LGBTQ+ Alumnx Network Volunteers
Christen Boas Hayes '16
I live in Washington, D.C. in a queer group house and work as an analyst monitoring financial regulation and legislation. Since graduating from Swarthmore, I’ve found community in D.C. activist spaces, queer social groups, local Swatties, and new professional networks. I started organizing with prisoners’ rights groups when I first moved to D.C. and ended up organizing a march in summer 2017 that introduced me to a lot of great people in the area. Today, we work on other initiatives in the District/Maryland/Virginia to promote prisoners’ rights. I’m also helping organize the D.C. Dyke March. It’s brought me so much joy, especially meeting intergenerational queers. I love working on my vegetable garden and have participated in the Girls Rock DC showcase for the last couple years to help me learn the keyboard. At Swarthmore, I was on the varsity softball team and organized Pub Nite with my friends, which led me to become senior class president, join the Swarthmore Alumni Council, and then co-found the LGBTQ Alumnx Network!
David Ko '92
I currently live in California and work in the tech sector. I first came out to a friend the week after graduating from Swarthmore. Over the next several years, I gradually came out to friends and family who were, thankfully, all welcoming and supportive. Working in investment banking in New York City during the 1990s, however, meant being cautious about who I was at work. In contrast, working in tech in the San Francisco Bay Area is a different world —where I'm constantly impressed at how every company I've been in has embraced its LGBTQ colleagues. I became a big outdoors person (hiking, trail running, biking) in the years after Swarthmore, which in part led me to move out to the West Coast. My husband and I like to say that we met virtually atop Half Dome in Yosemite (it was actually Match.com, but we both had pictures of ourselves on Half Dome). I've been actively involved with Swarthmore as an alum, previously serving on both the Alumni Council and Board of Managers. Currently, I mentor student teams participating in SwatTank as well as advise students considering the world of tech/finance/consulting.
Janet Chance '87
I am a program manager with Need In Deed, a nonprofit that integrates meaningful service-learning into classrooms through ongoing collaboration with Philadelphia public school teachers and their students. While at Swarthmore, I studied philosophy, worked for the education program, and loved diving in to social and political philosophy discussions, no matter what hour they took place. Most of my free time involved singing: performing classical solos with the college chorus, Broadway numbers at Mephisto’s, the mezzo role in an original musical. Soon after college, I taught English and directed musicals at Tokyo Friends School. Later, while at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., my colleagues and I created a successful advisory series on LGBTQ+ topics, and I served as faculty sponsor to the middle school students' Day of Silence club. My partner, Catherine Simile, and I now live in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, along with our many musical instruments.
Jay Wu '15
I currently live in Washington, D.C., where I have a close network of friends who mostly all went to Swarthmore but weren't friends during our time there. My time in college was as defined by my involvement with queer social life and activism as it was by my academic life in the linguistics, English literature, and gender and sexuality studies programs. I served on the board of the Swarthmore Queer Union for all four years and was variously involved with the Queer-Straight Alliance, COLORS, PersuASIAN, and the broader Intercultural Center community. After graduating, I served as a political appointee in the Obama administration, working in the press office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since 2016, I have been doing my dream job working at the National Center for Transgender Equality, where I currently serve as deputy communications director. I live with my feisty cat Malt and am in a relationship with another queer Swattie activist, Margaret Hughes '17.
Laura Hyder '16
Since graduation, I have been learning what it means to live out of academia, out of the Swarthmore bubble, and out in general. During my time at Swarthmore, I played on the field hockey team, while also managing to stay involved on campus with biology research, the Sexual Health Advocates, Kehilah, the wind ensemble, and somehow more. I came out early in college but didn’t understand the impact it had on each of my relationships (platonic and professional relationships included) until much later. After graduating, I taught sexuality education at schools and youth shelters to begin to communicate to young people, and myself, the need for empathy for ourselves and in all our relationships. Currently, I am working in a biology laboratory at Penn where I am slowly learning how to set workplace boundaries while remaining open and clear about my identity.
Laura Markowitz '85
I came out to another human for the first time during freshman orientation, and then I came all the way out my junior year. After graduation I had a Watson Fellowship, and then I went into journalism. I became a magazine editor and feature writer, training in family therapy so I could better write about psychology and systems change. For a decade I published a queer family therapy magazine In the Family. After a three-year sabbatical to write novels, I've been working as a book editor and ghostwriter, and as contributing producer for Arizona Public Media, the NPR affiliate in Tucson. My wife and I celebrated our 30th anniversary in 2018.
MC Mazzocchi '12
At Swarthmore, MC split their time between 1) reading Euripides; 2) organizing against pandemic rape on campus; and 3) abusing their privilege as a veteran McCabe circulation assistant to play disco at midnight. Since Swarthmore, MC has spent five years as a project manager for companies assisting Medicare/Medicaid dual eligibles in applying for Medicaid. They currently split their time between 1) work; 2) combating endless home repairs; and 3) their friends and family. They joined the committee to strengthen connections between current LGBT students and alumnx, particularly around providing local resources.
Murray Scheel '86
I moved to Washington, D.C., in 1990, where I continue to live. It’s been an eclectic 33 years since graduation! After a brief stint in seminary (Princeton Theological), I went to work at Whitman-Walker Clinic in Washington during the height of the HIV epidemic. This led to a brief career in social work, followed by law school (George Washington University). After several years in private practice litigation, I returned to Whitman-Walker, where I am now a senior staff attorney focusing on elder law for LGBT and HIV-positive individuals and their families. Whitman-Walker Health is the nation’s oldest medical-legal partnership, dedicated to queer and HIV health. I enjoy running (especially with DC Frontrunners), theater, travel, and getting together with other Swatties from time to time!
Tim Vaughan '15
Since graduating from Swarthmore I have had the esteemed opportunity to be living in Philly and taking advantage of everything the city has to offer. After graduation, I continued to prepare myself to apply to medical school, which led to the emergency department at the University of Pennsylvania where I do clinical research. In college I was involved in various aspects of student life: I was a track athlete, a member of an a cappella group, danced with Rhythm N Motion, and participated in research through the psychology department in which I majored. Outside of work and my second job (applying to med school) I enjoy all the amazing food in Philadelphia, volunteer with high schools in West Philly, and have kept up with performing in a hip-hop dance group at Penn and various sports leagues around the city, including the Philly StoneWall Sports leagues. I enjoyed everything about my time at Swarthmore and find that it has really made the transition to "real life" very manageable. Philly has a great network of Swatties, both those I know well and new folks that I've met along the way. And I've enjoyed familiarizing my self with the diverse communities in the city.