Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

New Year, New Institute


***Awesome education tool alert***

In December the Cowen Institute put out this amazing Governance & School Guide by the talented and handsome Patrick Sims, our Research Manager. The guide is a way to locate schools by proximity to one’s home, by grade level, by OneApp zone, by transportation type offered by the school, by school performance score and more. It is a veritable treasure trove of the most up to date and relevant information on all public schools in New Orleans and it is worth a look, a bookmark, and telling all your friends about. It is that cool.

Before I left for a winter recess to visit family and friends in Illinois, I learned that my supervisor, the supreme Mary Lee Murphy had accepted a new job in Tulane development. I am very happy for her and proud of her for reaching new heights, but I will now have to adapt to office life without my biggest supporter. From day one Mary Lee has made me laugh, given me fantastic professional development, encouraged me to be hopeful when I’m feeling down or angry, and has pushed me to be the best that I can be. Allow me to parrot my friend and colleague Alle Ehrhardt’s blog post and say that I resolve to exhibit more gratitude in 2015. I am truly grateful for having had the opportunity to work with such a phenomenal woman, and I am choosing to celebrate my time under her tutelage rather than lament her departure. In addition to supporting me professionally, emotionally, comedically, Mary Lee would often play music for me, ranging from classical to classic rock, blues to whatever was stuck in her head. She likes to visit piano contests and concerts, so here is an excellent performance of Rachmaninoff’s 1st Piano Sonata for you to enjoy as you read and carry on with your day.

With the new year comes a new semester, which means new interns at the Cowen Institute! 2 research interns and 1 intern who will assist the interim executive director and incoming operations manager will join us soon, which is quite exciting. Mary Lee’s position as Director of Communications and Development will be filled by potentially two hires eventually, which will add to the ever-shifting climate of our office. Policy Manager Matt Segraves became a proud first time poppa last month, and he has been out of the office along with Policy Director Jonah Evans who just got hitched. I’m trying to redefine my role in the midst of the relative tumult, but as I mentioned last month, not every goal is achievable in the present, and so I am trying to keep my head down and accomplish, one by one, the tasks that lay directly ahead of me. Onboarding the new interns will be one of such tasks, as will determining the content and language of our current yet outdated website that we wish to migrate to our new site.

Many challenges lie ahead, but many great opportunities do too. I’m thankful for the many wonders 2014 has brought me, such as my VISTA service position, and I am looking forward to see what tomorrow, and all of 2015, has in store. Until next time.



This entry was posted on January 12, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.



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