About the Series

The AmHERst Alumni Series is an annual event that showcases the women of Amherst College. The WGC will host one speaker per year. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first Amherst College class to include women, we hosted several speakers during the 2016-2017 year.

Upcoming Events:

Look out for 2017-2018 programming.

Past Events:

Naomi Aberly '85

October 24, 2016

5:00pm | McCaffrey Room

Join us for a conversation with notable Amherst Alumna Naomi Aberly. Naomi Aberly is a political activist and civic volunteer who focuses her efforts on Women’s Health.  She has been deeply involved in progressive politics, policymaking and fundraising at the state and federal levels for the past fifteen years. She will discuss her work in the reproductive justice movement and how students can get involved in making a difference. Check out the Facebook event page. This program is cosponsored by the Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning and Alumni and Parent Programs.

About Naomi: Naomi Aberly

Naomi Aberly is a political activist and civic volunteer who focuses her efforts on Women’s Health.  She has been deeply involved in progressive politics, policymaking and fundraising at the state and federal levels for the past fifteen years.

 Naomi currently serves on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and is a former member of the board of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF). She is a member of the Executive Committee of the PPFA board and co-chair of the Development Council of both PPFA and PPAF.  She also chairs the Planned Parenthood Federal PAC and is co-chairing the $250 million Second Century Campaign.

 Naomi was elected a life board member of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, having served that organization as development committee chair, Board Chair and Chair of its $20 million capital campaign. She also served on the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Action Fund board. Naomi helped to start Annie’s List in Texas in 2003, helping to elect and re-elect 31 women to state offices in Texas. Naomi served as co-chair of Wendy Davis’s gubernatorial race in 2013-2014.

 Naomi has been a substantial fundraiser for Senate and House campaigns nationwide since 2005.

Naomi joined the Obama for America National Finance Committee in early 2007 and continued as a National Finance Committee member for the 2012 election. Naomi served as Vice Chair of the DNC from 2012-2015 and was a member of the Democratic Victory Task Force of the DNC in 2014- 2015. She is currently fundraising for Hillary for America.

 In addition, Naomi is a board member of SiX - The State Innovation Exchange, Battleground TX and the Texas Future Project. Naomi also serves on the Advisory Board of Organizing for Action and The Patriotic Millionaires.

 She is a member of the Planned Parenthood Leadership Council, the Women Donors Network, and the EMILY’s List Majority Council.  She is also an active supporter of the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Center for American Progress and the Texas Organizing Project.

 In addition to her work in politics and advocacy, Naomi has also served as a board member of the Belmont Hill School, Dallas Museum of Art, KERA Public Media for North Texas and The Center for Progressive Policy Priorities.

 She shares her work with her husband, Larry Lebowitz, and her two college-age sons. 

Kellie Jones '81

February 23, 2017

3:45pm | MRC 

About Kellie:


Kellie Jones is an art historian and curator deepening our understanding of contemporary art of the African Diaspora and securing its place in the canons of modern and contemporary art. Her research and curatorial practice, which span large-scale museum exhibitions with extensive catalogues as well as scholarly books and articles, have been instrumental in introducing the work of now seminal black artists (such as Martin Puryear, David Hammons, and Lorna Simpson) to wide audiences and bringing to light long-forgotten or overlooked black artists.

Kellie Jones received a B.A. (1981) from Amherst College and a Ph.D. (1999) from Yale University. She held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem (1981–1983), Jamaica Arts Center (1986–1990), and Walker Art Center (1991–1998); was U.S. Commissioner for the Bienal de São Paulo (1989); and was a curator of the Johannesburg Biennale (1997). She was on the faculty of Yale University (1999­–2006) prior to joining the faculty of Columbia University, where she is currently an associate professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. In addition to her books, EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011) and South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (forthcoming, 2017), Jones has authored essays in such journals as Artforum and Third Text and numerous exhibition catalogs.

The WGC is proud to cosponsor this college-wide program and include it in our series.

Kimberlyn Leary '82

March 25, 2017

12:30pm | The Powerhouse

About Kimberlyn:


 Kimberlyn Leary '82 is an associate professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School and an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where she directs the Enabling Change program. She is also the Executive Director of Policy Outreach at McLean Hospital-Partners Healthcare and a faculty affiliate at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. As a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow, she served as an adviser to the White House Council on Women and Girls, developing the Advancing Equity initiative focused on improving life outcomes for women and girls of color. She completed an extension of her fellowship at the White House Office of Management and Budget in the Health Division’s public health branch, where she served as the division lead on the Flint water crisis. Kim is also a trustee of Amherst College. 

This program comes to us from Alumni and Parent Programs as a part of Black Alumni Weekend. We are proud to include it in our series.

Helen Wan '95

April 1, 2017

7:30pm | Greenway A

About Helen:



Helen, author of The Partner Track, is a graduate of Amherst College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Before becoming a full-time author, Helen practiced corporate and media law in New York City for over fifteen years.

This program comes to us from Alumni and Parent Programs as a part of Asian and Pacific Islander Alumni Day. We are proud to include it in our series.


Amy Ziering  '84

April 5, 2017

6:30pm | Queer Resource Center

Screening of Invisible War produced by Amherst alumna Amy Ziering, The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film, a nominee for the 2013 Academy Awards, paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem: Today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. Movie theater candy and popcorn will be served.

Presented by the Women’s and Gender Center, Sexual Respect Education, and the Peer Advocates for Sexual Respect. Cosponsored by American Studies, the English Department, and Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies.

Link to invisible war website: http://invisiblewarmovie.com/

(Note that the talk has been cancelled, but that we hope to reschedule for the 2017-18 year.)
About Amy:

Amy Ziering Amy Ziering is a two-time Emmy Award–winning and Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker. Her most recent film, THE HUNTING GROUND— a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on college campuses— premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, was released by Radius/The Weinstein Company and CNN, is the 2016 recipient of the Producer’s Guild of America’s Stanley Kramer Award, shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as the 2016 Emmy for Exceptional Merit - Documentary Filmmaking, and won the Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Her previous film, THE INVISIBLE WAR, a groundbreaking investigation into the epidemic of rape in the U.S. military, won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, won two 2014 Emmy Awards for Best Documentary and Outstanding Investigative Journalism and was nominated for an Oscar. The film spurred Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to announce significant policy changes and catalyzed the passing of 35 pieces of reform legislation. She is also the Producer of OUTRAGE— an indictment of the hypocrisy of powerful, closeted politicians and the institutions that protect them, which received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Investigative Journalism. Ziering also co-directed and produced DERRIDA, a documentary about the world-renowned French philosopher. She is the 2012 recipient of the Nestor Almendros Prize for Courage and Filmmaking, the 2013 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize, the 2013 Gracie Award for Outstanding Producer - News/Non-Fiction and the 2013 Peabody Award.

Ziering has worked with musical artists such as Academy Award winning composer, Ryuichi Sakamoto; Grammy award winner, Mary J. Blige; eight time Academy Award nominated songwriter, Diane Warren; and global superstar, Lady Gaga. She is a frequent commentator on CNN and MSNBC, and has appeared on The Daily Show and Good Morning America.

This is a program of the Women's and Gender Center and is cosponsored by Sexual Respect Education.