Joshua Abreu, a Retention Specialist at Northern Essex Community College, is working with students and helping with the development of the new Student Success Center (SSC). Born and raised in Lawrence, MA, he earned his Master’s degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has worked as a Police Officer and Social Worker.
Ben Achtenberg has been making social issue documentaries for over 35 years. His films on topics including medical ethics, healthcare for the homeless, end-of-life care, and disabilities have received an Academy Award nomination, seven CINE Golden Eagles and first-place honors from the National Health and Medical Film Festival, among others. Until recently he owned and managed Fanlight Productions, a distributor of independent documentaries. Six years in the making, his latest film, REFUGE: Caring for Survivors of Torture, profiles immigrant survivors and some of the programs that help them to heal. It was filmed in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Georgia, and Washington, DC.
Mehmed Ali recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan where he oversaw development projects for the U.S. embassies there for the last five years. He previously served as the Director of the Mogan Cultural Center at Lowell National Historical Park where he worked with community members to put on community history projects, exhibits, research initiatives, and other cultural programs. Mehmed is a Past-President of the Lowell Historical Society, the Oral History Association and the New England Association of Oral History. He has his doctorate in history from the University of Connecticut.
Jessica Andors was an integral part of a team of community organizers that spearheaded Lawrence CommunityWorks’ rebirth in 1999. Since then, LCW has grown into a $2.5 million organization with over 5,000 resident and stakeholder members, and over $50 million invested in affordable housing, family asset building, community organizing, and development. She received her Master's of City Planning degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her B.A. from Amherst College. A board member of the MA Association of Community Development Corporations and Mill Cities Community Investments, a local CDFI, Jessica is a Lawrence resident and mom of 4-yr-old whirlwind Elias.
Llana Barber received her PhD in History from Boston College in 2010 with a dissertation on Lawrence’s transition to a Latino-majority city. Dr. Barber is currently an Assistant Professor in the American Studies department at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury where she teaches courses in immigration and urban history. Her book manuscript on Lawrence’s post-World War II history is nearing completion, tentatively titled Latino City: Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945-2000.
Jim Beauchesne is the Visitor Services Supervisor at Lawrence Heritage State Park, where he has overseen programming and interpretation since 1998. He is also a member of the Bread and Roses Heritage Committee and serves on the board of the Lawrence History Center. He did his graduate study at Northeastern University, where he earned an M.A. in Public History. His thesis was an oral history project focused on St. Anne’s Parish and the French-Canadians of Lawrence. Born and raised in Lawrence, he attended the now-defunct St. Anne’s parochial grammar school.
Beth Beringer has fifteen years experience as a professional educator in settings ranging from K-12 public schools (including eight years as a certified high school social studies teacher), higher education, National Parks and National Heritage Area museums and sites. In her position as Education Coordinator for the Essex National Heritage Commission, she fosters collaborative efforts in “teaching” Essex County with an inclusive, place-based service-learning framework. She focuses on creating engaging programming and training opportunities that encourage partnerships across educational sectors. Ms. Beringer has a B.A. in history, a M.A.T. and a M.Ed. in Community Engagement.
Celeste Bernardo, Superintendent of the Lowell National Historical Park, has worked for twenty-eight years for the National Park Service (NPS), inspiring individuals and communities to discover and celebrate their cultural and natural heritage. The Lowell National Historical Park, an urban-based partnership park, preserves and interprets the resources representing Lowell’s role in the American Industrial Revolution while serving as a catalyst in revitalizing the city’s physical, economic, and cultural environments. She previously served as Superintendent at the New Bedford Whaling National Historic Site and Deputy Superintendent at Boston National Historical Park and Boston African American National Historic Site.
Ramón Borges-Méndez, PhD was born in Puerto Rico. He holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from MIT, and is an associate professor and coordinator of the graduate program in Community Development and Planning at Clark University (Worcester, Massachusetts). He has served as consultant for the Ford Foundation, The World Bank, United Nations, The Brookings Institution, and has written about workforce development; labor markets; regional planning; and immigration. His publications have appeared in Local Environment, New England Journal of Public Policy, Upjohn Institute Press, CENTRO Journal, and other edited volumes.
Marianne Caceres is a 16 year-old junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School. As a part of the corporate work study program at NDCRHS, she works at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, MA. Outside of school she is part of the Green Team of Groundwork Lawrence, working towards a better Lawrence. An honor student and a part of the National Honor Society, she dances for Movement City and during her free time enjoys volunteering, reading, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.
Shehong Chen, Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, published Being Chinese, Becoming Chinese American (2002) and her research on the Chinese experience in Lowell, MA between 1870s and 1970s appeared as an occasional paper at the University of Massachusetts Boston Institute of Asian American Studies. Her current research is focused on China's rural transformation since the 1940s and she is researching the Chinese experience in Lawrence, MA.
Aviva Chomsky is Professor of History and Coordinator of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies at Salem State University in MA. Her books include Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (forthcoming Beacon Press, 2014), A History of the Cuban Revolution (2011), and Linked Labor Histories: New England, Colombia, and the Making of a Global Working Class (2008). She has also co-edited several anthologies including The People Behind Colombian Coal: Mining, Multinationals and Human Rights/Bajo el manto del carbón: Pueblos y multinacionales en las minas del Cerrejón, Colombia (2007). Aviva has been active in Latin America solidarity and immigrants’ rights movements for several decades.
Mark Cutler was born in Lawrence and raised in Andover. He has an M.A. in Spanish and since 2003 has been at Phillips Academy, where he teaches Spanish and co-leads a dormitory for 36 boys. Using experiential methodologies, he promotes language and cultural competency as important life skills for the 21st century. He and his students have developed partnerships in Lawrence, exploring issues of immigration, home, and identity in collaboration with Movement City, the Lawrence History Center, and Lawrence High School classes in the production of oral history videos, which they curate at www.nosotroselpueblo.wordpress.com.
Anabel Depeña, born in New York City, is a junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School. Her parents were born in the Dominican Republic. Three years after her birth, her family moved to Lawrence. Her parents worked endless hours to provide for their two children and accomplish their goal of reaching the “American Dream”. Her parents still work very hard and their “American Dream” has become Anabel’s dream.
Alexandra M. DiNatale was born in Waltham, MA and has lived in Lawrence with her parents and her younger brother for about 13 years. She is mostly Chinese, Peruvian, and Italian. A junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, she hopes to attend a UMASS school to pursue a degree in business. She enjoys writing novels, playing piano, and immersing herself with animation and drawing styles from Asia.
Cristina Fernandez, born in New York City, moved to Lawrence at the age of seven. Her family is Hispanic. She has eight siblings and is a junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School. Through the school’s work study program she work in the Human Resources Department at Raytheon. Cristina hopes to earn a bachelors degree in business and later become an occupational therapist with a master’s degree.
Sabrina Fernandez is a junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School. A member of the National Honor Society and president of the junior class, she is on the cross country and softball teams. She has a loving family, who are very supportive and push her to follow her dreams. She loves helping others out, whether its school work, learning a sport, or community service.
Jim Gomes is Director of the Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise at Clark University. He began his career as a lawyer, but left the practice of law to become Chief of Staff to newly-elected Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor John Kerry. Jim later became the Policy Director of Mr. Kerry’s successful first campaign for US Senate. He has also worked in the campaigns of other Massachusetts elected officials, including Gov. Deval Patrick and Gov. Michael Dukakis. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Trinity College, a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Law Degree from Harvard Law School.
Marcia Drew Hohn, EdD in Human and Organization Systems, is Director of the Public Institute for The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. in Malden, MA. In this role since 2003, she developed a program to raise the visibility of immigrants’ economic and social contributions through 1) research about New England immigrants as entrepreneurs and workers; 2) developing online education programs for K-12 educators and for immigrant-serving practitioners; and 3) initiating a research website for comprehensive information about immigrants. With a specialty in immigrant entrepreneurship, Marcia has made many presentations and published articles that describe the positive impact of immigrants.
Jose Itzigsohn is Professor of Sociology at Brown University. He is the author of Encountering American Faultlines where he analyzes the experience of incorporation of Dominican immigrants in Providence, RI. The book studies the social mobility of first and second generation Dominicans, their ethnic and racial identities, and their participation in Providence political life. He is also the author of numerous articles on immigrant transnationalism. He is currently analyzing the position of immigrants in the American class and racial stratification system and on the forms and meanings of political participation for immigrants.
Fabiane Kelley is an immigrant from Brazil who came to the United States in 2004. She is currently studying history as an undergraduate student at the University of Massachusetts Lowell Honors College.
Sheila Kirschbaum, a staff member of University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Graduate School of Education at the Tsongas Industrial History Center since 1992, has served as museum teacher, curriculum developer, professional development coordinator, and, since 2011, director. A former teacher (high school and college), she oversees a partnership organization with national reach, dedicated to offering high-quality interdisciplinary programs about the Industrial Revolution, using Lowell as a case study. She is a doctoral candidate at UMass Lowell.
Lisa Maya Knauer, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has worked closely with and written about the Central American immigrant community in New Bedford since 2007. She helped found the Centro Comunitario de Trabajadores and Oxib’ B’atz’, a women’s handicrafts cooperative. She also does activist research in Guatemala, where she was a Fulbright scholar in 2011, focusing on community radio and indigenous resistance movements against mining and mega-projects. She is working on a book about race, gender, violence, the politics of memory and struggles for justice among the Maya in New Bedford.
Daniel Koff is a designer and socially engaged artist whose work seeks to foster collaboration and social change. He is the founder of New Relic Media, where he produced location-based documentaries and immersive learning environments (such as The Path: Fall of the Pemberton Mill), and designed collaborative workspaces. Currently, he is a candidate for a Master of Design Studies with a concentration in Art, Design, and the Public Domain at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Lianna Kushi is currently the President of the Board of Directors for the Angkor Dance Troupe. She manages at start-up accelerator for businesses and non-profits at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox. Lianna has worked at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. She’s a published Japanese language translator of the Zainichi Korean poet Kyong-Mi Park. Lianna received her B.A. from Smith College and her M.A. in the Economic and Social Development of Regions from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Christine Lewis writes about life north of Boston for Merrimack Valley Magazine using research skills polished during her earlier career working in various business libraries. She is alternately passionate about the unique boxing history of the Merrimack Valley and the unusual regional cuisine, reaching far back into the local archives to provide her original perspective on why things are the way they are now. Her most recent research led her to the small day farms of Pleasant Valley, Methuen, MA, and the central role they played in the lives of early Valley immigrant families.
Tony Loreti earned a BS in Filmmaking from Boston University and an MFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art. He teaches photography at the Cambridge School of Weston, and works as a freelance photographer for Boston-area institutions and publications. He began an extended series of working portraits in the 1990’s, taking pictures in places such as restaurants, factories, and food processing plants, to recognize people who are generally unsung in our society. “Working Portraits” was chosen Best in Show in Boston’s Photographic Resource Center 2012 Juried Exhibition. The juror, Alison Nordstrom, is curator of photographs at the George Eastman House and editor of a recently published Lewis Hine monograph.
Mary Beth Meehan is a New England-based photographer and educator who is committed to meaningful, in-depth coverage of her own communities. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, she has exhibited her photographs nationally and internationally, and has lectured nationwide on the subject of long-term, community-based documentary projects. Her honors include awards from Pictures of the Year International and the National Conference for Community and Justice. She was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. Mary Beth Meehan earned a degree in English from Amherst College and a Master of Arts in photojournalism from the University of Missouri.
Leslie Mercedes is a junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School. Born and raised in Lawrence, her parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic to Lawrence for a better future for their children. She aspires to own a computer company and travel around the world, but for now she's focusing on her studies and having fun with her singing.
Robert Michaud, a native of South Lawrence, holds an M.A. in History from Merrimack College, an M.Ed. in secondary education from Salem State University and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership program at UMass Lowell. His research interests include teachers’ professional development, teacher collaboration, and data teams. He is a National Board Certified teacher at Andover High School, teaching World Civilizations and Advanced Placement US History.
Denzil Mohammed, MS, assistant director of the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc. in Malden, MA, has since 2011 helped expand and promote the Institute’s widening scope of research, public education, and online learning with an emphasis on providing a platform for immigrant entrepreneurs to tell their stories. A former journalist in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago and communications specialist at the Consulate of Switzerland, he is interested in minority issues and utilizes his global communications background to promote understanding across borders and differences.
Jasmin Mora, a junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, was born and raised in Lawrence. Her family is from the Dominican Republic. They came to the U.S. with the common dream of having a better life. This dream was their motivation to pursue what they believed in. She finds the immigration experience interesting because she’s witnessed her family go through it.
Shaun S. Nichols is a fourth-year Ph.D. Candidate in history at Harvard University. He spent most of his youth in the New Bedford-Fall River area before moving to Washington State, where he received his B.A. from Western Washington University in 2010. His research interests center on the global history of labor, capital, and immigration, and he is currently working on a dissertation entitled “Crisis Capital: The Making and Un-Making of Industrial Massachusetts, 1873-Present,” which traces the industrialization and de-industrialization of Massachusetts through an analysis of the changing geographies and shifting power relations of mobile capital, migrant labor, and the state apparatus.
Mario E. Quiroz-Servellón is a freelance documentary photographer specializing on immigration issues in the United States and Central America. He was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. Mario Quiroz lives in Cambridge, MA.
Linda Silka, a professor in the School of Economics, directs the University of Maine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. Prior to moving to the University of Maine, Dr. Silka taught for three decades at UMass Lowell where she directed the Center for Family, Work, and Community. A social and community psychologist by training, her work has focused on building community-university partnerships including the Southeast Asian Environmental Justice Partnership and the Center for Immigrant and Refugee Community Leadership and Empowerment. Silka has written extensively on the challenges and opportunities of building research partnerships with diverse groups and has consulted internationally on how to build community-university partnerships.
Yeimi Soto, a junior at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School, comes from a Dominican family and has two older brothers who live in the United States with the Dominican expectation of being 'Men'. Her parents are immigrants from the Dominican Republic; she is the only child born in the U.S. but this would have never happened if not for the hard work and dedication of her parents.
Jonas A. Stundzia, was born in Lawrence, Ma and is a graduate of the University of St. John's in the Lateran and St. Casimir's Lithuanian College, both in Rome, Italy. He completed linquistic courses at Vilnius University in Soviet occupied Lithuania. Jonas served on the first executive board of the Immigrant City Archives/ Lawrence History Center and for the past 20 years on Lawrence’s Historical Commission, where he is presently chairperson. Active in the Lithuanian American community, he is a board member for the Lithuanian Catholic Academy of Science and ALKA Museum/Archives in Ct. and is the commissioner for the archives of the Lithuanian Alliance in America.
Steve Thornton is a retired organizer with healthcare workers District 1199/SEIU, Steve has spent his life as an activist and union leader. In Hartford he worked as a housing, tenant, and homeless rights activist. A founder of the successful third party People For Change, he also worked as an organizer with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (now UNITE HERE). He has trained over 2,000 healthcare workers as rank and file leaders and hundreds of activists in nonviolent direct action. Steve maintains the website The Shoeleather History Project (www.shoeleatherhistoryproject.com) and just published A Shoeleather History of the Wobblies: Stories of the Industrial Workers of the World in Connecticut.
Tim Chan Thou learned Cambodian folk dance and became certified as a folk dance instructor in a refugee camp along the Thai-Cambodian border. He was 21 when he arrived at Khao-I-Dang, traumatized by his wartime experiences in Khmer Rouge-controlled work camps and by the deaths of his parents and four siblings. For Tim, teaching traditional Cambodian dance became a way to keep part of his heritage alive. He came to the U.S. in 1982 and in 1986 he co-founded the Angkor Dance Troupe in Lowell, MA. The Troupe's mission is to connect communities through the preservation, education and innovation of Cambodian Performing Arts.
Edward Tirrell is in his third year as Executive Director at Operation Bootstrap in Lynn, MA, one of the state’s largest adult education centers. It provides classes in English, adult basic education, college and career readiness, and U.S. Citizenship to a group of 400 adult learners, two thirds of whom are English Language Learners. For the previous 20 years, Edward worked as a consultant for a number of state agencies and a variety of nonprofit organizations – where he worked on issues of social and economic justice such as affordable housing, homeless, access to education and training, transportation, and workforce development. Prior to this, Edward was the founding Executive Director of three community development corporations.
Adrian Ventura is Executive Director and co-founder of the Centro Comuntario de Trabajadores, an immigrant workers' rights organization in New Bedford. Originally from the town of Chinique, department of El Quiché, Guatemala, his commitment to social justice began when his father helped found an indigenous rights organization that was forced underground by military repression. He later worked with the Recuperation of History Memory project directed by Msgr. Juan Gerardi and has been a tireless advocate for workers, immigrants’ and indigenous rights since settling in the U.S. over a decade ago. The Guatemalan Human Rights Commission honored him with its "Voiceless Speak" award in 2011.
Maryann Zujewski is an Education Specialist with the National Park Service at two national parks in Massachusetts, Salem Maritime and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Sites. She has over 20 years experience as a professional educator in the National Park Service in settings ranging from museums, historic sites, K-12 public and private schools, institutions of higher learning, and the outdoors. Ms. Zujewski’s professional focus is on using the educational approach of place-based service learning. She develops and leads curriculum-based education programs, collaborates on the design and delivery of teacher professional development and helps build and advance effective community-based partnerships.