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  • Charlie's Story

    Charlie's Story Charlie reflects on how he values his experiences with people who he met through his jobs throughout the course of his life. Scroll to Listen Charlie's Story 00:00 / 03:34 Charlie: But the thing that life has taught me is that life is about people. So, everything you do is an opportunity to meet someone. And I've never met anyone who didn't have something to offer. Some more than others. I don't know that I met anyone who had a dramatic effect on my life's path. But because of my role as a newspaper publisher, I got to meet lots of folks, people who were extraordinary people and some of them were presidents of colleges in the valley of five college communities. One of my favorites was Mary Maples down at Smith College, who I would work with. But she was just wonderful to get to know and to work with. At one point I was talking with somebody at and I don't know a meeting at the newspaper and we were talking about going fishing and she said, “what about me? Aren't you gonna take me?” And so in those days I flew with a small plane and we flew down the road island, got on a boat and went out and fished and my deal was I had to deliver her, she had to speak at an alumni group in New York city. So I had to drop her off from New York on my way home. So she was very special. But wherever you are people, as I say, I've never met somebody who didn't have something to offer and whether it's somebody driving a cab or doesn't make any difference. You know, you meet important people and not so important people. And one of my favorite important people stories has to do with Silvio Conte, who was a representative in Washington from this area. I got to know him through the newspaper and I would go to him for things that needed to be done in Washington. I would lobby him, for instance, when I was at the local hospital board, I would ask him to try and be helpful to the hospital. And he called me one day. He says “I helped you. I want you to help me.” And I said, “what?” He said, “my daughter lives here in Washington who works here, and it breaks my heart because she has this wonderful dog. But the dog sits in an apartment all day long and I'm trying to get her to get rid of the dog.” So my wife Kelly and I flew down to Washington, picked up the Brittany spaniel and his daughter would come and visit from time to time. So we had the best of both worlds. The key for me has always been you get far more out of helping people than the time and energy that it takes. So it's a win-win situation.

  • Emily W's Story

    Emily W's Story Emily W talks to Emily L about how the feminist movement has shaped her growing up and how the culture of women's liberation influenced her ideologies and life. Scroll to Listen Emily W's Story 00:00 / 04:39 The feminist movement which was then mostly called Women's liberation movement was a major civil rights movement when I was growing up in the sixties and seventies. In high school I started paying attention to national leaders like Gloria Steinem in particular, who had started Miss Magazine which was kind of the first thing that was called a women's magazine that wasn't about housekeeping and cooking and among many other things she said that women needed to recognize and fight for the right for recognition and equality, the idea that women were equal. It seems like such common sense, but it wasn't people didn't always act as if that was common sense. In a lot of ways I felt that my whole life, but especially when I went to college I went to a women's college, Wilson college in Pennsylvania and I learned academically some of the things that I was picking up from the culture from women's liberation, things about, you know women have always been pioneers, but our history has been often hidden either accidentally or on purpose. Certain women have always defied the norms and excelled but they have not always been celebrated. Just that there were a lot of hidden stories of women, both individual and national. So feminism made me question a lot of the norms that I've grown up with. I certainly was never told as a kid that I wasn't equal to a man. I was always told well you can do whatever you want to do. But the culture saw until I grew up with these sort of Unthinking things around the T. V. Ads magazines. And that in my hometown was the college that my mom went to which was this women's college. It turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done in my life. When I got there I realized-- I mean it's sort of like my intellectual life took off. There were certainly efforts made by most of the professors to bring women's history or whatever into the curriculum. So in some way I definitely got more academic knowledge than I might have been at another school. But mainly it was just being around all women and when women have all the opportunities women take all the roles. So it was nobody saying you can do this. It was just if you wanted to do it you did it. And so it wasn't political at all. It was just like learning by doing oh you can do anything, you really can do anything. The baseline assumptions have changed considerably and it's much more than the norm for women to have a choice of how they lived their lives. That's kind of the bedrock change. So I think the biggest change probably is that the assumption of inferiority since it and it wasn't all that women couldn't do as good a job at things but there was always the assumption that you probably didn't even want to give women a chance in the workplace or anything serious because they would get married and or have kids and then leave, and so therefore you really needed to give men the opportunities that we're serious. And I don't think that happens as much. There's still some of it, but I don't think nearly as much overall about feminism, it's certainly not a big hot topic today and the way that it was when I was growing up, but I think although there's so much more to be done, it's okay that it's not a hot topic because it doesn't need to be in quite the same way that second wave feminism, which is the era that I grew up, made some progress and therefore feminism for a lot of people could be put on the back burner because men and women and people of other genders just sort of take it far more likely to take it for granted that, of course everybody has self determination. So I don't personally take any credit for that, but I think my generation as a whole, and the generation just before me, um, can take some some credit for kicking up a lot of fuss and making things happen.

  • Susy's Story

    Susy's Story Susy’s adventurous, independent lifestyle quickly transitioned into a nurturing one when she found herself longing for a baby. After adopting her son from Peru, she instantly knew she had made the right choice. Scroll to Listen Susy's Story 00:00 / 03:04 I chose as my major transition going from achievement orientated, professional, thriving and that’s all that was important to me to becoming a mother! It totally transformed me on many levels. I belonged to a support group that was a career support group for people that wanted to change careers. It was an intense support group and we had a retreat at my house and after about a day, the leader of the group who was a social worker said to me ‘you know, Susan, I see you’re interested in your work but what we’re hearing from you is you really want a baby.’ So, I began this journey and I chose adoption to have my baby… I got the call I’d been waiting for. I even feel emotional saying it but I had decided to adopt from Peru in South America and my contact called me from Peru. She said to me ‘hi Susan, how do you feel about boy babies?’ I just sat there and some inner voice said to me ‘just sit here quietly and think but don’t say anything’ so that’s what I did. It just came out of my heart when I said ‘sure. Boy babies are fine!’ My whole body was on getting this child. Um, my real mothering began when I found myself in front of the sink washing bottles and changing diapers and wondering how I was going to feed myself. But nevertheless, I was enchanted and obsessed but the mothering journey began and it continues today. The real challenge is how to keep up–it’s been the challenge all along and it still is–the real challenge is how to keep up with your child’s transitions from infant hood to–you know, you have to change to mothering with every level and it still continues, of course. My son graduated from college and began working and he became an adult! Now when I’m ill he comes to take care of me so that’s a transition. So, um, it’s like a whole other level of living. I wouldn't have missed this for the world…

  • Rachel's Story

    < Back Rachel's Story Rachel discusses feeling like she didn’t belong in her hometown community or as she transitioned to college.She talks about her social anxiety and reflects on what it was like to break free from this. She wants people to pay attention to college students’ mental health. Scroll to listen 00:00 / 05:31 ​ Previous Next

  • Susy's Story

    Susy's Story Susy talks about her want for a child and how it led her to her experience with international adoption in Peru as a single woman. She discussed the impact of negative cultural views on adoption and how it impacted her experience as a parent. She then discusses the importance of belonging and the need for people to share their stories. Scroll to listen Susy's Story 00:00 / 04:52 ​

  • Stephanie's Story

    Stephanie's Story In this story, Stephanie discusses one of her professors. Even if they didn’t always see eye-to-eye, Stephanie greatly valued their presence in her life, as well as their advice. Their mentorship will stay with her throughout her life. Scroll to Listen Stephanie's Story 00:00 / 02:28 Annabel: Well, is there one person in your life - maybe a professor at your school, or a relative back in Ghana, or a neighbor - is there anybody that you have looked up to that has had an enormous influence on you and choices you’ve made? Or career goals? Stephanie: Yeah, there is one person. I mean, to be honest, it was - like - she did pass away. She was a professor at UMass. She was a bio professor. I mean, she didn’t teach because she hated teaching. She was more focused on lab work, though, that was what she did. And she researched cancer and viruses, she was a virology professor, basically. Annabel: Oh, wow. Stephanie: Yeah, and - at the beginning, I didn’t like her. Cause, we just didn’t match. At the beginning I didn’t like her. And then, she kept forcing me to meet her, so then, I met her, and, yeah, we just started talking. I’m like, “Oh, okay! That’s an interesting perspective! Let me try this and see whether it works. And then, yeah, I just kept coming to her, and then we built that bond, of talking, and figuring out what I’m going to do in the future. And, yeah. But she basically was trying to force me to go to grad school. Annabel: Wow! Stephanie: Yeah, and be a scientist! And I’m like, “No! I don’t want to be a scientist!” But, let me see how this goes. I’m going to try your method and see whether it works - if it doesn’t we can think about something else. But yeah, I liked that about - every time I’d go to her, she’d give me the options. Like, you can do this, you can do this, you can do this. These are the steps you can do, these are the steps, dadadadada. This is what I did, and this is what you can do. But yeah, um, she unfortunately passed away. So I felt like it was kind of unfinished. Like, yeah, I feel like we didn’t finish talking about what we were supposed to talk about. Annabel: I assume that it has impacted your career goals. Stephanie: Yeah, definitely. I mean - I still don’t want to be a scientist. If she was here, she’d be like “ahahaha! Let’s see what happens in the future.” I still don’t want to be a scientist, but I am interested in viruses and virology, so we’ll see how it goes. Annabel: Wow.

  • Rebecca's Story

    Rebecca's Story Rebecca discusses the lasting influence of joining Science Olympiad in middle school on her relationships, as well as the way that it has shaped her goals and life to this day. Scroll to Listen Rebecca's Story 00:00 / 03:44 I just joined it initially because I wanted something to do, an extracurricular, and when I was in middle school we only had flag football or Science Olympiad. So, for me it was a pretty obvious choice, and I got put just at random in an event called “Disease Detectives” which is just very, very basic epidemiology. So the first time I did a practice exam it was on asthma prevalence in a school where the school was right next to a factory and you had to figure out what was causing high asthma prevalence. It sort of felt like it was solving puzzle, even though we were literally taking an exam. At the end, I just felt so cool—I just thought it was so cool that I could assemble all this evidence and present at the end: this is what happened, this is how it happened. I think it's something that has carried me even now to studying public health because that’s the reason that I chose to study public health is that I wanted to learn more about epidemiology, and I wanted to become a disease detective—as dorky as that may sound. One of my coaches, Senila, who just every single day would just push me, and at first I think she was someone who really scared me because she was so dedicated to her own academics. But, you know, I think her strictness had a love behind it too and so she really just—she inspired me to see what was possible in my future, and she showed me how to do it so I really have eternal gratitude for her for being such a positive influence in my life. A real beauty of Olympiad is that it really does inspire kids to go out into the world and do science. When it became my turn to coach later, I think my excitement and passion for it helped inspire kids to also feel passionate for it. I remember the first year I got, the coaches, got bowling shirts instead of normal t-shirts, and I remember the first time I had my name embroidered on the sleeve it just felt so, so cool. ​One of the, I think proudest moments of my life was, I worked with this one girl in the club almost every and we became really good friends honestly, and on the day of our actual competition her parents came up to me—and I had never met them before—and they asked me if I was Rebecca. And I said, yes, and they said, our daughter always talks about you. You’ve made her care so much about science and she really, really likes you. It's so important I think to teach people how to learn outside of the context of school. I think Science Olympiad was really, for me, it was that and for many of peers it was too. Really, it taught me to, you know, even if you’re not one hundred percent enthusiastic about something to try it because you honestly never know where it's going to take you. Because I didn’t really want to do Science Olympiad at the start and now it has truly shaped my whole young adult life.

  • Gail's Story

    Gail's Story Gail, an elementary school teacher, talks about how her sister impacted her life and encouraged her to advocate for children with disabilities in her classroom and beyond. Scroll to listen Gail's Story 00:00 / 03:55 I was very alone when I was with my sister as she grew up because when I went somewhere with her I felt very vulnerable when I would get stares from other people not knowing what they were thinking and so it was very difficult and she could not speak for herself I endured many negative comments you know I didnt know how to speak to people about her so I just kept everything to myself well in my career I started to realize how much she was discriminate against and I wanted to change that in my classroom In a classroom its easy for children to single out someone else if thye are different I didnt want that to happen so what I did was I if someone was coming to my classroom who had a disability I asked at the meeting that when I was told that someone would be coming I aksed that the person, the chld who was going to come to my room not come for a week so I could trian my class we met my class and we talked about what do you do if this person is out on the playground and does something to you that you dont like how do you handle it what do you do if you want to come in and you are really upset with him we talked about how to come to me to tell me about thei problems with this other person and then we would have a meeting to discuss how they could handle it and learn to accept this person at the end of the year a mother of a disabled child invited my class to go to the birthday party and every single child went I was very proud of it and then another thing that happened that I could tell people were understanding was that I met one of my students who was going to UMass I asked him what he was going to be what he was majoring in and he said special education and I congratulated hima nd he siad it was you you were the one that got me interested and I felt so good about it so ya know it carried into my teaching career and I also oh one word that I wanted to have him relaize kindness those people everybody desrevs kindness not just them so I really was firm about ya know how you have to be kind to everybody even if there's something you don't like about that person you know come in and talk to me about it and we can see what we can do I want to well I started to speak out more because I’ve kept things about my sister inside and I feel like its more than time to speak out and also a way to advocate to others you know so that when others pass someone on the street who is disable no matter what their disability is they don't stare and make the people who are wit them feel embarrassed they see them as someone who was born the way they were there's a lot of positive about them an to say hello that I think just to be kind say hello and let these people know they are accepted

  • Selena's Story

    Selena's Story Selena speaks with Jonathan about what it’s like to be living with a family whose views are very different from your own during a global pandemic. Scroll to listen Selena's Story 00:00 / 03:29 ​

  • Katherine's Story

    Katherine's Story Katherine talks about her family heritage and values and how that impacted her views on the world. She discusses how her upbringing and playing music with her siblings brings them closer together. Katherine also details how the values that she was raised with are still instilled in her and are instilled in her children as well. Scroll to listen Katherine's Story 00:00 / 04:28 My family of origin story comes from both my parents who told me the stories of how they grew up and their parents and grandparents. For my parents, their families were very important. Both of them came from English backgrounds and they were farmers. They raised cattle, they kept the sense of animals and planting even when we no longer lived on a farm, but it is important. That is part of my family theme and values is to be really connected to the land and animals. When we were growing up our values always had to do with good health, lots of exercise, and taking care of your pets before you took care of yourself. Who needed your support and help before you were doing your own thing? Values really had to do with honoring family and being totally transparent and honest about what was going on with you, being a good communicator that was kind of a core family value, and doing your best. I have 4 siblings, all about 2 years apart. It was very organized, our lives were very very organized, I guess you have to when you have a big family like that – my parents were both teachers so they expected us to have a certain routine to get up and make our beds, practice and do homework, we all had to keep track of what we were responsible for. We all played instruments, we all had to practice, my mom would start the egg timer for about an hour before we went to school, we had to practice our instruments. As we grew up and we left home, and we went to college and got jobs and got married and had our own children the relationship with all of them at the time have change over time. In that period, it was really important for our kids to know each other so that now as they are adults and they have families, they have cousins that they feel quite connected to which is kind of wonderful, we do a lot of sharing of our lives together. We all go to the same island in Maine in the summer, so 3 of my siblings built and also my family too we built our own little houses there, kind of near the log cabin so that more of us could be there at the same time. It’s a wonderful place for family gatherings and lunch picnics on the rocks, swimming in the quarries and biking around the island, lots of fun things we do together. I take my violin and my younger brother plays the cello, brings his cello, my sister is a singer, but she also plays the keyboard too. It's really fun to play together, we often say wouldn’t our mother be delighted because she's the one who made us practice, its paid off for her because we are still doing it. The basic values that I learned from them I think are still there, are still the core values, but we do keep connected, that’s important. We now passing on the cabin in Maine, the log cabin to our own children so that means the cousins will have to figure out how to work together to keep the boats in good shape and keep the cabins clean and enjoy that place with their children, with our grandchildren. It's kind of a multigenerational process in Maine and that’s where I keep connected to my sibling's. It has been fun as we met and talked to explore family a little but because that to me is the most important set of relationships certainly that I have and I think that most people have, my kids probably pass on the same values to their children too Things that they learned as they were growing up, they keep connected through each other, keeping connected and learning through each other is just really really important no matter what the ups and downs of one's life might be.

  • Ngozi's Story

    Ngozi's Story Ngozi Okeke talks to Tamar Shadur about traveling to Nigeria, dad's special pancakes, and how she would like to be remembered Scroll to listen Ngozi's Story 00:00 / 02:15 ​

  • Candace's Story

    Candace's Story Candace shares what it means for her to live her best self and how she continues to learn through her experiences. Scroll to Listen Candace's Story 00:00 / 05:17 Candace: I like my own company. And I guess that was something of a surprise. I've tended my whole life to be very social. And all of a sudden, because I couldn't be, I started to do maybe more internal work, deeper dives internally. Being alone did not necessarily feel lonely to me. Candace: I'm 77. So with, I certainly hope, I've learned over that many years, a bunch of stuff. And, trying to get to the place where it's one thing or one more most important thing, or one thing that is a basket for everything else, right. And I think what it comes down to for me, is that everything counts. And the older I get, the more I see it. It's not that you have to always make brilliant choices, you can't, you know, and in fact, I think our failures may be certainly as important, maybe even more important than our successes. The choice part comes about, when you see how you deal with events in your life, or how you deal with what comes at you, or how, what you use to make choices, or even things like who you choose to be your friends, or who whose shoulders do you choose to stand on, you know, I mean, we can't choose our family. And we certainly all stand on their shoulders at some point. But, but we do choose like, occupations and, and mentors and people we admire, those are the shoulders we stand on, and those choices feel important. Candace: And, as I've gotten older, one of the things that's been I've been so aware of is that choices that I made years ago, come back to me in ways that I never thought would be true. I don't believe that everything is fate. Or that necessarily everything happens for a good reason. Because some bad stuff happens, you know, but I do believe opportunity is put in front of us time after time after time. And that's what's laid out. And that, within that we make choices. And those choices, sometimes they're good choices. And sometimes they're like, “wow, that was a wrong choice”, in terms of how things have turned out, and “what am I going to do about that?” Are we going to be defeated by that? Am I going to be angry about that? Am I going to be a victim? Or am I gonna make something of it that turns it into a lesson of some kind? Candace: My purpose is to be my best self. And what do I mean by that? There's a poet who I like a lot named Mary Oliver. And the last line of one of her poems is, “I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.” So I think that's what I mean by being my best self. I want to live fully and passionately, and mindfully. In this present moment I want to find ways to be joyful and to share that joy with other people. I want to be a lifelong war learner. I want to love unconditionally, I want to hear people's stories and share those stories. I long to explore the outside world for sure. And to get back to traveling and that kind of thing. Also, from the pandemic. I've learned, I want to explore more inside. What's going on inside. And I think a new exploration place for me right now is I want to prepare myself and the people around me for my death, so that it can be, I hesitate to say good because I'm not sure that that's always the case. But that it can be fully experienced and then it can be okay.

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