Local Women Tell Their Stories at Women's History Month Celebration

By Paglia, Ron | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Local Women Tell Their Stories at Women's History Month Celebration


Paglia, Ron, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


They hold degrees from California University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, American and Penn State universities. Yet, Michael Brna, Elizabeth A. Jones and Sally Stephenson are firm believers in learning that goes beyond the traditional classroom. Especially when it comes to history.

The veteran educators spoke at the third annual National Women's History Month celebration at the Center on the Hill senior citizens center in Fairhope, Washington Township.

The event was presented by the Aging Services affiliates of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services.

"We're very pleased to host this year's program," Robin Youger, SPHS senior specialist and site supervisor at the Center on the Hill, told more than 100 peple from area senior centers.

The history project, founded in 1980, celebrates the accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs. The organization, Youger said, is regarded as the national clearinghouse for U.S. women's history and resources.

Brna, director of the Adventure of the American Mind program at California, said women are very much a part of the Veterans Oral History Project at the university.

The AAM project is designed to train teachers and college teacher education faculty to use and produce curriculum utilizing the Internet and the digitized primary source materials from the collections of the Library of Congress.

He recalled that Congress created the Veterans Oral History Project in 2000 as part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

"Our mission is to provide training and support for conducting and collecting oral histories from area veterans, men and women who have served in any wars or conflicts in which the United States has been involved," said Brna, a California graduate who earned a doctorate from Penn State. "The project also involves the preservation of those oral histories, both at our Manderino Library and at the Library of Congress, where they will become part of the national database that includes other veterans who have participated in the national Veterans History project."

Stephenson, a resident of Monongahela and a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, is among the more than 80 regional veterans who have been interviewed at California. A portion of her recorded interview, conducted by Laura Tuennerman-Kaplan, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, was shown as part of Brna's presentation.

Brna emphasized that women's history is equally important.

"I am honored to be among you," he told the gathering, composed mainly of women.

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