Five women discuss post-graduation choices in ‘Composing a Life’ Nov. 9

Panelists have career experience in fields from nonprofit to business to engineering

Women undergraduate and graduate students can discuss post-graduation choices and how to attain a successful, fulfilling life at “Composing a Life” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, in the Laboratory Sciences Building, Room 300, on the Danforth Campus.

The discussion, hosted by the Women’s Society of Washington University, will feature five women with career experience in an array of fields, from engineering to business to nonprofit. The women will discuss how they combined careers, personal lives and other interests to create a balanced life after graduation.

The panelists are:

Maddie Earnest, business owner of Local Harvest. Earnest — a graduate of WUSTL’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work and Hendrix College — previously worked as development coordinator at the Women’s Support and Community Services and membership development manager for the Girl Scout Council of Greater St. Louis.

Cindy Teasdale McGowan, online retailer and owner of Makaboo Personalized Gifts. Teasdale McGowan is a 1998 graduate of Washington University and worked at Snapfish and Fleishman-Hillard before founding her own company. She is a board member of Aim High St. Louis and St. Louis ArtWorks.

Eileen (Boo) McLoughlin, executive director of Craft Alliance. McLoughlin is a founding board member of the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis and formerly was director of educational outreach and donor relations for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and director of foundation development for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in New York City.

Kira Van Niel, customer facilities engineering with the Boeing Co., providing facility support and analysis for customers seeking Boeing defense products and services. Van Niel, a graduate of Elon University and North Carolina A&T University, also is president of the Urban League Young Professionals and a big sister in the Big Brother Big Sister of Eastern Missouri program

Risa Zwerling, adviser in Arts & Sciences at WUSTL and wife of Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. Zwerling, who developed the Home Plate program at Washington University, previously worked for Magellan Behavioral Health, largest provider of employee assistance programs.

After the discussion, participants and audience members are invited to a hot buffet dinner and a networking reception with the panelists and Women’s Society members.

To RSVP, visit