VIVIAN TEAL HOWARD SCHOLARS WORK TO IMPROVE LIFE FOR OTHERS IN THE COMMUNITY
One morning, Loretta McBride picked up a newspaper and found herself disheartened by the grim accounts of poverty and injustice. From that day on, her life changed. "I couldn't accept how bad things were," McBride recalls. "I had an overwhelming urge to help people."
Tanya Howell is one of this year's Vivian Teal Howard Scholars. Recipients are selected, in part, for their interest in working with the community.
McBride took a job with the Onondaga County Health Department and worked part time on an undergraduate degree in social work. A single mother of two, she juggled the courseload around an already busy schedule. Looking back, McBride laughs at her ambition. "I can't even tell you how I got this far," she says. "It was difficult to find a balance at first. I just made a decision that this is a time for working. "
McBride and Tanya Howell, both graduate students, are the 1998-99 recipients of the School of Social Work's Vivian Teal Howard Scholarships. The scholarships, established in 1994 in memory of the late associate dean, are awarded annually to two of the school's students. Often they are students who return to school after a long break, are changing careers, or willingly share their talents with the greater community.
Like McBride, Howell came to SU with a desire to change the world around her. That motivation grew from experiences in her Bronx neighborhood. "I saw a lot of injustice growing up," Howell says. "Studying social work seemed like a good way to give back to the community. The faculty challenged us to question what is unjust."
Both women say field work augmented their classroom studies. McBride interned at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Syracuse. In working with the primary care outpatient team, she saw how her work fit in with the hospital's other services.
Howell volunteered at the Southwest Community Center and Planned Parenthood in Syracuse, and interned with SU's Center for Community Alternatives. "I want to open a holistic community centerthat's my long-term goal," she explains. "I would like to go back to the Bronx, but wherever the need is, that's where I'll be."
Howard's husband, the Rev. Larry Howard G'93, says the scholarships are a fitting tribute to his wife and those who knew her. "It's a part of us, and it is a way of tying the University and the School of Social Work, in particular, to the immediate community."
SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY WOMEN'S CHOIR OFFERS A HOME TO VOCALIST
At 4 p.m. on a Tuesday, young women trickle into a Crouse College rehearsal room. They form a semi-circle and focus their attention on the petite, dark-haired woman at the center, Barbara Tagg. Instantly, whatever they were doing before they arrived is forgotten.
Tagg, conductor of the Syracuse University Women's Choir, leads the women through a myriad of vocal exercises. A consummate professional, she takes her work with the choir seriously and expects the singers to do the same. The approach works. "She wants us to be proud of our singing," says sophomore Alison Potoma. "We always start rehearsal with a warm-up that unifies the group. We listen to each other to find just the right blend of voices and volume."
The Syracuse University Women's Choir, decked in formal recital attire, performs at Crouse College.
Tagg says the first documented existence of a women's group on campus was the Lady's Glee Club, a photo of which appears in the 1893 Onondagan. By 1922, it was one of the largest ensembles on the Hill. In the decades that followed, participation was sporadic. In the early 1990s, the Women's Glee Club was combined with the men's. The experiment was short-lived, and the two clubs were separated in 1993. Tagg assumed conducting duties in 1996 and dropped the glee club moniker.
While the choir is open to all SU women and there are no auditions, freshman voice major Julie Viscardi, the group's treasurer, says the women's choir has no shortage of experienced singers. "Many of these people have been in choirs before, so they know what they are doing," she says. Splinter groups challenge the more accomplished voices. Viscardi, a member of the select a cappella group, the Mandarins, says that outlet balances her efforts with the larger choir.
Potoma and junior Laura Santilli were selected to participate in this year's National Honors Women's Choir, which performed at the American Choral Directors Association convention in Chicago. "For two of our women to be selected is an amazing accomplishment," says Tagg.
Potoma bases her participation in the women's choir on simpler pleasures. "It's an excellent chance to meet new people, learn great music, and have a lot of fun," she says.
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