2017 Participants

Avanti Kumar-Singh, M.D. P’20

Avanti Kumar SinghPhysician, Ayurvedic Practitioner and Wellness Innovator

Avanti Kumar-Singh, M.D. P’20 is a physician, wellness innovator, author, and speaker. After medical training in emergency medicine, she began a journey to find her joy again and help people truly heal. This calling led her to advanced training in a variety of healing traditions and modalities- Ayurveda, Pranic Energy Healing, Yoga Therapy and plant-based nutrition- which she integrates her writing, research, and teaching.

Avanti’s work is centered on teaching others how to heal themselves by unleashing their innate healing power. She educates students and practitioners in self-healing using meditation, yoga, breath, and food, which she believes is true medicine. Avanti speaks extensively to graduate medical students, physicians, and health professionals, as well as a broad-range of audiences throughout the country. The subjects of these talks range from scientific discussions on various traditional healing systems to interactive dialogues on meditation, yoga, lifestyle, and nutrition.

Currently, Avanti serves as a lead facilitator of the Faculty Scholars Program in Integrative Healthcare at the OSHER Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University, where she also serves as an advisor. During her years of study, research, and training, Avanti has been featured in the Huffington Post and was a member of’s review board—Turner media’s former health and wellness entertainment brand. She will publish her first book, Ayurveda for Everyone, in January 2018.

Avanti earned her BA in art history from the University of Chicago and her M.D. from Rush University College of Medicine. Her older daughter, Zara, is currently in her second year at Scripps College.  Avanti lives in Chicago with her husband, Kanwar, and younger daughter, Isha.

Sign up for informational interviews (Wednesday, October 25 or Friday, October 27)

Briana Smith ’14

Briana SmithSilicon Valley data analyst and market researcher
Partner Insights, Pinterest

Briana Smith ’14 recently graduated from Scripps College and jumped into the technology and start-up world. Currently, she works at Pinterest in the Partner Insights division in San Francisco. Here Briana analyzes data and conducts market research on home, food, style and beauty pages. She takes these data sets and couples them with market trends and user attitudes to help advertisers reach their target audience.

A Florida native, Briana was the first individual in her family to attend college. With a natural talent for navigating both the creative and the technical, Briana self-designed the computational media major, combining computer science and media studies. While at Scripps, she participated in First Generation at Scripps, Scripps College Academy (SCA), The Student Investment Fund, and many other clubs across the 5Cs. Briana became interested in technology through her courses and co-curricular experiences, such as the Silicon Valley Program. This ultimately lead her to accept internships at YouTube and Atlassian, a software development company.

Following graduation, Briana began her professional career at Google in advertising technology. In this role, she looked at trends and data sets to help Google in its digital advertising efforts. Briana eventually transitioned to Pinterest as a marketplace quality specialist. Outside of work, Briana enjoys soccer, video games, education, and building community.

Sign up for an informational interview (Thursday, October 26)

Hannah-Beth Jackson ’71

Hannah-Beth Jackson California State Senator, 19th District

Hannah-Beth Jackson ’71 is a former prosecutor and practicing attorney, educator, and small business owner. She was elected to the California State Senate in 2012 to represent the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County. In the Senate, she is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and serves as a member of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee, and the Senate Public Safety Committee. She is immediate past chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.

From 1998 to 2004, she represented the 35th Assembly District in the State Assembly, where she worked with Democratic and Republican governors to author more than 60 bills into law. During her time in the Legislature, Hannah-Beth has become known as an effective advocate for protecting the rights and privacy of Californians, protecting the environment, advancing legislation to reduce gun violence, supporting access to justice for all Californians, championing equality for women, advocating for commuter rail, improving access to early childhood education, and supporting veterans and veterans treatment courts, among other issues. She is the author of Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act, landmark legislation that established the strongest equal pay law in the country, and was named by Huffington Post as one of 11 women around the country “blazing new trails” in American politics.

An advocate for justice for women, children, and victims of crime for more than three decades, Hannah-Beth established the Santa Barbara Shelter Services for Women (now known as Domestic Violence Solutions) and Women Against Gun Violence. She is also a founding member and past president of the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee.

A graduate of Scripps College with a joint major in government and sociology, Hannah-Beth received her law degree from Boston University Law School before returning to California to work as a deputy district attorney. She is married to retired Superior Court Judge George Eskin. Hannah-Beth has a daughter, two stepchildren, and six grandchildren.

Sign up for informational interviews (Thursday, October 26 or Friday, October 27)

Poppy MacDonald ’97

Poppy MacDonaldChief strategist and leader in global media

Poppy MacDonald ’97 currently serves as the president of POLITICO USA. She is responsible for driving the organization’s growth, developing the business strategy, and executing the daily business operations of the company. In this role, Poppy oversees the sales, marketing, product, communications, technology, and human resources divisions and has full profit and loss responsibility for business in the U.S.

Prior to POLITICO, Poppy served as National Journal’s publisher and president, responsible for the business development, marketing, operations and growth strategy. Poppy has also served as POLITICO Pro’s executive director of business development. There, she was responsible for overseeing the launch of POLITICO’s first paid subscription model, while managing the sales and client-service team. Poppy’s previous work includes positions at Gallup, Inc., where she launched the World Poll and led the healthcare practice during her four-year tenure, and The Advisory Board, consulting with hospitals and health systems as director of marketing and new business development.

Poppy majored in history at Scripps College and currently lives in Arlington, VA with her husband, Brian, and two children. She began her professional career representing her Pacific Northwest hometown on both the Senate and House sides of Capitol Hill.

Sign up for informational interviews (Thursday, October 26 or Friday, October 27)

Susanne Whatley P’21 (Moderator)

News Anchor, NPR affiliate KPCC 89.3

Susanne Whatley P’21 is a News Anchor at NPR affiliate KPCC 89.3 (KUOR 89.1) and the mother of Holly Miller ’21.

Whatley has a long history in Southern California and network radio news. She previously anchored at all-news KFWB and talk powerhouse KFI, and hosted two public affairs shows for KOST. After graduating from USC and circling the globe with a backpack for a year, she began her career as a general-assignment field reporter covering courts, crime, quakes, fires, floods, and politics for KRTH and as an L.A. correspondent for national radio networks including the Associated Press. Whatley served over a decade as the Hollywood correspondent for the A.P.’s Portfolio news magazine, interviewing hundreds of film and TV stars, directors, and writers. She also hosted weekly live reports for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and stations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Her honors include Golden Mikes and APTRA awards for Best Newscast and Best News Writing. Additional awards from those and other professional organizations include first place in spot news, documentary, entertainment and feature reporting, and use of feature sound. In 2009, Whatley jumped into television and served as co-host in “Healthline,” a weekly cable interview show.

Whatley grew up in the Pasadena area and enjoys a deep appreciation of the region’s people, places, and peculiarities.