Lily Beaumont ’07’s made quite a name for herself as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester. She graduated 10 years ago, but we recently heard from Harley parent Belinda Redden P ’24, a member of the Fellowship Office at the University, that several UR professors mentioned her for the “quality of her intellect and writing.” Lily was surprised and flattered, and said the first writing assignment she could remember was in Harley’s lower school when the students were asked to write, illustrate, and publish a book. “I had an early introduction to writing at a young age—and it started at Harley.”
Fast forward to Upper School and her love for English and writing continued. Lily said, “Every single English teacher I had was amazing,” but Alex De Santis (Upper School English, 1971-2009) was a stand-out. His teaching was “rigorous and analytical” and he was a huge reason she majored in English. Lily said the depth of thinking in Harley English classes prepared her for college. In fact, one class at the U of R (Senior Seminar) was small, relaxed, very unorthodox and iconoclastic because it challenged the prevailing trends of literary theory, and was “very reminiscent of her experience at Harley.”
Following the University of Rochester, she took a year off and decided to pursue a Master’s degree, leaving the option open for a possible doctorate program. Deciding to major in English, the influence of Mr. De Santis continued, but due to one particular lesson of his, it resulted in a double major. At Harley, they studied Shakespeare’s Hamlet and while most teachers dig deep into the main character, this class looked in depth at Ophelia’s story line. She was so struck by the female narrative focus and the supportive and important role she played in the storyline, that this interest continued in graduate school. She attended Brandeis University in Waltham, MA with a double major in English and Women’s Studies.
At Brandeis, she focused on Victorian literature and wrote her senior thesis on the George Eliot novel Daniel Deronda. Lily said the novel strikes most readers as a mishmash of stories. Her thesis explored the text from a gendered perspective, examining the subordination of the female narrative to a male narrative of self-development.
Once Lily finished graduate school, she looked for a job and also considered continuing on for a Ph.D., or earning a teaching certificate. Soon after graduation, Shmoop.com, a digital publishing company that creates online study guides, lesson plans, and activities for homeschooled students, hired her. At Shmoop, she wrote classroom English curricula across the grade levels as well as curricula for a Women’s Studies class. She is now working for SuperSummary. She was hired to write curriculum and create study guides for novels and non-fiction work and was recently promoted to editor. She now helps with the unit curriculum, texting and formatting of questions, student activities, and supplemental materials for teachers.
Lily is enjoying her new role, though she’ll be the first to admit she never expected to be using her writing skills in such a niche field. She doesn’t often get feedback from her work and feels as if her writing these days just goes off into a void, though she was told that her unit on Oliver Twist did really well. To keep her creative mind moving, she continues to write poetry. A couple of years ago she made an informal “New Year’s Resolution” that she would always have a poem “out for consideration” for literary magazines, book, or websites. She hasn’t quite kept up with the resolution, but she makes a serious effort to write for her own pleasure.
Samples of Lily’s poetry: