By Ashleigh Proovost (IV)
This year, we must say goodbye to Ms. Susan Conklin, Pingry’s Academic Support Coordinator and Learning Specialist. On the Basking Ridge campus, Ms. Conklin could always be found in the hallway with a smile on her face, or in her office behind Macrae Theater, collaborating with many different students every single day.
As Pingry’s Learning Specialist, Ms. Conklin would give students academic support, consulting with students and their families to help students with their study habits. She loved helping people find the best study strategies for them, as shown by one of her favorite metaphors involving the twenty-five year-old geode on her desk. “People can look at themselves like they would a geode,” says Ms. Conklin. “Once you can unlock someone’s mind, there’s a treasure of beautiful crystals waiting inside!”
Ms. Conklin had significant experience in her field prior to arriving at Pingry. She received a graduate degree in social work from Hunter College, and worked as a psychotherapist in private practice for many years afterwards. Ms. Conklin then taught graduates at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Ms. Conklin began teaching in schools in 2007, and came to Pingry three years ago. She’s especially interested in brain neurology, and how the brain works for learning.
Pingry was an important part of Ms. Conklin’s life, and she’ll really miss the Pingry culture and community. “One of my favorite memories of Pingry will be eating lunch with my colleagues,” she remarks. “Especially now, I really miss that social connection.” She really loved her experience on the Global Programs trip to the Balkans last year. “We got to help students learn while developing our own bond at the same time,” she recalls. “It’s a wonderful thing to do; to study with your colleagues and go away together.”
She enjoyed interacting with students and parents just as much as she did with faculty. “It was an amazing feeling to help a student have a breakthrough,” she said. “It’s like letting the butterfly out of the cage.” She added, “You know, nature really does have beautiful metaphors for us!” Speaking on what she will miss the most, Ms. Conklin mentioned Pingry’s theater and art showcases: “I love the shows and the art and the music,” she remarks. “I’m just amazed by the talent of the students and faculty!”
Ms. Conklin is planning on retiring after leaving Pingry, but she still wants to stay involved. “I love life and I love what I do,” she says. She’ll be missed greatly by the Pingry community at large. Best of luck to you, Ms. Conklin!