Work

“Work” is a value-laden term that has changed drastically over time, particularly in relation to women’s daily lives. Despite a legacy of opinions to the contrary, WWHP views women’s work as inherently valuable, whether taking place in the formal structure of paid employment or the private realm of home and family. We seek to understand each woman’s work on her own terms in her own words.

Yahui

Born in China; Research Scientist, UMass Medical School; Studied at LVGW

The kids here, I feel they have more freedom to discover their interests or to develop themselves. So in China the students had a really hard time…they have more pressure in China.  This is my conclusion to this country.  What kind of journey?  It’s a challenging journey with some difficulties, that’s for sure. Exciting journey.  To experience different culture and the environment. And a satisfied journey for self improvement…And a thankful journey for all of the help. People are so nice, I got a lot of help.

Yahui was born in Jiangsu Province, China, and works as a research scientist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. She has a bachelor’s  degree in biology and a master’s degree in biotechnology from Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing, China, and a PhD in human genetics from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Since coming to Worcester in 2006 as a postdoctoral researcher, Yahui has established roots in Worcester.

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Fri, 07/14/2017
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Carmenza Ramirez

Born in Colombia; Rehabilitation Counselor, Studies at LVGW

I never had the American Dream. I never think in come here to live. But in 2000 my husband lost his job. He is engineer…My older son graduated from the high school in Colombia. My brother was living here in Massachusetts…He say, “Carmenza, maybe your husband and Victor can come here for vacation.” [They] got the tourist visa. When my husband and Victor came here, both got job one or two weeks later…He call me three months later…and say, “…we are going to stay here.”  In 2001 I try to get the visa to come here, that was terrible time for the visa with, for September 11… In 2006 the visa was approved…When I was ready to leave Colombia, I brung my money, my own money. I saved money. I’m very organized person, financial…I came here on April 25, 2006. On August 25th, almost four months later, I bought my house.  I bought my house with the money I brought from Colombia.

Carmenza Ramirez was born in Colombia and moved to the U.S. in order to reunite her family. She is well educated and was a university professor in Colombia. She is now a rehabilitation counselor for the state of Massachusetts serving Spanish-speaking clients. She talks about enduring years of separation due to visa restrictions on the heels of Sept. 11, 2001; reuniting her sons; and trying to build a professional life here in the U.S.

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Fri, 07/28/2017
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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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Tue, 07/18/2017
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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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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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Jasmine Jina Ortiz

Professor, Quinsigamond Community College and Becker College, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty

I'd definitely give women today advice to continue to move forward with their personal goals despite what could be going on around them and to not to lose sight of their purpose, whether professional, personal, or family goals.  To continue to be encouraged and to not let discouraging individuals take control of their minds. The loudest voice that should be heard should be theirs.

Jasmine Jina Ortiz was born in 1979, and raised in New York City. She comes from both a Latino and an African American background; her parents are both from the Dominican Republic. She moved to Worcester, MA to attend Clark University as an undergraduate. She earned an MFA form Pine Manor College. Since then, Jasmine has taught at Quinsigamond Community College and Becker College.  She also works for Keller Williams Realty as a realtor.

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Fri, 03/03/2017
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Erin Williams

City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Officer and Executive Director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition

It is part of my heart and soul. It’s not work it is living.  And that is where it’s not a negative it’s a positive experience where the challenges of how to bring people together through art is something that I look at every day. And with my coalition and with the city we try to build partnerships around that to see what is best for the city.

In this interview Erin Williams, born in 1957, discusses the many challenges she faced throughout her life, and how those challenges molded her into the woman she is today as the City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Officer and also the executive director of the Worcester Cultural Coalition. As an “artist embedded in city hall,” Erin helps find ways for people to express themselves openly, and bring communities together through the use of art and culture.

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Fri, 10/14/2016
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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

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Mon, 10/03/2016
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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.

Interview Date: 
Sun, 02/19/2017
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Kellee Kosiorek

Program Coordinator, Seven Hills Global Outreach & the International Center of Worcester

I’ve been there since June.  So it’s still less than a year and [I’m] learning a lot, but now I work for Seven Hills Global Outreach which does development projects in eight different countries including Bangladesh, Haiti, Jamaica, Syria, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and .. Guatemala. Then I also work for the International Center of Worcester which is kind of the inbound programs, and so what we do is mostly work with the State Department and mostly bring visitors here to the U.S to do professional development training so [laughs] I’m kind of all over the place.

Kellee Kosiorek was born in 1992, in Lebanon, New Hampshire.  She moved to Worcester to attend Clark University, where she double majored in cultural psychology and international business and then earned a master’s degree in non-profit management.  Although she had primarily been exposed to her conservative, white family and neighbors growing up, attending Clark opened her eyes to a variety of different cultural backgrounds.  Since then she has fallen in love with exploring other cultures.  Her dream is to join the Peace Corps, but for now she works for the Seven Hills F

Interview Date: 
Fri, 02/24/2017
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