The 2014-15 Ethics Center BOLLI Senior Street Team

February 24, 2015

The Ethics Center BOLLI Senior Street Team (ECBSST) is a partnership program of BOLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Brandeis; and the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. The Senior Street Team works in tandem with the Ethics Center's undergraduate Ethics Center Leadership Council to build engagement with and awareness of the Center’s resources.

BOLLI Senior Street Team Team members

  • help stir conversation and reflection on major talks at Brandeis while engaging in dialogue with Brandeis undergraduates and graduate students.
  • host ’DEIS Impact College, a two day festival of social justice learning with the Brandeis College of Arts & Sciences. ECBSST members assist the Ethics Center in welcoming the Brandeis community to these classes, while also actively participating in the learning.
  • think globally but act locally: pursue a social justice project together with Brandeis undergraduates seeking to take action.

The Ethics Center BOLLI Senior Street Team meets with the
undergraduate Ethics CentEr Leadership Council

The 2014-15 Ethics Center BOLLI Senior Street Team

Ruth N. Bramson’s lifetime achievement has been advancing leadership opportunities for women includes advocacy for gender equity across corporate, government and non- profit sectors, with over 30 years of experience leading diverse teams and executing strategic and business development plans across sectors. Ms. Bramson served as the first CEO of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, a position she held for over 5 years, retiring from that role in December 2013. Prior to that, Bramson was Senior Vice President of Human Resources for National Grid and Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Shaw’s Supermarkets/Star Markets from 1995-2002. As Shaw’s Supermarkets/Star Markets’ first woman senior executive and Board member, Ms. Bramson continued to break ground with the development of a progressive “Women at Work” campaign, significantly increasing the number of women in managerial roles. While working in the corporate sector, Ms. Bramson established Suited for Success, a nonprofit that supports economically disadvantaged women towards self-sufficiency. Appointed as the first Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Diversity Officer for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Romney Administration, Ms. Bramson received the Shared Services Leader of the Year for North America Award in 2005 for innovations in state government. In 2010, Ms. Bramson was appointed co-chair of the Diversity Sub-Committee for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, and she currently sits on the STEM Council’s Operations Board. In 2013, Ms. Bramson was one of 16 women appointed to Mayor Menino’s Women’s Workforce Council, which is working to help the women of Boston achieve pay equity. Ms. Bramson’s board service includes Junior Achievement, Women’s Advisory Board of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), the Board of Governors of Tufts Medical Center, the Board of Overseers for the Mother Caroline Academy & Education Center, the Board of Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, Board of Advisors for the Center for Collaborative Leadership at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She also serves as a Trustee Emeritus at Middlesex Community College. Ms. Bramson studied at Cornell University’s College of Arts and Sciences. She is a graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University and holds a master’s degree from Boston University’s School of Education. She completed Harvard University’s Executive Leadership Program for women and a joint Harvard Law School-MIT negotiation program. She resides in Boston with her husband. They have five children and nine grandchildren.

Fara Faramarzpour has taught a variety of courses through BOLLI, including but not limited to the history of science and the history of our planet. Fara worked for Polaroid Corporation in the area of instant photography. In the 90s, he was elected to be the chairman of the International Committee to create the new standards (e.g. JPEG and others) for digital photography. Fara’s interests include mentoring young people and fostering their leadership abilities, and creating an environment for creativity, communication and cooperation.

Ed Finerty is a committed life-long learner and member of BOLLI, having been involved since its inception and serving as a member of the BOLLI Advisory Council. Ed became involved in BOLLI after a career in sales with IBM following his time serving as an officer on a U.S. Navy destroyer. He holds an AB degree from Dartmouth and an MBA from its Amos Tuck School of Business Administration. Ed is actively engaged with town service organizations in Natick and is involved with his church.

Michael Levin majored in mathematics at M.I.T. and became a member of the Artificial Intelligence group, later known as the Laboratory for Computer Science. He made several contributions to artificial intelligence and recursive function theory during the early years of that discipline. He has been a professor of computer science and a software engineer. Prior to his recent retirement, he worked for a start-up company that did real-time analysis of the electrical grid, and applied artificial intelligence techniques to demand response and energy market bidding. Michael has been a Buddhist practitioner and teacher for over four decades. He and his wife, Emily Weidman, founded the Waltham Buddhist Meditation Group, which meets regularly at First Parish in Waltham, a Unitarian/Universalist church. He has had a long-term interest in energy and environment, and is firmly convinced that the destruction of the life support systems of planet earth and lack of social justice are intertwined problems that must be resolved together. He has trained in and taught programs that empower us to face these problems with courage and take effective action.

Sally Mechur is quite new to both Boston and BOLLI. She comes from Rochester, NY, where she had a long career as an educator in a K-12 school district. Her positions included department chair, assistant principal, principal, and district curriculum coordinator. In retirement, her main interests are adult learning and issues of social justice. Her participation in BOLLI matches these interests perfectly.

Marjorie Roemer is a graduate of Brandeis (Ph.D. ’84) with a strong interest in Brandeis’ role in issues of social justice. She came to BOLLI with a background in teaching, having been a professor of English and director of writing programs at Rhode Island College and the University of Cincinnati, English department member and chair of the department at Brookline High School, and a lecturer at University of California at Santa Barbara. Much of her work has been with teachers of all levels as the director of the Rhode Island Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project. Since her retirement in 2010, Marjorie has been active in BOLLI. She often leads classes in memoir writing and participates in the Study Group Support Committee. She has also inaugurated a program called Teachers Talk aimed at creating a climate for reflective practice and establishing a community of learners within BOLLI study group leaders.

Quinn Rosefsky has brought his background in Native American research and studies to BOLLI, teaching a course on Native Americans offered in the spring of 2014 and 2015. The final six years of Quinn’s professional career were spent as a psychiatrist working on a Native American reservation. There, he developed a strong awareness of the multitude of problems facing the reservation’s population: cultural collapse, prejudice, unemployment, poverty, family violence, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and dysfunctional relationships with government agencies. He also became aware of multiple cultural strengths as sources of pride, identity and achievement. Quinn helps to pass on his experience, awareness and understanding through teaching BOLLI courses on Native Americans.

Myron (“Marty”) Ross grew up in the Boston area, and attended Northeastern University, where he received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 1970. After serving in the military, he worked for the next 35 years for GTE Government Systems, which merged with Bell Atlantic in 2001 to become Verizon Communications, retiring at the end of 2007. He held engineering, management and corporate staff positions, specializing in telephone and military and government networks and technologies. Upon retirement, he taught in the math and science division at Babson College, primarily calculus and probability/statistics to first year students. He has been involved with BOLLI since 2008 and looks forward to the academic curriculum each term, especially in the areas of history and literature. Marty has been married to his wife Nancy for 44 years, and has two children and four grandchildren.

Cheryl Shields grew up in New York City, and has lived in the Boston area for 40 years. She studied special education at Boston University and did her masters degree at Vanderbilt University/Peabody College. There she continued her studies in special education with a focus on the deaf and blind. One of her first jobs was working on a federal grant at Dartmouth College, studying the efficacy of early intervention programs on later educational progress for both disabled and economically disadvantaged infants and toddlers. Her work was a part of the efforts throughout the U.S. that helped pass federal legislation mandating early childhood programs starting in the 1970s. Cheryl currently sits on two clinical trial review boards at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. There she reviews new protocols for cancer patients and edit consent forms into lay language and works on social-emotional and quality of life issues for both the patient and family members.