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.

Debra Hopkins

President, Junior Achievement of Central Massachusetts

Probably when I was younger, success was defined more externally by allowing other people’s opinions to determine whether or not I was successful. The older I get, the more internal the definition has become and it’s really, do I feel good about what I did today or what I did this week.

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Interview Date: 
Fri, 03/20/2009
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Hopkins

Claire Quintal

College Dean, Founder of the French Institute, Second Female Professor at Assumption College

My first year [teaching] here, I must add, was difficult because they [the Assumption College students] were still all male. They were going to start accepting women the following year. And I remember when I first walked into one classroom, it was Intermediate French, and it was all boys, of course boys, men. And I could tell from their reaction that they thought Assumption had hit bottom, that Assumption College was really going to the dogs. They were against it; you know, the men who were here at the time did not want [the school] to accept women…… Let me say that that first year was interesting because I was teaching intermediate French and I was also teaching a senior seminar. And the senior seminar went famously, again all men. And I enjoyed them, and I am still in touch with some of them. But the Intermediate French [class]-they didn’t want to be there for one thing, you know when you really don’t want to study French, but you have to because it was the rule at the time that you had to have so many semesters of a foreign language. And then to have a woman in front of you besides. So that was a humbling experience, and it was balanced, luckily, by the senior seminar. They were more mature, they were leaving anyway, they were not going to have to worry about having women in the classrooms with them. And then in the second semester, I began teaching at Clark. And that was very important for me because the students at Clark were used to having women in front of them, you know as professors.

Dr. Claire Quintal was one of the first women professors at Assumption College. She never married because she chose a career path in lieu of a family, which in her generation were the only two options. She was born in 1930 to a loving Roman Catholic, French-Canadian family where French was her first language.  She grew up in Central Falls, Rhode Island, where she had a happy childhood. Claire attended Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA, and graduated in 1952.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 03/17/2009
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Quintal

Maureen Ryan Doyle

Freelance Writer, Property Manager, Member of the First Class of Women at Assumption College

What I found is that it is difficult to balance [both] businesses but also with family life. Because it is always a juggling act and it is for everybody. And there is no instruction manual on how to do it…and you know if you have a deadline and have two kids sick with the chicken pox, you have to find a way to balance the act. Not only balancing but keeping a happy home life and realizing this is life. And life's not a destination but a journey.

Maureen Ryan Doyle was born in Holden, Massachusetts in 1951 and attended Notre Dame Academy. She proceeded to be in the first class of women at Assumption College. Her sharp personality and desire to be successful led her to start her own businesses. She owns a freelance writing business and simultaneously manages property. Both of her careers have been very rewarding and she was determined to establish herself as a working- woman. Through her life she mentions how supportive her husband has been about her career paths.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 11/19/2008
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Doyle

Judy Freedman Fask

College Professor of Deaf Studies, College of the Holy Cross; Sign Language Interpreter, Mother of Five

Go for it. Just absolutely, whatever your dream is or what you think your dream is, go for it, give it a try. And look at life as opportunities, meet people, make connections. I think that's the other thing, making connections with people and really appreciating who they are and looking for the gifts in people, which I love doing. I love doing that here at Holy Cross, because when I meet a student, if they have a talent they don't necessarily like to share it – because they definitely know I'll use it in some other program. People have so much to offer and I think that sometimes you have to look a little bit for it and other times you don't have to look so hard. But there's so much good in people, and everyone has some gift to offer and tapping into that is always really exciting.

Professor Judy Freedman Fask was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1958, but she always lived in Worcester, Massachusetts. She attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst for her undergraduate degree and went to graduate school at Smith College and to Springfield College for a second master’s degree. She currently works as the director of Deaf Studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, but she has also worked as an interpreter. Professor Fask is married with five children, several of whom have health complications.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 12/04/2008
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Fask

Claire Constantin

Retired Government Worker, Volunteer at the Deaf Senior Center and the Rape Crisis Center

It would be really nice if the hearing people could understand the deaf people more, for communication, I think that’s what needs to change. A lot has changed. We have interpreters now. We have a lot of deaf services such as the Mass Rehab Commission. We have the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. We have the Center of Living and Working, the Senior Center -- there’s so many services now, not like it was a long time ago.

Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Thu, 03/06/2008
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Constantin

Ann Louise Flynn

College administrator, Assistant Vice President of United Way. Community Volunteer

That’s where discrimination plays in some. When going through public high school I liked math, and I liked sciences, and everybody was equal and there was no issue of discrimination. Going to a women’s college at the time when I was going to college, there were a few schools that I looked at, and this was in an era when there were many more all-women colleges.… so I could have gone to numerous colleges if I wanted to major in education or nursing, but I didn’t and I wanted liberal arts, and I wanted physics or math. So that pretty much geared you towards women’s colleges in that era. I graduated from high school in 1958.

Ann Louise Flynn was born in 1940 in Chelmsford, Massachusetts and moved to Worcester in 1983. She is currently the Assistant Vice President at Worcester’s United Way and serves on the board of numerous voluntary organizations and community initiatives. In this interview, Ann talks about her experiences growing up as the youngest of seven children, emphasizing the importance of education, community service, and the Catholic religion in her family.

Interviewer: 
Interview Date: 
Tue, 03/21/2006
Interview Language: 
English
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Flynn

Charlene L. Martin

College Dean;Founder of Worcester Institute for Senior Education; Co-chair of Worcester Women’s Oral History Project

"I think for me success is being challenged with what I’m doing … it’s more the challenge of doing something interesting and helping someone else. And I always felt that about education while working here at Assumption, that I was helping adult students get their lives back on track or retool to get a new career. And then later with the older students I really felt like I was making a big difference in the latter half of their lives. They would tell me things like, 'I don’t know what I would be doing if I didn’t have WISE to come to.' So for me, it was to be able to offer something to other people and to be challenged with something new. And that is what I am finding now with my new career, as I slowly build up this business, that it’s nice to be challenged and I still like to be doing something that is helping other people hopefully."

Interview Date: 
Fri, 10/17/2008
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Martin

Betty B. Hoskins

First woman professor at WPI

I came to Worcester in 1973. [Imitating people’s reactions] ‘You’re coming to WPI? It’s a boy’s-- men’s school.’ But utterly welcoming …It was a curious experience and let me just preface, each college did their own way of going co-educational or integrating. Holy Cross had hired a dean of women and started planning before they brought students…. But WPI had had some applications from women, and my guess is they said, ‘Well, you know, no reason to turn them down, they’re good,’ and then they said ‘Oh my goodness, we need women’s facilities.’ Originally, I was in a lab building which had no women’s room so they had to designate one of the men’s rooms. And there were grumbles like, ‘Oh, you know the secretaries didn’t mind going to the next building, even in winter.’ Yeah, they’d put their coats on and walk through the snow to go to the bathroom. I said ‘What’s it coming to?’ That’s funny, in a way, but it’s also, it meant that I got called ‘the one who’s not smart enough to stay in her own department.’ Because I’m in the Women’s Movement …

Born in 1936 in Baltimore, Maryland, Betty B. Hoskins grew up with her parents, John and Bessie Miller, and a younger brother and younger sister. Betty attended Goucher College, an all-women’s school at the time, graduating at 19 years old with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Shortly after, she obtained a master’s degree in embryology at 21 years old from Amherst College. She eventually married and moved to Texas with her husband, Godfrey Curtis, earning her doctorate from Texas Women’s University.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 11/13/2008
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Hoskins

Joan Webster

Educator, mother, activist, founder of Clark University literary magazine

"And so there were several projects that I got involved with, in addition to teaching, but as part of the Massachusetts State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, I was one of the people who worked on the booklet for sexual harassment that was aimed at employers to let them know why they needed a policy and what sexual harassment was."

Interview Date: 
Mon, 11/13/2006
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Webster

Sandy Scola

Assistant Director, Early Childhood Center, Jewish Community Center
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Interview Date: 
Mon, 04/10/2006
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Scola

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