Interviews by Decade: 1980s

In their interviews, alumnae from the 1980s speak about their individual experiences at Brown, as well as their participation in the broader women's movement, with special attention paid to race and sexuality, as well as gender.

Image: Women's Speakout, 1985. In the spring of 1985, women students gathered to protest sexism, harrassment, and rape at Brown. A silent march across campus was followed by a rally and speakout. This photograph depicts Toby Simon, Director of Health Education, with her son, Ben. The students, from right to left, are Lisa Krackow, Dana Rae Warren, Melissa Walker, Rinku Sen. Image Source: University Archives Photograph Collection.

In this interview, Dr. Sarah Fox, gynecologist, Clinical Assistant Professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, and member of the Brown University class of 1989, discusses the challenges and changes she faced as a women’s health provider during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Javette D. Pinkney, class of 1980

In this interview, Javette D. Pinkney begins by explaining the academic initiative and activist spirit that brought her to Brown. She fondly remembers a “feeling of community,” and campus dating, in spite of instances of racism. She describes her involvement in a number of campus activities and social groups and recalls spearheading the College Venture Program - a pilot program financed by the Braitmayer Foundation to help students who needed or wanted to drop out of college temporarily.

25th Reunion, class of 1981

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1981 summarizes the undergraduate experiences of Alice Wheelwright, Clare Boerschlein, Virginia Tortolani, Marie-Armide Longer Ellis, Kathryn Streator, and Suzanne Patrice Curley, at their 25th reunion.

Afua Hassan, class of 1981 and Wanda Moore, class of 1982

In this interview recorded during the 2018 Black Alumni Reunion, Afua Hassan and Wanda Moore discuss their time at Brown University, the effect their education had on their careers, and the importance of their friendship, which strengthened when Moore became pregnant in her junior year. The two explain that their friendship and Hassan’s desire to document her work as a midwife of color and midwifery in communities of color drove them to donate this interview.

Karona Monica Mason, class of 1982

In this interview recorded during the 2018 All-class Black Alumni Reunion, Karona Monica Mason, Brown University class of 1982, discusses her experiences as a student on the Brown University campus. Mason begins by describing her childhood and early education in Washington, D.C. She emphasizes always having Black role models, including her mother and father who worked for the federal government and Howard University respectively.

Linda J. Peters, class of 1982

In Part 1 of her interview, Linda J. Peters begins by sharing some background information, including her multiracial identity and growing up in a Black neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois. She also recalls her reasons for choosing to attend Brown University.

25th Reunion, class of 1983

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1983 showcases the undergraduate experiences of Judith Lynn Wells, Carmen Maria Garcia, Gwenn Ellen Masterman, Kay Lynne Levinson, Norah Gaughan, and Joan Marie Heminway, at their 25th reunion.

Jeree Palmer-Bechkham, class of 1983

In this interview, Jeree Palmer-Beckham begins by discussing her time in Providence, where she lived with her first husband, and explaining her completion of a Brown University degree in theatre arts through the Resumed Education Program (RUE).  Palmer explains how attending Brown impacted her life in theatre, particularly the production “Shades of Brown,” which led her back to the New York theatre scene. She discusses various productions she has worked on in New York.  

25th Reunion, class of 1984

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1984 captures the experiences of Jean Eastman, Kristen Duckett, Amy Hayes Davidsen, Marcia May Brown, Patti Schallman, Maria Denise Mileno, Surrenthia Renee Parker, Barbara Reid Norris, Karla Elrod, Pamela Arya, and Joy Brownstein, at their 25th reunion.

25th Reunion, class of 1985

This interview with members of the Brown University class of 1985 summarizes the economically, socially, and racially diverse undergraduate experiences of Frances S. Lee, Suzanne Beth Goldberg, Margaret E. Rosen, Karen Smith, Allyson Tucker, Katherine Sabin Melchoir, and Jill Anne Hereford, at their 25th reunion.

First, the interviewees are asked why they chose to attend Brown and what their thoughts and experiences were concerning the “new curriculum” that abolished course requirements and allowed for a more open exploration of subjects.

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