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New Families Settle in Underwood

Mills College Weekly

Ted Hsu has all of the makings of a professional. He was
educated at Queen’s University in Canada and received his PhD in
physics at Princeton University. He spent five years doing
post-doctorate research at many prestigious universities and even
spent many years working in finance in Japan. Hsu is now working on
a very important project in the Underwood Apartments on the Mills
College campus – he is raising his daughter while his wife Tara
Sharkey is getting her graduate degree at Mills College.

Sharkey, too, is an incredibly ambitious student. Sharkey is at
present petitioning Mills so that she can do the unheard of –
double major in the graduate fields of Education and Business. This
will take her three years. While she is doing her studies she, Hsu,
and their 16-month-old daughter Ella will be living in the
Underwood Apartments. Hsu and Sharkey are like many of the students
with families on campus – they need a place to live that is
conducive to their academic and familial obligations.

Underwood is one of the most wanted places to live on campus for
families because of the safety of the Mills community, as well as
the time-saving advantage of living on the campus of the school
that the families are attending. Underwood, however, only has 12
units – a situation which year after year causes a waiting list for
families wanting to live on campus.

According to Karen Maggio, Assistant Vice President for Business
Affairs, Mills is working to get more units for families who would
like to live on campus while they attend Mills.

“It’s one of our top priorities,” said Maggio.

Maggio said Housing Services would like to build anywhere from
50 to 80 new apartments for families on campus, depending on what
is economically feasible. The site for the new units is still being
debated, but Maggio said that the area around the Underwood
Apartments and the Faculty Village seems to be a good option.
Maggio is hoping to maintain the same level of privacy as well as
the close proximity that the Underwood Apartments offer. By the end
of this academic year, Mills will make a decision about new
independent living apartments.

Kimberly Kughnik, a first year graduate student in the MFA
Studio Art program, just moved into the Underwood Apartments at the
beginning of this semester with her 7-year-old daughter Elia.
Kughnik’s daughter goes to the Mills Children’s school. Kughnik
finds that living in Underwood is the most convenient living
situation that she could find for her and her daughter and the
location allows her to have enough time to be a student and a
single mother.

“It’s an ideal environment if you are going to school and have a
child,” said Kughnik.

Kughnik said that she had to get on a waiting list for the
Underwood apartments because at the time that she applied, the
apartments were full. Only after two other families didn’t call the
school back to take the apartments did Kughnik get to move in.
According to Kughnik, she is one of only two mothers in the Studio
Art MFA program at Mills.

As of yet, the new family apartments are still in the discussion
stage according to Maggio.

“It is our strategic goal for the year,” said Maggio.

Until then, the 12 units at the Underwood are the only housing
available to families on campus.