Dreams to Reality

April 19, 2008

Note: The author of this post, Laura, is currently serving as an AAUW Campus Action Project student team member at Alfred University in New York. One of seven 2007–2008 Campus Action Project grant awardees, the Alfred University team is creating a documentary featuring interviews of Alfred alumnae one year and ten years after graduation. The project is based on AAUW’s Behind the Pay Gap research report, which found that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues earn, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens.

The trip to NYC was awesome. What made it awesome? Well, it was my first time flying, and that was a plus, but really it was the interviews. They were fantastic. I think they were so powerful for me because they were such different stories from two very different women. They were practically foils of existence, backgrounds, and interest.

Both women were articulate and compelling. Cheryl’s life and story stood out to me more, possibly because her financial situation is closer to what my own will be, and her field is closer to my own. Natalie, though, was very charismatic, and though I did not find myself relating to her quite as much, I found her story really interesting. She was able to live with her parents in NYC, and she got free room and board while she jumped into the world of work.

That’s not likely to be my story or the story of many other AU graduates. I know I am not going to be able to go home after college and find a job in the small town where I grew up. What made Natalie’s story so compelling for me was that she was very much aware of how unique her situation was, and she still had great financial advice for current AU students. She even brought up salary.com, which seemed very appropriate, since we had Evelyn Murphy of the WAGE Project come to speak to us. Everything seemed to come together in that single moment. So, yeah, the trip to NYC was awesome, and it was the point where I finally saw the project materializing in front of me.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar Sandy Kirkpatrick says:

    What a terrific project! When you read the reports about pay inequities, the numbers are troubling, but it is the real-life stories of real people that speak to most people. So kudos for the work on this documentary.

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