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Doers’ Profiles

Rayne Guilford, J85

HOME: McLean, Virginia

OCCUPATION: Program director for the United States Senate Youth Program (it’s sponsored by the Senate but funded and administered by the Hearst Foundations). “Every year I’m charged with giving one hundred and four of the country’s brightest high school students a week in Washington that will change their lives. I arrange for them to meet with cabinet secretaries, a Supreme Court justice, more than sixty senators, and the president of the United States, along with many other leaders. All spend real time with them and encourage them to pursue careers in public service.”

CAN’T HELP NOTICING: That those in power are deeply rewarded by devoting time to young people. “It might not fit with the image of Washington that most conjure, but when I invite high-level officials to participate in our program, they often say, ‘I would love to do this.’ ”

CAN’T HELP THINKING: That similar programs should exist for every career. “Working with future leaders and seeing how thoughtful, intelligent, and motivated they are gives students a powerful sense of optimism.”

RECENT READS: Mysteries of the Middle Ages, Thomas Cahill’s provocative look at medieval Europe, and the upstairs-downstairs bestseller The Elegance of the Hedgehog. “I always try to have a fiction and a nonfiction going.”

MAJOR DECISION: To continue working after having kids. “I drew inspiration from other mothers with demanding jobs. Also, I wanted my children to know of my work in the world and be proud of it.”

WHAT LIFTS HER SPIRITS: Listening to her husband, the bass trombonist for the National Symphony Orchestra, play.

DEFINING TRAITS: Energy, humor, imagination. And a lifelong tendency to cultivate her empathetic nature. “I remember this book called The Blind Colt, about the struggles of a little horse with a lot of heart. I used to cry every time my mother read it to me, but I made her read it over and over.”

FOREVER INDEBTED TO: C-SPAN, which galvanized her teenage self in much the way that the program she runs now aims to galvanize today’s youth. “One day in high school when I was watching the channel, it just came over me: ‘I have to be there, in the capital, this place full of ideas.’ ”

HER EDUCATION: B.A., Tufts (international relations with a minor in French)


Photo: Alonso Nichols

Shioban Torres, A04

HOME: Medford, Massachusetts

PROFESSION: Public health research and administration

OLD JOB: Community executive for health initiatives, American Cancer Society

CURRENT WORK: Full-time doctoral student in public health, Boston University; part-time program associate, Susan G. Komen for the Cure

LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE: Internship at a community clinic in Lawrence, Massachusetts, that served a predominantly Hispanic population. “I would sit with patients and listen to their stories of poverty, domestic violence, and mental health problems like depression. The obvious lack of effective, culturally appropriate education and outreach led me to pursue a public health career.”

PROUD OF: Being the first in her family to attend college; establishing the Latino Alumni Association of Tufts University.

EXCITED ABOUT: The new project on her plate. “This year, I received a fellowship from the American Public Health Association and the CDC to study the psychosocial health needs of African-American and Latino cancer survivors. My research will be conducted in public housing developments throughout Massachusetts.”

DRIVEN BY: The people she serves. “When I meet cancer survivors, it makes me want to work a million times harder.”

FILM FAVES: Anything with Molly Ringwald in it, especially the high school dramas The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. “I’m such a girl!”

OFF LIMITS FOR HER OWN GOOD: The deep end of the pool. “I grew up on an island—Puerto Rico—but I can’t swim.”

DEFINING TRAITS: Loves to laugh. Acknowledges the world’s cruelty; insists on seeing the kindness in people anyway (“It gives me hope for the future”).

LESSON LEARNED: The importance of persistence. “In public health we are confronted with obstacles every day. The key is to press on, be confident, and believe in your work, even when you feel like giving up.”

PLEASANT SURPRISE: You can make a decent living in public health. “I get asked all the time, How can you survive on your salary? The truth is, the pay is not that bad.”

HER EDUCATION: B.A., Tufts (political science); Dr.P.H. expected in 2013, Boston University

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