Spotlight: Juliet Dana ‘05
Armed with an MPA joy of learning, Juliet graduated from Carleton College in ‘09 with a degree in American studies and education. Her diverse interests and insatiable curiosity – nurtured at MPA in the forms of volleyball, theatre, choir, Mosaic, peer leadership, tutoring, and, of course, rigorous academics – have taken her across the country. Juliet earned a teaching credential in 5-12 social studies and moved to Wyoming to teach environmental outdoor education in the Tetons. Since 2006, she has spent her summers guiding trips for YMCA Camp Widjiwagan, culminating the experience with a 6-week canoe trip she led in the Canadian Arctic in 2011. Juliet’s resume may have taken on the look of a patchwork quilt, but the common threads are working with kids, teaching and learning, and being outside as much as possible.
Perhaps most unexpectedly, Juliet found herself on a goat farm in rural eastern Washington. All of her experiences until January 2011 had been with human kids, but the goats chewed their way into her heart (as tenaciously as they chew at everything else). Juliet and her girlfriend moved to the farm as a result of a series of well-timed coincidences and a gap in their seasonal employment, with no idea how much they would learn.
Juliet (on right) holds one of two goats she slapped the life into after an emergency C-section
Juliet never liked touching animals, or getting up close and personal, so it was with a great leap outside her comfort zone that she found herself syringe-feeding a sick goat, bottle-feeding newborns, and wrestling stubborn does onto the milk stand. Every day began with farm chores at dawn, collecting eggs from the hen house and spreading hay throughout the snowy pasture, but more than getting the routines down, the months spent there brought with them profound lessons in patience and acceptance, in the rhythms and redemption in the natural course of life. Juliet learned to clip goat hooves, butcher a chicken, make duck confit, and outwit an electric fence. Juliet adds, “I also fell in love with a small town, the lifework of two dedicated second-career farmers committed to full circle, sustainable practice, and breakfasting on farm-fresh eggs from free range chickens.”
While on the farm, Juliet wrote a blog called “Hooves Up For A Good Time?”. Start reading about her mishaps and antics at http://jjjustkidding.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/welcome-to-the-goat-farm/ -- don’t miss the saga of Chloe, including the video (http://vimeo.com/jjjustkidding/chloe) of her first propylene glycol syringe (jump to Jan 23!).
All good things must make way for other good things, it seems, and the goat interns moved to the Bay Area in California seeking less-seasonal employment. The kids are human again, though still wild! Juliet has settled into a classroom teaching position in Richmond, California, teaching 8th grade English and 7th grade history. Juliet finds herself deeply motivated by the stark contrast between her own classroom – at a gigantic public school with 900 students in two grades – and what she remembers from Ms. Shardlow’s 8th grade (like the poetry chapbook project, reading Night and To Kill a Mockingbird, and an ethnography of a Nepalese restaurant).
Juliet says, “I am acutely aware of that contagious sense of wonder that permeated my MPA classes, and of the abundant opportunity available to all students.” Though she hikes about the seashore and plays her ukulele sometimes, most of Juliet’s energy is now channeled into her first year of classroom teaching and finding ways to bring the magic inside – no more kidding around! “I think of my MPA role models often, with tremendous gratitude for that foundation. I have such a greater appreciation now of how amazing I had it,” she adds, “and I want to say thank you.”