Emily Wyner is no “whiner”. Far from it. Emily studied anthropology at Tufts University in Boston and is now a Compliance and Data Systems Specialist at a non-profit public health corporation. When asked “how does one go from majoring in anthropology to working in technology?” she replied “it’s about looking at the world through the lens of curiosity”. You just caught a glimpse into the essence of Emily, a warm person innately fascinated with the world.
As undergraduate at Tufts, Emily wrote a thesis on the Occupy Wall Street movement and how it brought people of different passions together in the form of embodied activism. Also while at Tufts, Emily spent six weeks in Kenya doing research on the use of mobile technology and its application in underdeveloped parts of the area. Before leaving Emily met and made a friend with Robert, a Kenyan, in a bar watching a soccer game. That morphed to connecting with his family and earning the honor of killing a ceremonial goat for her last day shindig! Again, bridging technology and culture.
So who inspires Emily? Top on the list is her Dad, and she continues to learn more about him each day. She describes him as pragmatic, resilient, the ultimate “bounce back ball”. At the same time, he maintains a sense of playfulness, the heart of a kid. (Sounds a bit like Emily.)
At our first on-site during CAPP, we learned that Chris Peterson, a father of positive psychology, defined it by the phrase “other people matter”. Emily got chills when she heard that phrase because she related to it so deeply. That others matter is her fundamental, driving passion. It is why she works in a profession where she directly effects positive change in the community. Why she volunteers with the Bread and Roses Community Fund. Why she is actively involved with her neighbors in bringing the South Philly Food Co-op to life. On the lighter side, Emily showed how other people mattered to her by making apple sauce and bringing it in to share with her classmates as we sat through that first long weekend.
When she learned about CAPP being offered in Philadelphia, she signed up immediately. She knew exactly how she intended to apply the knowledge she expected to gain. Her work exposes her to people experiencing difficult life situations. That type of work creates an incredible amount of stress on the people providing services (Emily and her peers). As such, self-care and learning how to bring it to the workplace was critical to Emily. Right away, she started sharing the techniques from our CAPP classroom: getting people to laugh, reminding them to move when sitting too long, asking meaningful questions and encouraging a growth mindset.
Now she’s taking CAPP learnings to a higher level. She’s a member of a newly formed committee at work. Its purpose: explore ways to bring mindfulness to their workplace. Her intention is to positively influence the culture of the organization (still an anthropologist at heart). Knowing Emily, she will.
<This Student Spotlight was contributed by Connie Rose>