VT Women’s History Prize Winners
Interview with Yohanna Briscoe, winner of the 2005 Vermont Women’s History Prize awarded by the VWHP. The award was presented to Briscoe for her documentary about Governor Kunin entitled "Madeleine", created during her senior year at Burlington High School.Q: Why did you choose a video documentary on Madeleine May Kunin?
A: I was inspired by the award challenge: the best entry focusing on a Vermont woman who made an important contribution to the state, or the role that women played during a time in Vermont’s history. I had heard about Governor Kunin so often from my aunt who is interested in the environment and women in politics. First I thought about a ‘static’ presentation, using Power Point or even cardboard, but my Women’s History teacher suggested a documentary and offered to advise me on the project. I attended the inaugural event of the Vermont Women’s History Project, and used that as the base footage. I also got to talk with her at the event about her visit to my Women’s History class.
Q: What did you learn?
A: That making a documentary is a lot more work than I thought! And don’t leave the night vision on or you’ll end up with black and white imagery! Also planning is crucial: plan more time that you think you’ll need!
Governor Kunin is truly an amazing person and my role model. She affirmed my interest in international affairs and in working with people. Most inspiring to me is her message to try things, that you CAN do it, and if you don’t try it, than nothing will ever happen!
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I’m attending Amherst College in the fall and planning to major in International Affairs and minor in Spanish and Chinese. This summer I’ll be scooping at Ben and Jerry’s on Church Street in Burlington.
Q: Why did you take a Women’s History class?
A: History classes in middle school and elementary school don’t cover stories of women, and are mostly written in the upper class white male perspective. What interested me most was how past events changed and influence women today.