Seniors Leaving Protect Our Breasts


2013 graduating POB seniors photo close up

Today is a bittersweet day…saddened by our goodbyes and yet excited for their futures, the Protect Our Breasts seniors graduated today from the University of Massachusetts, most from the Isenberg School of Management. Our business model is unique – the organization is run by students at this university with chapters at others. So it is unusual to have top management leave simultaneously. Yet these young leaders have been mentoring their replacements and preparing for their posts for the transitional summer months. For me it is, honestly, heartrending.  We have worked hard and shared deeply. They have grown this organization into something I never could have dreamed.  I honor them and feel so very grateful for the time we spent together.


And now, here’s to the graduates…as they share their reflections of their time with Protect Our Breasts:


Being a part of Protect Our Breasts has been an experience that I will remember and treasure forever. Working with these inspiring people every day to research and help discover how people can better protect themselves has been my greatest college experience. These women soon became some of my best friends; and the memories that have been made through Protect Our Breasts are invaluable. Being known as the “POB girls” has not only created such a great friendship between all of us, it means that together we have accomplished something important on the UMass Amherst campus. People are constantly sharing the conversation about what Protect Our Breasts is all about and will continue to far after we all have graduated. This is one of the greatest things to know as I leave the place I have called home for the last four years. I know that personally everything I have learned through Protect Our Breasts has changed my life forever and I can only hope that it has helped all of you who follow us as well. I will continue to share this conversation as I enter into the business world this summer and wherever the next chapter of my life takes me!


I had only been involved with Protect Our Breasts for a week when Cynthia asked if I wanted to go to the Natural Products Expo in March. She said I would need to decide within the next few days in order to purchase a plane ticket and figure out the hotel room. I didn’t need a few days. I knew that I wanted to go. It took less than a week for me to see how passionate all of these POB women are and know that I wanted to be a part of it all too. Since the first meeting I attended I have never stopped learning; and on top of all the knowledge I’ve gained, I’ve formed some of the best friendships I could ask for. I am so proud to be part of such a dedicated group of people committed to a goal that is so much larger than us. I will always be a part of Protect Our Breasts and I will always be sharing the conversation.


When someone asks me about my experiences at UMass, I know that I will instantly think of Protect Our Breasts. The organization not only became my home away from home, but the best learning experience I can think of. I was not only able to use the marketing skills I learned in the classroom, but I also applied the science and research behind breast cancer. I always thought “everything causes cancer” but never questioned what exactly those ingredients, chemicals, and additives were. Being part of Protect Our Breasts for the past two years has taught me that simple changes I can make now will reduce my chances of getting breast cancer. I know that I can use a BPA-free water bottle, glass containers, and choose organic foods to reduce my chances of getting breast cancer. I will forever remember my Protect Our Breasts family and the importance of choosing safer alternatives for our health and future generations.


The last two years working on the Protect Our Breasts executive board have been so invaluable. I have learned so much about how to protect myself from the chemicals that contribute to breast cancer, and it has been an incredible experience to share my new discoveries with you, our followers. Out of all the different endocrine disruptors that I learned about, oxybenzone was particularly alarming to me. Oxybenzone is found in many sunscreens and is an endocrine disruptor that contributes to breast cancer. When I was learning about oxybenzone I was simultaneously having severe allergic reactions. As I connected the dots, I thought to myself, “Maybe the problem is not that I am allergic to oxybenzone, maybe the problem is that it shouldn’t be in our products.” Lessons like this really put my research into perspective.


Freshman year I spent my days drawing in art class, sophomore year I transferred into Isenberg, junior year I traveled abroad and senior year I accomplished more than I thought I was capable of and that is all thanks to Cynthia Barstow and Protect our Breasts.  One day this year, I felt a powerful sensation and wondered what it was.  In an instant I knew it was my passion to make sure I change the world and do my absolute best for Protect our Breasts. This “aha” moment came after so many devoted hours that led to the launch of our mission video.  Ever since then I haven’t stopped sharing Protect our Breasts because I know it will change people’s lives; but most importantly, Protect our Breasts has changed my life and for that I will be forever grateful.




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