Women’s History Month event focuses on storytelling


Diana Reed

English Professors Leslie Gale (left) and Sherie Coelho (right) co-hosted the storytelling event in the Winn Center. Here are both of the professors posing for a picture after the event on Tuesday.

English Professors Leslie Gale and Sherie Coelho hosted a “Her Story, Your Story: In Community” in celebration of Women’s History Month on Tuesday.

Over 60 people attended the event, which was held both online and in person at the Winn Center.

“Stories are the way we connect with community,” Coelho said as she opened. “They’re shared at the kitchen table, outside on a walk. Wherever they are, they live within us.”

After introducing herself as “Crazy Sherie,” Coelho shared the parable “Naked Truth and Parable” by Rabbi Kranz, the Maggid of Dubno and then handed the floor to Gale.

Gale outlined the assignment she gave to her students in her women in literature class, which inspired the event.

“Some of the stories will be specifically about women authors,” Gale said. “The reason for that is the theme of this year is honoring the women that tell our stories.”

After Gale told her own story, inspired by the life and works of 19th Century English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, attendees shared theirs.

Stories were inspired by women such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, writer Madeleine L’Engle and poet Emma Lazarus. They encompassed themes including feminism, social justice, faith and science.

Photography Professor Kathryn Mayo shared a ghost story inspired by her memories of growing up in the Southeast titled “13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey” by Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Mayo said ghost stories are her favorite kind of story to tell.

“Every time I hear a ghost story, my mind is engaged,” Mayo said.

Before closing, the hosts invited guests to engage with their neighbor and tell them about a woman who inspires them.

Both Gale and Coelho said they were happy with how the day went with it being the first campus storytelling event of its kind since 2007.

“The students from my class surpassed my expectations,” Gale said.