Students at the Clearwater campus and members of the community heard from a panel of authors and educators as part of the campus’s celebration of Women’s History Month.
The panel consisted of Erica Dawson, poet; Gianna Russo, publisher; and Lisa Birnbaum, novelist; who answered questions moderated by English instructor, John Davis. All three female participants are also experienced educators at local colleges and universities.
Dawson, winner of the 2016 Poets Prize for her collection The Small Blades Hurt, fielded questions from students regarding her writing process, the field of poetry, communication skills, and her experience as a female writer of color.
Russo, who owns and operates Yellow Jacket Press in Tampa, spoke about the pleasures of bringing the written word to the public, addressed the life-changing nature of teaching and writing, and the joy of her own writing. Russo has taught English and literature at both the secondary and post-secondary levels.
Birnbaum penned the recent novel Worthy, and spoke about that experience to students and faculty members at the university. Likewise, Birnbaum addressed medical assisting, surgical technology, and nursing students with a special message about the healing power of words and language, “Words have the power to help, whether someone is hurting or even dying, language can be so powerful in that moment.”
The three women professionals also talked about how positive communication skills have impacted their careers, from the classroom to the printed page. Likewise, they each identified powerful women role models from Eleanor Roosevelt to their own mothers. The event concluded with a student-based question and answer session.