This year marks the 85th anniversary of HERAA, and thus the existence of 85 graduating classes of incredible women worth knowing. In the lead up to the Alumnae Weekend on April 4-6, 2014, we will introduce you to one alumna from each decade starting with the most recent and working our way back to our earliest House residents.

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To start with, meet Ariana Alisjahbana (CAS 2011). As a Research Analyst at the World Resources Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank working at the intersection between economic development and the environment, Ariana is utilizing her Economics and Environmental Policy backgrounds to tackle deforestation and global warming in her native Indonesia.

Who are you?

I am an Indonesian-American half-hippie, half-capitalist working to combat global warming while also promoting development.

Which of your many accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am proud to have unleashed the potential of Indonesian young leaders through my work and extracurricular activities. In my office, for example, I facilitated the hiring of three young and dynamic Indonesians to head up our Indonesia office. Outside of work, I select and facilitate the best Indonesian young professionals to go to international conferences such as the G20 and G8 Summits. There are many exciting things going on in emerging countries such as Indonesia. Young people are leading the action.

As a recent graduate, what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of transitioning from college to your first job?

The lack of support system once you step outside the gates of college. I got into two accidents when I was an intern, therefore I had no insurance. Apart from that, there were also fewer resources to lean on once you are in the “real world.” You’re on your own, there are no guidance counselors, no advisors, no classmates, no professors, and no HER House girls to support you through tough times. You have to seek them on your own. That has been challenging but also rewarding.

What advice do you have for others facing this same challenge?

Have health insurance!!! Apart from that, my advice is to never let your fears get in the way of opportunities you want to pursue. Be aware and learn the language of office and professional conduct. I would strongly recommend reading career coach books such as Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office or Lean In before your first salary negotiation.

What did you learn from living with 23 other women?

I learned that if you are lucky enough to live in this house, it will leave a mark on your life. I have never lived with 23 women in such a tight knit environment where every day has its ups and downs. You learn how to be selfless; you learn how to give to the community; you learn how to help others; you learn how to argue; you learn how to keep the peace; you learn how to handle conflict; and you learn how to make lifelong friends. Oh and you learn how to cook for a crowd!

Why would we want to meet the alumnae from this current decade, the graduating classes of 2010-2013, at the Alumnae Tea on April 6th?

We are chasing our dreams every day in our own ways. We are new to the post-college world and are hungry for advice. We will want to learn how you got to where you are today the passions that drive you.

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