Community Corner

Community Corner is a collection of articles and resources created by members of the HMC community, for the HMC community, and can include submissions from parents and families, students, alumni, faculty and staff. We hope that you will enjoy these resources and find them useful. 

We welcome additional submissions of inspirational thoughts, best practices, or other helpful and insightful information. Please send contributions to Note that all submissions will be reviewed/edited in partnership with the contributor prior to publishing.

Parent Spotlight: Settling In

Parent: Beth Neely P26
Profession: Director for Classical Conversations Alta Loma and publisher for Macaroni KID Rancho Cucamonga. But first and foremost, I’m a mom.
Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Student: Connor Neely ’26 major interest: math/physics

What tips can you share about getting your student “settled in” their first year?
My biggest tip for helping your student get settled in is to let your child take the lead. Don’t try to make sure they have “everything” before they leave for campus. There is time to send care packages or Amazon orders for anything forgotten or left behind. They really don’t need much to get through the year, and anything they do need, other Mudders can help them get. Within the first week of my son moving in, someone drove him to Target, and he walked to Trader Joe’s to get things he wanted.

How often should you expect to hear from your Mudder? What are some good ways to stay connected?
Mudd has done such a great job connecting the students before they even arrive on campus which makes the transition from living at home almost seamless. Letting go that first year of college is the hardest part of being a parent. But I can assure you, your child is well taken care of by staff and, most importantly, other students. What I can say from experience is it’s actually a good thing when you don’t hear from your kids too much their first year—and you won’t hear from them often. Text messages may also take a while to get a response. That’s OK! They are getting immersed in their new college life and are kept super busy!

To keep in touch, I would recommend asking your Mudder to call or, even better, FaceTime once a week. Our family picked Sunday afternoons to FaceTime. It’s so good to physically see my son’s face once a week and hear how he is doing. Seeing how happy he is makes missing him a lot more bearable. Our chats aren’t long but it’s enough to fill my parent cup for the week.

What is a good time to visit campus? What are some things to do?
The best time to visit the campus, in my opinion, is the afternoon or early evening. Students are usually done with most of their classes and out and about. Plus, it gives you a chance to see what students do in their downtime.
Claremont has a great downtown village area filled with restaurants, a movie theater and a ton of locally owned small businesses. It is easily walkable from Mudd with a ton of great picture spots along the way.

Some local recommendations:
-Grab drinks & relax at Casa 425
-Take in a movie at Laemmle Theater
-Eat delicious pizza at Pizza N Such
-Visit California Botanic Gardens (across the street from Mudd)
-Pick up a sweet treat at Some Crust Bakery or mini donuts from Nosey Neighbors (and maybe bring something back to your Mudder)
-Go to Lost Levels and relive the ’80s arcade scene
-Find a good book at Claremont Forum Bookshop
-Grab sandwiches at Wolfe’s Market and head to one of the 5Cs for a picnic lunch (our personal family favorite)

Local seasonal events: Village Wine Walk (fall), Village Venture (Oct.), Holiday Promenade and Tree lighting (Dec.), Village Chocolate Walk (Dec.), Village Craft Beer Walk (summer), Bridges Auditorium productions (varies)

What resource(s) at Mudd have been the most useful as a parent of a first-year student?
All of the workshops offered by Mudd before we started the school year helped me know what to expect and how to prepare for the year ahead. Once my son was on campus, the most helpful resources at Mudd have been connecting with other parents and going to campus events that are open to parents to attend. The Facebook group for families of Harvey Mudd was a great place to ask questions and get connected.

How have you been involved in the HMC Community?
Being local to Mudd has its perks, and one of them is helping families stay connected to their kids, even from far away. From special occasion deliveries (cakes, balloons, flowers, notes) to helping students get to off-campus classes when they are recovering from illnesses or just dropping off a ton of cookies during stressful study sessions at dorms has been so much fun for me. Any time I can surprise a Mudd student(s) by bringing them a little gift or message from home makes my day.

I am so grateful for this Mudd community, on- and off-campus. My son now has two homes he loves and a group of forever friends who take care of each other like family. As a mom, I couldn’t ask for more.

Remarks from Family Weekend 2023 Lunch with Parent Leadership Council

by Kathy Fries P24
February 10, 2023

I’d like to welcome parents, family members, and everyone here today!

I’m Kathy Fries, parent of a junior, class of 2024, and a member of the Parent Leadership Council from the Northwest region, and I’m thrilled to be on campus for the first in-person Family Weekend since 2020.

Since arriving on campus, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I got here.

Does anyone else remember what it feels like to walk barefoot across a LEGO-covered floor? (I still do.) Some of us embraced it as an extreme form of reflexology because we saw a spark of joy and dedication in our kids that we didn’t want to discourage.

And if it wasn’t LEGOs, it was likely something else you remember—collections of feathers, rocks and fossils or other found treasures, parts from appliances and gadgets that they disassembled (but you are still saving in case they need them), a love of music, art, interest in the weather, cooking, pet lizards, bees and flowers, robots, rockets, airplanes, computer games. Perhaps you even gave safety glasses as a present. Maybe your child knew what an axolotl was long before they got to Mudd.

More recently, you may have worked logistical miracles to visit colleges during the pandemic or drove their instruments in a separate car for first-year move-in.

Whether Harvey Mudd was well known to you or you learned about it during the college application process, we are here together this weekend because of our kids. They chose a place where they would find others that are fascinated by the how and why, fascinated by the present and the past that got us here and where the future can take us.

Your student will have access to many resources for support in their years here, but there is also support for you and your family. Now in its ninth year, the Parent Leadership Council was created to serve as a resource for Mudd parents to foster relationships within the parent and family community and to provide leadership and inspire support for the College.

PLC members may have already reached out to you, inviting you to a summer welcome reception or checking in during the fall to see how new students were adjusting and if families had any questions.

PLC members volunteer at signature events including Family Weekend and Parent Orientation and maintain the HMC Families Facebook page along with chat groups for families in China, India, Canada and Thailand. Our members across the U.S. and internationally participate in many ways, acting as ambassadors to fellow HMC parents, leading by example, encouraging participation in activities. Many of us are here this weekend, and you’ll see us around at all the events.

If connecting with other families and getting more involved with HMC sounds interesting to you, please talk with any of us during lunch today or throughout the weekend. Whether it’s through the PLC or by offering your support in another way, I encourage you to explore options for engaging with the College and our community.

I found the PLC meetings and presentations especially helpful in learning the Mudd language, and I want to share a few things you might be able to use as a conversation starter with your student.

Quick Lesson in Harvey Mudd Speak
ASHMC = Student Gov, not insurance
Beelab = Pollinator research with a professor utilizing drones
Cheese club = Yes, it’s actually a cheese club
Capstone = A senior project
Clinic = No one needs medical attention. Clinic is a project-based class with an actual business or nonprofit. Clinic is approaching its 60th year and has nearly 50 teams.
E&M = The beginning engineering class, not trap music
E79 = Everyone takes E79 to build underwater robots and test at Dana Point.
HVZ = Humans vs Zombies. A campus-wide game of tag with socks and nerf guns
LLC =Living Learning Community, an award-winning Social Justice organization
MARC = Rocketry club
Math = Frequently involves differential equations, so I don’t offer my help
Mudd Sub = Underwater robot club for competition
Muchachos = Student organizers of fun community bonding activities (DSA paid job)
Wednesday Nighters = half-hour student performances at 10:30 p.m., on—you guessed it—Wednesdays
Tutors/Grutors/Proctors = Grutors are graders and tutors in the CS Department. Proctors grade, tutor and help in class. These can be paid positions.

I am glad you are here to experience first-hand the school that embraced your child, to pick up where you left off. To help them level up—unlocking new abilities, improving their character and acquiring experience points. (HMC calls this nurturing and developing the whole person, and it is part of their strategic vision.)

This weekend, you get to be acknowledged and appreciated by HMC staff and faculty for fanning the little sparks, for supporting curiosity and passion or, if you are like me, for doing the hardest thing of all: just getting out of the way.

Welcome, this weekend is for you! Enjoy a glimpse into the opportunities you’ve opened up for your child.

The Top Five Things Graduating Seniors Can Be Doing in the Spring Semester if Struggling in their Job Search

  1. Make an appointment with OCS
    We want to learn about you and your personal goals so we can provide you with individualized support. Schedule an appointment anytime on Handshake.
  2. Attend employer events
    Put yourself in spaces that allow you to directly connect with employers. Check out our upcoming Career Fairs, Industry Nights, and individual employer events on Handshake.
  3. Use your network
    Tell your family, faculty, friends, and community members about your career goals and interests. You will increase the number of eyes and ears out in the world that can let you know about opportunities you might be interested in. You never know if someone you know knows someone else that is looking to hire someone like you!
  4. Make new connections
    Use resources like MuddCompass and LinkedIn to connect with alumni and do informational interviews to learn more about your field/company/role of interest, and grow your network.
  5. Give yourself GRACE
    Job searching is a long and draining process. Try not to compare your progress to your peers- everyone is on their own unique journey! Take care of your mental and physical health and seek out support if you need it. OCS is always here for you (even after graduation)!

How to Confidently Introduce Yourself: A framework for you and your Mudder

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki MBA, DBA
Executive Communication Coach and HMC Parent (Class of 2025)
January, 2023

Do you know how to effectively introduce yourself? There are many contexts when we need to do so. For Harvey Mudd students, it could be introducing yourself to another student, to a faculty member or to a prospective employer. For us Harvey Mudd parents, it could be introducing ourselves to other parents or faculty members at the upcoming Family Weekend.

Regardless of the context, most of us have felt the stress associated with introducing ourselves. What should I say? Should I keep it professional, or should I mention something personal too? How long should I talk?

This angst is not without reason. In my role as an executive communication coach, I tell my clients that introducing yourself is the most direct way to influence your personal brand.

I have good news! Here’s a simple and effective framework that you can use in any context. It’s just three steps:
1. Present
2. Past
3. Future

The only catch with this self-introduction framework is that it is not chronological. You are not starting with your past and sharing your autobiography! You start with the Present. Got it?

Let me elaborate on each of the three steps.


The first step is where you share your name and your current status.

“My name is Frank Woo, and I’m a junior at HMC, studying chemistry.”

“My name is Andrea Wojnicki, and my son, Henry, is a sophomore at Mudd, studying computer science.”

Yes. It’s that easy!


This second step is where you share relevant details. Depending on the context, you will share one to three points about yourself. You might mention your school and/or work credentials, geography, hobbies, family, etc.

This is your opportunity to establish credibility!

“I grew up in the Bay area. Last summer I did research for a faculty member where we examined the impact of recent forest fires on soil composition.”

“Our family is from Toronto, Canada, where I coach executives on their communication skills. I also have a podcast called Talk About Talk.”

Now you’re ready for the last step.


This is where you enthusiastically share something about the future:

“I’m hoping to secure a summer internship with a climate-change-focused NGO, where I can make an impact by leveraging what I’ve learned from my research and coursework.”

“I’m so happy to witness first-hand my son at school with his friends, and I look forward to getting to know many of you parents.”

This positive, future-oriented statement elegantly hands the conversation off to the next person.

That’s it! The next time you’re in a meeting, in a job interview or meeting HMC community members, just remember this simple, three-point self-introduction framework: Present, Past, Future.

I look forward to meeting you!

Insight from the Parent of Claremont Student Athletes

by Sunita Chulani P25
November, 2022                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer organizations comprise the athletics program at the 5Cs. My two children both play tennis, and my husband and I have been caught in the middle of a healthy rivalry: my daughter Alisha is a sophomore at Harvey Mudd College and my son Neil is a first year at Pomona College.

Tennis has given Alisha and Neil friends and mentors both on and off the court. In the middle of their busy schedules, it is a great way for them to take a break from school and get some exercise. However, competing at a collegiate level is more than just a form of exercise or a fun sport. They care deeply about their teams, each other and their sport and have the unwavering support of their trusting coaches. Learning how to balance their passions for tennis with academics has been a skill that they’ve fine-tuned over the years. In-season, they have learned better organization and discipline with their work, to the point where their grades are better in-season than not.

The main thing that PP and CMS Athletics have given my children is a second family. The hours spent on and off the court with their team have resulted in a close-knit group of diverse and motivated individuals who are all working toward the same goal. Being surrounded by their teammates also working hard in athletics and academics can lead to beautiful things—even a national title like the CMS women’s team just won in May 2022. However, in every case, participation in athletics leads to building irreplaceable skills and a community of life-long friends—a win-win in my book.

Getting Involved Outside the Classroom

by Jack Stone P23 and his student Mavis Stone ’23
October, 2022                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

How out-of-class experiences and activities enriched my educational journey

Mavis: Being a sustainability representative helped familiarize me with administration. Professors, including Lelia Hawkins, have been working hard on developing our sustainability center, the Hixon Center for Climate and the Environment. I wouldn’t have known about these developments had I not been a sustainability representative connecting and networking with professors at the other 5Cs who are invested in sustainability and indigenous knowledges. These experiences have essentially contributed to my career aspirations and endeavors.

I also served as a mentor for our affinity group, API-SPAM (Asian Pacific Islander Sponsor Program at Mudd). Being a mentor for API-SPAM during the pandemic has made me realize how much work we have ahead of us to achieve equity for everyone.

Between social justice workshops and mentor-led discussions, I also realized the importance of finding community in shared culture and traditions. It’s so important when navigating a new, unfamiliar place, especially when you have plans to change the world for the better.

Over the last three years, I also served as an officer for Women in Physics (WiP). As one of the few gender minorities of color in our physics department, I think my position was really important for underclass students of color who aspire to do physics. It’s very easy to acquire impostor syndrome as a first year, but I hope that my role in WiP has inspired them to not let society get the better of them.

As a member of WiP, I can share with others the many opportunities for people of color and gender minorities in STEM. Between conferences, alumni talks and coffee chats with our physics professors, I’ve been able to learn about programs, such as Caltech’s WAVE fellowship program, which I completed this past summer.

Through these programs and experiences, I’ve Learned more about the possibilities of my physics degree and how I can apply it for social good.

How has Mavis’ involvement in meaningful activities outside class impacted them and prepared them for life after Mudd?

Jack: As a parent, I feel that the commitment and activities can be overwhelming and stressful at times: mid-terms, finals and during breaks. But the reward is Mavis’ interaction with other students; they are advocating changes, taking deliberate measures and training as an active citizen of the world. These are critical skills to have both professionally and as a world citizen. Their involvement and unique perspectives can positively impact many lives.

Student teams decide on their efforts and execution, build a unique bond, collaborate, and instead of complaining, decide to make a change. I was impressed during Covid, overhearing their discussions and planning. Their level of organization and how they managed themselves and their tasks seemed to work very well. They were all extremely busy, but the drive to be part of something bigger drove their commitment.

Support and openness is key. When Mavis is on campus, everyone knows and respects her (they/them). This builds inner confidence and the knowledge that you can be there for someone when needed. The mentoring programs are vital to students’ ability to start off with the right perspective and support infrastructure. After Mavis applied, I talked to a few upperclass students, and they confirmed that they were there for each other.

I’m happy that Mavis has had the opportunity to share change, commitment and caring through her various leadership roles on- and off-campus. As a parent, I believe that commitment to being a good citizen is invaluable.

Summer Research from a Distance

by Kathy Fries P24
February, 2022

As a remote first year, my son, Xander ’24, was interested in summer research. He applied for a position and was a bit disappointed when he was not selected. However, his advisor, physics professor Mark Ilton, knew of Xander’s interest in electronics and designing printed circuit boards. He connected him with Professor Jason Gallicchio, who identified work where Xander could help out.

A previous research student had designed a STM32 breakout board for Professor Gallicchio’s project to transmit entangled photons 1 to 10 kilometers, but it needed troubleshooting. The arrival in Seattle of a large, heavy box filled with schematics and boards was met with much excitement. Xander analyzed the breakout board until he developed a theory about why it did not work, suspecting a rotated component. He checked in with the professor to plan the next steps. This luckily included the delivery of a reflow oven to rework boards, saving my kitchen toaster oven in which Xander had been starting to exhibit a suspicious interest.

Xander reworked the board and proceeded to connect “a bunch” of sensors to it as well. He was able to let the previous student know that their board design was sound. Xander also designed a new circuit board, called a photodiode amplifier, for optics experimentation. In addition to optics study, a control system for drones is another potential application of this work.

Xander was thrilled to finally make it on campus this fall and bring his summer 2021 electronics work back to HMC. He has continued to help with Professor Gallicchio’s research as part of his coursework this year.

The faculty advisors and professors are a wonderful resource for students at HMC. I was appreciative of the consideration they showed Xander and their willingness to find a way to utilize his skills as part of summer research. It really helped him feel like he belonged at HMC, even from afar.

The Value of Summer Research

by Wendy Zales P23
February, 2022

My son, Joe, did Summer Research last year in engineering professor Elizabeth Orwin’s lab. Applications were due in early December, and then he interviewed and accepted a position during winter break. There were six students in the lab, and they worked both as a team and in smaller groups. They started working for academic credit during spring semester and were on campus for 10 weeks during the summer. His excitement to be on campus again, collaborating in person, was palpable.

I am not exactly sure what they did in the lab other than it had something to do with eye cells. I do know that they all learned how to do a literature review, seed cells, write an abstract and make and present a poster at a conference (usually in person but this year via Zoom). Additionally, Joe’s small group of two built bioreactors improving on previous years’ designs, ran experiments, learned how to order engineering supplies and to work with the machine shop. His responsibilities included both hardware and software work, which he really enjoyed.

Joe’s Summer Research experience looks great on his resume and has given him a technical foundation from which to speak during internship interviews. It also helped in Clinic last semester as he gained additional experience working on a team and has had greater interactions with some senior engineers that ended up being on his Clinic team just by being on campus over the summer. Oh, and the summer stipend was a really nice bonus!

Joe’s loved his Summer Research experience and feels that it will serve him well, whether he decides to go to graduate school or to work in industry.

Back to “Normal”

by Melanie Turek P23
October, 2021

Like all Mudders, my son Cedar (’23) has been ecstatic about his return to campus. Although he made the best of the pandemic by forming a pod in Tucson with 12 other sophomores, he couldn’t wait to get back to being, as he put it, “a normal college student.” And indeed, the transition has been full of joy, as he’s reconnected with old friends, indulged in his favorite Hoch treats, met face-to-face with professors and advisors (often for the first time) and embraced in-person classes and collaboration.

He and his friends are meeting in small study groups to work on problem sets; orchestra is happening live (with the fall concert being staged outside); and he’s convinced at least half a dozen classmates to join him at the Claremont rock-climbing gym several times a week. The intramural “beer-pong” league offers some friendly competition. Parties, while smaller, are also more intimate. Excursions to town for sushi/bagels/ice cream and runs to Trader Joe’s are back to being part of a typical week.

But what he loves most about being on campus are the interactions he doesn’t plan, often with people he doesn’t (yet) know. As many of us have learned, maintaining close friendships is doable even in lockdown. But what we lost, and perhaps missed the most, are the daily interactions with strangers and soon-to-be friends. After all, it’s often in these moments that serendipity occurs—changing our days, and sometimes our lives, forever.

We’re so grateful our Mudders have those opportunities back.

The Value of a Harvey Mudd Education

by Gary Hunter P21
April, 2021

Gary Hunter, a parent of one of the members of the Class of 2021, shared his thoughts about the cost and benefits associated with attending Harvey Mudd as part of a recent Facebook conversation, and he’s agreed to let us share this here.

“It sounds like you’re not convinced [Harvey Mudd College] is worth the money. Frankly, it is a lot of money, so it would be odd not to question its value. I cannot speak for other parents, but I will offer my experiences and opinion as a “pre-frosh” parent about investing in Mudd and what sold me on Mudd.

Having worked for large research universities myself, I feel that I have a pretty good idea that what really separates HMC as an institution of higher education is the actual learning experience. At Mudd, students learn more than they would elsewhere. In my mind, what makes Mudd most unique is the absolute dedication to undergraduate teaching by a faculty with strong research skills. At many large research universities, publishing research is what drives faculty value. Faculty are rarely rewarded by academia for their efforts in the classroom. So, quality teaching, for a research-capable faculty member, has to be driven from an internal motivation. At HMC, quality teaching is part of the culture. Yet, the faculty still publish quality research.

Typically, to get research done at research universities, faculty turn to graduate students for help. At HMC, with no graduate students, they turn to our undergraduates. The result is that HMC students not only get quality teaching in the classroom, they also work with faculty on quality research outside the classroom. The faculty will engage your Mudder and help them develop a career path, but also help them get started on it. They are remarkably selfless.

The final factor is that the HMC student body is not only brilliant, but also collaborative. The students work and learn from one another while trying to reach the extraordinarily high expectations set for them by their faculty. In a nutshell, this is what I thought the investment was about on the front end and what we experienced over the past four years.

Reflecting as our Mudder awaits graduation this May, it was indeed worth it for him. He learned so much from his classes that he scored very high on the MCAT (med school admissions test) with relatively little preparation for the exam. He then gained admission to an excellent medical school without taking a “gap year” despite the extraordinary level of competition for med school admissions. Medicine is not even a focal profession at HMC, and still the education our son received from Mudd has helped him reach his goals. If your students interests are in CS, engineering or STEM academics, those are all more proven paths. A lot of students have similar stories in different STEM areas that align with their career goals. As such, HMC students can literally explore their STEM interests and start their careers from ideal positions.

Without question, we would definitely do the HMC investment all over again. Yet, it is a personal choice and you should consider your options fully. What you should know is that, by making HMC an option, your child has put you in a very desirable position. Congratulations on that!

Welcome to Mudd!

Reflections on Family February 2021

by Lance Clifner ’83/84 P21
January, 2021

One of Lisa and my favorite events at HMC is Family Weekend. Claremont weather is usually rather nice in February, so you can be outside in the sun and chat with faculty, students, admin, and other parents while snacking on fresh fruit, bagels, cookies, and orange juice. You can usually steal a bit of one-on-one or small-group conversation with HMC President Maria Klawe, meet some of the professors your student raves about, and even grab lunch and/or dinner with your student and their Mudder friends (and parents, too). We even brought the grandparents along last year so that they could see the campus and get an idea of why their granddaughter is so enamored with her Mudd experience.

Alas, Family Weekend was not to be this year, another Casualty of COVID. But, just like the students learn to be flexible, adaptive, and innovative in their classes and experiences at Mudd, the wonderful HMC staff successfully morphed Family Weekend into Family February with virtual activities scattered throughout the month of February. While the interaction with the audiences wasn’t always as dynamic as it can be in-person, you also didn’t need to be on-time to a discussion as you could watch the recorded version of it later at your convenience. The information transfer still happened (you got your questions answered, right?) and you got a feel for the personalities of the presenters and a taste of the spirit that goes with HMC (as we write this, we’re looking forward to the Duck! Improv show).

Experiences and opportunities come in many different shapes and forms, and often in unexpected ways, and Lisa and I have heard many stories about how Mudders (both current students and graduates) have taken the circumstances of COVID and turned them into opportunities to learn, experience things, and do things that they wouldn’t have even considered during a ‘normal’ year. While our daughter wasn’t able to live on-campus this year, she did take the opportunity in the second half of the Fall semester to live with a classmate in Burbank, and is now spending the spring semester living with a pod of 4 Mudders in Kennebunkport, ME and getting her first real taste of winter—quite a change from our home in San Diego! Stephanie is graduating this year as an engineering major, and we are very proud of her and all of her classmates whom we have met, and we are very excited for the future opportunities that are in front of them and how well-prepared they are to tackle the changing problems and challenges ahead.

To close, for those of you who haven’t been able to attend Family Weekend on campus yet, Lisa and I would highly recommend making plans to attend next year if you can—and we’re not saying that just because we’re members of the PLC. The personal, human touch and casual conversations and people that you meet there really help you to appreciate Harvey Mudd College and get an insight into what your students are getting out of their experience as well as the caliber of the life-long friends they are making during their all-too-brief time at Mudd.

Best wishes to all you parents and families,
Lisa Clifner P21
Lance Clifner ‘83/84, P21
San Diego, CA

The Imposter Syndrome

At the beginning of each year, President Maria Klawe offers advice to first-year students about managing and dealing with the imposter syndrome, a real concern for the majority of new students. Given the level of rigor and challenge of the Harvey Mudd College curriculum, it’s common for students to wonder whether they should be at Mudd, to wonder if they are as talented as the other students, to suspect Admission somehow made a mistake.

President Klawe reminds students that many people who outwardly seem successful feel like this throughout their lives, even her. “I wake up most mornings feeling like a complete failure,” she says. “That’s the voice on one side of my head. Fortunately, there’s another voice on the other side that says, ‘I can change the world.’”

For many people, the impostor voice may make them work harder and be more successful. But for others, the impostor voice may result in not aiming high and being unwilling to risk failure.

When experiencing self-doubt, President Klawe shares ways to cope. “I promise that if you do all of these things, you will learn and grow immensely as a Mudder and as a person,” she says. “Please join me in making this year a year of learning and growth.”

  1. Ask for help. There are so many people who can help. Your professors. Academic excellence. The Writing Center. Your peers. Proctors and mentors. Dr. Gonzales and the rest of the student affairs team. And me, too. Asking for help and taking it is a huge part of what you will learn as a Mudder. It’s one of the core competencies that will make you successful throughout your life. Learn it early. Practice it often. Do it before you even start feeling like a failure. Ask for help!
  2. Recognize that feeling like a failure is likely to make you more successful in the long run. We learn more from dealing with failure than from success. Feeling like a failure is often the result of having very high expectations, which is the reason that so many very successful people spend a lot of time feeling like a failure.
  3. Share your feelings with others. You will feel much less lonely when you realize how many people have similar feelings.
  4. Celebrate your successes. So often we ignore the things that are going well and only focus on the problem areas.
  5. Surround yourself with people who encourage you.
  6. If one approach isn’t working, try others.
  7. Keep on working hard. Don’t let your fears undermine your ability to give your best effort.

The Resilience of Mudders

by Melissa Lane P23
September, 2020

When the pandemic erupted last spring I had the typical worries that most human beings had. However, these were accompanied with profound sadness and anger that my 19-year old daughter was being ejected from her developmental trajectory that was rooted in college experiences – both academic and social.

Mudders are familiar with successes… they were the top of their high school classes; they were accepted to Harvey Mudd College. I knew that resilience was important to my daughter’s development. She had demonstrated it magnificently during her freshman year. She had “hit the wall” – as most Mudders do – and sought out peers and professors to regroup and succeed. She had persevered through the first one and one half semesters of core – in some areas which were not her “favorites”. She had navigated relationships, independence, and the struggles which come with them. But now everything that had become familiar was abruptly suspended on her 19 th birthday. I was disheartened and irritated…”now what?!” I asked myself.

I have learned that it was not my daughter’s resilience that I should be worried about, but rather my worries! She has repeatedly made “lemonade out of lemons”. My job was and is to acknowledge her resilient accomplishments. She has effectively problem-solved and clearly articulated her decision-making processes related to many, continuous hurdles. She adapted to home life, one which was more isolated than pre-pandemic due to stay-at-home orders, instead of dorm life. She navigated emergency-remote learning and long-distance friendships via technology. She persevered through the uncertainty of summer research; she learned how to handle the disappointment of her original summer plans (residence and research) being obliterated and reached out and found new research opportunities. She self-assessed and decided to return to HMC for fall 2020 when her close friends made alternate plans; she knew she wanted campus life and her biology lab. She preserved through the next weeks of uncertainty as LA County cases increased. She made and solidified plans within 20 hours of HMC’s inability to open for fall 2020 with a group of peers in which she only knew one student. She made an outreach to an-almost stranger/HMC sophomore to be his roommate. She boarded a plane on 8-23-2020 to an unknown city, to live in an unfamiliar community (and ended up the first night sleeping alone in an empty (no furniture nor roommate) apartment on top of a pile of yoga mats!) She, and her seven fellow students, have formed a bubble and embraced their “new normal” – as they navigate the last semester of core – “death core”, adjusted to their new surroundings, and have formed a hiking club for their PE credit.

I am sure many Mudd parents have similar stories –some in which their child has demonstrated more resilience and others in which there has been less. Regardless of the amount, it is resilience! I have seen similar posts on our HMC families’ Facebook site. It is wonderful to see/read these stories and know that my experience is not an isolated one. I am a college professor, and I have watched my own students, who typically have numerous environmental and financial obstacles to overcome, persevere in this “COVID-world”. I am progressing on my own developmental task as a parent of a young adult, and beginning to worry a little less and appreciate my child’s growth more. I have been able to see and appreciate that she is still on her correct developmental trajectory, it is just on a bumpier and different road that the one my husband and I imagined.

A Parent Reflection on the Mudd Experience

by Dianne Stober P19
July, 2019

Hannah Slocumb ‘19 and Adam R. Johnson, Professor of Chemistry                              HMC Commencement, May 2019

As the parent of a recent graduate, I would like to give the “newer” families a glimpse of the future. I’m in Irvine this week, helping our daughter move into her graduate school apartment. Four years flew by soooo fast. So much growth, plenty of challenges and I can say that Mudd has launched her well. As one of eleven chemistry majors graduating this past year, she has had amazing lab and research experience (huge kudos to the profs in the Chemistry department–especially Profs Johnson, Van Hecke, Hawkins and Karukstis) and landed a great spot at UC Irvine. We tried to “hold things loosely” in terms of what major she chose when we dropped her off in the fall of 2015 and it’s been amazing to see her find her path, along with the support and help of fellow students, faculty and staff. Make no mistake, it’s a hard road full of hard work and challenges. It wasn’t always easy for her, but nevertheless, she persisted. She took advantage of opportunities beyond campus, including an amazing semester in China and a winter break trip to London as part of the Dickens-Hardy class (wow, I wish I could take that class!). And after a wonderful graduation celebration and a break to travel and relax, she’s now getting ready to launch her graduate career. For those of you who have read to this point, I hope you take away a sense of what Mudd makes possible. For those of you who have children currently attending Mudd, I wish them every success. Enjoy watching your children bloom and grow.

Wellness Coaching – First Year/Transfer Parents

Wellness Coaching for Parents Discover the Collaborative Process for Positive Support and Change with Susan Howard P17. During these uncharted times, we are experiencing many different situations that are unfamiliar to us. As a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and an expert with a Masters in Integrative Wellness, Howard’s guidance will provide the ability to support and collaborate with scientific, evidence-based approaches in creating positive outcomes.

[hmc-youtube video_id=”90ryGN7LTNI” title=”Video: Wellness Coaching for First-Year and Transfer Parents”]

Wellness Coaching – Returning Parents

Wellness Coaching for Parents Discover the Collaborative Process for Positive Support and Change with Susan Howard P17. During these uncharted times, we are experiencing many different situations that are unfamiliar to us. As a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and an expert with a Masters in Integrative Wellness, Howard’s guidance will provide the ability to support and collaborate with scientific, evidence-based approaches in creating positive outcomes.

[hmc-youtube video_id=”rxpXVCvQAZU” title=”Video: Wellness Coaching for Returning Parents”]

Wellness Coaching – What’s In Your Physical PIE (Positive Integrative Energy)?

Susan Howard P17 is an integrative wellness professional with a master’s in kinesiology-integrative wellness from Point Loma Nazarene University and is certified by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching. These slides are from Susan’s January 12, 2021 Wellness Coaching session and include tools to assess and enhance sleep, nutrition and physical activity to make substantial positive changes as you prioritize your physical wellness and influence positivity in your connected community.

January 12, 2021 Presentation Slides