Alumnae Association Awards


Barbara is a U.S. military historian and the author of five books and numerous journal articles. Raised in a post–World War II era steeped in military pride, she had hoped to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and secure an appointment as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, but women were not admitted until the mid-1970s. At Scripps, Barbara studied European history under professor Neal Brogden and, after taking professor John Kemble’s Modern Maritime and Naval History class at Pomona College, became particularly intrigued with naval history. Barbara married Fred Tomblin (HMC ’63) two weeks after graduation. They moved to Washington, D.C., in 1967, and Barbara spent the early days of her marriage at the archives of the Navy Yard, conducting primary research about Allied naval operations in the Mediterranean during World War II, which she would eventually publish 37 years later. While raising her two daughters, Brooke and Page, in New Jersey, Barbara collected oral histories from women who had served in the armed forces during World War II, exploring the challenges those women faced. Publishing houses and academic presses had little appetite for women’s military history at the time, so it wasn’t until 1996 that she was finally able to publish G.I. Nightingales: The Army Nurse Corps in World War II. After earning a doctorate from Rutgers University in U.S. history in 1988, Barbara taught military history at Rutgers and at several community colleges. Her latest book, Life in Jefferson Davis’ Navy, focuses on the experiences of the officers and sailors of the Confederate States Navy. Barbara is a leader in her community, pursuing social justice and outreach projects through the United Methodist Church, where she has served as a diaconal minister for over 25 years. A generous philanthropist and volunteer, she is a frequent workshop speaker at Camp Scripps, sharing her deep knowledge of military history as well as tips on writing and publishing. She is currently working on biographies of early Scripps trustee Margaret Fowler and Ann Slocum, a U.S. Army nurse who served in England, France, and Germany during WWII and the mother of Ellen Rissman-Wong ’79. Barbara’s daughter, Brooke Tomblin, graduated from Scripps in 1992, and her granddaughter, Grace Tomblin Marca, is a first-year student.


A native of Pomona, California, Devanie graduated from Scripps with a degree in history. After working for former Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis and as a parliamentary aide to the Irish Senate in Dublin, Devanie spent nearly a decade in Washington, D.C., as a healthcare advocate and organizer on behalf of underserved children and families. While she was at the Children’s Defense Fund, her field office was responsible for mobilizing thousands of activists across the country to lobby Congress for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). She was also instrumental in launching the Children’s Dental Health Project, a nonprofit targeting low-income and homeless children who are covered by CHIP or Medicaid but who are unable to find dentists who accept their insurance. After taking a few years off to focus on raising her two children, Devanie embraced a new career path in education. She has taught AP U.S. History and Government at the same all-girls’ high school she attended, mentoring many young women who, like her, will be among the first in their families to attend college. This year, Devanie is celebrating her 25th class reunion and over 25 years of service to the College. In addition to serving on every reunion planning committee since 1994, she has been a member of the Alumnae Leadership Council for the past 10 years. She has also chaired the Lois Langland Alumna-in-Residence Committee, served on the Leadership Development Committee, twice represented Camp Scripps as a tri-chair of the Camp Creative Caucus, and been a trustee of the College for the past five years.


During her first year at Scripps, Eli cofounded the original chapter of Challah for Hunger, a student-run challah-baking group that donates proceeds from the sale of the traditional Jewish braided bread to social justice causes. After graduating in 2007, she established Challah for Hunger as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with support from the Clinton Family Foundation. Challah for Hunger now has a network of more than 100 chapters across the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Eli served on the Challah for Hunger board of directors until 2018. In 2013, Eli opened CRAFT—a walk-in art studio for adults—in her hometown of Austin, Texas. CRAFT offers an& all-you-can-make buffet of arts and crafts opportunities for an hourly rate. It also sponsors approximately 30 workshops per month for experienced crafters and novices alike on everything from pickling to macramé to screen-printing to soap making. Eli’s joy in making art, along with her commitment to the shared economy ideal, led her to found CRAFT. She has described Challah for Hunger and CRAFT as sharing in a common goal to create opportunities where “people come together to make things with their hands.” In 2007, when President Bill Clinton visited the Scripps campus, Eli boldly presented him with a challah. Clinton subsequently featured her in his book Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the Worldas an example of compelling giving.