MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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A Letter From Our Intern – Candace Lecco [LINK]

ABOUT: Candace is a full-time graduate student at the USF College of Public Health. She lives in Connecticut and studies 100% online– when she’s not watching her wonderful (goofy) 2-year-old son because he keeps her super busy. She loves to be in nature hiking and playing in the forest with him during their free time. She is currently wrapping up a poster project for M.O.M. online called “Birth Practices Through the Ages”. We aim to post those shortly here on the Museum of Motherhood website.

A LETTER FROM CANDACE: My academic background in pre-med biology and psychology ignited my fervor for humanistic truth, but hardly gratified my creative temperament, which I tended to with personal literature studies and philosophical musings. I found it difficult to communicate with others as I tried to defend science, because most people view the scientific method as a dusty, dry methodology where bias slips through the cracks, contaminating the entire theory. Few successfully connect the dots that were originally intended in liberal arts education- combining humanities with science to seek the truth and apply it to create a more humane world. Science is a philosophy. It is an art that takes the shape of reasoning. It is a process that only humans are gifted with. We can use the scientific method as a powerful tool but we can notice the cracks. We can see the light shining through them and we can think about what to do about it. We seal them when appropriate and other times it is more appropriate to let nature help reveal knowledge. To believe that science is inherently restrictive and dogmatic is to disempower your incredible capabilities as a human being. As a graduate student at the University of South Florida and a mom, I am proud to intern at the Museum of Motherhood, an organization dedicated to dissolving the systematic barriers of art and science and showcasing the beauty of the motherhood.

After receiving my Bachelor of Science degree from Central Connecticut State University, I desired to look beyond the atomic, molecular, and cellular levels of nature that I had been so focused on in that small campus in that small city, in that small state. I found microbiology so intriguing because it connected the unseen, powerful world of microbes to the superficial human perception of our environment. An elective course on Parasites & Human Disease introduced me to global health disparities and painted an image of health that extended beyond individual existence- public health. I knew that I found infectious disease interesting, I wanted to help people, and I wanted the impact to be big.

I see public health as a beautiful collaboration between humanities and science. That’s exactly what I began studying at the University of South Florida, where I am currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree in global health, specializing in infection prevention. New insights into the life-course perspective melded with my life experiences more recently to direct my focus to maternal health, which is the foundation of a healthy society. This shift has been informed by my internship at the Museum of Motherhood.

I experienced profound growth and change when I became a mother in 2016 and had a somewhat strange struggle with postpartum depression. It was strange because I had previous knowledge about the condition from the outside-looking-in, and I found that to be valid. But I was also on the inside-looking-out, constantly discerning how I should feel with compassion and anger about what is expected of me, while thwacking myself simultaneously in self-pity and awareness that society and biology have more control over my mental health than I can fix alone. I struggled with breastfeeding until I found help in a local support group. I experienced, firsthand, the benefits of society. These women inspired me, and I found comfort in knowing that when I could log onto Facebook and find help from others who were also up nursing at 3 a.m. I enjoy reading about motherhood in both literature and in psychology and philosophy texts; I ruminate over how I can effectively improve the situation in our society where critique is abundant but action is stonewalled or misguided.

I also found inspiration in global public health leaders, like Hans Rosling, who brilliantly communicated complex data. Rosling used objective data to show that “extreme poverty is the worst health problem in the world today”, and that it should be prioritized over noncommunicable diseases, despite their prominence in numbers. No matter how developed or underdeveloped a country is, the proportion of noncommunicable diseases is ellipsing communicable diseases, yet life expectancies are paradoxically worse; this is an example of science as art- looking at the objective data in the context of our dynamic globe. Disparities associated with maternal and child mortality remains an enormous challenge in nearly all countries, especially the United States, where life-expectancy at birth is the lowest and the maternal and infant mortality rate is the highest of almost all developed countries. Despite non communicable diseases traditionally signaling long-life and high economic status, life expectancies and health outcomes are worse because child mortality rates are increasing due to communicable diseases, malnutrition and lack of maternal services. Maternal health is the foundation of a healthy society.

 

 

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Hello From Cortney – M.O.M.’s Spring Semester 2018 Intern

Hello,

My name is Cortney Roquemore. I am a senior at the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. I major in psychology. I am proudly doing my spring internship at (M.O.M.). (Museum Of Motherhood). M.O.M. is not just a museum, but it’s an empowering facility that shares the “information and education about the art, history, and science of motherhood from an international perspective.” My duty as an intern is to cultivate new relationships with people, institutions, and scholars in the St. Petersburg community. I will be inviting students from USF to come to M.O.M. for tours as well as utilizing social media to let people in the community know about this new incredible resource. I will also be learning about grant writing and crowdfunding for non-profits.

During the month of January, I will alphabetize and organize the library including the Demeter Collection of books and learn how to add resources to the museum’s scholarly collection. I will be adding this data to Excel. In February, I being my community outreach. The first week in February I will speak with some of my former professors and invite small groups of students (5 at a time) to come and tour the Museum. I will set up a schedule for this. On February 9th, I attend the Tampa Bay Breastfeeding Coalition where the director of the museum, Martha Joy Rose is presenting on the topic of racial disparities with regard to the visibility of breastfeeding in the public arena. Then, on Feb. 16th and 17th I will be helping out with the Annual Academic M.O.M. Conference. This conference, recently renamed the I :> M.O.M. Conference is in its second year in St. Petersburg. This year’s conference is going to be held on the USF campus in collaboration with the Women’s and Gender Studies Department of USF and made possible in part by a ResearchOne grant. This promises to be an exciting start to February.

After the conference is over, I will be learning all about how to lead tours of M.O.M. Then, I will be interacting with students who visit from USF (as well as the general public).

When March arrives, I will also be turning my attention to the business side of the museum and learning more about how a non-profit organization is properly managed. March 15th I will be attending a Greenhouse workshop (available for free through the city of St. Pete), on fundraising called “SPAA –Grant Writing/Development Research” from 8:30AM- 10:30 with Ms. Rose.  On March 22nd I will participate in another workshop with Ms. Rose from 6:30-8:30PM on “How to be Successful Via Crowdfunding.” In between these workshops, I will be identifying one specific project we hope to raise money for.

April will be a good opportunity for me to synthesize the skills I’ve acquired after getting familiar with M.O.M.’s library and exhibition resources, leading tours, and participating in multiple workshops and events. I will use the remainder of my internship to work with Ms. Rose remotely (via e-mail and Skype) on fundraising initiatives for one museum project as well as curating and promoting social media initiatives. I will actually write one grant and create an online Crowdfunding campaign. My internship requirement is 120 hours. By working on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1-5 or 6 PM (4-5 hours depending on the week, plus special events), I will easily be able to fulfill this mandate. This internship will help me form good working skills. I will have the opportunity to interact with my community. Most importantly, I get to learn more about the psychological aspects of motherhood!!