Interview with Susan O. Wallerstein


Dr. O. Jennifer Dixon-McKnight



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This interview was conducted by Dr. O. Jennifer Dixon-McKnight and Michaela Bessinger with Dr. Susan Wallerstein as part of Project 2020: A Collaborative Oral History. Dr. Wallerstein first details her personal and professional background; she later shares her experiences amid the COVID-19 pandemic and critical year 2020, particularly as a retired American living in Sun City Carolina Lakes. She notes how this period in her life opened the door to learning, reflection, and personal growth. A Francophile at heart, she also shares her love for language and culture. Notable topics of conversation include the COVID-19 pandemic, education, culture, civic engagement, social unrest, and political polarization.

Susan Olsen Wallerstein, Ph.D. (b. 1949), a native of Seattle, Washington, and longtime Connecticuter, is a retired education professional who now resides in Sun City Carolina Lakes in Indian Land, SC. In addition to her forty-year career as an educator and administrator, Dr. Wallerstein served on several local and state boards, notably as Chairwoman of the Norwalk Arts Commission (2014-2019). Dr. Wallerstein holds a B.A. and Ph.D. degree from the University of Connecticut and a M.A. degree from the University of Bridgeport.

Spearheaded by Dr. Dixon-McKnight, an Assistant Professor of History & African American Studies at Winthrop University, Project 2020 is best summarized in her words: “The goal was to conduct interviews that explored the various ways in which Americans were experiencing and being impacted by the various watershed moments that emerged during 2020 (the global pandemic, social unrest, financial challenges, issues with healthcare, etc.).”

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OH 772






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COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020, Social Isolation, Lifelong Learning, Langage and Culture, Civic Engagement, Social Unrest, Sun City Carolina Lakes

Interview with Susan O. Wallerstein