Life at Miss Hall’sMar 26, 2021

updated Mar 29, 2021

Spotlighting scientists, educators, activists…. and moms

ISA Women’s History Month event showcases women worldwide

Inspiring women took center stage during the International Student Alliance’s Global Celebration of Women’s History Month.

On March 24, thirty five students and adults seized the opportunity to share stories about women who inspire them, whether a prominent figure or someone important in their personal lives

The profiles ran the gamut, with fascinating segments about scientists, teachers, and activists — even a random stranger — who have made their mark on the world. There were also more than a few amazing moms recognized for juggling careers and children and inspiring their amazing daughters!

Lucy ’23 began with a presentation on Dr. Lillian Moller Gilbreth, a pioneer in workplace efficiency and the first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering. “It’s hard to imagine one person could do so much in one lifetime,” Lucy said.

Kathleen ’22 and Phuong ’22 added to the inspiration with the story of  Lê Thị Quỳnh Mai, a scientist who has led the incredibly successful charge against COVID-19 in Vietnam. Both Kathleen and Phuong drew inspiration from Mai’s work as an exceptional scientist while also raising a family.

Iva ’24 then shared the story of Mileva Marić Einstein, the Serbian physicist and mathematician who was Albert Einstein’s first wife and a noted scientist in her own right. “She inspires me to try harder and not to give up,” noted Iva.

Shirley ’23 followed by sharing the story of her mom, whose career as a psychologist has inspired Shirley’s passion for psychology. Her mother also does charitable work and is always continuing to learn. “For me, she is not only my mother, but also my friend and teacher,” said Shirley, who also shared an animation as part of her presentation.

Dean of Equity and Inclusion Paula Lima Jones spoke about Ruth Simmons, the first African American woman to lead an Ivy League school (Brown University) and the first African American woman to lead Smith College. “Something that inspires me is her truth-telling ability,” Dean Lima Jones said, noting Dr. Simmons’ work while at Brown was for the university to acknowledge its ties to slavery.

Rose ’22 introduced Wangarĩ Muta Maathai, the Kenyan activist who was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. “She’s a great example and inspires me so much to put in the work to better the environment,” said Rose.

Naomi ’24 shined the spotlight on a middle school teacher who influenced many students in Naomi’s school. “She was someone who took personal interest in every student’s life,” Naomi noted. “I saw her impact a lot of people.”

Jana ’23 noted how a random act of kindness from an unknown woman once helped brighten her day, and she cited the big impact small gestures can have. “It was only a little action, but it made my whole day,” she said. “Sometimes a little thing can help someone have a really special day.”

Welmerly ’24 followed by sharing the story of the Mirabal sisters, who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic. “They went through a lot, but they were so strong, and they kept going throughout that whole time,” Welmerly noted, adding that three of the sisters were ultimately executed.

Math Teacher Adrienne Lazes ’05 followed with the story of their mom, a retired psychiatrist who was in the first class of women at Yale College. In her retirement, Adrienne’s mother launched the Berkshire Community Diaper Project, which has provided more than one million diapers to parents of children in Berkshire County.

ISA Advisor Tanya Kalischer closed the evening by thanking all of the presenters. “It’s been a privilege to talk about and learn about strangers who pass out cards, to amazing moms, to women who should have been, could have been more well known,” Ms. Kalischer said. “I am truy moved — I learned so much.”