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Harriman Expedition Retraced



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Julia O'Malley

Smith graduate from the Class of '00, majored in Women's Studies and English Literature

Julia O'Malley

Julia O'Malley
"In my first year at Smith College," writes Julia O'Malley, "I found myself in the midst of a small crisis: a friend had left her car lights on over night, and the battery was dead. There I was in a room full of brilliant women from all around the country, but the mood was one of chaos, even despair. "Call AAA?" someone suggested. "A tow truck?" I was dumbfounded: these East Coast girls, all of them owning sport utility vehicles, and not one had ever used a set of jumper cables. That was the first time it really hit me: 'Julia,' I told myself, 'you are not in Alaska anymore.'

And indeed she was not. Julia O'Malley, student, writer, and third-generation Alaskan, had made her way to Northampton, Massachusetts, and Smith College. She might have been out of her element, but she nonetheless thrived. She took a degree in Women's Studies and English Literature, pursuing her twin passions for women's history and for writing. At commencement she was awarded the Posner Spencer Prize for excellence in fiction writing, and she plans to attend graduate school to study for an MFA in creative nonfiction. Her love of learning was inspired in part by her Italian grandmother, Lidia Lippi Selkregg, who was both geologist and politician in Alaska long before it became the 49th state.

Julia has worked as a free-lance writer for the Anchorage Daily News since 1996, and is currently a staff writer for the Anchorage Press, an alternative weekly newspaper. Away from the pressroom, she picks blueberries in Arctic Valley, and kayaks in Prince William Sound. She is a keen observer of what she terms the "schizophrenic politics of Alaska," an obsessive New Yorker reader, and a faithful follower of This American Life on National Public Radio. Since graduation, she lived for a while in a little house in downtown Anchorage with her cousin, Tanya, her dog, Simon, and her '87 Volvo, Grace, a vehicle equipped, no doubt, with jumper cables. She currently resides in Juneau.




For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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