Best in high gear

March 1, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Nicole Johnson’s secret to being her best self? Keeping busy.It’s what fueled her journey to Harvard in pursuit of what could be called a fifth diploma in higher education — and it’s what now has her weighing either a doctorate or more research-based work.Johnson has taken three courses at a time (the normal load is two) toward her master’s in education policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) while working four jobs, serving as vice president of the HGSE Student Council, and preparing for the Miss Massachusetts International Pageant, which she won in March.“I have this ridiculous amount of energy and I have no idea where it comes from,” Johnson said, noting with a smile that she never drinks coffee.But she does plan her day to the minute, from when she wakes up to when she studies to when she goes to bed. And while others may dread the thought of being so busy or having their day so structured, for Johnson it’s normal.“At this point, [keeping busy] is just something I enjoy,” she said. “It feels like so much of just who I am. To not be this busy would … make me a little antsy to just be sitting at home twiddling my thumbs.”This “stay busy” attitude dates to Johnson’s childhood in a neglected neighborhood in Detroit. She packed her day with so much activity that she didn’t have time to consider breaking rules. In high school, she joined the Junior ROTC, took lessons in baton, piano, and clarinet, and worked in the school’s main office.“I would be able to tell my friends, ‘Oh no, I can’t do this bad thing with you because I have after-school practice or I have this organization meeting that I have to go to,’” she said. “The busier I got, the more excuses I was able to give people.”Johnson set herself apart, graduating while many of her peers did not.The Detroit Public Schools Community District has perennially been ranked among the worst in the nation. In 2007, the year after Johnson graduated, Education Week cited the district’s graduation rate as below 25 percent (though a district spokesman said it was more than twice that, accounting for students who left the district and graduated from other systems).“When I was a little girl, or even a high school student, I would have never in a million years thought that a person like me could even apply to Harvard or a [doctoral] program,” Johnson said. “I wasn’t even sure that I would go to a four-year college.”But go she did, to Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s, and two graduate certificates — while, of course, working full time.“Pretty much, I have taken classes — at least one, every single semester — year-round for about the past 10, 11 years,” Johnson said. “I really enjoy school, if you can’t tell.”Johnson went on to work at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, then applied to Harvard.Arriving here, she had a clear goal: Take advantage of opportunities, one of which was to participate in large-scale academic and field research projects. “I absolutely can’t leave here without research experience,” she told herself.While taking those three simultaneous grad courses, she participated in three research projects and worked as a fellow at HGSE’s Education Redesign Lab. The projects delved into types of research she wanted to learn about: quantitative, qualitative, and experimental. They ranged from studying whether teachers would present their classroom lessons differently if they could collaborate on the lesson plan with fellow teachers, to convening focus groups on how to best support over-age students in a Massachusetts public high school, to examining the theory that learning should focus on things a student will actually use in the real world.“I kind of got all of the different [research] buckets,” Johnson said. “So, mission accomplished.”All this helps Johnson feel like her best self, she said, a notion she got from competing in pageants since she was about 16 years old.“When you compete in a pageant, you are your best self,” Johnson said. You are in the best shape you can be, you’re involved in community organizations, and your grades are the best they can be because judges look at that as well, she said. “Even though there is this glamorous side of things, it helps you a lot on a personal level.”“You also have to know yourself — like, really know yourself — your purpose and what drives you,” she said.From her mix of experiences, Johnson has come to feel a responsibility to succeed for the people who have helped to get her where she is — such as her mother.In the spring semester of Johnson’s freshman year at Eastern Michigan, room and board fees were pending and she didn’t have the money. (She didn’t know about federal student aid when she applied to colleges.) The day the bill was due her mother showed up and paid it. Johnson didn’t ask where the money had come from; she was just grateful to be able to stay. Months later, Johnson noticed that her mother wasn’t wearing her wedding ring; she had sold it to pay the college fees.“Once she made that sacrifice for me, it made me realize that there were so many other people in the world that were counting on me to be successful,” Johnson said. “It made me think of not only my mother but of all my teachers, or my counselors, or even the kids that I grew up with that unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to go to college. I have to be responsible for my future. I saw that as my turning point and my opportunity to make my life what I wanted it to be. Because of that I always shoot for really, really high expectations for myself and also opportunities.” The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

FiberMark acquires Brownville Specialty Paper

January 1, 2021 0 Comments

first_imgJuly 8, 2008, Brattleboro, VT – FiberMark, a leading producer of specialty covering materials for a variety of applications including office products, publishing and luxury packaging, is pleased to announce that it has acquired the pressboard business of Brownville Specialty Paper Products, based in Brownville, New York.Founded in 1991, Brownville Specialty Paper Products (BSPP) manufactures many types of specialty grades of paper board used in multiple applications including food packaging, office products, graphic arts and the automotive industry, among others. FiberMark will integrate BSPP’s pressboard grades into its portfolio of office product materials, which include a wide range of pressboards and cover stocks from lightweight to heavyweight for repeat-use applications such as filing, binding and presentation products.BSPP’s owners anticipate a seamless transition to FiberMark while transitioning out of the office products business.Anthony MacLaurin, president and CEO of FiberMark, comments, “As an industry leader, FiberMark has financial strength and commitment to the office products market and is well suited to merge BSPP’s business into its portfolio. Brownville’s pressboard materials complement our office products line, enabling us to deliver added value to our customers. We will also serve Brownville’s customers by providing continuity of supply to the market. This transaction is another positive step in FiberMark’s strategy to expand and strengthen the business.”FiberMark is owned by American Securities, a New York-based middle market private equity firm. FiberMark has seven manufacturing facilities in the US, as well as an operation in the UK.About FiberMarkFiberMark offers distinctive covering materials that express brands, inspire designs, and make lasting impressions. With an extensive range of visual and tactile options, FiberMark materials provide an endless array of design possibilities for applications in the office products, publishing, luxury packaging, technical/industrial and graphic design markets. The company’s specialty fiber-based materials are enhanced with a variety of colors, finishes and embossing techniques that create visual depth and invite touch. FiberMark’s design specialists work with creative teams to develop a look that captures a brand’s unique personality, differentiates it from competitors and creates impact. FiberMark crafts its materials in the US and Europe, creating innovative solutions for world-leading brands.last_img read more

David Elliott

September 24, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgDavid Elliott, 49, of Hanover passed away Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at Res-Care in Hanover, Indiana.  David was born Thursday, November 28, 1968 in Batesville, Indiana the son of Dale and the late Linda (Natali) Elliott.  He was a member of the Dearborn Baptist Church and enjoyed collecting hats.David is survived by his father Dale, brothers: Doug Elliott of Versailles and Ryan (Jessica) Elliott of Texas; sister Angie Craigmile of Dillsboro, Aunt Linda Natali of Ohio, Uncle Mike Natali of Florida, several nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his mother.A memorial service to celebrate the life of David will be 12 Noon Saturday, October 27, at Dearborn Baptist Church, 9638 Hwy. 48, Aurora, 47001 with Pastor Darrell Sparks officiating.  Burial will be at a later date at Rising Sun New Cemetery. Family and friends may gather to share and remember David 10 AM – 12 Noon Saturday also at the church. Memorials may be given in honor of David to the Dearborn Baptist Church.  Filter-DeVries-Moore Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements, (812) 432-5480.  You may go to filterdevriesmoorefuneralhome to leave an online condolence message for the family.last_img read more