Date: March 31, 2008
Department: News & Public Information
The Estelle Woolfe Robinson and Ruth Soloman Smith Memorial Scholarship will support nontraditional women students, for study in any discipline, who have deferred or interrupted their university studies, whatever the reason. Preference will be given to women from Cape Cod, where Robinson resides. Robinson, Associate Professor of Sociology and Crime and Justice Studies, launched the scholarship with $15,000 as a tribute to the two women, whose creativity and persistence supported their love of learning.
Robinson said her mother, Estelle Robinson, an immigrant from England, had lifelong fascination with archaeology, literature, and art history that she transformed into a commitment to create public sources of books and programs for children and adults. Her mother, she said, taught her "learning is connected to your sense of social responsibility." Ruth Smith, a dancer of modern ballet, deferred her dream of a university education in order to support her young family. She persisted, however, earning an English degree over seven years as she worked fulltime as a secretary, later directing Temple University's Office of Human Subjects Research for many years.
"Over 30 years," said Professor Robinson, "my mother and Ruth shared the gifts of their minds and gave generously of their energy and talent to build community as they shared their love of literature and art, dance and music." Robinson has seen many a woman struggle to balance education with family responsibilities and limited funds, as she did herself. She hopes the scholarship will draw women "who see education as a way to realize something both for themselves and for their communities."
Robinson's research at the university focuses on the effects of psychological trauma amongst women and girls. Amongst her projects, she is completing a book entitled, "Violations of Girlhood: Voices of Delinquent Girls," in which girls in conflict with the law and their communities describe their experiences.
Persons interested in applying for the Estelle Woolfe Robinson and Ruth Soloman Smith Memorial Scholarship should contact Tia Bullard of the UMass Dartmouth Foundation, at firstname.lastname@example.org.