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.

Ann Marie Shea

Professor Emerita, Worcester State University; Actress

I think it's wonderful that women are realizing that women have a right to their space, they have a right to their voice. 

This transcript highlights the life experiences and insight of Ann Marie Shea, a Worcester native born in 1939. Growing up a Catholic Irish- American, Ann Marie is the daughter of two Irish immigrants. Ann Marie attended Worcester public schools and continued her education at Anna Maria College, where she majored in English. She then furthered her education at Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., where she received a small scholarship. Theater was her area of study at Catholic University. With passion and skill, Ann Marie has worked much of her life in this field.

Interview Date: 
Tue, 02/20/2018
Interview Language: 
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Shea

Holly Burgess

Attorney; Member of WISE

I’ve been fortunate to have lots of mentors and a number of women mentors in my career. So that’s something I think would be important to be noted, of how important that is and has been for my generation and I think would continue to be. Women helping women to learn the ropes.

Holly Burgess was born in Holden, Massachusetts in 1953 and grew up and attended primary school and high school in the Greater Worcester area. Upon completion of high school, she briefly attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, but did not obtain a degree as she decided to get married. Later, she attended Quinsigamond Community College and received her associate degree in the dental hygiene program. She went on to continue her undergraduate education at Clark University in business administration.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/03/2019
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Burgess

Geraldine Brophy

Social Worker; Psychotherapist, Director of Psychiatry; Member of WISE

Always have a beginner's mind; always keep your mind open. It’s difficult in these times when there is so much divisiveness and venom being spewed in all directions, it’s hard to find your own center, I would say, and this may sound flip, but practice yoga because yoga gives you the opportunity to find where your center is. If you know where your center is, if you know who you are, and what you are, then what’s going on around you is irrelevant. You are going to make the decision that is right for you and that is what you need to do and not be distracted by all the cacophony going on around you.

Geraldine Brophy was born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1944 to Katherine and John Brophy. She is the eldest of two daughters. She is the mother to two sons; one from her first marriage and another from her second. Geraldine attended Southern Connecticut State University and got her bachelor’s degree in education. At 48 years old, after she had met and married her second husband, she went back to college at Boston College and received her master’s degree in social work.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/16/2019
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Brophy

Elaine Bloom

Classics Teacher, Worcester Academy; Member of WISE

I just knew when I was a freshman in high school and  opened up a Latin I book for the first time and saw the chart of a Latin noun being declined of all its forms, I just thought, “That’s fantastic, it’s so logical, it’s so organized and you can tell by the spelling what the word is doing in the sentence. This is marvelous.”

Elaine Francis Willy Bloom was born in 1947. Bloom, a member of the baby boom generation, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts and raised in Barre, Massachusetts where she has lived her entire life except for higher education. She graduated from high school in 1965, went to undergraduate school at the University of Vermont, and graduate school at University of Cincinnati. She taught for thirty-three years, spending the first half of her career in the classics department at the University of Cincinnati and the second half working in the history department at Ohio State University.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/10/2019
Interview Language: 
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Bloom

Joan Barry

Principal, St. Mary's School; Member of WISE

It was hard sometimes to work with parents or administrators who didn’t value women to the degree I think—they didn’t like smart women. It’s changed, but in the beginning, it was very much that way. You sort of had to prove yourself over time. So, you were never a part of the old boy network. All these men would come into a meeting and they would joke, but never with the women administrators. But more and more women became administrators. Then they had no choice.  And now if you look, more and more women are school principals than ever before.

Born in 1947 in Lowell, Massachusetts, Joan Barry moved to Worcester at four years old, so her father could run his business as a funeral director. Joan attended Framingham State University where she earned her BA in administration. Shortly after she attended Columbia University for her master’s degree. Joan got a job as an assistant principal at Saint Mary’s Middle School where she worked for 8 years. She explains that she got her first job as a principal during a time when it was very unlikely because the positions were mostly filled with football coaches.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/17/2019
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Barry

Hanna Solska

Professor in Poland; former Executive Director, International Center of Worcester; Manager of Patient Relations, Saint Vincent Hospital, MetroWest Medical Center

Well, I didn’t really choose, [laughs] I was forced to choose. If I had stayed on my original path, then I would be professor of law by now, teaching. But you learn to adjust, I guess. That’s a plus. You learn how to adjust to different circumstances.  Suddenly you are dropped in the middle of something—somewhere you’ve never been. And I think you just learn to adjust. And I think compromise, adjustment—that’s what it taught me.  Cons, of course, I wish [laughs] I could have stayed in Poland. But there was huge political unrest in Poland.  That was one of major reasons why I left.  I didn’t want my children to go through this. So, I don’t know how it would have been in 1980. That was solidarity movement in Poland and the whole of Europe was a lot of different movements—political movements. So, that was reason why I left and who knows what I’d be doing there if I stayed. But here, definitely that was challenge. But I think it made me stronger. I couldn’t rely on my mom anymore, which I did a lot, and my grandmother. So, now I was on my own. I had to survive and I had two small children. You learn quickly what to do, that you can survive new circumstances you don’t know much about.

Hanna Solska was born in 1947 in Warsaw Poland, right after World War II. She received a Master’s in Sociology and a PhD in Law from Warsaw University. She migrated to America in 1980 and went from Ohio, to Worcester, Massachusetts, and then to Sutton, Massachusetts where she currently resides. Although she was passionate about being a professor in Poland, her law degree did not transfer forcing her to channel her passions into the Worcester community.

Interview Date: 
Mon, 10/22/2018
Name Sort: 
Solska

Natalie Maynard

Physical Education Teacher; Minister

When I am walking or swimming or when I am going down the stairs or when I can’t get to sleep, I have a set of words that I go through. It’s, “I am” and then it is six or eight terms. So, it is like, “I am good,” is my first word, “I am kind, I am loving, I am caring, I am happy, I am healthy, I am patient, I am peaceful.” And I just go back over those over and over again. And they help me get through the day.

Natalie Alice Atwood Maynard is an 82-year-old accomplished woman who was interviewed at her place of residence, The Eisenberg Assisted Living Center in Worcester, MA. Natalie grew up on a farm with her twin brother, older brother, older sister and parents in Medford, MA.  Natalie attended school at Tufts University where she obtained her degree in women’s physical education, and married her late husband, Herbert Maynard, the year she graduated college. Both Natalie and Herb worked at a school in West Boylston, until Natalie became pregnant with their first child.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 11/08/2018
Interview Language: 
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Maynard

Jennifer Swan

Artist; Teacher; Technocopia Consultant

Going to art school was incredible.  I think sometimes people think of art as being fun and easy, but it has its own challenges and so I think going to college, it made me really challenge myself, think really deeply, work really hard.  Art is problem solving, so learning how to work through problems, find solutions, not give up, persevere, but I think overall, it’s made me the person I am today. It’s made me a creative person and a creative thinker and that can be used in all different situations of life, not just college.

Jennifer Swan was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1977 and now currently resides in Barre, Massachusetts. Jennifer, a local artist, attended Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. She has traveled to India, Colorado, California, and New Mexico for her art.  She received a Kinnicutt Travel/Study Award from the Worcester Art Museum. In the interview, Jennifer stated she is an art teacher in Worcester, who enjoys teaching all ages from children to adults.

Interview Date: 
Fri, 10/12/2018
Interview Language: 
Name Sort: 
Swan

Carol Shulman

Registered Nurse

I loved mentoring new nurses. I loved telling them every trick of the trade, and everything they can forget about, and make them fast, and make them smart. Precepting was really something I really loved.

Carol Anne Shay Shulman was born in1943 in Worcester, Massachusetts. She was raised in an Irish Catholic home with three siblings. Carol met her husband Joseph dancing the night away. They had three children together and although Joseph was Jewish, the kids were raised Catholic as Carol hoped. Together they created a loving home and today all of their children are successful with kids of their own. Unfortunately, Carol’s husband passed away at the age of fifty-nine and she became widowed. Carol is a very compassionate person, and she displayed her compassion throughout her work experience.

Interview Date: 
Wed, 10/17/2018
Interview Language: 
Interview Focus: 
Name Sort: 
Shulman

Edith Morgan Froehlig

Teacher, Worcester School Committee member, foster mother

Instead of the kids being ready for school, it’s the school should be ready for kids.

Edith Lichtenstein Morgan Froehlig was born October 20th, 1930 to Jewish parents in Munich, Germany. Edith’s life journey has taken her from Germany to Switzerland, France, Portugal, and across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. First living in the US Midwest, Edith eventually settled In Worcester, Massachusetts.  During the past 51 years of her life, Edith has triumphed over many challenges.  She was forced from her home at an early age to escape the Nazi occupation.

Interview Date: 
Thu, 10/04/2018
Interview Language: 
Name Sort: 
Froehlig

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Education