The Rutgers Oral History Archives interviews women who lived through and helped shape the historic events and movements of the last century.  Read more about their lives and contributions to our society.

The Women's History Index was compiled originally by ROHA staff members Kyle Downey, Taylor McKay, Katie Ruffer and Kara McCloskey and has been expanded over time.

  • Marta R. Alcon

    Description: Marta R. Alcon was born in Cuba in 1931. She grew up in a rural area. At the age of nineteen, she moved to the United States with her husband, while the rest of her family stayed in Cuba. After living in New York, she and her husband settled in Hoboken, where she has lived since then. She raised her four children speaking Spanish as well as English. In the interview, she describes the demographics of Hoboken in the early 1950s and the availability of factory work and traces changes in the community in terms of demographic shifts and economic development. She discusses the impact of the Cuban revolution in 1959 on her family members in Cuba. She spent her career as a seamstress and worked other various jobs. In the interview, she also discusses the impact of 9/11 on Hoboken. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Ndidi Amutah

    Description: Ndidi Amutah was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1981 to Nigerian parents.  Dr. Amutah grew up in Trenton and graduated from Trenton Central High School in 1999.  She attended Livingston College at Rutgers, where she was active in the Livingston College Governing Association.  After graduating from Livingston in 2003 with a B.A. in African Studies and a B.S. in Public Health, she earned a Master's in Public Health at George Washington University.  Dr. Amutah attended the University of Maryland, College Park and studied maternal child health for her Ph.D.  Dr. Amutah completed a Kellogg Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, served as a professor at Montclair State University, and then became a professor of public health and community medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine.
  • Sue Pitt Anderson

    Description: Born in 1948, Sue Pitt Anderson grew up in Highland Park, New Jersey. Her father, Larry Pitt, graduated from Rutgers in 1939 and went on to become the broadcaster for Rutgers football games and a Rutgers Athletic Hall of Famer. Her mother taught elementary school in Highland Park. Anderson began competitive swimming at the age of eleven and trained at the Summit Y with Frank Elm and later with the Scarlet Jets. In 1963, she set a world record in the 200-meter butterfly. She went on to set several more records, including the world record in the 220-yard butterfly in 1965. She competed in the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. She swam in the preliminaries of the 4x100-meter medley relay, in which the U.S. went on to win gold. In 1965, she was selected as "High School Athlete of the Year," although she, as a young woman, could not attend the awards dinner. In 1966, she traveled with an American swim team and competed in swim meets in Warsaw and Moscow. With few options available to women to swim in college before Title IX, Anderson retired from swimming. She attended the University of Vermont. In part one, she discusses the opportunities afforded to female athletes after the passage of Title IX. (Part Two) She came out of retirement and made the U.S. Olympic Team in 1968. She served as the co-captain of the U.S. Women's Swimming Team but did not compete in the Mexico City Summer Games. She transferred to Douglass College, where she majored in political science. From 1970 to 1972, she served in the Peace Corps in Tunisia developing the national youth swim program. She went on to a career as a swim coach. She coached the Scarlet Jets and assistant coached the men's and women's teams at Rutgers. After coaching a local Y team, she founded and served as the head coach of the Scarlet Aquatic Club. She then worked at USA Swimming as a regional coordinator and Programs and Services Director.
  • Alice Jennings Archibald

    Description: Alice Jennings Archibald was born and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She went to public schools and graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1923 with academic distinction. She earned a B.A. at Howard University in 1927 and a bachelor of education from the University of Cincinnati in 1928. She went on to the Rutgers Graduate School of Education (GSE), earning an M.A. in 1938 and becoming the first African American woman to graduate from the GSE. She spent her career in education. During World War II, she worked as an air raid warden and USO volunteer. She was a member of Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in New Brunswick and was active in the Urban League.
  • Chitra Arora

    Description: Chitra Arora was born in the northeastern Indian state of Kanpur in 1982. Her parents met through an arranged marriage and moved to her father's ancestral home in Kanpur. Arora's grandfather on her mother's side was a railway worker.  Arora recalls stories of her mother's travels throughout India with her father. Born in Punjab but raised in Calcutta, her mother was one of eight children but maintained an active role in family life. She attended college and majored in home science. Arora's father was born in Kanpur, and since the city was known for its leather and textile industries, his family owned a hand loom business where carpets, rugs, bedsheets, and other textiles were exported within and outside of the country. Arora's father did not attend college, due to an accident that resulted in a loss of hearing. Arora grew up in a city-like environment where her community was close-knit, and her neighbors were treated like extended family. Furthermore, the neighborhood reflected India's diversity. As a child, Arora visited her mother's family's in Punjab, which involved a ten-hour train journey. Spiritually, karma was important as well as religious ceremonies that were celebrated with neighbors and family. One such ceremony was a puja, where neighbors and family members gathered to chant religious phrases. Culturally, her parents traditions did not differ, although growing up Arora lived in a Punjabi and Hindi speaking household. Arora attended the same private school from kindergarten to high school, where she was involved in a number of activities and enjoyed studying math and economics. She graduated high school in 2000. In college, Arora majored in economics and attended the same college as her older brother. While working towards her degree, she taught kindergarten students and various other groups of people how to use and work with computers. Arora graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce. In addition, she was one of a few women who received a three-year diploma in computer programming, where she developed banking software and built websites. At the age of 20, Arora was married to her husband, who was 24 at the time. After their marriage, the couple decided to move to the United States. It was the first time Arora left India and early on the couple struggled to make a life in the U.S. These early struggles were in part influenced by the post September 11, 2001 environment, where Arora's dependent visa would not allow her to work or study. Initially, the couple lived in the small village of Groton Connecticut. At this time, Indian restaurants and grocery stores were scarce in Groton and so the couple made trips to New Jersey for Indian groceries. In her first few years in the U.S., the number of South Asian communities were much smaller than today. Eventually, Arora and her husband moved from Groton, and after brief stays in Texas and New York, the couple made a home in New Jersey. Upon receiving her work visa, Arora initially worked part-time until her children reached kindergarten. Also, she took online courses with the American Bankers Association, utilizing this knowledge to begin a career in banking. Working her way through the ranks of JP Morgan, she now manages $200 million in client assets. Living in the U.S., Arora never abandoned her roots. She is currently involved in an Indian Cultural Society which promotes Indian culture and encourages children to participate as well. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2023-2024 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Catherine Ballantine

    Description: Catherine Ballantine grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey. From 1941 to 1945, she attended NJC/Douglass, where she lived on Gibbons Campus and then Corwin Campus. She majored in the foods and nutrition track of home economics. During World War II, she recalls taking voluntary "war courses" on campus, the influx on Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) students at Rutgers, and the wartime growth of Camp Kilmer. As a part of the war effort, she worked at Johnson & Johnson in bandage packaging, in addition to several other jobs in wartime industries. After her husband's military service, they lived in temporary housing on the Heights Campus (now Busch). During the postwar years, she worked in the Food Technology Department. She and her husband raised their family in Glen Rock, and she worked as a home economics teacher in Paterson.
  • Anne Bartholomew

    Description: During the Second World War, Mrs. Bartholomew was a war worker at Turner Tubes in Highland Park, NJ, and Richardson Battery in New Brunswick, NJ.
  • Nancy Topping Bazin

    Description: Nancy Topping Bazin was born in 1934 in Pittsburgh and grew up in Oakmont. She received a B.A. in French and English at Ohio Wesleyan University, M.A. at Middlebury Graduate School for French, studying in Paris in 1956-'57, and Ph.D. in English at Stanford University, where she wrote her dissertation on Virginia Woolf. Dr. Bazin served as an assistant professor in the Rutgers College English Department from 1970 to 1977. At Rutgers, she pioneered the development of Women's Studies courses and started a women's speaker series. In addition to being active in the Women's Caucus, she helped found the Women's Studies Institute (now called the Institute for Research on Women), serving as the director in the fall of 1974. After coordinating the Women's Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh, she became the director of Women's Studies and an English professor at Old Dominion University in 1978. She was the second woman to become a full professor in the College of Arts and Letters and was the third woman to become Eminent Scholar in the university as a whole and the first in the College of Arts and Letters. In 2000, she retired and became an artist. Her paintings and drawings, along with scholarly publications, are showcased on her website
  • Carmela Becerra

    Description: Carmela Becerra was born in Cali, Colombia in 1964. She grew up in Cali along with her three siblings. Her father worked as a foreman at a construction company, and her mother was a homemaker. She discusses the diversity of her ancestors with Afro-Colombian and indigenous roots and notes an absence of racism and colorism during her upbringing in Colombia. She remembers the rise of cartel-related violence. After completing a two-year college degree, she was motivated to move the U.S. for job opportunities. With family members living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, she decided to settle in Elizabeth. She describes the large Colombian community in Elizabeth and her family connections in the city, notably an aunt who owned a travel agency. She planned on returning to Colombia, but she met and married her husband, who is Puerto Rican, and decided to stay in the U.S. She compares and contrasts language and cultural practices of Colombians and Puerto Ricans. After going back to school, she became a teacher and has worked as an English as a second language teacher. She visits Colombia frequently and plans on retiring in Colombia. In the interview, she delves into raising children in America, demographics and immigration, current issues surrounding immigration, and political and economic strife in Colombia. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Bertha Bell

    Description: Mrs. Bell worked in a USO in Indianapolis during WWII.
  • Dorothea Berkhout

    Description: Dorothea Berkhout was born in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1950.  Early on in her life, she and her siblings attended Public School 12 in Paterson, New Jersey, as part of the Eastern Christian School Association. Through the Eastern Christian School Association, she then went to Eastern Christian High School in North Haledon, New Jersey, from 1963 to 1967.After graduating from Eastern Christian High School, she initially attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, from 1967 to 1969, but then, she moved to California. As a result, she finished her schooling at the University of Southern California after attending there from 1969 to 1971 and obtaining a major in French with a minor in Linguistics. Following her interest in language, she would go on to attend graduate school at Ohio University from 1971 to 1977, and there, she obtained her Master of Arts in French in 1973. Following her time in graduate school, she worked several jobs such as a staff associate at the Association of American University Presses in New York, and the general manager of Transaction Books & Periodicals in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She returned to Ohio University and obtained her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in 1983, and in the same year, she began to work at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of New Brunswick. At Rutgers, she first worked as an Assistant Provost from 1983 to 1990 and then as an Associate Provost for Administration and Planning from 1990 to 1996. She transitioned from the Graduate School to Rutgers’ Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, where she worked as the school’s Associate Dean from 1996 until her retirement in 2021.
  • Pratibha Bhat

    Description: Prathiba Bhat was born in Belgaum, India (in the Karnataka state) in 1972. In the interview, she traces her family's roots and her parents' upbringings, experiences, activism and professions. During her childhood, Bhat lived in the suburbs of Belgaum and went to a Catholic school. She analyzes the impact of the Begaum Border Dispute on her early life and education. She studied computer science at Karnataka University, where she met her future husband. After college, Bhat worked as a computer teacher for Tata Unisys in Puni. In 1996, a water dispute with Tamil Nadu resulted in Bhat's neighborhood not having running water for eight days. In 1996, friends from the United States convinced her to move to the U.S. Initially, her husband migrated alone, and she followed three months later. She relates the difficulties they faced establishing lives and careers in the U.S. In 2004, she began working for AVTECH Institute of Technology, where she continues to teach computer and job skills. Along with staying involved in South Asian cultural heritage, she has dedicated time to philanthropy, working for Hidden Gems and Children International, which provides educational support for young children in India. Bhat and her husband have two daughters and live in Dayton, New Jersey. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Adaline Bloom

    Description: Mrs. Bloom worked for the Office of War Information during WWII.
  • Virginia Boardman

    Description: Dr. Boardman worked at DuPont during WWII before joining the Cadet Nurses' Corps at Case Western Reserve.
  • Marie Anderson Borbely

    Description: Mrs. Borbely was a high school student and undergraduate at the New Jersey College for Women during World War II. Married to a US Marine Corps officer, she spent part of the war as a member of the military dependants' community.
  • Brigid Brown

    Description: Ms. Brown was a child living in Great Britain and India during WWII.
  • Mary Lou Norton Busch

    Description: Ms. Busch was a student at New Jersey College for Women before she left school to work as a chemist in a Manhattan Project plant (Houdaille Hershey, Decatur, IL) in WWII. She later returned to Douglass College to earn her degree in 1982.
  • Marian Calabro

    Description: Marian Calabro was born in Kearny, New Jersey in 1954. She grew up in Kearny and attended Queen of Peace grammar school in North Arlington and Kearny High School. During her upbringing, her interests revolved around reading, music, theater and writing. From 1972 to 1976, she went to Rutgers College in the first coed class. She majored in English and wrote for The Targum. She recalls dorm life as a freshman, the big brother program, access to women's reproductive health, student life on campus, articles she wrote for The Targum, and Rutgers College’s transition to becoming coed. In part two, she recalls student activism on campus, memorable professors, including Barry Qualls and Betty Comtois, her junior year abroad at Warnborough College in Oxford, and her Henry Rutgers Thesis on the films of Jean Renoir. During the first part of her career, she worked in book publishing in Manhattan for firms such as Grosset & Dunlap, Dell Publishing, Learning Corporation of America, and Warren, Gorham & Lamont. She then spent the next period of her career in freelance writing, branching out into corporate communications. In the late 1980s, she wrote her first young adult nonfiction book, Operation Grizzly Bear, which was followed by Zap!: A Brief History of Television; Great Courtroom Lawyers: Fighting the Cases That Made History; and the award-winning The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party. In 2004, she founded and documented the histories of businesses including Annin Flagmakers, Aegis, American Water, Sandvik Materials Technology, BAYADA Home Health Care, the Clorox Company, Dominion Energy, the Emerson Foundation, and Farmers Insurance. She teaches writing at the Adult School of Montclair and is an affiliate of Amherst Writers and Artists. Her website can be found at
  • Alma Geist Cap

    Description: Ms. Cap served with the Red Cross in the PTO during World War II, organizing R&R for the Armed Forces.
  • Lucrecia Dayci Chivukula

    Description: Lucrecia Dayci Chivukula was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1953. Her paternal great grandparents trace their roots to India, and she describes her mother’s side of the family as Afro-Cuban. In the interview, Chivukula recalls the impact of the Cuban Revolution on her family. It took her family twelve years to be able to emigrate, first to Madrid, Spain, where they lived for two years, and then to the United States.Initially living in the South Bronx, she finished her high school equivalency, scored high on the test, and earned a full scholarship to City College of New York (CCNY), earning her degree in 1980. She met her future husband at CCNY and they got married, living first in Howell and then settling in Franklin. She pursued graduate studies at Rutgers in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, where she worked as an adjunct professor for over thirty years. She taught at Saint Peter's High School for fourteen years and then became a language teacher at Thomas Grover Middle School in West Windsor-Plainsboro for twenty years. During her retirement, Dayci continues to dedicate time to serve her community. She has shared her experiences as an immigrant at programs at Middlesex County College and at Douglass College at Rutgers. She has been involved in a local diabetes prevention program geared toward South Asian and Hispanic communities. She also participates in Share Your Foodways, which provides food for individuals in need, while celebrating ancestral cooking and food traditions. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2022-2023 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Donna Chlopak

    Description: Dr. Donna Chlopak was born in 1950 in Trenton, New Jersey. She grew up in Hightstown, attending Walter C. Black Elementary School and Hightstown High School. After graduating from high school in 1968, she went to Douglass College and majored in psychology. At Douglass, she started the Big Brother/Big Sister pairing program between Rutgers and Douglass freshmen and upper classmen. She graduated from Douglass College in the Class of 1972. Chlopak attended graduate school at Ohio State University and earned a Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology in 1976. She began her career as a professor at Seton Hall University, teaching management for three years. She then taught marketing at Baruch College for two years. From 1981 to 1985, she worked as a staff manager at AT&T. She served as a vice president at Citibank from 1985 to 1991. From 1991 to 1995, she ran her own consulting business called Reactions Inc. From 1995 to 2009, Chlopak worked at Gallup Consulting as a developmental marketing leader. Since 2009, she has worked as the managing director of Business Reactions, in addition to teaching courses at Montclair State University, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Stevens and Kean. Chlopak is the author of Learning to Fish in the Twenty-First Century: Navigating Career Waters to Find and Land a Choice Position.
  • Ritu Chopra

    Description: Ritu Chopra is a humanitarian, motivational speaker and certified leadership coach who was born in India and lives in New Jersey. She is the author of the books Art of Life, Mastering Life, Women Leadership in the 21st Century, and Magic in Mindfulness and is the host of the television program Despite the Challenges. A domestic abuse survivor, she produced the award-winning documentaries Lead My Way: A Global Perspective of Domestic Violence and The Secret Crimes and the Silent Epidemic of Generations. She is the founder and director of Lead My Way, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about gender-based violence.The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Nancy Squire Christensen

    Description: Mrs. Christensen, a Newark, NJ, native, was an NJC student and IBM employee during WWII.
  • Saskia Leo Cipriani

    Description: Saskia Leo Cipriani was born in 1980 in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Her parents were born in the Dominican Republic. In 1981, her family moved to Passaic, New Jersey, where she grew up in a neighborhood that was, at the time, largely Dominican and Puerto Rican. She attended Catholic schools and then Clifton High School. After going to Passaic County Community College for one semester, she transferred to Rutgers University, first to University College and then to Livingston College, where she graduated in 2004. During her undergraduate years, she was involved in Lambda Theta Alpha sorority, Casa Boricua, the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), and the Latin American Womxn’s Association (LAWO). Additionally, her work-study job was at the Center for Latino Arts and Culture (CLAC). Over the course of her career, she has worked in the private sector and in higher education. In 2010, she earned a Master’s in Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers-Newark. At the time of the interview, she was working on her dissertation in the Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership at Rowan University. In 2009, she co-founded the Latino Alumni Association at Rutgers University (LAARU). Since 2012, Ms. Cipriani has served as the Assistant Director of CLAC.  This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Elizabeth Hughes Clark

    Description:   Elizabeth Hughes Clark was born in 1925 in London, England.  Her father, Percy Hughes, served as a professor of philosophy, psychology and education at Lehigh University.  Along with her father, mother Maude Williams Hughes, and brother Alfred, Ms. Clark grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and at the family's summer home Glory Hill in Belvidere, New Jersey.  Ms. Clark attended the New Jersey College for Women (now Douglass Residential College).  With an interest in music and singing, she majored in history and graduated in the Class of 1945.  Following graduation, Ms. Clark worked at the YWCA in Rochester, New York.  She married Leonard H. Clark in 1947, and they moved to Syracuse, where she was active in the New York State Commission against Discrimination, board of University Hospital, Chamber Music Society and Tanglewood Chorus.  After moving to Philadelphia, Ms. Clark commuted to Rutgers University and earned her Master's degree in sociology in the 1960s.  Ms. Clark became the Director of Social Services at Presbyterian-University Medical Center in Philadelphia in 1966.  Shen then worked at Nazareth Hospital and taught at Holy Family College in the Sociology Department.  In 1982, Ms. Clark began to teach part-time at Beaver College, now Arcadia University, Glenside, PA, in the Sociology and Anthropology Department, where she achieved emerita status.
  • Cheryl Clarke

    Description: Cheryl Clarke was born in 1947 in Washington, D.C. Her father served in the U.S. Army in the Red Ball Express in France during World War II. Growing up in Northwest Washington, D.C., Clarke attended parochial schools, including Immaculate Conception Academy for high school. From 1965 to 1969, she attended Howard University and majored in English. During college, she worked part time at the Washington Post and at a Peace Corps office. In 1969, Clarke came to Rutgers-New Brunswick as a graduate student in English. She earned her M.A. in English in 1974. She taught courses in the Urban University Program and discusses educational opportunity programs in the interview. From 1972 to 1974, she taught courses in the English Department at Rutgers. A life-long activist, Clarke discusses her many experiences participating in social movements, including the anti-war and Black Power movements at Howard University, anti-apartheid activism at Rutgers, LGBT activism, feminism and lesbian-feminism, and activism surrounding the defense of Assata Shakur. From 1974 to 1978, she worked in Middlesex County in the Comprehensive Employment and Training Program. In 1978, she returned to Rutgers to study social work, obtaining her M.S.W. in 1980. In 1980, she began working in Student Affairs at Rutgers. In 1992, she served as the founding director of the Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian/Gay Concerns (now called the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities). From 2009 to 2013, she served as the Dean of Students for Livingston Campus. In 2000, she earned her Ph.D. in English. (Read more)
  • Marcia Collins

    Description: Born in 1944, Marcia Collins grew up in Greene in Chenango County, New York.  During her early childhood, her family operated a dairy farm.  After graduating high school, Marcia went to nursing school at Wilson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Johnson City, New York.  During nursing school, she joined the Army Student Nurse Program. Marcia went to basic training for the Army Nurses Corps at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and then worked at Fort Belvoir in Washington, D.C. in pediatrics and intensive care.  Together with a friend through the Buddy System, Marcia volunteered to serve in Vietnam. In Vietnam, Marcia served at the Eighth Field Hospital in Nha Trang in the surgical unit and surgical intensive care and then served in the 91st Evacuation Hospital at Tuy Hoa in the intensive care unit.  She was stationed in Vietnam from December 1966 to December 1967. After her service, Marcia worked briefly at Wilson Memorial Hospital and then got a job at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  Marcia then spent the rest of her career in clinical research, working at Edison Medical Group and then starting her own clinical research business in New Jersey, which she ran with her husband, a medical doctor, for eighteen years.  
  • Jean C. Comeforo

    Description: Mrs. Comeforo was a student and a war worker during WWII.
  • Diane Crothers

    Description: (Part 1) Born in 1946, Diane Crothers was raised in New Britain, Connecticut. Her father worked as a pediatrician, and her mother, a homemaker, became an amateur golfer later in life. She discusses her family's roots and her middle-class upbringing in 1950s and 1960s America. Crothers began her undergraduate education at Jackson College (Tufts). (Parts 1 and 2) In 1965, she volunteered for a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) voter registration project at Miles College in Alabama. (Part 2) She reflects upon her upbringing, college education, civil rights work in Fairfield, Alabama, and gender norms of the 1960s. In 1967, she moved to North Carolina and organized textile workers. She went to the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and eventually earned a degree in 1973. After moving to New York City, she became involved in radical feminism through the Redstockings and co-founded the New York Radical Feminists. She partook in a sit-in at the Ladies Home Journal and helped organize a speak-out and conference on rape. (Parts 2 and 3) She analyzes the ideology of women's liberation, consciousness-raising sessions and actions undertaken to effect change. (Part 3) In 1970, she debated Playboy founder Hugh Hefner on The Dick Cavett Show. She co-founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter with Ann Marie Boylan and helped the journal become affiliated with Rutgers Law School-Newark through the help of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Part 4) Crothers attended Rutgers Law School-Newark from 1971 to 1974 and (Parts 4 and 5) examines her experiences as a law student. After law school, she worked as an affirmative action lawyer at Staten Island Community College. (Parts 5 and 6) She co-founded Project Second Chance, a career development program for women. In Washington, D.C., she went into government work as a Trial Attorney General for the D.C. Office of Corporation Counsel and civil rights attorney at the Labor Department and later Treasury Department. Before retiring, she worked in New York City Government as the Chief Diversity Officer. (Part 6) Crothers reflects upon motherhood, the women's movement, affirmative action and reproductive rights. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Elizabeth D'Angelo

    Description:  Elizabeth "Betsy" Carter D’Angelo was born in Columbus, Texas in 1942. Her father, a veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, served in the U.S. Air Force. The eldest of four children, she grew up in towns and on bases in Texas, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Washington, Newfoundland and Germany. From 1957 to 1961, she spent her high school years in Germany, going to schools in Wiesbaden and then Kaiserslautern. She went to Southwest Texas State College, now Texas State University-San Marcos. She studied literature and business and planned on a career as a secretary, one of the career paths available to women at the time. D'Angelo briefly worked as a secretary at a bank and then joined the Central Intelligence Agency. She worked as a secretary, first in the typing pool in Washington, D.C., and then in the personnel department in the Clandestine Services Department in the Eastern European Division. Returning to Germany in 1966, she worked at the IG Farben Building in Frankfurt and then at the U.S. Embassy in Bonn. There, she met Nick D'Angelo, her future husband, who had volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam War and had been assigned military guard duty for the CIA. Eventually, she and her husband settled in Bayonne, where they raised their three children. She later went back to work, first at the YWCA in Bayonne and then at Jersey City State College.
  • Helen T. Dauster

    Description: Mrs. Dauster was a high school and college student at New Jersey College for Women and worked for the US Army Quartermaster Corps during World War II.
  • Betty Davis

    Description: Betty Davis was born in 1944 in Washington, D.C.  She grew up in Jersey City and Orange, graduating from Orange High School in 1962. From 1962 to 1966, Betty Davis attended Douglass College and majored in political science.  She was active in the local NAACP group.  In the interview, she describes her years at Douglass, including her experiences of being an African American student at Rutgers University. After graduating in 1966, Betty Davis joined the Peace Corps and served in Nigeria. She settled in Toronto, Canada and has spent her career working in computer programming.   Betty Davis' interview is part of a series of interviews called Black on the Banks, named for a conference in 2015 that featured African American alumni of Rutgers University during the 1960s.
  • Kathryn Barber De Mott

    Description: Mrs. De Mott worked as a draftsperson at Eastern Aircraft in Trenton, NJ, during WWII.
  • Gloria Decker

    Description: Gloria Decker was born in Philadelphia in 1925. She grew up in a Lebanese-American household during the Great Depression years. During World War II, she worked as a welder at a shipyard. She joined the Women's Army Corps in 1944. She went to training in Oglethorpe, Georgia and then was stationed in Newport News, Virginia processing troops coming back from overseas. In the interview, she discusses the impact that the Second World War had on her family. During her career, Ms. Decker worked for several companies, including General Motors and Technitrol, and lived in Pennsylvania and then in New Jersey.
  • Dorothy Dempsey

    Description: Dorothy Dempsey was born in 1922 and raised in the Bronx, New York.  During World War II, Ms. Dempsey enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve.  She completed boot camp in Palm Beach, Florida and served during the war years in Boston as a part of the 18th Regiment.  After the war, Ms. Dempsey went to college using the GI Bill at the Rutgers-Newark School of Education and graduated from Kean (1970).  In later years, Ms. Dempsey played an active role in Lyndhurst and throughout the State of New Jersey in promoting the recognition of women veterans.  She designed the "Minutewoman" statue in the Arneytown Cemetery to honor women that served in all of America's wars.
  • Pearl Drelich

    Description: Pearl Drelich was born in Mansfield, Massachusetts in 1924, the daughter of Jewish Lithuanian parents.  During World War II, Drelich enlisted in the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and served in the medical corps as a nurse in military hospitals across the United States.  During the Korean War, she was briefly called up but was discharged due to pregnancy.  Drelich would raise a family with her husband Arthur until her retirement in New Jersey.
  • Jean Carlough Eschenfelder

    Description: Jean Carlough Eschenfelder was born in 1928 on a farm in Northern New Jersey, growing up in Maywood Township.  She attended New Jersey College for Women (NJC) from 1945 until 1949, majoring in music.  After her undergraduate years, she lived and worked in the Rutgers area while her husband, a Rutgers graduate, attended graduate school.  Her and her family lived in various areas across the East Coast until she moved to California, where she lived and was involved with local organizations. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2014-2015 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Frieda Finklestein Feller

    Description: Frieda Finklestein Feller was born in Newark in 1920. In the interview, she traces her family's Jewish roots in Germany, Bohemia and Romania. She grew up in depression-era Newark, attending Maple Avenue School and Weequahic High School. She went to the New Jersey College for Women, where she majored in French and Spanish and graduated in 1941. At NJC, she met her future husband Robert M. Feller, RC '41, who served in the Army in the European Theater during World War II. From 1942 to 1945, she worked in the New York branch of the U.S. War Service Office of Censorship, in Codes, Cyphers, and Secret Inks. Her personal efforts led to the apprehension of one operative, which she discusses in the interview. After the war, she and her husband raised their children in Highland Park. She completed her master's degree in 1976 and got her supervisor's certificate. For fourteen years, she supervised student-teachers in foreign languages and taught classes at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.
  • Pamela Fessler

    Description: Pamela Fessler was born in 1953 in Teaneck, New Jersey. She grew up in Hillsdale, New Jersey, where she attended St. John the Baptist Elementary School. From 1967 to 1971, she attended high school at Immaculate Heart Academy. Following high school, she attended Douglass College at Rutgers University. She majored in American Studies and pursued her interest in journalism by joining the Douglass newspaper, the Caellian, eventually becoming the managing editor. After graduating in the Class of 1975, she worked as a reporter for The Bergen Record. Fessler attended graduate school at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse and earned a master's in public administration, after which she worked in Washington, D.C. at the Office of Management and Budget (OBM). Following that, she became the Senior Reporter and Editor of the Congressional Quarterly Magazine. In 1993, she began working at NPR News and has served as NPR's Chief Elections Editor, Washington Desk Editor and National Desk Editor. She has covered voting issues, poverty and philanthropy. Fessler is the author of Carville's Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice (Liveright Publishing, 2020), which explores the little-known history of the Carville leprosarium.   (Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley/NPR)
  • Dorothy M. Field

    Description: Rev. Field was an undergraduate at NJC during World War II.
  • Linda Flynn

    Description: Linda Flynn, PhD, RN, FAAN, serves as dean and professor of the Rutgers School of Nursing. In part one (Jan. 14, 2021), Dr. Flynn traces her background growing up Washington, D.C. and attending the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She began her nursing career in labor and delivery and then in acute care. For nearly thirty years, she worked in community health and Medicare-certified home health. She earned her master's in community health nursing and PhD in Nursing Research from the Rutgers School of Nursing. She served as a professor at the University of Colorado and University of Maryland-Baltimore, before returning to Rutgers in 2017. In the interview, she traces the early response at Rutgers and at the School of Nursing to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as shifting to remote learning in classrooms and adapting clinical placements to a virtual model. She talks about the toll the pandemic took on the student body educationally, as well as for students working in the health care profession, and how the school responded in terms of curriculum and support structures. She discusses the evolution of clinical placements at different times in 2020. In part two (July 18, 2022), Dr. Flynn discusses the role of the School of Nursing in the VAX Corps and the establishment of vaccine clinics in Newark and New Brunswick, as well as the creation of the Student Nurse Reserve Corps to help during the nursing shortage. She examines changes in curriculum in terms of mental health, population health, public health, and diversity, inclusion and equity. She talks about how the pandemic has affected the nursing profession overall and undergraduate education in nursing specifically. This oral history is a part of Paul Clemens and Johanna Schoen's research into Rutgers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Eva Fontanez

    Description: Eva Fontanez was born in the Bronx, New York in 1959. Her parents were born in Puerto Rico and moved to the Bronx after having their first child. During her childhood, Eva Fontanez lived in the Bronx, in Elizabeth, Newark and Passaic, New Jersey and in Brooklyn, before returning to the Bronx. She grew up in a Pentecostal household in which her stepfather was a Pentecostal pastor and her mother, a seamstress by trade, raised eight children. After graduating from Bushwick High School in Brooklyn, she briefly attended María Eugenio de Hostos Community College before entering the workforce. In 1980, she and her mother and younger sister moved to Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. After nine years of living in Puerto Rico, she moved to Plainfield with family members. In 1990, she got a three-year grant-based job at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) and spent the rest of her career there in variety of roles, including as staff in Student Activities and Multicultural Affairs. At RVCC, Ms. Fontanez served as the founding advisor of the Orgullo Latino Club and helped to start CRECER, a program that began in 1996 to encourage underserved youth from area high schools to attend college. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, she spent nine months in the San Juan area of Puerto Rico helping in relief efforts and working for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in a call center. Pictured in the photo: Eva Fontanez (front, center), Kevin Rosero (front, right) and students from Orgullo Latino Club attend a Generation 51 march in Washington, DC in support of Puerto Rican statehood.  This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Jeanne Fox

    Description: Born in 1952, Jeanne Fox grew up in Maple Shade in Burlington County, New Jersey. In part one of her oral history, she discusses her family history, as well as her upbringing, influences and education. She attended Douglass College and majored in philosophy. While an undergraduate, she served in the Douglass Student Government Association as president, vice president and treasurer, as student representative on the Rutgers Board of Governors and as a University Senator. In part two, she delves into graduating from Douglass in 1975 and earning her J.D. at Rutgers Law School-Camden. She co-founded the Rutgers-Camden Community Women's Center and served as a University Senator and student representative on the Board of Trustees during law school. From 1981 to 1991, she worked as a regulatory officer at the Public Utility Commission (PUC) and went on to head the Solid Waste and Water and Sewer Divisions and serve as Chief of Staff. She then became Deputy Commissioner, Commissioner and Chief of Staff of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy from 1991 to 1994. In 1994, she was appointed as the Regional Administrator in Region II of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, working in the Clinton administration until 2001. Appointed by Governor Jim McGreevey, Fox served as President of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU), formerly known as the PUC, from 2002 to 2010 and as Commissioner from 2010 to 2014. She traces the development of energy efficiency and clean energy policies during her tenure at the BPU. Throughout the interviews, Fox analyzes state and federal politics, energy and environmental regulations in New Jersey and at the federal level, and issues surrounding environmental justice and climate change. Fox was involved in the National Women's Political Caucus and Women's Political Caucus of New Jersey, as well as the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. At Rutgers, she served on the Board of Trustees and has held various positions in the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College. She has taught public policy courses at Rutgers, Columbia and Princeton.
  • Nancy Petersen Godfrey

    Description: Ms. Godfrey served in the WAVES at the Wildwood Naval Air Station during World War II.
  • Lucille Miller Goff

    Description: Ms. Miller Goff graduated from the New Jersey College for Women a year after World War II broke out. During the war, she traveled across the country with her husband, who worked in the aircraft industry.
  • Patricia Graham

    Description: Patricia Graham was born in Saluda, South Carolina in 1949.  She grew up in Philadelphia and then moved to New Jersey during high school.  Dr. Graham graduated from West Side High School in Newark in 1966.  She attended Essex County Community College and then Rutgers-Newark, before transferring to Livingston College at Rutgers-New Brunswick.  During college, Dr. Graham participated in the Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program.  Majoring in urban studies and secondary education, Dr. Graham graduated from Livingston College in 1972.  She went on to earn her Master's degree in education at Antioch College and Ed.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  From 1977 to 2013, Dr. Graham served in various positions at East Stroudsburg University, where she is now a professor emeritus.
  • Annette Greenblatt

    Description: Mrs. Greenblatt was a student and war worker during WWII. After the war, she helped Holocaust survivors resettle in S. Jersey.
  • Marie Griffin

    Description: Mrs. Griffin worked as a Red Cross nurse's aide during WWII.
  • Kristina Grkovic

    Description: Since 2020, Kristina Grkovic has been a student-athlete at Rutgers with an undergraduate major in supply chain management. In part one (September 1, 2021), Grkovic traces her background growing up in Belgrade, Serbia. When she was nine, her family moved to Sudan, Africa, following her father, who works for the United Nations. Then, the family moved to Italy, where Grkovic began playing volleyball at the age of twelve and moved up to competition at the club level in Rome. She discusses her experiences living in Rome in the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began and then the process she undertook to obtain her visa, travel to the U.S. and quarantine upon arrival in August 2020. She relates what it was like being on campus in the fall of 2020 and practicing with the Rutgers Women's Volleyball Team and the uncertainty surrounding the fall 2020 season, which was delayed until the spring of 2021. She discusses the safety protocols and testing requirements while traveling and playing matches in the spring of 2021. In part two (October 10, 2022), Grkovic delves into the volleyball team's fall 2021 season and changes on the team. She discusses her future aspirations to play professional volleyball and expects to graduate with a degree from the Rutgers Business School in 2024 or 2025. This oral history is a part of Paul Clemens and Johanna Schoen's research into Rutgers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Kamlu Gulrajani

    Description: Kamlu Gulrajani was born in 1946 in Karachi, in what was then India and is now Pakistan. In the interview, she discusses the exploitation and abuse faced by her mother from her in-laws as a result of the dowry system and the stigma endured by her mother as a result of being separated from her father and later getting divorced. In 1950, Kamlu moved to Bandra in Bombay, now Mumbai, with her mother and brother. She attended parochial schools and then went to college at Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, where she studied commerce. In the interview, she discusses languages that she learned while growing up (Hindi, Marathi, Sindhi and English) as well as Indian holidays and Sindhi Hindu festivals and customs. She worked as a bank teller and then officer at Indian Overseas Bank. Following their father, her brother immigrated to the U.S. in 1979 and settled in Queens. She followed in 1981 and her mother in 1984. Kamlu shares her experiences becoming acclimated to life in the U.S. and the challenges she encountered in entering the American workforce. She continued her education, shifted to information technology, and worked for several major corporations and a hospital. After being laid off during the financial crisis of 2008, she decided on early retirement. In the mid-1980s, she moved to East Brunswick, where her brother had relocated. Once in New Jersey, she became involved in community service through organizations such as Sathya Sai Baba, Elijah’s Promise, East Brunswick Public Library, East Brunswick Senior Center and YMCA. She serves as an officer in Agraj Seva Kendra, an Indian cultural organization in Middlesex County, and participates in the Indian American Club of Rossmoor in Monroe Township. A student of Brahma Kumaris, a world spiritual organization, she leads meditation and mindfulness sessions. In the interview, she describes her experiences as a Sindhi Hindu, difficulties she encountered in the workplace, the growth of the South Asian population in Central Jersey, and her own personal and spiritual development over the course of her life and recently during the pandemic. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Doreen Hagerty

    Description: Doreen Hagerty was born in 1935 in Newark, New Jersey.  She grew up in the Roseville section of Newark and graduated from Barringer High School.  Ms. Hagerty attended Douglass College and participated in a joint program in which she majored in Industrial Engineering at the College of Engineering.  After graduating in 1957, Ms. Hagerty lived and worked in Connecticut, California and Nebraska, before eventually settling in Illinois.  She earned a master's degree at Northwestern University.  Ms. Hagerty enjoyed a career in management engineering in the health care industry.   
  • Rosita Hamilton

    Description: Rosita Hamiton was born in 1955 in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother and maternal grandmother moved from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico to New York in the early 1950s. Her father grew up in Guánica, Puerto Rico and moved to New York City when he was young. Rosita Hamilton spent her childhood and young adult years in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. Her mother worked as seamstress and participated in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Her father was a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Hamilton attended St. Barbara’s Roman Catholic School and then St. Michael’s High School. She went to Queens College, eventually earning her bachelor’s degree in 1986. She was active in the women's movement, joining the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1972, and in the anti-Vietnam War movement. She began her teaching career at Catholic schools in New York City. After moving to New Jersey, she taught at St. Helena in Edison and then spent the rest of her career teaching history at Linwood Middle School and in the high school in North Brunswick. She was a member of the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). Since retiring in 2016, she has stayed active in the women's movement and in organizations such as Indivisible and the ACLU. Currently residing in Monroe Township, she previously lived in Piscataway and South Brunswick. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Elizabeth Bacon Harris

    Description: Mrs. Harris served as a nurse in the Army in the United States during WWII.
  • Janice Janka Hartmann

    Description: Janice Janka Hartmann was born in Philadelphia in 1954. In the interview, she discusses her family's Polish heritage and traditions that were carried on in her family. She grew up in New Jersey in Pennsauken and Moorestown and went to parochial schools. From 1972 to 1976, she attended Rutgers College in the first coed class. She recalls student life in Davidson Hall, memorable professors, including Sam Baily and Tom Forstenzer, and involvement in the Polish Student Social Club, which hosted a holiday party attended by University President Edward Bloustein. She majored in history and took classes in business and Spanish. During her junior year, she studied abroad in Mexico. She went on to earn a Master of Business Administration at New York University and become a certified public accountant. Early in her career, she lived and worked in Panama, where her husband was stationed while serving in the U.S. Army. Over the course of her career, she worked in public accounting and mergers and acquisitions. More recently, she has been involved in the Old Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, and she and her sister operate a greeting card business. This interview is a part of the Pioneering Women of Rutgers College Project, an oral history project documenting the experiences of the first women to attend Rutgers College after it became coeducational in 1972. The project is a collaboration between the Rutgers Oral History Archives, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, and Institute for Women's Leadership. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Judith Harper Hassert

    Description: Mrs. Hassert worked as a librarian at Camp Kilmer during World War II.
  • Laura Hedley

    Description: Laura Hedley was born in 1963 in Montclair, New Jersey.  Ms. Hedley's grandparents, Catherine and Frederick Ingram, worked as staff for the Muñoz family, who owned Kip's Castle from 1926 to 1975, along with another property on Highland Avenue.  From 1945 to 1971, Catherine Ingram worked as a private duty nurse for the Muñoz family, and Fred worked as a caretaker of the grounds.  They lived in Kip's Castle with their children, Nancy Ingram Nash, who is Laura Hedley's mother, and Fred Ingram, who eventually took over as groundskeeper for Kip's Castle.  Growing up in Montclair, Ms. Hedley spent time at Kip's Castle with her grandparents.  Ms. Hedley attended Montclair State and lived in Toms River, until relocating to Maryland.  In the interview, Ms. Hedley discusses her recollections of her family members and time spent at Kip's Castle. This interview was made possible in part through a grant ROHA received from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
  • Joan Yunker Higgins

    Description: Mrs. Higgins did volunteer work in hospitals on the home front during World War II and relocated to several military bases during the war as a military dependant.
  • Linda Dale Hoffa

    Linda Dale Hoffa was born in 1954 in Camden, New Jersey. (Part One) She grew up in Burlington and Camden Counties, living primarily in Haddon Township. During her youth, she went to public schools and was involved in the Methodist Church in Westmont and athletics. In 1971, she lived in Holland as an exchange student with the American Field Service. From 1972 to 1976, she attended Rutgers College on the Presidential Scholarship. She discusses being in the first coed class at the college, living in various dorms on campus, being a preceptor during her sophomore year, transitioning to majoring in history, volunteering with Rutgers Community Action, completing a women's studies certificate, and working as a student representative on the University's implementation of Title IX. During her junior year, she studied abroad at the University of Glasgow. Following her studies, she traveled to Germany and South America and spent time in Haiti. After graduation from Rutgers College, she went to Rutgers Law School-Newark from 1976 to 1979. She became involved in the Women's Rights Litigation Clinic headed by Nadine Taub, working on a number of cases including the landmark case Tomkins v. Public Service Elec. & Gas Co (1977). (Part Two) After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Dickinson R. Debevoise, who had just been appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. She then went into private practice and, in the oral history, examines experiences early in her career, including passing the bar exam in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, becoming a litigator, and handling trials at a time when there were few female lawyers in the courtroom. From 1984 to 2011, she served in the Criminal Division of the United States Attorney’s Office (USOA) in Philadelphia, starting as Assistant U.S. Attorney. She discusses trying cases, being a working mother, and becoming Senior Litigation Counsel and the teaching that entailed in the Department of Justice (DOJ). (Read More)
  • Marge Howes

    Description: Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Marge Howes grew up in Delhi. She went to public schools and became an avid athlete. She attended the University of Cincinnati, where she played three varsity sports: field hockey, basketball and softball. She became part of the Chi Omega sorority, majored in physical education, and minored in health and biology. She graduated in 1958 on the Dean’s List and received the C-Ring for Women’s Leadership Award in recognition for her leadership and service. After graduation, she landed her first job at Douglass College at Rutgers University, where she started working in September 1958 in the Department of Physical and Health Education. She started the interscholastic sports programs in basketball, field hockey and softball and coached the teams. She became basketball chair in New Jersey of the Division of Girls and Women's Sports (DGWS) and taught coaches in high schools and colleges the evolving rules of the sport. After leaving Rutgers, she moved to Connecticut, becoming the basketball chair for the state, officiating games, coaching basketball at several colleges, and coaching her childrens' athletic teams. Later, she became involved in supporting women's basketball at the University of Connecticut and the University of Cincinatti. In 1997, Howes was inducted in the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame. Her Hall of Fame inscription reads: "Marge Howes was a pioneer in women's basketball ... Women's basketball today is a reflection of Howes' solo efforts in the sport nearly 40 years ago."    Listen to the ROHA Spotlight Podcast of Marge Howes by clicking on the Podcast tab on the main menu.
  • Betty F. Hummel

    Description: Betty Forman Hummel was a lifelong resident of Dunellen. She graduated from Middlebury College in 1940. She worked for the family business, Van Blaricom & Company in Dunellen. She then went into education and spent twenty-three years as a physical education teacher and guidance counselor in the South River and Hunterdon Central School Districts. Betty was married to Nick Hummel for sixty years. Betty died on March 21, 2018 at the age of one hundred. 
  • Flora Campbell Jespersen

    Description: Mrs. Jespersen was a student at the New Jersey College for Women during World War II. She participated in several volunteer organizations, such as the USO and Red Cross, and was a war worker at Camp Kilmer (Piscataway, NJ) and Johnson & Johnson.
  • Ida Perlmutter Kamich

    Description: Mrs. Kamich served as a Women's Army Corps dietician attached to the 30th General Hospital in the ETO during World War II.
  • Janice Karesh

    Description: Ms. Karesh was a student and USO volunteer during WWII.
  • Cynthia Kastner

    Cynthia Kastner was born in Rhode Island in 1948. She grew up in Tiverton, Rhode Island, until her family moved to Irvington, New Jersey. She attended public schools in Irvington, first Chancellor Avenue School and then Irvington High School. From 1966 to 1970, she attended the Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Sciences, where she majored in economics and joined the service sorority Alpha Iota Delta. In the summer of 1969, she served as an intern at the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. She briefly attended Cornell Law School and then transferred to Seton Hall Law, earning her J.D. in 1973. After working briefly as an associate at a law firm in Somerville, she got a job at AT&T in 1973. In her career at AT&T, she held numerous positions, including as a litigation attorney working on the Department of Justice antitrust suit to break up the Bell System, as the Northeast Region General Attorney at AT&T Information Systems, at AT&T Network Services, as Vice President and General Counsel at AT&T Consumer Products, and at Lucent Technologies. She served on the planning and zoning boards of Long Hill Township, where she lived with her spouse until moving to Florida.
  • Mary Frank Kelly

    Description: Born in 1954, Mary Frank Kelly grew up in Bloomfield, New Jersey. In the interview, she discusses her maternal family's Irish and Scottish roots and paternal family's Slovakian and Ukrainian roots. Her parents were both college educated. Growing up, she participated in sports and Girl Scouts and played the French horn in band, wind ensemble and orchestra. She went to the Rutgers College of Pharmacy from 1972 to 1977 and was in the first coed class at Rutgers College. At Rutgers, she played basketball on the newly-formed team until she suffered a knee injury. She played second chair French horn in the wind ensemble. In the oral history, she discusses dorm life at Davidson Hall, meeting her future spouse, memorable professors in pharmacy classes, concerts on campus, and favorite restaurants in New Brunswick. During college, she worked summers at hospitals, which led to her pursuing a career in hospital pharmacy. Over the course of her career, she worked at Hackettstown Community Hospital (now Hackettstown Medical Center) and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. She delves into taking the pharmacy licensing exam, different roles carried out by pharmacists working in hospitals, gender in the profession, changes in the handling of controlled substances, challenges working in a hospital setting, and the consolidation of health care networks. She was involved in the Warren County Committee and the library board in Hackettstown.
  • Ann Kelsey

    Description: Ann Kelsey was born in Kokomo, Indiana in 1946. At the age of five years old, her family moved to Riverside, California, where she spent her childhood. At a young age, Ms. Kelsey had a strong interest in literature and reading. She volunteered at her local library in order to obtain a Girl Scouts badge and then eventually worked at the library. She graduated from Polytechnic High in 1964 and attended the University of California, Riverside. In her time at UC Riverside, she majored in English and anthropology, developing a strong interest in Vietnamese history and culture due to the influence of her professor Gene Anderson. After graduating from UC Riverside, she attended UCLA, earning a Master's in Library Science. At UCLA, she witnessed the growing anti-war movement that was sweeping across the country. After an Army Special Services recruiter came to the library school, she volunteered for service in Vietnam. In 1969-1970, Kelsey served as a civilian librarian for Special Services, which oversaw arts and crafts, entertainment, library and service club sections. First, she managed the U.S. Army Headquarters Area Command Library in Saigon, and then she worked at Cam Ranh Bay, overseeing four libraries at Cam Ranh, the Sixth Convalescent Center, Dong Ba Thin and Nha Trang. Later, Kelsey became involved in efforts to help Vietnamese refugees immigrate to the United States. During her career, Kelsey worked at libraries in Elmont and Queensborough, New York and Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. From 1975 to 1983, she served as the principal librarian at the Morris County Free Library, during which time she coordinated the implementation of automation. She then held the position of associate director of the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center at the County College of Morris from 1983 to 2009. In 1985, she co-founded DocuMentors, which specializes in automation planning and system procurement for libraries. She has worked as a consultant for BASF Corporation. She has been active in veterans' organizations and involved in documenting the oral histories of veterans.
  • Stephanie Kip

    Description: Stephanie Kip was born in Ossining, New York in 1954.  She is the great granddaughter of Frederic Ellsworth Kip and Charlotte Bishop Williams Kip, who built Kip's Castle between 1902 and 1905 and lived in the castle until 1926.  In the interview, she discusses F.E. Kip's business ventures and inspirations for the design of Kip's Castle, which used to be called Kypsburg.  She recounts a story told to her by her father, Rudolph Kip, Jr., who visited Kip's Castle as a very young child, and traces the history of the ownership of the property.  Stephanie Kip visited Kip's Castle during the ownership of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.  She was married at Kip's Castle in 2010 and has visited many times. This interview was made possible in part through a grant ROHA received from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.
  • Ruth Anne Koenick

    Description: Ruth Anne Koenick was born in 1949 in Washington, D.C.  During her childhood, she attended Rock Creek Forest Elementary, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, before attending Bethesda Chevy Chase High School from 1963 to 1967.  Ms. Koenick attended the University of Maryland, where she co-founded what is credited as being the first rape crisis center on a college campus in the United States.  With a major in criminology and a minor in psychology, she graduated in 1972.  She then went to graduate school, first at the University of Maryland and then at George Washington University, where she earned a master's degree in student affairs in 1976.  Over the course of her career, Ms. Koenick has held numerous positions, including working as a social worker in the Department of Social Services at Roosevelt Hospital in Metuchen and coordinator at the Rape Crisis Intervention Center at Roosevelt Hospital.  In 1991, she became the director of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance (formerly Sexual Assault Services and Crime Victim Assistance) at Rutgers University.  During her time as director, she worked as a member of the ACPA Presidential Task Force on Sexual Violence in Higher Education in 2014, as well as developing a statewide Campus Sexual Assault Victim's Bill of Rights in New Jersey.  Ms. Koenick retired in 2016.  She has published numerous works and has taught classes at Rutgers in the Graduate School of Education, School of Social Work and the Department of Women's and Gender Studies.
  • Beka Kojadinovic

    Description: Jelisaveta "Beka" Kojadinovic was a student-athlete at Rutgers from 2017 to 2021 on the Women's Volleyball Team. She was born in 1998 in Belgrade, Serbia. She began playing volleyball at the age of six and played at the club level in Serbia. In part one (September 14, 2021), she discusses her decision to come to Rutgers, transition to life as a student-athlete, experiences during the first two seasons playing volleyball at Rutgers in 2017 and 2018, and the new coaching staff in 2020. In the spring of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, she traveled back to Serbia for six months and returned to Rutgers in the summer of 2020 for the fall season. She explores testing and practicing protocols in the fall of 2020 and her experiences during that season, which was delayed until the spring of 2021. She weighs her thought process about continuing volleyball professionally versus entering the workforce in Serbia or in the U.S. In part two (May 5, 2022), Kojadinovic talks about her undergraduate degree and master's in financial analysis at the Rutgers Business School and plans to return to Serbia to work as a data analyst, while also pursing professional volleyball in the future. She explores the fall season in 2021 and the relaxing of testing requirements and other protocols, both as an athlete and as a student. She also relates general sentiments regarding vaccines and mask requirements in Serbia. This oral history is a part of Paul Clemens and Johanna Schoen's research into Rutgers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Sue Kozel

    Description: Sue Kozel was born in Somerville, New Jersey in 1958. Growing up in Dunellen, she went to public schools. During high school, she played tennis on the boys' tennis team, as there was no team for young women. She also developed interests in music and journalism.Kozel began attending Douglass College in 1976 and then transferred to Livingston College, graduating in 1981 with a B.A. in labor studies and political science. She wrote for The Caellian at Douglass, in particular a column called the "Feminist Perspective," and for The Medium at Livingston. She served as a University Senator and student representative to the Board of Trustees. In the interviews, she discusses the atmosphere at Livingston College and influential professors, including Gerald Pomper, John Leggett, Dee Garrison, Sherry Gorelick, Wells Keddie, Charley Flint, Tony Vega and Norman Markowitz. She reflects about being a first-generation college student going to college on the Educational Opportunity Fund. As an undergraduate and a graduate student, Kozel was a part of the movement against apartheid in South Africa, pushing for the divestiture of University funds from corporations doing business with South Africa. She was a part of the Coalition in Solidarity with South African Liberation (CISSAL) as an undergrad. As an alum in 1985, she chaired the University Senate Investment Advisory Committee, partook in the occupation of the Student Center, and spoke at the decisive Board of Governors meeting about the imperative of Rutgers' divestment. In 1979-1980, Kozel became involved with the Alliance for Rutgers Federation to oppose academic reorganization, which ultimately occurred with the formation of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in 1981. She also was active in the Committee to Organize Student Workers (COSW) and in the movement against tuition increases. At her Livingston College graduation in 1981, Kozel gave a commencement address.
  • Barbara Waters Kramer

    Description: Mrs. Kramer worked in public relations in the Eastern Aircraft Company during WWII.
  • Debora La Torre

    Description: Debora "Debbie" La Torre was born in 1982 in Lima, Peru. In the mid-1980s, her father immigrated to the United States, and she and her mother soon followed. The family settled initially in East Newark and then in Kearny. La Torre graduated from Kearny High School in 2000 and enlisted in the U.S. Army. After basic training, she was stationed in Oahu, Hawaii with the 58th Military Police Company as a combat medic. In 2004, she deployed with her unit to Afghanistan to Bagram Air Base, where she rotated between serving as a combat medic on patrols, at the combat support hospital, and in the detention center that held enemy prisoners of war. Following her deployment in Afghanistan, La Torre was stationed in Germany with the 67th Combat Support Hospital in Würzburg and then the 212th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Kaiserslautern, during which time she worked in the emergency room at the military hospital at  Landstuhl. After deciding to get out of the Army, La Torre went to nursing school on the GI Bill at Bloomfield College and then got her Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN). She joined the Army Nurse Corps Reserves and currently serves, at the rank of captain, as a medical readiness officer. She is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) and a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-BC). During nursing school, La Torre became involved in the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). In 2020, she became president of the New Jersey Chapter of NAHN. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Marie Lattari

    Description: Marie Lattari was born in New York City in 1923. Her parents were born in Ukraine and immigrated as teenagers to New York. She grew up in the Yorkville section on the Upper East Side. Her father worked as a blacksmith for the city transit system, and her parents were very involved in the Ukrainian community on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She grew up during the Great Depression and went to public schools in New York City. During World War II, she worked as a civilian employee for the Army Exchange Service in the Special Services Division. She began there as a secretary and then managed the classified materials section in the division. She and her husband, a World War II veteran, raised their five children in the Bronx, New Rochelle and Denville, New Jersey. Later, she became a braille transcriber.
  • Barbara Lee

    Description: Barbara A. Lee is a Distinguished Professor of Human Resource Management at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR). She was born in 1949 in Newton, New Jersey. Growing up in Newton and Andover Township, she attended public schools. She went to the University of Vermont, where she majored in English and joined the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She was inducted in Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. After graduating in 1971, she went to graduate school at Ohio State University, earning a M.A. in English in 1972 and Ph.D. in higher education administration in 1977. She attended law school at the Georgetown University Law Center, receiving a J.D. in 1982. Dr. Lee became a professor at the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers in 1982.  In 1984, she joined the faculty in the Department of Industrial Relations and Human Resources at SMLR. Over the years, she has taught classes on employment law, labor law and higher education law. She is the author of numerous articles and books, including The Law of Higher Education, A Legal Guide for Student Affairs Professionals, and Academics in Court: The Consequences of Faculty Discrimination Litigation. As an administrator, Dr. Lee has served as department chair, associate dean, associate provost and dean, as well as director of the Center for Women and Work. In 2015, she became the Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, a post she held until June 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, she worked with others in the Emergency Operations Center to manage the University's response and the shift to remote instruction.
  • Carol Levin

    Description: Ms. Levin served in the Women's Army Corps in the ETO during World War II.
  • Gertrude Jay Lewis

    Description: Mrs. Lewis was a high school student during World War II. After attaining her undergraduate degree from the Rutgers School of Business, she spent her career in computer science, working for the Center for Computer and Information Services at Rutgers University from 1976 until her retirement in 1990.
  • Taylor Lorchak

    Description: Taylor Lorchak is a registered nurse, combat medic in the Army National Guard, and alumna of the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden. Born in Bristol, Pennsylvania in 1994, Lorchak grew up in Levittown, Philadelphia and Glassboro, New Jersey. Homeschooled during her youth, she trained as a musician and played the French horn at the Settlement Music School and in the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. She attended The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and majored in performance. Influenced by her brother and sister-in-law, who are nurses, she decided that she wanted pursue an accelerated second degree nursing program and, while an undergraduate at TCNJ, started taking nursing prerequisites. After graduating with a B.A. from TCNJ in 2016, she enlisted in the Army National Guard. She went to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood and advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston, completing the 68W Combat Medic course. She served as a noncommissioned officer in the 250th Brigade Support Battalion, Charlie Company, and worked as an emergency medical technician in civilian life. In 2019, she began the fifteen-month-long accelerated nursing degree program at the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden. During her last semester in nursing school, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Lorchak experienced the shift to remote instruction as a student. At the same time, her National Guard unit was activated as a part of New Jersey's crisis response, and she deployed to the Menlo Park Veterans Memorial Home, where she served as a medic. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rutgers-Camden in 2020 and soon after became a registered nurse. Currently, she serves in the National Guard in Pennsylvania and works as a nurse at WellSpan Health. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2021 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Rebecca Lubetkin

    Description: Rebecca Lubetkin was born in 1938. She grew up in Kenilworth and Millburn, New Jersey. She received her B.A. at Barnard College in 1960 and master's degree in political science at Rutgers in 1961, after which she worked as a political science instructor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics until 1964. In 1975, Lubetkin returned to Rutgers, where she founded and directed the Training Institute for Sex Desegregation of the Public Schools, which later became known as the Consortium for Educational Equity. Lubetkin and her staff developed training programs to assist schools in implementing gender equity in accordance with Title IX and New Jersey statutes. From 1993 to 2000, she also served as the associate director of equity of the Rutgers Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education. Lubetkin is a Professor Emerita at Rutgers University. In 1971, she became active in the National Organization for Women (NOW). She was a member of the Essex County and Morris County Chapters of NOW. In 1995, she served as a delegate to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. She hosted New Directions for Women, a television program produced by Morris County NOW. She co-chairs the Holocaust Council of Greater MetroWest and serves as a national board member of the Veteran Feminists of America. Lubetkin is featured in Feminists Who Changed America, edited by Barbara Love. She and her husband have two daughters.
  • Adrienne Mandel

    Description: Part 1 - Adrienne Abramson Mandel was born in Irvington, New Jersey in 1936. She grew up in Hillside, New Jersey, and attended Hillside High School. Ms. Mandel devoted much of her youth to the B'nai B'rith Girls, one of the youth arms of the B'nai B'rith Jewish service organization. In 1954, Ms. Mandel enrolled in Rutgers-Newark to study pre-law. She graduated in 1958 and married her husband, Manny, in November of that year while also working as a parole officer in Camden. By the early 1960s, Ms. Mandel had moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and raised her children while working part-time in Detroit and doing volunteer work for the League of Women Voters in Cleveland. After Ms. Mandel's husband finished graduate school, he was offered a job with the National Office of the B'nai B'rith Youth Organization in Washington D.C. In 1972, Ms. Mandel and her family moved to Silver Spring, Maryland.   Part 2 - Adrienne Mandel began her political career in Washington, DC, after moving to Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1972. In the following few years, Ms. Mandel started working for various federally-funded civil service departments in Montgomery County. She had gotten a job at the Holiday Park Senior Center, where she worked with the recreation center programs for senior citizens, until moving to a position in the Office of State Affairs in Montgomery County. In October of 1984, Ms. Mandel began her work as a lobbyist in the Office of State Affairs, where she worked for ten years, aiding in supporting the State Delegates in Annapolis with department research. She would go on to run as a Democrat for one of the Delegate seats of Montgomery County in 1994. She was elected and built a distinguished career. She became President of the Women's Caucus a few years later, dedicating herself to women's issues and community advocacy. In 1997, Ms. Mandel pioneered a new driver's licensing law for the State of Maryland, which extended the requirements to earn a driver's license. Her work on this new law gave way to other states passing similar laws in 1997. She also contributed to solving Maryland's nursing crisis, crafting legislation to give the hospitals the nurses they desperately needed and expanding Maryland's healthcare benefits. Ms. Mandel retired in November of 2015. She participated in the Women's March in 2017 with her daughter and continues to express her support for women's issues to this day.
  • Lois Manning

    Description: Lois Manning was born in western Pennsylvania and served as a nurse during the Second World War.  After the war, she lived in Annandale, New Jersey (since 1949), and traveled extensively across the world.
  • Terre Martin

    Terre Martin was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1947. In the interview, she discusses her parents' experiences emigrating from Italy and settling in Newark. Her father owned a barber shop in South Orange, and her mother worked as a seamstress. She grew up in Maplewood and went to school at Clinton School, South Orange Junior High, and Columbia High School. At Douglass College from 1965 to 1969, she majored in Italian and recalls her Italian professor, Maria Teresa Moevs, along with her chemistry professor, Dr. Schombert. She describes Douglass traditions and changes in student life during that time period. Living at Gibbons, she became involved in campus activities, organizing the Soph-Frosh Picnic one year and serving as the house chair her senior year. While an undergraduate, she met her future husband, Douglas, who graduated from the Ag School in 1967 and then served in the Navy in Vietnam. After graduating in 1969, she and her husband moved to St. Louis, where he served as a naval recruiter. Returning to New Jersey, she took care of her three daughters, all of whom are alumni of Rutgers University, and volunteered with the Jaycettes. Over the course of her career, she has worked as a newspaper reporter, in public relations at the Sparta School District, and at Rutgers University in Admissions, the Office of Print and Electronic Communication, and the Office of Community Affairs. Active in Douglass alumnae affairs, she co-chaired the Douglass 100th Anniversary Committee and has been an active member of her class. In the interview, she analyzes changes at Douglass College and Rutgers University over the past fifty years. She states in her interview, "The one constant in all our lives--we can always come home to Rutgers."
  • Edie Meeks

    Description:   Mary "Edie" Meeks was born in 1944 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She grew up in South Minneapolis, attending Visitation School, Christ the King and Holy Angels Academy.  Meeks attended Saint Mary's School of Nursing, a part of what is now the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota.  After graduating in 1965, she joined the Frontier Apostles missionaries and volunteered at a local hospital in British Columbia.  In 1967, Edie moved to Los Angeles and became immersed in the counterculture.  After her brother was drafted, Meeks joined the Army Nurses Corps and was commissioned as a second lieutenant.  She went to basic training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, worked at Fort Ord in California, and volunteered to go to Vietnam.  From July 1968 to January 1969, Meeks worked as an Army nurse at the Third Field Hospital in Saigon in the intensive care recovery unit.  From January 1969 to July 1969, Meeks was stationed at the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  She first worked in intensive care recovery and then in the medical unit, treating soldiers suffering from malaria, fevers and other illnesses.  After returning from Vietnam, she worked at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis-McChord. Following her military service, Meeks spent her career in nursing, including twenty-five years at a hospital in Cold Spring, New York.  After not talking about her military service for many years, Meeks has become an advocate for the recognition of women veterans.  She has worked with the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation.  Headed by Diane Carlson Evans, the foundation succeeded in the establishment of the Vietnam Women's Memorial, a bronze statue designed by Glenna Goodacre, on November 11, 1993.
  • Jennifer Messer

    Description: Jennifer Messer was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1969. Her father was an alumnus and long-time employee of Rutgers. She grew up in Piscataway and attended public schools. In the interview, she discusses living for six years in a building located on the grounds of the Rutgers University President's House at 1245 River Road in Piscataway on the Busch Campus. She recalls getting to know the University President Edward Bloustein and his spouse Ruth Ellen Steinman Bloustein, sneaking under the fence to watch football games at the stadium, playing at the Busch Student Center, and swimming at the outdoor pool run by the University Swimming Association. She attended Rutgers College from 1987 to 1991 and majored in history. She recalls memorable history professors, working as a resident advisor, student life on campus, and Rutgers alumnus and actor Avery Brooks speaking at her graduation. She began her career working in New Orleans and became a grant writer at the New Orleans Museum of Art. She earned a master's degree in historic preservation at the University of Georgia. After working at the Louisiana Preservation Alliance, she returned to Georgia to work at the High Museum in Atlanta. In 2000, she began working in development at the University of Georgia (UGA). Since 2014, she has served as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the College of Environment and Design at UGA. She discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on her family and profession.
  • Ruth Sheeler Moncrief

    Description: Mrs. Moncrief was a student at New Jersey College for Women during World War II.
  • June McCormack Moon

    Description: Mrs. Moon was a high school student during WWII.
  • Mary B. Moore

    Description: Ms. Moore was a high school student and home front worker during World War II.
  • Edna Newby

    Description: Ms. Newby organized and ran USO R&R centers on the home front during WWII.
  • Donna Nickitas

    Donna M. Nickitas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, CNE, FNAP, FAAN, is the dean of the Rutgers School of Nursing-Camden. She became dean in July 2018, after a distinguished career at the City University of New York's Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing and the Graduate Center, where she was a professor, executive officer of the nursing science Ph.D. program, and specialty coordinator of the dual degree in nursing administration/public administration. A native of Brooklyn, she earned her bachelor's at SUNY Stony Brook, master's degree at New York University and Ph.D. at Adelphi University. Dr. Nickitas served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force Nurse Corps at Ellsworth Air Force Base from 1976 to 1978. She then served as a Reservist in the Air Force Nurse Corps from 1978 to 2000, when she retired as a major. Early in her civilian career, she served as assistant director of maternal/child health nursing at Bellevue Medical Center in New York and as a staff nurse in the labor and delivery unit at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn. She is the author of numerous books and articles and has served as the editor of the journal Nursing Economic$. In the first session, she discusses her family history, upbringing, education, active-duty military service, and Reserve service as a flight nurse in the 69th Aero-Medical Evacuation Squadron. In the second interview session, she delves into her graduate education, career in nursing and academia, service in the Reserves in the 34th Medical Service Squadron, transitioning to the deanship at Rutgers, and changes brought on by Covid-19 at the School of Nursing-Camden, as well as how the school has responded to the pandemic in terms of education and community engagement.(Photo below: John Costello, U.S. Navy, World War II, father of Donna Nickitas)
  • Margaret Eraclio Nizolek

    Description: Margaret Eraclio Nizolek was born in Flushing, Queens in 1954. She spent her early years in Flushing and then grew up in Jericho, where she went to public schools. From 1972 to 1976, she attended Rutgers College, majoring in English and minoring in French. In the interview, she discusses her experiences in the pioneering class of women at Rutgers College. She delves into dorm life at Davidson, memorable professors, campus life and meeting her future spouse. She went to graduate school for library science at Rutgers in 1976-1977. She worked her entire career at the New Jersey State Library. After beginning in New Jersey Reference, she moved into Governmental Reference, followed by a stint as the General Reference Health Specialist, and then became the supervisor of General Reference. She served as the Associate Director of the State Library Information Center and then as the Director of the Information Center. In the oral history, she traces changes in library science over the course of her forty-five year career and examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the New Jersey State Library.
  • Arlene Nora

    Description: Arlene Nora was born in 1938, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Her mother emigrated from Holland when she was seventeen and settled in Edison. Her father emigrated from London, England. During World War I, he served in the U.S. military in Europe, where he was wounded. Her parents raised their eight children in Highland Park, and her father worked at Rutgers in facilities and maintenance. Growing up in Highland Park, Ms. Nora attended Irving School and Highland Park High School. Ms. Nora spent her career working at Rutgers University, in the offices of the Football Hall of Fame, Graduate Admissions, and the Institute for Research on Women (IRW). She and her husband raised their family in North Brunswick.
  • Miriam Null

    Description: Mrs. Null was an undergraduate at NJC during World War II.
  • Ferris Olin

    Description: Ferris Olin was born in 1948 in Trenton, New Jersey.  Growing up in Ewing, she attended schools at Parkway School, Antheil Junior High School and Ewing High School.  Following high school graduation in 1966, Dr. Olin went to Douglass College at Rutgers.At Douglass, Dr. Olin majored in Art History and participated in activities such as Chapel Usher and Honor Board.  After graduating from Douglass in the Class of 1970, Dr. Olin earned a Master's in Library Science in 1972 and a Master's in Art History in 1975.  Later, she obtained a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies in 1988 and earned her Ph.D. in Art History in 1998.In 1975, Dr. Olin worked at the Training Institute for the Sex Desegregation of the Public Schools at the Consortium for Educational Equity, based at Douglass.  In 1976, Dr. Olin became a faculty member at the Art Library at Rutgers-New Brunswick.  From 1985 to 1994, she held the position of Executive Officer of both the Blanche, Edith and Irving Laurie New Jersey Chair in Women's Studies and the Institute for Research on Women (IRW).  In the interviews, Dr. Olin discusses administrative issues, programming and accomplishments of the Laurie NJ Chair and IRW, as well as tracing the development of Women's and Gender Studies at Douglass and the establishment of the consortium of the Institute for Women's Leadership (IWL).In the mid-1990s, Dr. Olin returned to Rutgers University Libraries as an associate professor at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library.  From 1994 to 2014, she served as the co-curator of the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series, which was founded by Joan Snyder in 1971.  Dr. Olin founded the Margery Somers Foster Center: A Resource Center and Digital Archive on Women, Scholarship and Leadership at the Mabel Smith Douglass Library.  Along with Judy Brodsky, Dr. Olin founded and directed the Institute for Women and Art (IWA), which is now called the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities and is part of the IWL consortium.Dr. Olin is a Distinguished Professor Emerita at Rutgers University.  In 2012, the Women's Caucus for Art awarded Dr. Olin the Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • Mary Hance Owen

    Description: Mrs. Owen, a civilian, worked as a clerk at an Army installation during WWII.
  • Marjorie Pease

    Description: Ms. Pease served in the Canadian Women's Army Corps as a processing clerk during World War II.
  • Sandra M. Petway

    Description: Sandra "Sandee" Petway started the women’s track and field program at Rutgers-New Brunswick in 1974, a year after joining the University as a physical education instructor. She was the first Black head coach at Rutgers and led the track team until 1980. In 2022, she was inducted into the Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition of her contribution to women’s sports and the many successes that her track team achieved during her tenure. Born in 1950 in Plainfield, Petway grew up in Vineland. She attended Trenton State College, now The College of New Jersey, where she developed her leadership experience by creating a women’s varsity track team as an undergraduate. In her interview, she discusses her memories of Rutgers athletics in the 1970s and the changes that Title IX brought to the University. She also discusses her family history and the impact that her mother, teacher and principal Pauline Petway, had on the community in Vineland. This interview was conducted by Professor Deborah Gray White for the Scarlet and Black Research Center.
  • Marion K. Pinsdorf

    Description: Marion Pinsdorf was born in Teaneck, New Jersey in 1932 and lived there during the Great Depression and World War II.  She attended Drew University, majoring in History and Economics, before becoming a reporter with The Record, an area newspaper.  Afterward, she worked in journalism and education, and later moved into senior positions in public relations for firms such as Borden, Hill & Knowlton, Textron, and CIGNA, among others.  Pinsdorf would go on to earn her doctorate in Brazilian Studies at NYU, and taught at various universities during her career.
  • Madai Cruz Poole

    Description: Madai Cruz Poole was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1974. Her mother was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico, and her father was born in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Her parents moved to the New Jersey-New York area when they were young, eventually settling in New Brunswick. Her father worked for Suburban Transit, and her mother worked in the Public Defender's Office. Growing up in New Brunswick, Poole attended the parochial schools Sacred Heart and St. Peter's Elementary School. For high school, she went to Rutgers Prep. Poole went to Rutgers College and double majored in Administration of Justice and Puerto Rican and Hispanic Caribbean Studies. She participated in Rutgers Unión Estudiantil Puertorriqueña and spent time in Latin Images Living-Learning Community. After working for many years in the pharmaceutical industry in marketing, she became the department administrator for Latino and Caribbean Studies in the Rutgers School of Arts and Science. In the interview, Poole discusses being an EOF student at Rutgers and then working as an EOF counselor, organizing support for her extended family in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, being a cancer survivor, and returning to Rutgers to work in the department from which she graduated. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Rita Popelsky

    Description: Rita Popelsky was born in Zawichost, Poland in 1930, and emigrated to Cuba six months before the German invasion in 1939.  Popelsky learned to speak Spanish, living in Havana and Guanabacoa with her Jewish family until 1944, when a relative sponsored her family's migration to the United States.  In the US, she learned to speak English and eventually married and raised a son and daughter.  Popelsky lived and visited Israel multiple times in her adult life.
  • Zaneta Rago-Craft

    Description: Zaneta Rago-Craft, Ed.D., is the former Director of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities at Rutgers and current Director of the Intercultural Center and Advisor to the President on Diversity and Inclusion at Monmouth University. Born in 1988, she grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey. In the interview, she discusses her experiences growing up in a working-class family, going to public schools, where she excelled academically, and being involved in extracurricular activities such as band. She also notes the influences of extended family members who raised her while her mother was incarcerated. She went on to higher education at Ramapo College, earning her bachelor's degree in history with a minor in women's and gender studies. At Ramapo, she got involved in the Women's Center, her first exposure to a campus-based identity center, and became the center's queer peer services coordinator. She was active in Ramapo Pride, the Black Student Union and Ebony Women for Social Change. Motivated by Proposition 8 in California and the election of Barack Obama in 2008, she extended her activism beyond the campus. She volunteered at Garden State Equality and organized a busload of students to support the National Equality March in Washington, D.C in 2009. Deciding upon student affairs and higher education administration as her career path, she earned her master's degree at New York University. At NYU, she interned at the LGBTQ Student Center and Center for Multicultural Education, through which she gained experience exploring the intersectionality of multiple identities in campus-based centers. While in graduate school, she first got involved with the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, an organization that addresses issues of national advocacy and public policy. Rago-Craft came to Rutgers in 2012 as the Assistant Director of the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities and became the Director in 2013. She embraced the historic LGBTQIA work of the center, along with its foci on intersecting and multiple social justice issues. She expanded existing programs, such as the Safer Space Program and Trans Awareness and Visibility in November. She describes the momentum to take the center to the next level in programming and visibility following the tragedy of Tyler Clementi's suicide. (Read more)
  • Virginia Rendall Reynolds

    Description: Mrs. Reynolds accompanied her husband, George, to Los Alamos, where she worked as a librarian.
  • Mary Jo Rice-Mahoney

    Description: Mary Jo Rice-Mahoney was born in 1947. Her father served as an active duty naval officer, so she grew up in various locations where her father was stationed. She attended St. Joseph College in Emmitsburg, Maryland and majored in nursing. During her junior year of college, she and several classmates joined the Army Student Nursing Program. Upon graduation from college, Rice-Mahoney was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. She went to basic training at Fort Sam Houston, and her first posting in the Army Nurse Corps placed her at Walson General Hospital at Fort Dix, New Jersey. At Walson, she worked in the orthopedic ward treating patients who had been wounded in Vietnam. In early 1969, Rice-Mahoney received orders for Vietnam. From March 1969 to March 1970, she served as a nurse in the intensive care unit and recovery room at the 67th Evacuation Hospital at Qui Nhon. After her service in Vietnam, Rice-Mahoney briefly went into civilian nursing but then rejoined the Army and went on active duty. She served in a number of stateside postings, as well as in Tehran, Iran in 1975-1976. Rice-Mahoney then served in the Army Nurse Corps Reserve at the 322nd General Hospital in New Jersey, eventually rising to the rank of colonel, while working as a nurse and administrator at veterans hospitals in New Jersey and Connecticut. In 1993, Rice-Mahoney went to the dedication of the Vietnam Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C. She is a member of the Union County Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. She speaks about her military service to schools and libraries. Part 1 traces her early life, college and service in Vietnam. Part 2 details her service in the Army Nurse Corps in Vietnam. In Part 3, Rice-Mahoney reflects on the Vietnam War and delves into her career in the Army Nurse Corps and subsequently her time working at veterans hospitals and serving in the Reserves.   The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2020-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Deborah Rickards

    Description: Deborah Rickards was born in 1955 in New York City. In the interview, she discusses her family's Eastern European and English Jewish roots. She grew up in an observant Jewish family, living in Roosevelt, New York until 1968 and then in Ridgewood, New Jersey. From 1972 to 1976, she attended Rutgers College and majored in history. She served as a student representative in the University Senate as a sophomore and was appointed to the President's Advisory Council as a senior by President Edward Bloustein. She examines the challenges of being in the first coed class at the college and describes living in Tinsley and Demarest dorms, working part time all through college, and student life on campus in general. In the oral history, she recalls the changing curriculum requirements and being one of the first women in student government along with her classmate Melanie Willoughby. During the first portion of her career, she worked in bank marketing for banks and advertising agencies and explores the treatment of women in the banking industry at the time. She then shifted to a career in education, working as a teacher from 1992 to 2020.
  • Rinehart, Jean

    Description:          Born in New Jersey on February 10, 1925, Jean Rinehart’s family came to America in the 1600s.  Rinehart was a student at both Rutgers University and Princeton in her youth. The time of World War II heavily affected her, with several relatives going into war. Rinehart was an example of an ambitious woman in a time when women were marginalized in academia and industry.  Sometimes she would be the only woman in her courses at Rutgers and Princeton University. Rinehart worked on the Manhattan Project while at the chemical corporation DuPont. Among her notable experiences, she tested and studied Teflon, the material used in non-stick frying pans and more. In this interview, Rinehart discusses many memories and experiences throughout her life, from being a member of the Manhattan Project to being a historian and owning a farm. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2023-2024 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Mary Robinson

    Description: Ms. Robinson served as a reporter in the Women's Army Corps in the PTO during World War II.
  • Patricia A. Roos

    Patricia A. Roos, Professor Emerita of Sociology, has been a faculty member and administrator at Rutgers since 1989. Growing up in a military family, she lived in various locales, including West Point, New York and Honolulu, Hawaii. She earned her B.A. and M.A. at the University of California, Davis and Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles. She served as a sociology professor at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, before coming to Rutgers. Her scholarship has focused on inequalities, gender and work, stratification, work and family and, more recently, addiction and mental health. Among her many publications are Gender and Work: A Comparative Analysis of Industrial Societies and Job Queues, Gender Queues: Explaining Women's Inroads Into Male Occupations, which is coauthored by Barbara Reskin. At Rutgers, she served as chair of the Sociology Department from 1991 to 1997 and area dean for the Social and Behavioral Sciences from 1997 to 2000. From 1999 to 2001, Dr. Roos led the effort within the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Deans Office to produce the "FAS Gender Equity Report," released in October 2001. From 2008 through 2011, she served as co-principal investigator on the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Grant: “RU-FAIR:-Rutgers University for Faculty Advancement and Institutional Re-Imagination.” She also served in various directing roles at the Center for Women and Work from 2008 to 2011. Following the death of her son from opioid addition, she redefined her research and advocacy to focus on mental health and addiction. In 2018-2019, she was a fellow at the Institute for Research on Women's seminar "Public Catastrophes, Private Losses," working on a project entitled "Grief and Resilience in the Midst of the Opioid Epidemic." She is the author of the memoir Surviving Alex: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Addiction (Rutgers University Press, May 2024).
  • Carmen Salavarrieta

    Description: Carmen Salavarrieta was born in Sevilla, Colombia, in November 1950. She moved to Bogotá, where she lived with an adoptive mother, through whom she immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1960s. She settled in Plainfield, met and married her husband, and they started their family. She has worked a variety of jobs over the years, at American Cyanamid, in factory work, childcare, and housecleaning, and in service to the communities around her. Salavarrieta started volunteering at the Plainfield Health Clinic and served on the clinic's board for over thirty years. She joined the board of El Centro Hispanoamericano, a nonprofit organization in Plainfield. Working on disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd led Salavarrieta to challenge Bound Brook’s discriminatory housing policies that were adversely impacting Hispanic residents. Salavarrieta discusses her role in bringing attention to the rash of violent beatings of Hispanic men in and around Plainfield in 2004. In 2009, Salavarrieta and Jody Wood founded Angels for Action, a Plainfield-based nonprofit agency that provides services geared toward immigrant populations. The organization provides social services, immigration services, and computer and language classes, and coordinates special programs. Several such programs include the community ID program and COVID-19 vaccine clinics. She takes yearly trips in which she brings donated goods to children in poverty-stricken communities in Central America. Salavarrieta is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her service, including the Plainfield Excellence Award for “Service to the Latinx Community,” the Women's History Month Award of the Plainfield Chapter of the NAACP, the Union County Women of Excellence Award, and the Jefferson Lifetime Service Award. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Lita Saldarini

    Description: Mrs. Saldarini worked as a secretary at Columbia University for several researchers working on the Manhattan Project during World War II.
  • Helen Marko Salerno

    Description: Mrs. Salerno was a high school student in Stirling, New Jersey, on the home front during World War II. After graduating in 1944, she went to work for the Veterans Administration at the Lyons Hospital facility in New Jersey, where she continued to work into the 1980s.
  • Angela Scalpello

    Description: Born in 1954, Angela Scalpello grew up in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. In the interview, she discusses her maternal family's roots in Naples, Italy and her father's upbringing in Malta and subsequent immigration to the U.S. She went to parochial schools, graduating from Queen of Peace Girls' High School in North Arlington in 1972. She attended Rutgers College from 1972 to 1976. In the interview, she delves into dorm life in Hegeman Hall, majoring in English, memorable professors including Barry Qualls, and experiences in the first coed class at the college. She wrote theater, movie and book reviews for The Targum, earned a women' studies certificate, and lived off campus junior and senior year. She started her career in human resources at Transamerica Interway, where she worked in benefits and compensation. She worked at Methodist Hospital and then the advertising agency Ogilvy, working in risk management and developing expertise in employee relations and talent acquisition. From there, she moved into senior human resources positions at firms including Ogilvy Public Relations, PR Newswire, and UBM. After serving as senior vice president of organizational development at UBM, in 2017, she founded her own firm, The Scalpello Group (, where she consults as a C-suite advisor and coach. She writes and gives workshops about workplace-related issues, leadership and professional development. She is the co-host of the podcast "Talking Talent," along with her son David Foy. She has served on the board of the Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) and the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) at Rutgers and has been involved in Amnesty International and the Brooklyn Women's Political Caucus.
  • Akiko Seitelbach

    Description: Part 1 - Akiko Seitelbach was born in 1922 in a section of Shanghai that, at the time, was a colony of Japan. Adopted by her aunt and uncle when she was just five months old, Akiko grew up in Nagasaki. She graduated high school in 1938, just as World War II was starting in Japan. During the war, she worked in the supply office of Mitsubishi Electrical Works. On August 9, 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped, Akiko was about 1.3 miles away from ground zero. She felt firsthand the destruction and desperation the Japanese people were left with in the days following and after the war ended. Part 2 - Following the Japanese surrender in 1945, Akiko became an interpreter for the US Marines and then the American Army of Occupation in Nagasaki. After marrying an American soldier of the 34th Infantry Regiment in 1953, she then came to America and lived at an Army base in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. Between the years 1955 and 1963, Akiko lived in Puerto Rico, Staten Island, then, Germany as her husband's station assignments changed. She worked as a receptionist for Fuji Bank, Ltd, a dress shop manager in Puerto Rico, in the Army library in Germany and for Kanebo USA, Inc. Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, Akiko moved back to Brooklyn where she lived and worked for about thirty-five years until she and her husband moved to Monroe Township, NJ.
  • Jean O'Grady Sheehan

    Description: Mrs. Sheehan served in the WAVES as a recruiter and public relations officer, primarily in the Atlanta, Georgia, area during World War II.
  • Deborah Shuford

    Description: Deborah Shuford was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1959. Her parents grew up in Lowndes County, Alabama, before moving to Newark. For most of her childhood, her family lived in the Weequahic section. Deborah attended Chancellor Elementary School and Arts High School in Newark. During one summer in high school, Deborah attended the Technical Enrichment Program at Stevens Tech in Hoboken.  From 1977 to 1981, Deborah went to Douglass College. She began as an engineering major and switched to journalism and English literature. Deborah earned her bachelor's degree in the Douglass College Class of 1981. Deborah worked for many years in the communications field. She interned at WOR-AM talk radio. She worked at ABC Radio and Television Network and then at the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).   In 2001, Deborah began studying for her master's degree at American University. After earning her master's in film in 2003, Deborah worked as a professor at institutions of higher education, including McDaniel College, Howard University and Rutgers University, where she developed a variety of courses in film studies and African American studies. She also worked as a producer, writer and documentary filmmaker.   In addition to being an active alumna at Rutgers-New Brunswick, Deborah has volunteered at the New Jersey Tree Foundation and as a career coach at New Start.
  • Helen Irwin Shuster

    Description: Helen Irwin Shuster was born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania in 1922. Her father was a prominent figure at New Jersey City University, then known as Jersey City Teacher’s College. With family roots in Indiana, Helen primarily grew up in New Jersey. She had a unique relationship with religion, as her grandmother was a Methodist minister. She discusses the impact that the Great Depression had upon her family and the difficulties some family members faced in finding jobs. She describes her educational experiences and the social and educational connections that existed between Rutgers College and the New Jersey College for Women (NJC). Additionally, she articulates her perspective in regards to the changes that occurred within American society after the onset of World War II, along with her thoughts on President Roosevelt. She graduated from NJC in 1944 with a major in Spanish and minors in English and history. She later lived in New Brunswick and Trenton, then Delaware and Rhode Island, before settling in Arlington, Virginia with her husband, Carl N. Shuster, Jr. Helen passed away at the age of one hundred in 2022.
  • Sharon P. Smith

    Sharon P. Smith was born in Jersey City in 1948 and grew up in Jersey City and Fanwood. From 1966 to 1970, she attended the Rutgers Newark College of Arts and Sciences, where she majored in economics. She was a member of the sorority Delta Phi Delta, as well as the service sorority Alpha Iota Delta. She earned a Ph.D. in economics at Rutgers University. She worked as a research associate studying federal-private pay differentials on a National Science Foundation grant with Albert Rees at Princeton. For five years, she worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Then, she worked at AT&T in economic analysis, labor relations, and corporate strategy and development. Along with Albert Rees, she undertook a study of faculty retirement in higher education, after which she decided to go into higher education administration. She served as the dean of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Business Administration, now the Gabelli School of Business, at Fordham University for fifteen years. After working as provost at National University, she became president of the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg in 2007 and held the post until retiring in 2019. She is the author of many works including Equal Pay in the Public Sector: Fact or Fantasy and Finding the Best Business School for You: Looking Past the Rankings.
  • Brenda E. Smull

    Description: Born in 1967, Brenda E. Smull, DTM grew up in Spotswood, New Jersey. She attended Rutgers College, where she majored in biochemistry and minored in psychology. While at Rutgers, she participated in Army ROTC, earning a commission upon graduation in 1989 and an active-duty slot in the Signal Corps. After completing officer's training at Fort Gordon, she was stationed at Fort Hood. She served as a platoon leader in the 13th Signal Battalion, First Cavalry Division during the Persian Gulf War, first to Saudi Arabia in October 1990 and then to Iraq for the ground war in February 1991. After her military service, she worked briefly in pharmaceutical sales in 1992-'93, before going into information technology (IT). She has worked at Charles Schwab for nearly a decade. Since 1994, she has been involved in Toastmasters International, holding several leadership positions. She is active in American Legion Post 64 in Ahwatukee, Arizona and has been member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars since 1991. She is the author of Strong Words and Simple Truths: The Courage to Communicate, published in 2021. Smull's websites can be found at and In part one, Smull delves into her family's history, upbringing, education and ROTC at Rutgers, military service, and experiences in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In part two, she continues to discuss her service in the Gulf War. In part three, she traces her career in IT and involvement in Toastmasters and veterans' organizations.  The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Alice Talbot Sofin

    Description: Ms. Sofin worked at Raritan Arsenal during WWII.
  • Tilly Spetgang

    Description: Tilly Spetgang was born in New York City and became a reporter for various newspapers over her long career in the industry.  She was involved heavily in the environmental movement, especially with disseminating information to non-experts about how solar power worked.  She was a major figure in the grassroots water conservation movement that led to reduced water usage in toilet mechanisms in the plumbing industry.
  • Karen Spindel

    Description: Karen Spindel was born in 1947 in Newark, New Jersey. She and her family lived in Newark until Karen was four, and after her family moved, Karen grew up in Clifton and then in Passaic. From 1965-1969, Karen attended George Washington University and majored in mechanical engineering. She spent her career as an engineer, working for Robins Engineers and Constructors, Hewitt-Robins, Western Electric and AT&T. A life-long feminist, she joined the Passaic County Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1972. She is a board member of the Veteran Feminists of America and has a profile in Feminists Who Changed America, edited by Barbara Love. Now retired, Karen lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.(Photo: Karen Spindel at International Women's Year March in New York City, 1977)
  • Sarajane (Sally) Stenton

    Description: Sarajane (Sally) Stenton, Esq. is a retired Air Force officer who served in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps. In part one, Stenton explores her family's military service and early life growing up in Woodcrest in Cherry Hill. She attended West Chester State University, graduating with a B.S. in 1982, and worked as an investigator for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. She served for four years in the Army National Guard. She went to Rutgers Law School-Camden and earned her J.D. in 1990. In 1991, she joined the Air Force JAG Corps. At her first duty station at McConnell Air Force Base, she served as a prosecutor and defense counsel. She compares overseas deployments in Kuwait, Germany and Afghanistan and discusses major policies, such as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. In part two, Stenton traces the next portion of her military career, including overseeing the military justice section at Osan Air Base in Korea; serving for two years at Hulbert; operating as chief of military justice of the 12th Air Force at Davis-Monthan; serving as the Staff Judge Advocate at Ali Al Salem Airbase in Kuwait; serving as Chief Circuit Trial Counsel at Ramstein in Germany, during which time 9/11 occurred; working in tort claims in Washington, DC; and working as legislative liaison at United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) at Ramstein. In part three, she discusses her time serving at United States European Command in Stuttgart, followed by an assignment to the USAFE legal office in Izmir, Turkey. In 2010-2011, she deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, where she was the legal advisor and staff judge advocate to the Afghan Air Force. On April 27, 2011, she was on site when Afghan air force officer Ahmed Gul shot and killed eight U.S. Air Force Airmen and one civilian contractor. After retiring in 2012, Stenton earned her LLM in trial advocacy at Temple. Currently, she works as a lawyer representing veterans in their claims and appeals.
  • Anne Moreau Thomas

    Description: Mrs. Thomas was a child and teenager in Flemington, NJ, during the Second World War.
  • Pearl Paterson Thompson

    Description: Mrs. Thompson served as a WAVE in the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, DC, during World War II.
  • Candy Torres

    Description: Candy Torres was born in Manhattan, New York in 1953. Her parents moved from Puerto Rico to New York City as children in the 1920s and grew up in Harlem during the Great Depression. Torres spent her early life in the Bronx and Newark, before her parents settled in South River. From an early age, she was interested in the space program. She participated in Civil Air Patrol as a teenager. After graduating from South River High School, Torres went to Douglass College, where she designed her own major called individual major-space science. In the summer of 1974, she went to the U.S. Women’s Army Officer College Program at Fort McClellan, Alabama, though she decided against a career in the military. She graduated from Douglass College in the Class of 1976. From 1976 to 1984, Torres worked on the OAO-3 Copernicus satellite project at Princeton University in the Astrophysics Department. In 1983, she produced "Wings in Space" on the Space Shuttle program for a local cable television channel. In 1984, Torres moved to Houston and began working as a software engineer for McDonnell-Douglas in Mission Operation Directorate (MOD) at NASA-Johnson Space Center (JSC). Between 1986 and 1988, she earned a Master’s degree in Studies of the Future at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. From 1988 to 1991, she worked as an engineer in Human Factors at Lockheed Engineering & Sciences Company. In 1992, budget cuts led to her getting laid off, after which she worked various jobs in schools and museums, until returning to the space industry in 1998. At Ron Croston and Associates, Torres worked in configuration management on the International Space Station (ISS). From 2001 to 2005, she worked at Barrios Technology in the Operations Planning group in MOD for the ISS. Since 2006, Torres has been self-employed as a computer expert, speaker, author, researcher and artist. She has forty-four years of experience in informational technology as a software engineer, digital video producer, image editor, 3D designer, and more. Her book Born on the Moon: Living in the Space Age was published in 2020. She terms herself "Technorican" and operates the website  Her research interests include history and technology. She has been featured in The Atlantic and on PBS and has given speeches internationally on the space industry and STEM-related topics. 
  • Nora Valencia

    Description: Nora Valencia was born in Montenegro in Quindío, Colombia. Her father worked a coffee buyer and her mother was a homemaker. She grew up in Montenegro and then lived in Cali. When she was three years old, she contracted polio. She discusses her life as a polio survivor and how living with a disability has impacted her life in both Colombia and the United States. She went to convent schools and conveys in the interview the role that religion played in her upbringing. In 1989, her father came to the U.S., motivated by economic opportunities. The family gradually followed her father, and she moved to America in 2011. In the interview, she discusses types of jobs she has worked, including working at a Casio factory and cleaning offices. She comments on the diversity of Latinx communities in New Jersey. In a separate interview with the Voces of a Pandemic project, Valencia delves into her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic as a factory worker in a job sector that continued to work during the pandemic shutdowns. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Mercedes Valle

    Description: Dr. Mercedes Valle was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Her father moved to Connecticut to work in the tobacco industry, and later, when she was six, she moved with her mother and two siblings and joined her father in Newark, New Jersey. Growing up in Downtown Newark in the late 1950s and 1960s, she went to public schools and to Catholic School for two years. In the interview, she describes the challenges of learning English, adapting to the culture, experiencing discrimination in the predominantly Italian area, and connecting with the few Latino families in her neighborhood. She was drawn to St. Columba Church, where she became involved in youth activities. As a teenager, she worked part-time jobs. After graduating from high school, she worked as a secretary, until a co-worker encouraged her to go to Essex County Community College. Then, through ASPIRA, she transferred to Livingston College at Rutgers University. At Livingston, she connected with Puerto Rican students and professors. She became a student-activist in the Puerto Rican Student Organization. She joined Guazabara, a theater troupe that performed plays about issues affecting Puerto Ricans in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. She was active in La Casa de Don Pedro, the community-based organization founded by Ramon Rivera in Newark. Following graduation from Livingston College in 1973, she continued her education at Seton Hall and the University of Massachusetts, earning her doctorate. She spent her career as a school psychologist. She has been active in relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. In the photograph, Dr. Mercedes Valle participates in a panel discussion at “Remembering the Rutgers Puerto Rican Student Movement of the 1970s,” a part of Rutgers’s 250th anniversary celebration.  (Photo by Nick Romanenko) This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Peg Van Kleef

    Born in 1954, Peg Van Kleef grew up in East Paterson/Elmwood Park, where she attended public schools. In the fall of 1972, she began in the first coeducational class at Rutgers College. In the interview, she recalls her initial impressions of Rutgers College, living in the River Dorms and Silvers Apartments, the Big Brother-Little Sister Program, student life on campus, typing copy for Targum Productions, her classmate serving as the first woman president of the Rutgers Student Government Association, and Millicent Fenwick speaking at graduation in 1976. After initially wanting to major in math, she switched to education. Van Kleef spent her career as an educator, first in Missouri and then in Woodbridge, New Jersey, where she was a middle school special education teacher. This interview is a part of the Pioneering Women of Rutgers College Project, an oral history project documenting the experiences of the first women to attend Rutgers College after it became coeducational in 1972. The project is a collaboration between the Rutgers Oral History Archives, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, and Institute for Women's Leadership. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Marcella Vargas

    Marcella Vargas was born in Puerto Rico in 1948. She grew up on a farm and recalls her father selling produce at a market in San Sebastián every weekend. She migrated to New Jersey at the age of fourteen in 1963, along with some siblings and her parents. She lived at first in Edison with an older brother, who had come to New Jersey previously. Soon after, her mother got established in New Brunswick, where the family settled. She went to public schools for one year, eventually getting her GED. She went to work as a machine operator at New Brunswick Lampshade Company. After getting her high school equivalency, she became a teacher's aide and went through a training at Rutgers-Newark. Later, she did assembly line work making air conditioners at Frigidaire. Most recently, she has worked at Rutgers University Dining in Brower Commons, from which she retired in 2018. In the late 1960s, she met and married her husband in New Brunswick, where they lived while raising their family until moving to Somerset. She has been involved in the Reformed Church in New Brunswick. In the interview, she discusses changes in New Brunswick over the years, the Vietnam War era, her relatives who served in the U.S. military, manufacturing jobs and the effects of industries moving overseas, being a part of a union, her remembrances of hurricanes in Puerto Rico, and voting rights. This oral history interview was conducted as a part of the Latino/a New Jersey History Project, directed by Dr. Lilia Fernandez.
  • Bernice Venable

    Description: Bernice Proctor Venable grew up in Somerville, New Jersey. In the interview, she discusses being raised by a foster parent after the age of thirteen and the support she received from her community in Somerville. She went to Douglass College, where she sang in the Rutgers University Choir and worked as a reporter for The Caellian. She majored in Spanish. Later, she earned her M.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Rutgers, M.A. in Guidance and Counseling from Rider, and doctorate in Educational Administration from Rutgers. She went on to a career in education as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator in Franklin, Somerville, Elizabeth, Irvington and Trenton. She served as Superintendent in Trenton for six years and in Irvington for two years. She testified on behalf of the plaintiffs in Abbott v. Burke, the landmark decision in which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state must ensure parity in educational funding between poorer urban school districts and affluent suburban districts. In 1992, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey). She and her spouse funded a computer lab at the Hale Center that is dedicated to Paul Robeson. After retiring as an educator, she joined AlphaGraphics, working in sales and marketing.
  • Helen Walkinshaw

    Description: Ms. Walkinshaw served as a WAVE in the Navy in military intelligence during World War II.
  • Margaret Harriet Waugh

    Description: Ms. Waugh served in the WAVEs as a Hospital Corps worker in a Navy hospital during World War II.
  • Judith S. Weis

    Description: Judith S. Weis is a Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences at Rutgers-Newark. Born and raised in Manhattan, she received her bachelor's degree from Cornell in 1962 and M.S. and Ph.D. from New York University. At Rutgers since 1967, her research has focused primarily on estuarine ecology and ecotoxicology. Weis was involved in the complaint led by professors Dorothy Dinnerstein and Helen Strausser against Rutgers-Newark for sex discrimination in employment in 1971. She founded and served as the president of the Essex County Chapter of the National Organization for Women, through which she led a complaint against Little League Baseball that eventually won the right of young women to play. A long-time member of the Sierra Club, Weis has been active in environmental justice for over forty years. In part two, Dr. Weis delves into her research into stresses in estuaries and salt marshes, including pollution, invasive species, and parasites, and their effects on organisms, populations and communities. Particular areas of focus have included the effects of contaminants on growth, development, behavior and trophic interactions; development of pollution tolerance in populations in contaminated areas; effects of contaminants and parasites on behavior and ecology; interactions of invasive and native species; the role of mangroves and marsh grasses as habitat; and effects of invasive marsh plants on estuarine ecology and contaminants. During the 1980s, she became involved in environmental policy. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and served as a Science Policy Fellow with the U.S Senate. She has been on numerous advisory committees for the EPA, NOAA (National Sea Grant Advisory Board), and the National Research Council. She chairs the Science Advisory Board of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and, in the interview, discusses the study undertaken on tidal marshes and sea level rise, as well as issues surrounding microplastics. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.
  • Dorothy Salkin Welles

    Description: Mrs. Salkin-Welles, a civilian, worked as a dietician at Camp Kilmer, NJ, during World War II.
  • Susan Koch Youmans

    Description: Susan Koch Youmans was born in 1954 in Coaldale, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Coaldale, and when she was in seventh grade, her family moved to South River, New Jersey. In 1972, she began at Rutgers in the Pharmacy School. In the interview, she recalls living on Busch Campus in Davidson, switching to education as a major, student-teaching in East Brunswick, campaigning for George McGovern in 1972, and socializing on the College Ave Campus. After graduating from Rutgers College in 1976, she spent her career in education in Middletown. She began teaching at East Keansburg Elementary School and then moved to New Monmouth School in 1982 as a special education teacher. Later, she taught at River Plaza School and then middle school at Bayshore. She discusses changes in education over the course of her career, as well as the Middletown teachers' strike in 1998. For twelve years, she and her husband lived in an RV and traveled around the U.S. and Canada. This interview is a part of the Pioneering Women of Rutgers College Project, an oral history project documenting the experiences of the first women to attend Rutgers College after it became coeducational in 1972. The project is a collaboration between the Rutgers Oral History Archives, Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences, and Institute for Women's Leadership. The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2022-2023 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.