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150 Years of Women

Many Northwestern alumni consider themselves Wildcats for life, but when you spend three years playing the role of Willie the Wildcat, it becomes part of your identity. Zoe Goodman proudly served as the University’s mascot from 2010 to 2013.

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zoe goodman
Louise Kiernan’s reporting at the Cook County juvenile court profoundly changed her understanding of journalism and how she wanted to approach it. She says journalism education at its best brings us into the places and lives that transform the way we think about the world.

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my northwestern direction louise kiernan
In April 1992 — just a few weeks before graduating from Northwestern with a degree in communication studies — Megan Conway Romano walked into Charlie Trotter’s on Halsted Street in Chicago looking for a job in the world of food. Even though she had no formal training, she eventually landed a position in the kitchen, working for a few hundred dollars a week.

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megan romano
A chance encounter at a used-book store sent Brigid Hughes ’94 on a mission to rescue the forgotten work of a once-celebrated Chicago author. Bette Howland was “one of the significant writers of her generation” in the words of Saul Bellow ’37, ’62 H, but her work had nearly been lost to history when Hughes came across her 1974 memoir, W-3.

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bette howland
Pulitzer Prize–winning author and Northwestern professor of English Natasha Trethewey’s beloved mother died decades ago, and yet her grave, down in Mississippi, remains unmarked by a headstone. The reasons for this are varied and complicated, and they speak to the essence of Trethewey, one of the most acclaimed poets of our time.

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It was a century and a half ago that women were first given the opportunity to enroll at Northwestern as undergraduates. To mark the 150th anniversary of coeducation we are championing our remarkable community of individuals, who have taken risks, charted their own course and inspired change throughout our history and today.

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150 years of women at northwestern
After earning her performance studies master's degree, actor and writer Ashley Nicole Black ’08 MS became a TV star. She hopes her career sets an example for other diverse voices.

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Inspired by their families, a love of Northwestern and the desire to make the University and the world a better place, women philanthropists have created exciting new spaces, programs and opportunities for students.

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milan mrksich kimberly querrey and chad mirkin
Northwestern neurobiologist Martha Vitaterna ’92 PhD helped discover the first molecular piece of the mammalian clock. Since then, research with Clock mutant mice has shown that circadian rhythms are important to almost every physiological process — from sleep to digestion to mood and more.

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Blaze Pizza started with a trip to Chipotle in 2011. Looking for a no-wait pizza lunch, Elise Wetzel ’87, ’92 MBA and her husband, Rick, ended up eating burritos, but the made-your-way format sparked an idea.

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