Susan H. Stafford


Susan H. Stafford is a freelance writer and anthropologist from Alexandria, Virginia.

Her book, Community College: Is It Right for You? (click on the title at the right), addresses a crucial question facing students of all ages and backgrounds across America: the choice of how best to start their pathway in higher education. Authoring this book was the result of several careers dedicated to helping people get a step up the rung on their ladders of success.

After growing up and going to college in the Midwest, she migrated to New York City to continue her graduate studies in anthropology at New York University. NYU finally liberated her when she completed her Ph.D. dissertation on language and identity among Haitian immigrants in New York City. The question then arose: “What to do with a Ph.D. in anthropology besides teach?” (Her father often asked her the same question).

Destiny weighed in with the 1980 Mariel Cuban boat lift which brought thousands of Cubans to the country. At the same time, many Haitians made the same treacherous crossing and received a decidedly less enthusiastic welcome. The State Department hired Susan to work with the Haitian entrants in the Miami refugee camps because of her ability to speak Haitian Creole and her knowledge of Haitian culture.

Thus began her first career in immigration and refugee affairs with the federal government, a refugee advocacy organization, and a social service agency. Her second career evolved when Susan turned her talent for writing grants, press releases, and program reports into the field of fundraising for Long Island University, Queens College, Stony Brook University, and a major health system on Long Island.

After relocating to Old Town Alexandria in 2001, Susan realized she was more interested in writing than in pounding the pavement asking people to contribute to worthy causes (although she does still write the occasional grant). Several trips abroad to Dubai, Thailand, and Botswana sparked her interest in travel writing, and she reinvented herself for a third time as a freelance writer.

A friend’s inquiry about her interest in writing a book for college students resulted in her recent publication, Community College: Is It Right for You? In addition to this guide, she has written articles for online travel publications, newspapers, and the National School Boards Association’s Center for Public Education Web site.

Susan grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, also known as "Porkopolis"- and remains a big fan of pigs to this day. Despite 30 years of living in Brooklyn and on Long Island, she has not lost her Cincinnati accent. She and her husband, David F. Stafford, met in the Cuban/​Haitian refugee camps in the Miami Everglades. They have been happily married for 29 years even though he doesn’t share her enthusiasm for pigs.

Selected Works

John Lautner's striking architecture blurred the boundaries between earth and heaven. These essays draw on writings, papers, construction drawings, photographs, and other materials from The John Lautner Foundation Archive to give the architect his just place in the realm of architectural giants.
The Luis and Ethel Marden House is a privately owned architectural gem, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for National Geographic photographer, Luis Marden, and his wife, Ethel.
K-12 Education
Over the past ten years, the Community Collaboration for Four Year Olds has transformed access to pre-school programs for parents and students.
Students at Verrado Middle School in Buckeye, AZ, know exactly what their test scores and grades mean and use them to set academic, social, and behavioral goals for the future.
An Alaska school district replaced a failed educational model through diligent work with the community. By inventing the system, the Chugach Quality Schools Model has improved test scores, reduced drop-out rates, and helped maintain its teaching staff. Everyone wins.
Drawing on all sectors of the community, the Burlington School Food Project is a national farm-to-school model that has united this Vermont school district, community organizations and businesses, and parents to bring healthy eating into the school system.
Connecting students with local sources of food in Burlington, VT, not only teaches students about sustainability, but has helped to overcome cultural and linguistic barriers separating students in this diverse community.
The Cincinnati Public School system has found a pathway to fundraising success.
Average students make the grade in an advanced mathematics course
A school's literacy framework at all grade levels improves students' aptitude in reading, writing, listening, and speaking, closing the achievement gap for low-income students and English language learners.
Body Phonics, a tactile and kinesthetic approach to reading, gets students physically involved as sounds, letters, and words are munched, crunched, and pounced on. Students struggling with reading now enjoy it and are better readers through this unique system.
Bridgewater HS in New Jersey revamped its educational format and got results.
An inspired principal with a disciplined, but personal, approach to education helps a rural high school break the chokehold of failure.
Ft Washakie Charter High School in Wyoming helps Native American students turn their dreams of graduating from high school into reality.
First-of-its kind comprehensive guide for prospective community college students of all ages and backgrounds.
A short, informative guide that unzips the mystery of how to write a research paper for students of all ages. August 2007, Peterson's.
Travel Articles
Old Town Alexandria has a new vibe with hip hotels and restaurants headed by star chefs.
There’s more than one Washington Monument in the D.C. area and Old Town Alexandria’s got it!
Lose yourself in the beauty of the Peruvian Amazon aboard La Amatista.
Take a voyage to the hidden wonders of the Peruvian Amazon.
The colorful Parque del Amor is filled with the poetry of love.
The Wafi City Mall in Dubai offers the author an unexpected encounter with Christmas.
The comfort of a tent with running water, or a night out under the stars?
Enjoy a unique twist on the standard safari with a sojourn into the Kalahari.

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