Education

We are interested in understanding how women and girls in Worcester have experienced learning, both through formal institutions and through life experiences and relationships. This theme includes women and girls’ experiences within, and access to, schools and higher education, as well as other avenues to knowledge and skills.

Edna Froio

Born in Brazil; custodian UMass Medical School; studied at LVGW

I come here because I think in America, in America I have more opportunity for a better life.  My dream is speak English well, and after my citizenship, my goals is changing the job…if I have opportunity for improve myself.  One thing I like here. If somebody want a going opportunity for life, America gives this opportunity for everybody.  Because in Brazil, if somebody lose the job after forty-year, find out another job is very difficult.

Edna Maria (DaSilva) Froio was born in Brazil in 1963. Edna came to the United States of America from Recife da Pernambuco, Brazil in 2007. Her initial intention was to gain employment in the U.S. and save money to return to Brazil after three years. She needed work elsewhere, as there was limited opportunity for someone over age 40 to find good work in Brazil. She says that youth is favored in Brazil by employers and experienced adults are not.

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Interview Date: 
Tue, 07/18/2017
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Froio

Kenza Dekar

Born in Algeria; Studied at Clemente Course in the Humanities

Surprisingly when I came to the U.S., I discovered my faith without the influence of the culture.  And it is something very powerful because we realize our real life there was in part patriarchal, society was everything, you needed the authorization of the father for everything, the husband, and basically you have no independence.  That is not true.  And I got to learn it when I came here because I got to discover my faith without them.  Isn't it funny, that you come to the West to end up becoming a better Muslim?  Isn't it crazy?  But I also discovered that my faith was not at odds with the Western culture, surprisingly.  But to get to this conclusion I had to delve through Clemente into Aristotle and Plato, like you have to go far away back to the Western culture and how it started and it is really not at odds.  So, there is a lot of work to do, and I learned that I can have an impact.  And I just maybe now with the kids very small, I have an impact.  You cannot be created;  you cannot be in this world and just dwell without leaving truth.  And that is something that tells you—someone who is lacking confidence like me—this is powerful.  You have an impact.  

Born in Algeria, Kenza Dekar Raheb immigrated to the United States with her husband and two oldest daughters when she was thirty-one.  Since then, she has given birth to a third daughter, home-schooled her children, and worked for a community organization.  Raised in Algeria to appreciate Western culture while living according to Muslim mores, Kenza began to explore religion seriously only after the birth of her second daughter.

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Thu, 06/01/2017
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Dekar

Juliana DeBoni

Born in Brazil; Audiologist; Studied at Notre Dame Educational Bridge Center

I think we are very happy people although we are living in another country.  We are trying to make friends here because in Brazil we used to have many friends there and we miss that a lot.  We like to talk, we like to make bar-b-ques in the weekend, so we are trying to do it here in the America.  I know it’s hard because we don’t have many friends and we don’t have any family here, but we are trying to be more involved with things in America.

Juliana Sgobin De Boni was born in Brazil in 1973.  In this interview, Juliana discusses her journey to the United States and recounts her experience and emotions of leaving her home, her family, and her friends behind.  Her goal is to become more fluent in English.  Improving her language skills will be the key to getting a job in the health profession as an audiologist. Juliana is attending English classes at the Notre Dame Educational Bridge Center, Worcester, MA.  She currently lives in Shrewsbury, MA with her husband and her youngest son.

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Thu, 06/08/2017
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Monica Salazar Carmona

Born in Colombia; YWCA Director of Health Equality & Community Health

Little by little because I learned—I started to work here from basic.  I did every single type of job here.  And first I start to step up little by little.  Step by step.  I did a few things before to have the position I have right now.  It's been a process of believing myself, being able to do things myself, being able to do things I didn't know that I could do.  Two times I got people right here, clients or people who were prospects who said I don't want to speak to you, I want someone who speaks English, and I said, "This is why you came.  I am the only one who can help you." "Oh, you are not American." "Yes I am. I became an American citizen two years ago."  

Monica Salazar Carmona, born in Colombia, came to America at the age of 27 to marry a man she’d met on the Internet.  Although the man had promised to send her to college, Monica soon found herself trapped in a condo with an abusive husband.

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Tue, 05/23/2017
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Carmona

Kathryn Crockett

Architect, Lamoureux Pagano & Associates

I was really fortunate to have landed the position at Lamoureux Pagano because that firm, I just fit with it.  It worked for me.  I was able to contribute and as I said, Dick Lamoureux and Mike Pagano were the ones who hired me.  They were the ones, principles of the firm, and they also—similar to my parents—I never once remember them saying, “Well you should do this because you are a women or only do this or….” There was none of that.  They encouraged me sort of in an objective way.  It was what skills I brought forward and what I could do.  They continually advanced my career as I was able to prove myself basically. So when I graduated it was 1993 and then the next step in terms of becoming an architect is becoming registered, you’re not done with your education. You have to have practical work experience.  You have to work within the field, at that time it was three years and then you could take the exam and the exam was a four or five day exam in Boston one day after another and it was all these different components including: structural engineering, programming, site design, building design, and so I studied for that.  I’d get up at 5:30 am every morning and study and then go into work—for a year—and then I went in to take this exam and in between I had my daughter so it was a lot going on at that point.  My daughter was born in 1993.  So that career is very intensive.  I think a lot of people think that architecture is a sort of, I don’t know,  a lot of people will come up to me and say, “I’ve always wanted to be an architect,” and I’ll say, “Well yeah, it’s a great career,” but  I don’t think most people understand what it takes to become and architect.  

Kathryn Crockett was born in 1957 in Pittsfield Massachusetts, and now works in Worcester, Massachusetts.  In this interview, she talks about her journey into the field of architecture, her thoughts on service to the community, and her love of education.  Kathryn is a motivated, hard working, loving mother and wife.  Education has always been an important aspect of Kathryn’s life.  She started her professional schooling at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she majored in American Studies.  After graduating, she began to work at the Worceste

Interview Date: 
Mon, 10/03/2016
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Crockett

Linda Raffaelle-Moyen

Nutrition, Health, and Education Professional

I majored in education, specifically Family and Consumer Science Education. And I graduated in 1979. I graduated magna cum laude. I always tried to excel and be perfect at everything. I thought that would give me that “over the rainbow life,” [laughs] but of course now I realize that was not the case.  So that was my major which was interesting because you know my parents weren’t that keen on the whole thing. So in my dad’s mind I think he thought, “Oh she’s going to school to learn how to be a housewife anyways.” [laughs] But it was funny. I used to drive this old car that would break down all the time and one of those days he had to come almost all the way out to Framingham to get the car.  He stops to get lunch and the guy at the coffee shop—you know my dad was friendly and talked to people and so he was talking about what he was doing out there, going to get my car at school.  And the guy asked what I was studying and he told him kind of, and this guy went on to tell him that, “You have no idea. Do you realize the classes she has to take?” And he started telling him, she’s got to take organic chemistry and she has to take all these psychology classes and started to tell him what I was really up to.  Not learning how to cook and sew or whatever.  And it was funny because after that I could see that he had a new perspective. He actually understood more and kind of took some pride in the fact that I was working and putting myself through college and doing well and all of that.

Linda Raffaele-Moyen was born in Leominster, Massachusetts, in 1957. She attended Leominster High School and went on to study at Framingham State, married her high school sweetheart, and had three children. She later divorced and never remarried. Although her education led her to become a teacher, she ended up opening her own business in order to better support her family.

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Sun, 02/19/2017
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Raffaelle-Moyen

Isabelle Jenkins

Associate Director of Community Based Learning, College of the Holy Cross

I would say the people are what makes Worcester so distinct. I think it’s a city filled with people who are really passionate about bridging difference. I spend a lot of time working with organizations that work with refugees and immigrants and that’s where I see Worcester shine the most. I think it is such a welcoming city in that sense and I think people are really great about opening their arms and minds to that. I feel like anybody who I know who’s lived in Worcester and has lived here for a long time, I just have never really seen in other places people have that much love for a place. Just really, there’s some sort of intimate connection people have with the physical you know place of Worcester that I think is really, really wonderful and inspiring and makes me want to engage with the city even more. And I’m just so lucky because I get to see so many different sides of the city with my job. You know I work with 35 community partners, I work a lot with Worcester public schools and a lot with like I was saying refugees and immigrants. I just see a lot of people who are really passionate about seeing this city—not only seeing this city becoming great, but believe that it’s already wonderful and great and, because it is. I mean it doesn’t necessarily look like, it’s not gentrified, it’s not it doesn’t look like downtown Boston, but I there’s so many great things about it already that it doesn’t need to be something different. I mean I do think all the influx of restaurants and the new construction’s great too, but I think, I just think it’s such a shining gem of a place and it’s wonderful to work with so many people who care very deeply about their neighbors. You know neighbors physically, but also just the people in their own community, so I think that’s what makes Worcester really special.

Isabelle Amy Jenkins was born in 1988. She grew up in both Gill, Massachusetts, and New Milford, Connecticut. Her childhood was slightly different from others, since her neighborhood was the boarding school where her mother worked. In her predominately white, middle class town, the boarding school brought diversity to New Milford. She attended the College of Holy Cross for her undergraduate degree and Harvard’s Divinity School for her graduate degree to become a chaplain.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 02/17/2017
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Lauren Grover

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Clinician

It means a lot.  I think it’s an opportunity for me to use my skills and my knowledge from my years of schooling, but I get to connect with people on an individual level on a daily basis, and really have the honor of [their] telling me their struggles, working through that with them, and giving them the skills to be their own therapist in the future so they don’t need to come back. It’s also really important to me to have work/life balance, because I do have two little kids, and the work I do gives me the ability to be home with them when I need to, and work when I want to.

Lauren Grover was born in1984, in Worcester, Massachusetts, and grew up in Holden, Massachusetts. At the time of the interview, she had been married for five years and had two children.  In 2003 she attended Assumption College to pursue a major in Psychology and a minor in Social Rehabilitation Services.  During her time at Assumption she volunteered at the Reach Out Center, which helped her to choose which career path she wanted to pursue.  Lauren also did internships during the summer, which allowed her to learn important lessons that she could apply to her career.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 03/02/2017
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Josephine Truesdell

Teacher at Bancroft School; Volunteer at Children's Friend

So, there is no question that when they come back, I remember. You know, as a teacher and that’s a long memory, so that’s pretty good. But the connections, there’s no question about it. The connections that you make with the children, with their families. I feel as though it’s—again, that community, and I think the parents—I feel very strongly in working in a partnership with parents. It’s vital. Absolutely vital. And so, we’ve been fortunate enough, at Bancroft, that I think that that connection happened and can happen at any school. I’m glad that can happen there. But, I think that working in a partnership with parents, on behalf of their children, is probably what I think has really meant a lot. And the children, they are so unique and I always feel that there’s a child, with problems or misbehaving, or whatever, I used to say, “Okay, what am I doing? Why is that happening?” It’s not, “I’ve got to figure it out.” It’s not that the child has to figure it out, I have to figure it out how to get to that child. And so that’s that puzzle, that’s what keeps it always exciting I think, “What can I do?”  

Josephine Truesdell was born in 1954 in Worcester, Massachusetts and has lived in Worcester her entire life. She has lived a life of service as a teacher to young children, a grief counselor at Children’s Friend, and a volunteer/member of multiple boards within the city. In this interview, Josephine stresses the importance of family and discusses how Worcester has always been a place with influential women.

Interview Date: 
Sat, 09/24/2016
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Truesdell

Laura Porter

Freelance Writer and Editor

I have a lot to say about women and education. I think there is such pushes to—I don’t even know how to put this. I think that my biggest challenge from kindergarten to defending my PhD thesis. Why don’t you talk more? Why don’t you smile more? Right, I think there’s such—it’s hard to crack past that. It’s hard to yell over the guy who’s saying nothing, but saying a lot of it and getting all the attention. I think that’s really tough. And I found that and some of it is personality and some of it is gender.  There’s plenty of women who are falling off their chairs answering questions, but I found that the professors I worked with, it wasn’t really male culture it was either patronizing or it was diminishing. I could not wait till when I came here. And Mark got his job and he was teaching, and I was finishing up, I couldn’t wait to get out of Princeton. Smith was fine [laughs]. Smith should have prepared me for the rest of it.

Laura Smith Porter was born in 1958 and raised in Illinois. After pursuing her undergraduate degree at Smith College, she continued her education at Princeton University. At Princeton, she met her husband Mark Richmond. After living in various areas, Mark was offered a job at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. In 1985, they settled down in Worcester, near Indian Lake. In this interview, Laura discusses the obstacles that she faced throughout her education and her career.  Growing up as an only child, the early deaths of her parents inspired her to become a writer.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 11/08/2016
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