Somerset, Elisabeth Sigman

Loomis Chaffee Schoo
Wellesley College (BA)
Smith College (MS)

I grew up in rural Connecticut and have lived in New England my whole life. I'm a person of consistency on one hand, but with a need for variety on the other. Consistency: banana every morning; a need for regular exercise; my closest friends are those I met in grade school; I've gone to the same Appalachian Mountain Club family camp every single summer since I was five years old. Variety: I enjoy new running/bike/swim locations or other workouts to spice up the routine, challenge myself, and explore new places; I love the change of seasons in New England and can't imagine living in a temperate climate; and, I'm most content when my professional life has more than one facet (hence my dual career of school communications/alumni relations and coaching), and when there's both work and play in life.

I'm married with two young daughters who keep me on my toes. People keep telling me their strong-will personalities will "serve them well". Other people tell me the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

What book has made you think the most? Shortly after I had my first child, I read Overwhelmed: Work, Love, & Play When No One Has the Time, by Brigid Schulte, a Washington Post journalist. My recreational reading has declined precipitously since having children, but this book was so relevant to my everyday life and our evolving culture in the U.S. that I could hardly put it down. It's not just about time–specifically leisure time, and how we use it or fitter it away, like by checking email 50 times a day—but also delves into workplace cultures (progressive, archaic, and in between), family leave policies in various countries, divisions of labor, and so much more. I learned a lot about how the U.S. came to be in the state its in in terms of childcare, pay inequality between men and women, work schedules and expectations, changes in family norms, and the trajectory of how we use our time. It is fascinating to think about how we've become 'overwhelmed' in so many facets of our lives, and everything covered in this book has continued to evolve in just the handful of years since it was written.

How would your friends describe you in three words? Outgoing. Dependable. Organized.

What is your favorite course you have taken in high school or college? There are many classes I loved, but the photography and ceramics courses I took in high school were so enjoyable; they never felt like work, and it didn't hurt that I created some decent work. Having those creative outlets was always so important to me amidst a heavy academic load. I could probably use more of a creative outlet as an adult now...

I am most happy when... I have good company (especially when I'm with my family) and good food, and I've had a chance to be active outdoors that day. I don't need much more than that.

What is your favorite outdoor activity? Do I have to choose just one? Running, swimming, and cycling are all at the top, but lake swimming might take the cake. I also love cross-country skiing and have taken up skate skiing in the last few years, which has been humbling!