Women of the Week

Alexandra O'Rourke and Marcy Forti

The women of the week for this week are Dean of Studies, Michele Angrist and Melanie Carvalho ’20.

Michele Angrist formerly was a political science professor here at Union, but now assumes the role of Dean of Studies. She was nominated by George Bizer and Kate Osterholtz. George explains that her decisions, communications, and speed have been remarkable as the primary dean responsible for student academics. George says, “That things are functioning at all can be owed in large part to Dean Angrist.” 

Kate also nominated Michele, explaining that she is a wonderful female role model on campus. Kate acknowledges, “As a Dean, she [Angrist] has to make tough choices and advocate for students all across campus. She has been working tirelessly to positively transition our campus to online learning and continue to keep the honor council going, attend to student’s academic needs and be an advocate for female students on campus.” Kate also worries that the extent to which Michele cares about making Union the best that it can be, and the amount of effort she puts into the student body is not recognized widely enough across campus. Kate is honored to work with Michele.

When asked about her proudest accomplishments, Michele shared hers were earning her Ph.D as well as earning tenure at Union. She further stated, “I’m also proud of how my husband and I together have raised my two sons, ages 14 and 17 (this is clearly still a work in progress but they are awesome, so, so far so good).”

Michele is passionate about professional soccer; she is a supporter of Liverpool Football Club and is currently missing sports greatly, however she is glad that the Bundesliga is back on! Michele is also passionate about practicing hot power yoga, adding that she started five years ago and does not know how she functioned before it as it helps her to de-stress and stay fit. She also enlightened us, “It helps me with being comfortable when it’s uncomfortable, to coin a Union value. You literally have to hold hard poses in 95-degree heat, remembering to breathe — this makes it easier to remember to breathe and stay calm when real life heats up and throws things at you that aren’t easy. It also helps me remember to practice self-care, and we can’t help others unless we take care of our own needs as well … something I think it’s hard for women to remember sometimes!”

When asked who Michele looks up to, she singled out Therese McCarty, Professor of Economics and former Vice President for Academic Affairs. Michele explains, “She modeled tremendous professional competence, strength, and kindness. When I first came to Union she made a special effort to reach out to me. As I continued in my career here I served on various committees with her and learned a lot from her about teamwork, administration, and collaboration. I have long been and remain grateful for her mentorship.”

 

Melanie Carvalho ‘20 is a senior who was nominated by Derek Zuckerman. He met Melanie this past year as she co-founded the Portugese Club on campus. “As I attended weekly meetings for the Portuguese Club, I have seen the preparation that she puts into providing language lessons for her peers and her willingness to share her family’s heritage.  She has brought Portuguese food for the group to share and highlighted different family traditions through music and pictures,” Derek stated. Through her hard work, Derek has had the opportunity to witness firsthand her creation of the group which is open to learning more about a different language and culture. Derek further explained that she is also involved in many different student organizations, including the new entrepreneurial club that meets for breakfast on weekend mornings. Derek describes Melanie as “A positive, enthusiastic, and caring woman who wants to make a difference in the Union Community.”

Melanie shared that she is most proud to be the first person in her family to attend college, “My parents are Portuguese immigrants and have worked tirelessly their entire lives to provide the best life for my brother and I. All my successes in college, and in life, are attributed to them.”

When asked what she is most passionate about, Melanie said making a difference in the world, no matter how slight. She also provided that she loves helping people, as she is an EMT and an aspiring Clinical Psychologist.

Being a woman at Union causes Melanie to feel “Empowered and extremely blessed that I’m able to receive an incredible education when so many people are not as lucky.” She tries to “Make the most of every term, every class, and every day” which is ever so imperative in the wake of embracing college during COVID-19.