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Experience the Events

Work and Transformation: Documenting Working Americans

Symposium Co-Sponsored by the American Folklife Center and the
Institute for Museum and Library Services

December 6-7, 2010
Thomas Jefferson Building, Room 119
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540

Participant Biographies

Christina L. Barr has served as the executive director of Nevada Humanities, Nevada's nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, since 2009. Previously she worked as Program Outreach Coordinator for the Western Folklife Center, Folklife Program Associate for the Nevada Arts Council, and as Archivist/Folklorist for the Vermont Folklife Center. In 2006 she joined with folklorist Craig Miller to found the Salt Lake City based nonprofit Culture Conservation Corps. She holds an MA in folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a BA in Slavic cultural studies from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Barr has documented traditional art forms, communities, and cultural issues around North America and abroad, and has shared this work through the production of public programs, festivals, exhibitions, presentations, scholarly projects, conferences, media projects, and community based cultural work. In 2007 she received an Electronic Media Award for Best Documentary by Las Vegas Women in Communications for The 24 Hour Show radio series, which shares the lives and experiences of Las Vegas' casino and entertainment industry workers. She is an active participant in national and regional cultural organizations, and has served as a panelist and consultant for numerous organizations and agencies around the US.

Mary Boone is the State Librarian of North Carolina. She will discuss Project Compass, a one-year initiative launched in 2009 to gather and share best practices among state libraries nationally for providing library-based employment services and programs to the unemployed. Read more about Project Compass on her weblog, Mary Boone in Her Library.External Link Also, a monograph by Betha Gutsche, A Year with Project Compass, is available online.

Peggy Bulger is Director of the American Folklife Center, the second person to hold that position since the Center was created by the U.S. Congress in 1976. A native of New York State, she holds a BA in fine arts from the State University of New York at Albany, an MA in folk studies from Western Kentucky University, and a PhD in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania. A folklorist, consultant, and producer, Bulger has been documenting folklife and developing and managing folklife programs for more than thirty years. She has been Florida State Folk Arts Coordinator (1976-79), Florida Folklife Programs Administrator (1979-89), and Program Coordinator, Director, and Senior Officer for the Southern Arts Federation (1989-99). She is the author of South Florida Folklife, with Tina Bucuvalas and Stetson Kennedy, (1994), and the editor of Musical Roots of the South (1992). She is the producer of many videos, including Music Masters & Rhythm Kings (1993), Every Island Has Its Own Songs: The Tsimouris Family of Tarpon Springs (1988), Fishing All My Days: Maritime Traditions of Florida's Shrimpers (1985); and a number of recordings, including Deep South Musical Roots Tour (1992) and Drop On Down in Florida (1981). She served as president of the American Folklore Society (2000-2002).

Mary L. Chute has served as IMLS Deputy Director for Libraries since April of 2002. She also served as the agency’s Acting Director from June 2005–March 2006. Mary possesses master’s degrees in art history (Boston University) and library science (Simmons College). Before joining IMLS, she held positions in Massachusetts, Maryland, and most recently in Delaware, where she was State Librarian. Throughout her career in public libraries, Ms. Chute has been engaged in staff development and customer satisfaction, promoting library services through outreach and resource sharing. In her current position, she is responsible for developing programs and partnerships that build institutional capacity and foster leadership and innovation for libraries, museums, and archives. Ms. Chute oversees all library programs at IMLS (the Grants to States Program, the National Leadership Grants Program, the Librarians for the 21st Century Program, the Native American Library Services Program, and the Native Hawaiian Library Services Program).

D'Vera Cohn is a Senior Writer at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. She was a Washington Post reporter for 21 years, writing mainly about demographics, and was the newspaper's lead reporter about the 2000 Census. After leaving the newspaper in 2006, she served as a consultant and freelance writer for the Pew Hispanic Center, the Brookings Institution, and the Population Reference Bureau. She has advised the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism on demographic topics, and has spoken at national journalism conferences about how reporters can make use of demographic data in stories. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she is a former Nieman Fellow.

Jennifer Correa is Manager of the Science Career Ladder Program at the New York Hall of Science, in Queens, New York. She oversees all aspects of the program which  constitutes150 active participants and over 1,000 alumni, and leads key efforts for the NSF-funded CLUSTER project designed to support pre-service teachers who work as Explainers, and at the IMLS-funded SCL Dissemination program. Correa initially joined the Science Career Ladder program as a summer intern from a local high school for pregnant and parenting teens. Over the last 12 years, Correa has climbed through the Science Career Ladder program while earning her BA, in media studies, from Queens College, and MA Public Administration from Baruch College.

Richard D’Abate has served as the Executive Director of the Maine Historical Society since 1996. During this tenure, the organization has expanded its museum program; developed the Maine Memory Network (an online resource of images of the state, supported by a major grant from IMLS); and upgraded its journal, and completed a major renovation of its library. D'Abate is a graduate of Columbia University, and undertook graduate work in writing and English at Cornell University. From 1971 to 1983, he taught English at Nasson College in Springvale, Maine, and also served as the college's Vice President for Academic Affairs. Between 1985 and 1995, he was the Associate Director of the Maine Humanities Council. D'Abate is the author of a book of poems and non-fiction publications, and he co-editor of American Beginnings: Exploration, Culture, and Cartography in the Land of the Norumbega (1994).

Lynda DeLoach, archivist, oversees the administration of records management, exhibits, reference and outreach for The George Meany Memorial Archives — the official repository for the historical records of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.  Beginning in 1990, Ms. DeLoach expanded the archives' outreach efforts in order to rewrite history education for grade 6-12 students and teachers; Labor in the Schools initiatives included facilitating workshops under the auspices of several AFL-CIO-affiliated organizations and, as a judge, trustee, advisory-council member and prize sponsor, championing the National History Day program. DeLoach holds a faculty appointment at the National Labor College, where she participates in faculty governance and teaches in the BA degree (Labor Studies) program.  Ms. DeLoach earned a BA degree (English) from Carleton College and a MA degree (History) from New York University.

C. Kurt Dewhurst is the Director of Arts and Cultural Initiatives and Senior Fellow of University Outreach & Engagement, Curator of Folklife and Cultural Heritage, MSU Museum, and Professor of English at Michigan State University. Previously, he served as the Director of the Michigan State University Museum and Director of the Center for Great Lakes Culture.  A founder of the Folk Arts Division at the museum, he coordinates a variety of folklife research, collection development, and outreach programs. He currently serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors for the American Folklife Center and he is President of the American Folklore Society. He has served as Chairperson of the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, Vice Chair of the Michigan Council for the Humanities, President of the Michigan Museum Association, Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and Chair of Board of the Fund for Folk Culture. He is the author or co-author of many publications focusing on folk and traditional arts, South African arts and culture, and museum and cultural heritage practice and policy.  He has currently involved in international partnerships in South Africa and China.

Steven Greenhouse is the labor and workplace reporter for the New York Times, and author of The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker (2008), an in-depth account of how American companies have squeezed millions of workers by clamping down on wages, cutting benefits, weakening job security, and violating wage and hour laws. Greenhouse has covered workplace issues for the Times since 1995, and is one of the few remaining full-time labor reporters in the country. He has written about wage trends, labor unions, immigrant workers, child labor, and the way major corporations treat—and mistreat—their workers.

Greenhouse began at the New York Times in 1983 as a business reporter, covering the steel industry and other industries, and spent two-and-a-half years in Chicago, writing about the Midwest's economy during a time of plant closings and large-scale layoffs. From 1987 to 1992, he was based in Paris as the newspaper’s European economics correspondent, and wrote about a range of topics, including the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, Western Europe's welfare state, industrial giants like Nestlé and Fiat, French culture, and Poland's transition from Communism to capitalism.

In 1992, he became a correspondent in the Times Washington bureau, covering the Federal Reserve and economic policy, the State Department and foreign policy. After nearly four years in Washington, he asked to cover labor and workplace issues, largely because he was eager to return to reporting about flesh-and-blood people. He has appeared on National Public Radio, PBS (The News Hour), MSNBC, CNN, and the BBC. A native of Massapequa, N.Y., he attended Wesleyan University, and after earning a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, went to work for the Bergen Record, in New Jersey. In 1982, he graduated first in his class from the New York University School of Law.

Nancy Groce A Folklife Specialist at the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center, Dr. Groce is trained as a folklorist and ethnomusicologist and has extensive experience in cultural programming. Prior to her work at the Library, she served as a Curator at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (2000-2007), where she was  in charge of major Smithsonian Folklife Festival programs on Northern Ireland (2007), Alberta (2006), Scotland (2003), and New York City (2001). After previous positions include as Senior Program Officer for the New York Council for the Humanities (1986-1995), Borough Folklorist for Brooklyn (1995-1997) and Staten Island, New York (1983-1986), and fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  She received a PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan (1982) and also holds an M.M. in Ethnomusicology/ American Music and an MA in American Culture. Author of numerous books and articles, she has been involved with a wide variety of scholarly projects, exhibitions, concerts, symposia, conferences, lecture series, media projects, and public presentations. On-going responsibilities at the Library of Congress include the Benjamin Botkin Lecture Series, a monthly Treasures from the American Folklife Center radio program on XM Sirius Radio, the 2009 Inauguration Sermons & Oration Project, and serving as the staff liaison with StoryCorps.

Jeffrey Groen is a research economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. He has written articles on labor and demographics related to employment, geographic mobility, and higher education. His research has examined the economic and demographic effects of Hurricane Katrina with a focus on the experiences of evacuees. He recently co-authored the book Educating Scholars: Doctoral Education in the Humanities (with Ronald Ehrenberg, Harriet Zuckerman, and Sharon Brucker, 2009), which describes the effects of the Graduate Education Initiative, a ten-year project of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to improve graduate education in the humanities. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Michigan and a BS in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Sunil Iyengar is Director of the Office of Research and Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts. Since his arrival at the NEA in 2006, his office has produced such reports as The Arts and Civic Engagement: Involved in Arts, Involved in Life (2006), Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005 (2008), All the World's A Stage: Growth and Challenges in Nonprofit Theater (2008), and Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy (2009). Besides supervising all research reports, brochures, and technical notes, he is the primary author of To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence (2007), and he revised the guide How the United States Funds the Arts for its most recent edition (2007). He regularly speaks with arts groups, educators, researchers, and journalists about the results and implications of NEA research. Before joining the NEA, Iyengar worked as a reporter, managing editor, and senior editor for a host of news publications covering the biomedical research, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. He writes poetry, and his book reviews have appeared in numerous prestigious national publications. Iyengar has a BA in English from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Maureen Loughran, a 2010 Archie Green Fellowship recipient, and Senior Producer for the nationally syndicated radio series American Routes, is an ethnomusicologist who studies popular music and media in the United States. At American Routes she maintains the archive and assists with various research projects. She has a B.M. in Music Theory and Literature from Saint Mary's College, Indiana. After college, Maureen lived in Ireland, where she earned a Higher Diploma in Irish Folklore from University College, Dublin, and an MA in Irish Studies from Catholic University. She interned with both the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and The Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin. In 2008, she completed her PhD in ethnomusicology at Brown University, with a study of punk activism and underground radio in Washington, DC. Loughran is also a founding member of the sound art/documentary collective, the D.C. Listening Lounge.

Robert McCarl is a 2010 Archie Green Fellowship recipient and Professor in the Sociology Department at Boise State University. He has published widely on work culture, focusing on the variety of ways internal diversity and external social and economic pressures result in change. His published works include analyses of both urban and wildland fire fighting, sheet-metal work, hard-rock mining, and a variety of other occupations. In addition to studying the changing cultures of work, McCarl has also examined the intersection of work and ethnicity, region and gender, particularly within Latino and Native American communities. Recently, McCarl has been doing fieldwork in Idaho's Silver Valley, where he was interviewed miners, loggers, millworkers, bike shop owners, water engineers, environmentalist, and others valley residents about the conflicts and shared common challenges of living in one of the largest Superfund sites in the United States.

Betsy Peterson is a consultant, with over two decades of experience specializing in cultural program planning and design, cultural research, non-profit fundraising/ grantmaking and organizational development.   Prior to establishing an independent practice, she served as Executive Director and Program Director for the Fund for Folk Culture from 1998-2009. She was a co-founder and Program Coordinator for Texas Folklife Resources and Director of the Traditional Arts Program at the New England Foundation for the Arts.  In 1990, she was a visiting professor at the Folklore and Mythology Program at UCLA.  As a consultant, her past clients have included The Lila Wallace Foundation, the Southern Arts Federation, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Carnegie Hall, The Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, for whom she wrote, edited and compiled The Changing Faces of Tradition: A Report on the Folk and Traditional Arts in the United States, (1996). Peterson holds a PhD in folklore from Indiana University.

Mark Popovich is a Senior Program Officer at The Hitachi Foundation and is responsible for their Business and Communities Grants Program. This program supports the Corporate Social Responsibility field. They also make investments aimed at improving prospects for lower wealth people through skills training and career development. He has helped shape the biannual State of Corporate Citizenship Surveys with Boston College. And he has contributed to the development of two national multi-foundation initiatives. The Jobs to Career Initiative focuses on work-based training for frontline workers across the health sector. The Hitachi Foundation is also a founding partner in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.

Joyce Ray, IMLS's Associate Deputy Director for Library Services, has directed its Discretionary Library Programs since 1997. An archivist by training, Ray also has responsibility for agency-wide digital initiatives. Prior to joining IMLS, she held positions as Assistant Program Director for Technological Evaluation and Acting Program Director, National Historical Publications and Records Commission; Special Assistant to the Archivist, National Archives and Records Administration; and Head of Special Collections, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She currently serves as a member of the program committee of the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, is the U.S. organizer of the International Digital Cultural Content Forum, and is the principal organizer of the annual IMLS Web-Wise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World. She holds a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, she holds a PhD in American history, with a specialty in the social history of women and medicine in the U.S., and has taught women's history at Georgetown University.

Nancy Rogers is currently serving as IMLS/NEH Senior Project Coordinator for Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a major initiative launched by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to shine a spotlight on the need for improved collections care in the nation’s museums and libraries.  She also coordinates partnership projects with StoryCorps and the Salzburg Global Seminar.  For over a decade, she held the position of Director of the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, where she was in charge of grants for museum exhibitions, library programs, film and radio series in the humanities, and projects involving such groups as senior citizens, rural families, and at-risk youth.  A graduate of Coker College, Rogers received a PhD in French literature from the George Washington University.  She is a specialist on the novels of George Sand and has published widely on Sand, Germaine de Staël, Balzac, Stendhal, Jane Austen, Kate Chopin, and other 19th-century writers.  She is currently translating George Sand's Nanon (1872) and writing a critical introduction to the novel. Rogers is the recipient of an NEH Fellowship-in-Residence at Princeton University, and two Independent Study, Research, and Development awards.  She is the author of two books on American English style and over thirty articles and reviews.

Donna S. Rothstein is a research economist with the National Longitudinal Surveys Program at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. She has published articles on education, youth employment, and gender and supervision. Current research projects include examining the effect of breastfeeding on children's early cognitive outcomes, and how neighborhood quality and youths' cognitive test scores interact in predicting subsequent educational attainment. Donna received her AB in economics and English from Bryn Mawr College in 1990, and her PhD in economics from Cornell University in 1995.

Marsha Semmel is currently Acting Director of IMLS, and is also continuing in her role as Deputy Director for Museums and Director for Strategic Partnerships. As Deputy Director for Museums, she manages the Institute of Museum and Library Services' portfolio of grantmaking programs that support capacity-building and leadership projects for all types of museums. As Director for Strategic Partnerships, she maintains oversight of federal-state partnership activities, initiates and implements collaborations with other federal agencies and organizations, and manages special projects and initiatives.  Prior to her service at IMLS, she served as President and CEO of the Women of the West Museum, in Denver, Colorado and as President and CEO of Conner Prairie, a living history museum in Indianapolis. From 1984 to 1996, Semmel worked at the National Endowment for the Humanities, serving as program officer; Assistant Director for Humanities Projects in Museums and Historical Organizations; and Director, Division of Public Programs. She has a BA in English Literature and History of Art from the University of Michigan, and an MA in Art History from the University of Cincinnati. She is a past board member of the American Association of Museums.

Nick Spitzer, a 2010 Archie Green Fellowship recipient, is a folklorist, and the producer and host of American Routes, a weekly 2-hour public radio program devoted to vernacular music and culture that reaches nearly a million listeners each week. He is also a professor of American studies and communication at Tulane University. He specializes in American music and the cultures of the Gulf South. He received a PhD in anthropology from the University of Texas. Prior to his current work, Spitzer was a senior folklife specialist at the Smithsonian and served as artistic director for the Folk Masters concert and broadcast series from Carnegie Hall and Wolf Trap. During the Clinton years, he directed the annual American Roots Independence Day Concert on the National Mall, broadcast live on NPR. He remains a contributor to NPR's All Things Considered and has worked as a commentator on vernacular American music and culture with Peter Jennings, for CNN, CBS's Sunday Morning and PBS's Great Performances. His work as a folklorist was profiled in 2002 on ABC's Nightline, the same year he was awarded the Benjamin Botkin Prize in public folklore. In 2002 he co-curated the exhibit "Raised to the Trade": Creole Building Arts of New Orleans at the New Orleans Museum of Art. He is an essayist and co-editor of Public Folklore (with Robert Baron, 2007) and co-author of Blues for New Orleans: Mardi Gras and America's Creole Soul (with Roger Abrahams, John Szwed, and Robert Ferris Thompson, 2006). In 2006, Spitzer was named Louisiana Humanist of the Year for his cultural-recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

Derrick Tabb is a native New Orleanian and drummer for the nationally renowned Rebirth Brass Band, most recently featured in the HBO series Treme. Tabb is also a co-founder of the Roots of Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving New Orleans music culture while keeping kids engaged in arts and academics and off the streets. This after school music program provides tuition-free music education and academic tutoring for 125 youths, aged 9-14. The work of Roots of Music has been featured on CBS, CNN, and NBC.  

Michael Taft is head of the archive of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. He holds a PhD in Folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland and an MLIS from the University of Alberta. While he has spent the last fifteen years as an ethnographic archivist, with previous positions as curator of the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina and archivist at the Vermont Folklife Center, he spent twenty-five years as a folklore professor, fieldworker and researcher. Among his work on occupational traditions, he studied professional musicians in Newfoundland, dance teachers in Saskatchewan, movie theater employees in Saskatoon, university professors at the University of Saskatchewan, librarians in Edmonton, and archaeologists in Nova Scotia.

David A. Taylor is the Head of Research and Programs at the American Folklife Center.  His work includes planning and carrying out research projects and public programs concerned with American, ethnic, regional, and occupational cultures; providing technical and reference assistance to cultural institutions and individual researchers; and leading the Center’s research and programs unit  He also serves as the head of acquisitions for the Center's archive, the nation's first archive devoted to traditional life, one of the largest repositories of its kind in the world.  He is the founder and director of the Center's annual field school for cultural documentation, which was launched in 1994.  He has directed a number of team-based, multi-disciplinary, field-documentation projects for the Center, including the Italian-Americans in the West Project (1989-1992), the Maine Acadian Cultural Survey (1991), and the Working in Paterson Project (1994).  He has served as a member of the United States delegation to the World Intellectual Property Organization's intergovernmental committee on folklore, traditional knowledge and genetic resources. His areas of specialization include field research methodology, material culture, maritime culture, and occupational culture.

Stephen Winick is the writer and editor for the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.  He has a master's degree and a PhD in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania.  He has taught folklore courses at the University of Pennsylvania and George Mason University, and has published widely on folklore and folk music in both academic and popular publications. His academic publications include articles on British folksongs and ballads, American proverbs, and medieval English literature.  He is the editor, with Kimberly Lau and Peter Tokofsky, of "What Goes Around Comes Around": The Circulation of Proverbs in Everyday Life.  He has also been a music journalist for many years, covering folk and traditional music and song of Britain, Ireland, Europe and North America, for such publications as Dirty Linen magazine and The All Music Guide.

Steve Wunder was born in the upstate New York canal town of Lyons, and spent his first eighteen years near the New York Barge/Erie Canal. He did restaurant work, and tended bar before joining the Navy at the age of nineteen. In the Navy, he became a "mess specialist," or as he explains, "I was a cook in the admirals mess hall right out of boot camp and A school. I've been afloat ever since." After his service in the Navy, he went to work for the Canal and for the last twenty-nine years, he has worked on a tug boat. "I started as a cook," he writes, "and held several titles until becoming a licensed captain." Presently, he captains the Seneca, a tug built in 1932 at the Boston Electric Boat Company. Captian Wunder and his four-member crew perform such duties as towing derricks and dredges for canal maintenance projects, and overseeing winter lock work when the canal freezes. He likes that every day is different: "A good friend of mine once told me running a tug is 80 percent boredom, and the rest of the time is sheer panic!" He is 53-years old, and "still tuggin."

Steve Zeitlin, a 2010 Archie Green Fellowship recipient, received his PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA in Literature from Bucknell University. He is the director and co-founder of City Lore, an organization dedicated to the preservation of New York City's — and America's — living cultural heritage. Prior to arriving in New York, he served as a folklorist at the Smithsonian Institution for eight years. He has taught at George Washington University, American University, NYU, and Cooper Union; served as a regular commentator for the nationally syndicated radio shows, Crossroads and Artbeat; and currently develops segments on "The Poetry of Everyday Life" for NPR's The Next Big Thing. His commentaries have appeared on the Op-Ed pages of the New York Times and Newsday, and he also co-produces the storytelling series "American Talkers" for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday and Morning Edition. Zeitlin is the author and co-author of five award-winning books including The Grand Generation: Memory Mastery and Legacy (l987); Because God Loves Stories: An Anthology of Jewish Storytelling (1997); and Giving a Voice to Sorrow: Personal Responses to Death and Mourning (2001), as well as three children's books and, most recently, a volume of poetry, I Hear America Singing in the Rain (2003).


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