Sylvie Froncek ’11

Favorite class: The Sixties Now taught by Tom Hayden

Favorite professor: Phil Zuckerman

What keeps you busy now: For the last year I’ve been traveling around the world, working as an electric-bike tour guide in New Zealand, studying human sexuality in the Netherlands, and cycle-touring in Chile. A few months ago I returned to the US and started my own business, which has definitely kept me occupied.

What is your dream job: Running skills- and confidence-building courses for women and gender minorities, which is what I’m doing now!

What book is currently on your nightstand: The Origami Man: A Farther Orbit by Benjamin Mumford-Zisk

What do you miss most about Pitzer: I miss having all my favorite people right down the hall from me.

What is your most memorable Pitzer moment: The chili pepper game was one of my highlights of Pitzer. It was this hide-and-go-seek competition where someone would hide a plastic pepper on the 5Cs. Then they would take an obscure, up close photograph of it and post it on the student list-serv with a poem that described its location. As soon as someone new found the pepper, they’d put it to a new hiding place and continue the thread. It felt like this creative and cooperative activity shared by anyone who was interested, which ended up being a lot of people that I’d never even met. I think the game went on for about three months. 

Top networking tip: There’s this strange temptation to say the things that people want to hear when you’re trying to connect with them. You end up pitching a modified version of yourself and eventually the realities of what you want and who you are will come out anyway. Talking to people face to face and being your most authentic self from the start has always worked well for me.

How did you get into your current line of work: I started working at a ropes course at Cornell University almost by accident when I was 15 years old. While at Pitzer I led Orientation Adventures, Pitzer Outdoor Adventure trips, and spent hours at the Green Bike Program, all of which solidified my love for outdoor education and team-building. Those experiences and more led me to jobs as a bicycle mechanic, tour guide, and an Outward Bound instructor. The skills that I was able to hone by following my passions have brought me to this particular work as an educator, mentor, and mechanic. 

Favorite quotes: “How does it get better than this and what else is possible?” — Joanna Giles; “Be excellent to each other.” — Bill S. Preston, Esq.

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Submitted April 2018