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.

Barbara Mercier

Retired Teacher; Community Volunteer

But the unrest of the ‘60s was HUGE but I was pretty isolated from that.  At Worcester State we were still pretty much, even though it was no longer called Worcester State Teachers College, we were mostly a teachers college. Everybody went into teaching. We had to wear skirts, we could not wear pants. This was up until 1968, even in a snow storm.  As far as free expression, not a lot of it was encouraged. If the student newspaper came out with anything controversial it would disappear. Administration would whisk it away. So even though Kent State and all these places were starting, at Worcester State we were separated from that.

Barbara Mercier, born in December of 1946 is an extraordinary women although she claims to have lived an ordinary life. Barbara and her family moved to Worcester, MA from Billerica, MA when she was just fourteen years old. She said the transition was hard but she overcame any and all obstacles. She attended North High in Worcester and then went on to study education at Worcester State College from 1964-1968.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/25/2017
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Mercier

Heather Mangione

PhD Candidate Developmental Psychology; Founder of Airspray; LGBTQ Advocate

So it’s a really important time in our history and in our lives not to be incredibly discouraged, but to move your efforts and energy elsewhere. And to really educate yourself on what’s going on in your community as opposed to the national government. I think also I’m always really reminded of the radical feminist phrase, “The personal is political,” in that we always are engaging in political rights and activism just by virtue of living as marginalized groups. As women, as queer people, whatever, I think for me getting active in the various dyke marches I have participated in, [laughs] it has been very powerful to see communities and people who look like me and are like-minded and often that I don’t see in my visual sphere.

Heather Mangione was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1985 and is currently 32 years old. She moved to Worcester in 2009 to attend Clark University, pursuing her Ph.D. in developmental psychology. Post graduation, Heather gravitated towards community development, looking to create change for those around her. As an advocate for the LGBTQ community, she quickly recognized the lack of a social scene, founding a group called Airspray. This monthly event held at a bar in downtown Worcester has successfully filled that gap for the residents of Worcester.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 09/24/2017
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Judith Ferrara

Professor, Fitchburg State; instructor, Worcester Institute for Senior Education; Author

I’m not saying live in the moment, but I think I’m where I want to be now, and doing what I love, and I’m passionate about it. And how many people can say that? How many people are even passionate about something?

Judith Ferrara was born on December 31, 1942 in Buffalo, New York and now lives in Worcester, Massachusetts. Judith was a professor at Fitchburg State, and she describes not being able to immerse herself into the Worcester community until she left full-time teaching in 1997. Judith is very interested in the arts and became a member of the Worcester Art Museum. Currently, Judith teaches in the WISE program [Worcester Institute for Senior Education] at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 09/26/2017
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Shirley Carter

First African American to graduate from the Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing

It was early ‘20s they had this nursing program at Georgetown University Hospital.   My father had moved to Washington D.C. and I lived with him and his fourth wife temporarily until I got my own apartment then on 2727 P Street in Georgetown.  Worked with the Georgetown University Hospital... got the heck out of Worcester.  They had this wonderful earn and learn plan where you could get your degree in nursing by going to Catholic University and then make sure your classes and your nursing assignments would blend together well.  And I got this grant at Catholic University. And the nursing arts people said, “We don’t accept colored students, you all have to go to Maryland.”  Catholic University would not accept black students in the 50s. And for me to go to Maryland and then work the job it was not possible. So my dreams were dashed.

Dr. Shirley F.B. Carter was born on October 26, 1931 and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. Shirley discusses how she and her sister were the first African Americans to graduate from the Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing. She is a bright, lively, and well-educated woman who has an Ed.D. in Instructional Leadership. Shirley reflects upon her experiences and the sexism and racism she faced as an African American woman. Shirley worked multiple jobs for almost her entire life in order to first support her family when she was just a child, and then her children as an adult.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 09/21/2017
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Janette Greenwood

Clark University Professor; Coolaborator on WAM Bullard exhibit on African American Worcester residents

I have always felt that there has got to be much more of a connection between what we do on any college campus and what gets out in the community.  And that, we can’t keep what we learn in our own research, just among ourselves.  It has to go back to the community and we have to be informed.  Out of the blue three years ago I got this email from this man. Somebody I didn’t know and he said, “I have these old photos from African Americans in Worcester that you might be interested in,” and it was the end of the semester and I blew him off quite frankly.  And he called again and I said, “You know, I’m going to Worcester tomorrow, I’ll go see what he has.”  I had no idea.   So we made arrangements and his name is Frank Morrill and he lives out in Charlton and he’s a collector of many things.  He said he had a collection of 5,400 glass negatives.  The entire work of one photographer [William Bullard].  It was a white photographer.  And within that collection, he has come across this fortress of over 200 portraits of people of color that were taken in Worcester.  And he started showing me these and I was thinking, these are amazing I had never seen anything like this.  And I mean not just for Worcester but anywhere in the country.  And then he said, “Oh, by the way, I have the photographer's log book so I can tell you who most of these people are.”  And I said, “Are you kidding me?”  And then I started recognizing names because I had just written this book. I know this family, I know this person they are from North Carolina, this person is from Virginia.  And I just couldn’t believe it.  In October we will be opening an exhibition of 80 of these photographs at the Worcester Art Museum.  So since that time, since 2014 I have been working on this and I have gotten my Clark students involved with it too and they have been doing research on them.  This semester they have been writing captions to put under these and we are putting a website together to have additional information and even when the exhibition is gone we will have a virtual exhibition.  So I guess where I have really connected, this project has really connected me in many and more ways, locally and in my own kind of activism.  Because we know who these people are we can trace them back, but we can also trace them forward.  We were able to find descendants and, “You don’t know me, but I teach at Clark and I have this   really amazing photo of your grandmother, I’m not sure that you’ve ever seen it.”  And so we connected with lots of descendants and family members and they have been wonderful in sharing their information with us.  So, we are able, so the goal is to basically to tell the story of this community which really hasn’t been told.  It’s been left out of the general history books of Worcester. We are calling the exhibition, “Rediscovering an American Community of Color, Photographs by William Bullard."

Janette Greenwood was born in the mountains of western Pennsylvania into a working-class home.  Janette and her family were a part of a Baptist faith that played a big role in her life and her career.  Janette was given the opportunity to attend Kenyon College in Ohio on scholarship after finishing her schooling at a vocational high school nearby.  After Janette finished her undergraduate degree she went to the University of Wisconsin to get her master’s before taking eight years off.  During these eight years Janette got married, started a family, and began teaching.&nb

Interview Date: 
Thu, 04/27/2017
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Cynthia Enloe

Professor of Political Science, Clark University; feminist author; specializes in gender and militarism

I offered a new course called Women and Comparative Politics which meant looking at women in revolutions and women in elections and women in social movements around the world. And that would all be 1975/76, but what also happened is that we formed a women’s faculty group and the women’s faculty group became—we loved each other, we learned from each other, we taught each other.  How do you know that your chair is crazy? We have to learn these things. How do you know whether your tenure, your promotion experience is fair or not? And women faculty all got together and they compared notes. This is what a fair department looks like, this is what a crazy department looks like.  Is your workplace crazy or is it normal? And sometimes you have to get together with other people saying, “Woah, we didn’t want to do it like that. That’s not fair.” And then we thought there must be faculty members around Worcester that we should get together with and we formed the Women’s Studies Faculty Consortium and that’s when we all got to know Theresa McBride and Karen Turner right at Holy Cross. And then we joined with Kris Waters at Worcester State who’s a philosopher and so we formed this fabulous group and we would have dinners every fall, they were the best thing ever. So we really began to trade ideas with each other, we began to think of each other as feminists, that was new, we began to tell each other what kind of research we were doing and we all got excited about everybody else’s research. So that kind of brings you up to where we are now. But it was all new. 1970s were so exciting.

Cynthia Enloe was born in New York City, New York in 1938. She grew up in Manhasset, Long Island.  After studying at Connecticut College, Enloe went on to further her studies in political science at University of California, Berkeley. After beginning her teaching career at University of Miami in Ohio, Enloe was offered a job at Clark University, where she taught for several years. Although she does not teach full-time at Clark anymore, she still travels, lectures, and conducts research. Her celebrated work is in militarism, race and ethnicity, and gender.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 03/16/2017
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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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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 daughter when she was thirty-one.  Since then, she has given birth to two more daughters, 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 first daughter.

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Interview Date: 
Thu, 06/01/2017
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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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Interview Date: 
Thu, 06/08/2017
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DeBoni

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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Interview Date: 
Tue, 05/23/2017
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