Emma Willard School welcomed Parker Hamilton Poling ’95 back on campus as this year’s Honors Convocation speaker. Parker, a former Emma Willard Cum Laude and E.W. Award honoree who now serves as the Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), drew on her experiences in Washington, D.C. to discuss mentorship.
We caught up with Parker about how Emma prepared her for life outside our castle walls.
What are you up to in life these days?
I am a mom to two girls, Barrett (10) and Eliza (8), and spend my spare time creating carpool spreadsheets to get them to ballet, Irish dance, and piano. My husband, the girls, and I live on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in a historic townhouse. We just added a new puppy, Clementine, to our family.
How did Emma prepare you for what you’re doing now?
Emma prepared me for life in ways that are constantly being revealed. Of course, at a girls' school, all of the leadership roles are filled by women. So, you come to expect that women can fill all of those roles in life, which we can. I also benefitted tremendously from small classes, engaged faculty, and individualized college counseling to realize my full intellectual and academic potential. And the friendships I made at Emma continue to be some of the most important relationships in my life.
What did it mean to you to speak at Honors Convocation?
I have strong memories of Honors Convocation from my time at Emma. I remember walking through Kiggins to see the photos and the citations as an underclasswoman and aspiring to be like those girls. I was proud to be an honoree at the Honors Convocation my senior year. It's the bittersweet beginning to Commencement; a joyous celebration and recognition of the accomplishments of your classmates, but also the beginning of the end of your time at Emma. I loved learning more about the diverse and exciting achievements of this year's honorees. I was gratified and surprised to be invited to speak to such a distinguished group.