Alumna Christa Brelsford ’01 will revisit campus on Saturday, May 15, 2010, as Bard College at Simon’s Rock’s commencement speaker.
Brelsford made headlines in January, appearing on Larry King Live and the Today Show after she sustained injuries as a result of the earthquake in Haiti. Bedford and her brother were volunteering with an adult literacy project at the time the earthquake struck and buried her leg under rubble, which took ninety minutes to free her from. She returned to the United States for medical treatment, which led to a partial leg amputation.
Grateful to be alive, Breslford used the media attention to advocate for the Haitian people and the need for better medical treatment—a response to the disaster that inspired many, most particularly Simon’s Rock students, faculty and staff. Provost Marcy commented in a community-wide email that “Christa’s response to the situation, and her commitment to helping others, is profound.”
Christa Brelsford is a PhD candidate in sustainability at Arizona State University. She received a bachelor of arts degree in theatre from Bard College at Simons Rock in 2004, and a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering in 2007 from Columbia University, as well as masters of arts degree in climate and society from Columbia University. Brelsford’s interdisciplinary interests and education are driven by an abiding commitment to understanding and improving the lot of “the other 90 percent.” This work has seen her teaching sign language in Guatemala; building latrines in Ghana; and most recently, working towards adult literacy in Dabonn, Haiti. Since returning from Haiti, Breslford has continued her graduate studies and is hoping to facilitate long-term reconstruction in Haiti. She and her family have started a foundation, Christa's Angels, which aims to rebuild the school in Dabonn, provide shelter to homeless families during the impending hurricane season, secure salaries for the teachers and an education for the young Haitians.