can we make reading fun for the young people at Children’s Village? Let’s figure it out together.” The Amherst students who have interned with Pam share a love of reading but have brought marvelous differences to the work. A star on the basketball team had the children reading basketball poems. An art major had the children create an art festival starring the characters of Dr. Seuss. Pam is clear that even as Litlife has benefitted from the Amherst interns, “They have helped me shape the organization. They always have such good ideas,” so have the Amherst student benefited enormously from their participation. "When they read Roald Dahl’s Matilda, the Amherst students gain a new understanding from the Children’s Village students about how brave Matilda is despite the adults in her life. They simply learn to read differently.” View Pam's Amherst profile.

Dick Aronson

Richard Aronson ’69 (Dick)  retired recently from his position as Maternal and Child Health Medical Director for the state of Maine. His new job? To inspire and inform a new generation of leaders in public health. To accomplish this he is launching the Humane Worlds Center for Maternal and Child Health. This summer he had two Amherst College students helping him get this organization off the ground. Even as Dick still lives in Maine, he was able to work effectively with a student who lived at home this summer in Indiana as Chenlan Bao, ’11, conducted phone interviews for his new organization and immersed herself in the world of Future Search a well known approach to enable people with a shared stake in their community to co-create a shared vision. Jodie Simms, ’09, lives in Maine, not far from Dick. She came to his office every day to work on a website and create a blog that will allow people to talk together about their shared interest in maternal and child health. Jodie was so inspired by her summer experience that she is pursuing an independent research project examining women’s reasons for choosing different birthing options. Dick has led multiple day-long career exploration sessions for students interested in public health careers on campus. View Dick's Amherst profile.