Arts Alumnae

Maria El-Abd ’12 (M.A.T. ’13)

Maria El-AbdTeacher | Linkhorne Middle School

B.A., English/Creative Writing, Mathematics | Sweet Briar College, 2012
M.A.T. | Sweet Briar College, 2013
Ph.D. Candidate, Education | University of Virginia

Maria teaches mathematics and STEM classes at Linkhorne Middle School in Lynchburg and is completing her dissertation at UVa.

While earning her M.A.T. at Sweet Briar, Maria worked as a substitute and student teacher at James River Day School in Lynchburg and in the Campbell County school system. She then traveled back to her native country of Lebanon to teach secondary math and English at the AZM School in Tripoli. Upon returning to Virginia in 2014, Maria continued her education at UVa. Her research focuses on predictors of literacy achievement in young gifted students in rural schools.

During her time at Sweet Briar, Maria was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Tau Delta. She also participated in LEAP: Leaders Emerging and Achieving Program, as well as the Sweet Briar Inklings Book Club, the Creative Writing Conference and the literary magazine Red Clay.


Rebecca Penny Humphrey ’08

Assistant Professor of Biology | Aquinas College

B.S., Biology; Minor in Studio Art | Sweet Briar College, 2008
Ph.D., Evolution, Ecology and Behavior | Indiana University, Bloomington, 2015

Rebecca teaches biology with a passion for the liberal arts. She is always looking for meaningful course content to help her students develop theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Her experience at Sweet Briar fostered her scientific curiosity, observational skills and dedication to complex tasks. While at Sweet Briar, Rebecca worked for the Outdoor Program and was a member of Tau Phi. She also completed independent undergraduate research in biology, an experience that was instrumental in her acceptance to a top-tier Ph.D. program. Rebecca graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude. After a year of outdoor-programming work in New Hampshire, she started her Ph.D. program. Upon graduation, Rebecca accepted a position as visiting assistant professor of biology and environmental science at Hollins University, and is now an assistant professor of biology at Aquinas College.


Kara Moore ’95

Kara MooreManaging Director of Global Philanthropy and Engagement | Bloomberg

B.A., English, History of Art; Minor in Dance | Sweet Briar College, 1995

Kara Moore is a fundraising, special events and marketing specialist. She serves as the managing director of global philanthropy and engagement for Bloomberg, a media company dedicated to delivering real-time business and financial information to decision-makers around the world. Kara advances the vision of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which works to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people.

From 2010 to 2014, Kara served as executive director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Special Projects and Community Events. Her responsibilities included supervising the coordination of hundreds of community and citywide events hosted by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City of New York. From 2005 to 2009, she was director of sponsorship and events at UBS Financial Services. In charge of all cultural sponsorships in the Americas, including Art Basel Miami Beach, Kara managed more than 130 events a year.

From 2000 to 2005, she was the acting director of special programming and events at The Museum of Modern Art, raising more than $7 million annually. Kara was also responsible for orchestrating and developing the strategic planning for the museum’s reopening in late 2004. As assistant development officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Kara worked on key events such as the Costume Institute Benefit. She began her career at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., where she produced exhibition events and implemented the gallery’s promotional strategy for corporate sponsors and major donors, working extensively with the White House and diplomatic corps.

Kara serves on the Friends of the Good+ Foundation started by Jessica Seinfeld, supports the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, MoMA and the Children’s Museum of the Arts. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, James, and son, Oliver.


Céleste Wackenhut ’08

Celeste WackenhutCurator | French & Michigan

B.A., History of Art, Italian Studies; Arts Management Certificate | Sweet Briar College, 2008
M.A., Modern Art | University of Edinburgh, 2010

Céleste has participated in programs and held posts at museums throughout the world. From the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Amherst, Céleste has deepened her knowledge of art history and introduced audiences to fine art.

After receiving her master’s in modern art from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, Céleste started at the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, working on research, exhibitions, publications and communications. She currently is curator of French & Michigan, a multidisciplinary organization she and her husband founded in San Antonio. At French & Michigan, Céleste is working to expand its publication and exhibition program and initiating art and architecture residencies.

Céleste was introduced to Sweet Briar in second grade when her eldest sister, Anne-Claire Wackenhut Kasten ’98, enrolled at the College. Her sister Sophie Wackenhut Szymanski ’02 also graduated from Sweet Briar. Sister sleepovers in the residence halls enticed Céleste to follow in their footsteps. While at Sweet Briar, Céleste was a double major in history of art and Italian studies and earned a certificate in arts management. During her junior year, she studied in Urbino, Italy. Outside the classroom, Céleste worked in Pannell Gallery, served as an Italian subject tutor and art history research assistant, sat on the Academic Affairs Committee and Advisory Council, was active in the dance program, and was tapped as a Chung Mung. She interned in New York City, working at both the Jon Schueler Estate and George Adams Gallery.

Céleste serves on the Sweet Briar College Friends of Art Board.


Kelly Winer ’13

Quality Assurance Analyst | Federal Reserve Board

B.A., Mathematical Economics; Minor in English/Creative Writing | Sweet Briar College, 2013

As a quality assurance analyst for the Federal Reserve Board, Kelly coordinates team and client testing, project management, project documentation preparation and maintenance, and stakeholder communication.

While at Sweet Briar, Kelly was a resident advisor in the first-year dorm and a peer counselor for academic, social and personal development. A member of the French Club and a QV, Kelly also worked as a math and economics tutor at the Academic Resource Center and as a teaching assistant in the economics program. In summer 2011, Kelly studied at St. Anne’s College in England through the Virginia Program at Oxford.