Diversity and Difference
The Office of Multicultural Affairs recognizes
Women's History Month 2011
An Excerpt from our Student Blog by Kristen Morvillo
This month for Women’s History we were asked, "What women have influenced you?"
So here it goes… At the age of 13 I found out that my parents were getting a divorce. Soon after, my mother and I made the trek from suburban Virginia to rural upstate New York to be closer to her family. It was hard leaving my father and friends, yet I understood that my mother needed the social support that only her family could provide.
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A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer (MMRP) ?
MSPP is proud to present its second V-Day production: A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant, and A Prayer (MMRP), a series of hand-picked monologues about violence against women around the world.
V-Day is a project that was initiated by Eve Ensler to raise awareness about (and to generate funding to support programming to address) violence against women globally. Our production will be comprised of short pieces written by victims of violence, witnesses of violence, and authors/advocates moved by a desire to contribute to the end to violence against women worldwide.
Q & A with Jane Utley Adelizzi, PhD
Dr. Jane Utley Adelizzi is a faculty member in the Counseling Psychology program and the Coordinator of our new Academic Resource Center for Stude nts (ARC).
How would you describe your graduate school psychology experience as young women compared to what you see in our female students today?
When I returned to school to complete a Masters Degree in Education, which focused on an educational therapy approach to working with college-able students who were diagnosed with learning disabilities, I was in my mid 30's and had two young children to take care of. A small number of my female students at MSPP have children so I do feel that my experience was very different. As a result of my work in the graduate program I chose I was invited to work in their learning center, the first in the nation to offer assistance to the population of students on which my masters study focused. The schedule offered me the opportunity to continue the work I loved and be home with my children after school hours. I remained in my position at the college for over 20 years where I had the opportunity to keep apprised of cutting-edge research and theory in the field of adults with learning and attentional disorders. I went on to develop the first program in the New England area that supported the experience of adults beginning or returning to college. My work remained integrating both psychological and educational developmental studies.
Are women appropriately represented in the field of psychology on all levels?
This is a difficult question for me considering I am not wed to a single field of study, but am rather an integrated interventionist. However, I can say that the first year cohort in my doctoral studies consisted of 11 females and 1 male, and was taught by a male. I was with many age-peers which made my experience very comfortable. My first doctoral seminar was: The Interface of Teaching and Therapy, which I believed to have been created just for me! The experience that stands out the most regarding your question is when I consulted with a leading professional in the field of psychological trauma about my study, something my doctoral study team encouraged. As we sat together in his office, he questioned me about my general knowledge of the field, how I "used the language of the field", and if I felt my study was worthy of being published. I defended myself well, and he was satisfied that I had the theoretical foundation necessary, and appropriately used the professional language. He laughed out loud when I defended "the notion that learning and functioning were impacted by psychological trauma", and asked if I seriously believed that the experiences the women in my study endured could be considered traumatic. At that time, the women (e.g., Judith Herman, Lenore Terr) who were recognized leaders in the field of psychological trauma were few compared to men. The studies receiving the most attention were those which focused on the experience of Vietnam veterans. It was some time later that one of the more prominent figures in the field of traumatic studies considered the relationship between psychological trauma and learning. In 2000 I was invited to contribute a chapter to a book that discussed the impact of trauma on women with LD/ADHD which received attention (and an interview) with the Monitor on Psychology. My work as a woman, and on behalf of women, felt justified.
Competing in Higher Education
Competing as a woman in the fields of both educational and psychological developmental studies was difficult... an understatement. However, the aspect of my work which has been much more palpable in terms of competitiveness has been as a faculty member, administrator and program developer in higher education since the 1980's. Inclusion in established professional networks can be challenging. Pitching one’s proposals for programs in the 90's was like pitching a book. If your pitch failed, you went back to the drawing board and tried again, as you simultaneously observed your male colleagues receive acceptance and recognition for their work with what appeared to be less effort than what you expended. Salaries were not commensurately distributed, as the Chronicle of Higher Education has reported to us time and again over the years. Things have changed. Women are tougher, more resilient, stronger and more assertive competitors in higher education.
What is a good piece of advice for women in or considering this field? My advice?
Just do it! Treat the experience as if it's integral to your own learning and functioning, because... it is.