Friday, March 30, 2012

sisterhood of scarf blog entry

A miracle occurred on the day I wore the traveling scarf!  I've been searching for community my whole life, and as a single person could never truly find acceptance anywhere.  Coming to UD for Engineering school years ago, was when I first experienced a hint of "community" and I was very influenced by it.  In 2004, I converted to Catholicism under the tutelage of UD's Father Jerry Chinchar, who was the first person in my entire life who taught me that as a human being my life was precious!  Even then, when I went out into the community parish, as a single Catholic with no Catholic family, I was unable to find any "church home" other than the UD Chapel, and UD has really been the only "community" I've ever known.  


I've been in search for community my whole life.   I tried lived in a convent for 6 months, and even there, I could find no acceptance and no evidence of this elusive concept known as "community".   In fact, my whole life, I have been like Kevin in the movie "Home Alone," as he walked down the street on Christmas Eve looking from the outside in the windows of houses as families enjoyed the Christmas holiday together.  Believe me, walking on the street on Christmas eve with no place to go is one of the most heart wrenchingly lonely experiences there is.   I never been a part of a "real" family that actually hangs together, and now that my workaholic father has died, all I have left is my elderly mother who is in a nursing home, and a brother 1000 miles away who has nothing to do with me.


Last year, when I chose the University of Dayton to come back to school as an NTRAD, (my cool nickname for "nontraditional student") to pursue a new avocation, I was hoping to experience this "community" I had read about online. 


On March 19, the day I wore the traveling scarf, I have to admit that I was at the lowest point of the semester in how I felt about myself.  In fact, quite honestly, I was nearing the point of no return, and rapidly approaching a decision to give up trying to fit in anywhere ever again, stop reaching out, and stop trying to do anything with others, including playing music. 


Even students who used to be friends who played duets with me last year now pass by me as if I don't exist and disconfirm me when I try to communicate with them.    I was beginning to lose my faith and give up on the human race.  I mean, after all, if you cannot find "community" and acceptance in a Marianist University where compassion is considered the norm, then where in the world can you find it?


After sustaining an injury in mid-August, during the last month of fall semester I was finally able to get down to business on my schoolwork and compositions, and made great progress.  The performance of my work "The Black Hole" with the Gamelan Orchestra on December 2, 2011, was a huge success, but as a female composer, I was not recognized for my work.  For some reason, I was even denied the opportunity to study composition again.


From the moment I put the scarf on, I suddenly felt better about myself, and even a little bit positive.  I could feel the positive energy of every woman who wore the traveling scarf before me.  I found myself walking on the campus with a newfound confidence and almost felt like a different person.  I performed better in my music class, and when I sat down in the KU dining hall for lunch, where I usually sit alone, all of a sudden out of the blue, a traditional student I knew from the astronomy club walked right up to me, plopped right down at the table with me, and talked with me for 30 whole minutes!  What a gift!  And I have the "sisterhood of the traveling scarf" to thank for it!


What was even more amazing is what she said.  This student expressed the hope that I would be back next year, she actually VALIDATED MY EXPERIENCE!  She told me that a traditional female student friend of hers is currently undergoing the same issues I've had.


What a wonderful gift it was for me that day to be validated and to discover that my experience has been real, that it was never 'just me,' or 'all my fault.'  I did the best I could.  Oftentimes, it is common practice to scapegoat a victim, blaming the victim for getting hurt, and this has been an unfortunate fact of life in the female experience throughout history.  And this is one reason why many of us have ended up wasting our gifts and talents, and been robbed of our potential. 


Traditionally, it has always been difficult for female composers to be accepted and recognized, especially in academia, so the path I chose was not going to an easy one. 

Historically, the only way female composers have been able to succeed has been to cater to the male ego, find a male ally, find a way around the male ego, or attempt to avoid it by joining a convent.  One female composer, who has a 20-year history of hundreds of successful works and is revered as one of the finest composers of our day, lost opportunity while involved in academia.  Why does this still happen? 


If only we as women would validate each other more often.  Fewer of us would give up and fewer of us would recycle the same mistakes over again.  More of us would succeed, and this could make a big difference.


 Considering how many times in history we women have reduced ourselves to playing "second chair in the fiddle section of life" in order to appease the male ego and survive or reach goals, just imagine what the world would be like now, if all women throughout history had been given 100% opportunity to truly shine, with not one woman's skills, talents, abilities or gifts squelched out of existence or wasted.  Wouldn't that be a wonderful world?  My question is when are we ever going to have this opportunity?  When is this ever going to happen?


The next day, it was my turn to pass on the traveling scarf to my next "sister," a very sweet kind NTRAD (nontraditional student like myself) in grad school, Michela, who has a passion for making the world a better place through higher education!  She actually took the time to sit with me in the KU Galley and get to know me.  We enjoyed talking together and she expressed an interest in some future concerts.   She seemed very compassionate, so I shared some of the experiences I've had at UD.


The Traveling Scarf has been true blessing to me!








Thursday, March 29, 2012

Scarf blog

So, the traveling scarf and I met in Eileen Maloney's office on Monday February 27th following a delayed return flight as I completed time out of state at a conference.  I am the woman wearing the scarf in the picture that Eileen posted in her blog.  Although I was exhausted and the hand off occurred later than originally planned, Eileen shared her delightful story (included in her blog) and the scarf and I moved back to my office.  I don't remember much else of the first day—we all know how it is following time away from the office along with flight issues.  I do remember, though, wanting to appropriately display the scarf and trying to attend to my posture so that I could do 'her' justice.


On February 28th, the day of the book discussion regarding Zora Neale Hurston's "their eyes were watching god," I was trying to finish the book prior to the midday discussion, when a colleague, who had seen me in my exhausted state, but with the beautiful scarf about which she commented, came to my office and needed to talk for a few.  While my inclination was to tell her that I had work to do, it was clear that she needed a listening ear—and that was much more important at the moment than my finishing the book right then.  Wearing the scarf made me reconsider my responsibilities to a friend who was, herself, wearing a beautiful scarf that day about which I commented—spurred on by the traveling scarf.  During the powerful book discussion led by the amazing Dr. Denise James, Patty Waugh called attention to the scarf, so I was glad that I had spent a few minutes making sure that 'she' was secure and appropriately displayed for the discussion.


As my time ended with the scarf, beautiful in appearance and feel, I had the opportunity to meet and hand the scarf off to Mary Niebler, a mom of a very young daughter, who shared her plans regarding the scarf that included her daughter.  Mary and I had coffee at the Hangar at KU.  In addition to learning of Mary's UD story and her current work in the Center for Social Concern, I learned that the Hangar is open early in the morning J. The adventures with the scarf made me walk the talk of being open to the possibilities, slowing down, and reflecting; thank you.  Pam Young

Pamela Cross Young, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Director of Accreditation
School of Education and Allied Professions
University of Dayton
Dayton, Ohio 45469-0532
"Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible." Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"You're Dashing"

"You're Dashing"

The glittering sun and fresh morning air glide past the curtains into my bedroom: waking my body, my mind, my soul. Someone is with me. My eyes remain closed as I breathe in the unfamiliar scent of someone. Someone, who is with me. Someone, I don't know. I open my eyes. I am alone. I lift my head, letting my eyes gaze downward to the scarf resting on my bed. I inhale the scent of the scarf. Wonder, creeping into my mind. Whose scent am I smelling? Whose scent is with me this morning? Is this the combined scent of all the women who have worn this scarf before me? Is this the scent of one woman in particular? Who is she? What is her story? How have our journeys led us both to this scarf? 

Jean opens the door to great me. Her eyes fix on the scarf wrapped around my shoulders and chest, "What a gorgeous scarf. Just gorgeous." She closes the door behind me. I plop down on the couch, sharing with her the tale of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf. We begin our usual conversation. I share with her the most intimate and recent details of my life. She listens. I sit, as a woman, sharing my life, my journey, with another woman, my body wrapped in the presence of all the women who have journeyed with this scarf before me. These women know my story. It is their story too. I am encircled by their love, engulfed by their wisdom, submerged in their strength, saturated with their beauty. 

Women, who are with me. Women, I don't know. Women. Ever-connected. Ever impacting and being impacted by one another. Through our adventure, our journey, our life, our scarf.

Love and light,
Kailey Corken

Friday, March 16, 2012

Miracles All Around Us

I am truly starting to believe in the power of miracles, and the scarf brought them to me in abundance. I first received the scarf from Emily who works in the library. Throughout our chat I found that we had so much in common, especially in terms of our love for books. As I mentioned that I’m conducting an Honors Thesis about electronic publishing, she started to talk about her experience with electronic texts and gave me some wonderful ideas for my thesis. That, along with finding out that UD actually has a rare books room with books from the 15th century, were definitely one of the many miracles of that day.

Then, after attending two classes and basking in the beautiful sunshine, the scarf and I attended the welcome luncheon for the Busy Person’s Retreat on campus. This lasts for a week and participants meet with a spiritual guide for 30 minutes and then pray individually for 30 minutes daily. To my surprise and joy, my spiritual guide happened to be the woman that passed the scarf along to me last year. Another miracle!

I end my Mondays with Concert Band, a wonderful respite after two intense language courses in a row. I have played the saxophone for 12 years, and after taking a break for six months I returned to music this semester. Unfortunately, a joint in my right hand has become inflamed because of this six month break. Usually I wear a glove to relieve the pressure of the saxophone on my hand, but I forgot my glove that day. Fortunately, the scarf was there. I wrapped the scarf around my hand to support me, and you know what? My hand has felt infinitely better since that moment. Yet another miracle.

Tuesday filled me with joy as I wore the scarf on the most beautiful sunny day the city of Dayton has seen in a long time. Students flocked to KU field, and the campus felt so alive. I ran into many friends who noticed the scarf immediately and wanted to know its story. The consensus was that the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf was a “genius idea.” I, too, believe this to be true!

On Wednesday I passed the scarf along to Shannon who was such a pleasure to meet. She works in Communications and writes for several newsletters on campus just as I do! We could relate to each other’s experience. I think the most beautiful part of the conversation was when she came back to tell me that she is 15 weeks pregnant! The sheer joy on her face was beautiful to see – Congratulations Shannon! That, too, is a miracle.

The point of my blog post is that miracles are all around us. These miracles do not have to be large and monumental. Miracles can be the little things said or done or seen that bring a sense of joy or peace to the day. This semester I started keeping what I call a “miracle journal” where at the day’s close I reflect upon the “miracle of the day.” I urge each and every one of you beautiful women to become aware of the daily miracles that surround your lives. In the midst of our busy schedules, this kind of positive thinking will bring you more joy than you could ever imagine.

Peace and Blessings to all!
Kristina DeMichele

My scarf blog entry

The scarf goes to March Madness


President Barack Obama wasn't the only entity making a debut at the NCAA Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena.


On Wednesday, March 14, the scarf went to the First Four.


My dates with the scarf were March 14-15, perfectly timed for the second day of the First Four at UD Arena, the opening round of the men's basketball tournament. I didn't have it in my possession the day the president was there, so my dreams of having the president notice the scarf were dashed. That's okay though — I didn't get anywhere closer than about 100 yards from him the day he was present for the game, so he wouldn't have had the chance to compliment the scarf anyway! But I could dream, right?


My first great experience with the scarf happened Wednesday morning, when student Kristina DeMichele passed it to me during a quick meet-and-greet at The Blend. Although we didn't have lots of time to talk, I learned that we shared a love of the Spanish language and Spain… she was planning to travel to Madrid at some point, and I lived there for three months when I was a college student. We laughed about how it could be difficult to maintain competency in a foreign language from day to day if we're not immersed in it! I hope she gets to Madrid soon, maybe even this summer.


I then went back to my office at College Park Center, where I wore the scarf for two days. Some coworkers asked about it and I explained the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf program to them.


After that, it was time for my work at the basketball game, where I tweeted for @daymag, the Twitter account for the University of Dayton alumni magazine, and collected quotes and observations for the UDQuickly blog ( I also chatted with journalists from ESPN, the Tampa Bay Times and CBS Sports, along with the hardworking folks from our own athletics and communications departments.


Hopefully the scarf made an impression as it traveled through the Arena, and I hope it enjoyed watching the games that night!

-Shannon Shelton Miller
Assistant Director of Communications

Shannon Shelton Miller
Assistant Director of Communications
College Park Center 6th Floor

University of Dayton
Office of University Communications
300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-2963

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reflections on a Traveling Scarf

My excitement built as I caught glimpses across campus and among my colleagues in the Libraries. It was as if the light shone a little brighter the moment my fellow “sister” entered the room. Smiles quickly followed along with an explanation for those around us about the scarf’s significance. I was excited to take my turn.

I regret that Christina and I had little time to chat during our handoff since I was in the middle of a meeting. We made the exchange quickly and then she was gone. The unanticipated consequence of the timing of this swap was that my colleagues in the meeting were curious about the scarf and its story was again shared with others.

I wore the scarf over a hoodie the following day as I read articles and worked on an upcoming conference presentation. It was a rare quiet day and I worried that I had let my sisters and the scarf down by not having a more eventful day.

Monday morning I hurried to the Blend to meet Kristina and hand off the scarf. We got coffee and chatted about so many things. After Kristina hurried off to class, I smiled because I knew that the scarf was in for wonderfully busy and exciting day--one very different from mine. Not better or more important, just different.

Emily Hicks
Associate Professor
Director of Information Acquisition & Organization
University Libraries

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Blog Entry for Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf

I wore the scarf for one day. What a beautiful, pink scarf to wear! It was one of those warmer days yet still windy, so a perfect day for a scarf. The scarf itself and meeting with Crystal to pass on the scarf made me feel special and part of a community. Having a support system of women is very important to me and I am glad we have resources to connect with each other. Thank you for this experience.


Katy Kelly
Communications and Outreach Librarian | University of Dayton
105D Roesch Library | 937-229-4274 |  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rich with sisters

"Sisterhood" may mean more to me than most because I have eight older sisters from the same parents.  However, moving to Dayton this past August means that it's an 8-hour drive to the sister who lives closest.  I miss my sisters who still pass their clothes down to me, now shipping them in boxes.  Sharing the opulent scarf was a sisterly blessing for me; I was reminded of this by Mt. 23:8, that with Christ as our one teacher, " are all brothers and sisters," the Gospel reading at Mass the last day I had the scarf.  Working at a Catholic and Marianist institution prompted me to reflect that my sisterhood with all people is rooted in having God as my Father and Mary as my spiritual mother.  The scarf provided the opportunity to draw two UD staffers to the Marian Library for the first time, and for me to get to know two of my UD sisters--Mary Niebler and Christina Smith.  We shared stories about our work and families.  I have been enriched knowing two more wonderful women who I wouldn't ordinarily have the opportunity to meet.

"Traveling scarf" it was!  Due to Spring Break, the scarf went many places with me for five days.  I explained the scarf's meaning to my husband, UD co-workers, and my Legion of Mary brethren at St. Albert's Church.  I wore the scarf as I served as secretary at one meeting, president at another, and then as a parish visitor.  Wearing the scarf to vote and happily putting my voting sticker on it, I thought of how women have the right to vote in this country.  We are privileged to live in the USA.  "To whom much is given, much is expected" (Lk. 12:48).  The scarf reminds me to live this spirit of equal sisterhood first in my own community, where I am happy to recognize the scarf.  May God bless us all as we build this spirit at UD!

Gloria Falcao Dodd, Doctor of Sacred Theology
The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute
300 College Park
Dayton, OH 445469-1390
(937) 229-1431

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My blog entry - Ginger Stuck

Feb 23, 12
I received the scarf from Diane Hoops who brought it to my office to drop it off.  It was nice to meet her and chat a bit.  I immediately put the scarf on and began the journey.   I wore the scarf all day at work while explaining it to many of my students and faculty. Later that evening I met my daughter for dinner at Flying Pizza, where I told them the story and took a picture.   After dinner we went to have pedicures and I proudly wore the scarf and told the ladies about the story.  They took my picture with the scarf as I got my toes done.

Feb 24, 12
I was very excited to have the scarf for this day.  Not only did I wear it to work again but that evening was the UD 100th Anniversary Gala of the School of Engineering.  I was able to wear it to the event and tell many people of its purpose.  I have included a picture of my husband and me at the gala.

Feb 25, 12
I wore the scarf over the weekend with my coat to the many places I went around town.  People seem to notice the scarf as it really stands out with its beautiful colors and texture.

Feb 27, 12
I scheduled to meet Karen Slattery, next recipient of the scarf, at the Emporium in Marianist Hall at 11:30 for the hand off.  We had a great meeting and sat and talked for quite a while.  It was great meeting her and hearing what she does for UD, about her family, her accomplishments and her plans for the future.  I now have a new friend in my UD family.

The scarf experience was really good for me as I felt a part of a larger community.  It was rewarding participating with so many other people, from so many different backgrounds, for one common goal of unity. 

Ginger Stuck
Senior Administrative Assistant
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469-0238
(937) 229-2999
Fax: (937) 229-4766

Monday, March 5, 2012

March1/5 blog

hello, see below. 


I don't wear scarves.  I don't wear jewelry.  I rarely wear makeup.  It is a big deal for me to style my hair in any way that does not involve a haphazard bun or pony tail.  Mostly, my intent is to get it out of my eyes, away from my cheeks and off my neck.  Contemplating the traveling scarf, I consider briefly wearing it in my hair, but it's heavy.  I settle on a simple tie over my t-shirt and cardigan.  

I'm not sure I can carry this off.  

I feel like an impostor in accessories.  Bracelets don't fit, necklaces choke, watches stop working when they come into contact with my skin, earrings get tangled in my hair.  And frankly, it's a bother that takes up precious time and provides very little payoff.  I never leave enough time in the morning to put on makeup.  The rituals of completing a look before venturing out into public feel extra to me, a luxury of time I'd rather spend elsewhere.   I could grab an extra half  hour's sleep, read for a little longer in the comfort of my bed, or actually make myself a breakfast that is tasty and filling.  All feel like better options than locating the earrings that I plucked out of my ears and put God only knows where the last time I bothered to wear them.  

At times in my life I have placed political importance behind my "decision" not to accessorize, a rejection of traditional gender roles and performativities.  Why should I spend money and time acquiring pieces that decorated my body further?  They didn't make me feel good, mostly they served to remind me that what I find appealing is rarely flattering and usually a distraction.  By eschewing makeup and accessories I was renouncing the overly feminized way that Madison avenue had inclined me, and perhaps other women, to add bits of color and sparkly things to my appendages, my face.  

Except my toothbrush is coral.  The first thing I do in the morning is shrug myself into a pink terrycloth robe.  I turn on the water for the shower, and choose among my vast soap collection:  rose, linden, and lilac scents dominate.  My shampoo and conditioners mix tea tree oil with ylang ylang and vanilla.  My washcloths come in two colors:  white and magenta.  

I have sprays, pomades and powders for my skin, face and hair that fill up several shelves and are a colossal pain when it becomes time to dust my dresser.  My mother refers to the lot of them as my lotions and potions.  None of them evoke musky scents, pines or woods.  All of them are floral or sweet-spiced based.  My wardrobe is dominated by pinks, corals, roses and salmon.  Recently I went to a conference and brought one pair of shoes that matched my black and hot pink outfits for four days straight perfectly.   My morning ritual is actually an extensive act of gendering myself through colors and scents, regardless of whether I choose to ice the cake of my appearance with makeup or jewelry.  

I like these things, and I don't feel guilty or inclined to give them up.  Rose, lilac, lavender and linden, they make me smile and relax and feel good about myself.   But putting on my traveling scarf this morning did provoke me to ask myself:  Why do I find these things appealing?  Why do they feel like coming home in a way that traditionally masculine scents don't?  I doubt that the answer will change my daily routine; I do like how how my lotions and potions make me feel, the comfort they provide to a too busy life.  But it's a question worth asking, a quest for self-understanding worth pursuing; especially since I suspect that the more interesting question might be, who benefits from me liking these things?   Most of my potions are mass produced, and that answer might point to lots of other interesting possibilities I have not considered.  Like where I buy my familiar scents from, and whose craft and art I choose to support.     

Rachel Wagner
Associate Director
Housing and Residence Life
University of Dayton
937 229-3317
937 229-3446 (Fax)

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Story To Tell....Scarf-Wearer Yaimarie

As I was in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf Reception, I realized that I was the only person my age. This got me thinking of the journey I have been through and the journey ahead. I come from an interesting woman line: my grandmother did not get past the 8th grade, my mother never finished college, my oldest sister dropped out of high school and my other sister got kicked out of high school. Needless to say, I am the woman in my family that has gone the farthest in education at my age.

It is kind of funny to say that me and all my sisters, who are forty and thirty, are all in different paths of our college education at the same time. I have come to realize that I am blessed with my intelligence and willingness to overcome. My mother has always told me to study hard so I do not have to go through what she went through, but seeing her raise me and my sisters with no education inspires me. Every time I have a rough time with school I think of her. I always say that I do things to make my mother cry; that sounds horrible, but let me explain: my mother cries out of happiness every time I make her proud.

Now thinking of the future; I am a sophomore Marketing and Entrepreneurship major at the University of Dayton, a little far away from my hometown in Puerto Rico. I have no idea what I am going to do when I graduate, whether I’m staying in the United States or going back to Puerto Rico. However, I do have set goals for my life. Whatever I end up doing, I promise myself that I am going to be the best at it. I want to find a husband and start a family, I also want six kids. I have two mottos in my life. The first one is “You need to make mistakes to learn from them," and this is what I’m doing right now in college. The second one is “Live in such a way that you will have stories for you grandchildren." This is especially important to me because I am very family oriented, and that is why I want a huge family. I crave that Thanksgiving holiday where we have more than 20 people ranging from babies to old people and everyone is screaming, throwing jokes, bickering, but having a good time. That is the one thing that I miss about being home, so wherever I end up, I want to create my own version of it. And on my last moments, I want people to have to fight over who stands next to me, because that is how many people are there. Also, the other ultimate goal that I have is to change someone’s life. However, I still don’t know how I am doing that yet haha.

For now I don’t know what I’m doing, but I am making it up as I go along. All I know is that I’ve done a decent job at educating myself and taking advantage of the various opportunities that are offered to me at this university. Hopefully in a couple of years I will look back and tell this story to my children and grandchildren.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf blog

February 21 to February 23, 2012

The excitement of wearing the scarf started the week before, when a co-worker was wearing it. The beauty of it and the total meaning of wearing it was and still is very important to me to show my support for the mission of equality.
February 21:
I was very fortunate to meet and have lunch with Yaimarie (Yo Yo) to exchange the scarf. She is from Puerto Rico and she is so interesting to talk to. I wore the scarf the rest of the day and because I work at the front desk of the library I was ask many times about the scarf and the meaning of the scarf. It was a big learning experience for me and it made me think more of our community  at UD and in my community that I live in. 
February 22:
Unfortunately I was not feeling well on this day and did not have the opportunity to wear it.
February 23:
This was the day that I had to give it up and pass it to the next lucky member of the UD family. The next person on the list was Ginger from Kettering Labs. It was a short visit so I look forward into seeing her on campus wearing the scarf. Enjoy!