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.