Sora Journal

5 Questions with Humanities Expert, Marina!

By A P.

Hello everyone! My name is Porter. As a new student here at Sora, I can attest to it being quite scary, meeting the Experts or Advisors. The Point of this interview, with the lovely Marina Soucy, is to highlight the fact that they are here for us. To teach, and to help. Hopefully, this helps inform my fellow students or any guardians who read it! Enjoy!

Special thanks to Jane Castro, Cat Evans, and Marina Soucy for making this possible.

P: So, to begin my list of questions today, what is your name? And where are you from?

M: My name is Marina, and I'm from New York City!

P: Nice! Any important pieces of your heritage or family that you'd like to share?

M: I was born in Port Arthur, Texas, the home of Janice Joplin. My father is Italian-American, and my mother was born in Cuba. I grew up with more of the Italian-American side. We celebrate Seven Fishes for Christmas and sing Louis Prima songs on repeat!

I would love to have a deeper connection to the Cuban side, but when I was growing up, my mom suppressed her Cuban heritage because she had a tough childhood there. I didn't grow up learning Spanish, but now I can kind of understand it, as my husband is Puerto Rican!

P: Thank you for sharing. I relate as I grew up in a half-Mexican, half-American household. What are some of your hobbies?

M: Oh, they've evolved a bit over the years, but anything outdoors, count me in! Hiking, kayaking all of that. 

When I was in college, I got really, really interested in identifying plants - just going around learning how to figure out what type of tree, little shrub, or flower I was looking at. From there, I got interested in how we could use them, like their medicinal uses. 

I also enjoy cooking and baking. Fun Fact: I got really into baking French macarons when I was in college. Together with a friend, we started our own little business of making French macarons to sell to clients like the admissions office. Even today, I get so much joy from cooking a meal for friends and family and or just myself. 

P: That's amazing. I think that cooking is so important. I think it's much healthier to cook at home than anything else, but also messier. What is your favorite subject?

M: History is definitely my passion. I have my master's degree in secondary history, 7 to 12 grade. But I think, within history, no matter what it is, US or world history, I always enjoy finding the stories and the voices that have been shut out or marginalized, left out from the mainstream history books, or rewritten in some way.

The Journey of Lewis and Clark is a great example. Everyone talks about the two explorers, and slightly more about Sacagawea, but we rarely hear about York. York was a skilled African-American frontiersman who was essential to the whole journey and an enslaved body servant to William Clark. They would not have survived this journey without both York and Sacajawea. So I always enjoy having students learn about and understand why some stories are overlooked or not included, to think critically about who is telling the story and why. 

P: I like the way you put it, like, finding the gaps. That’s good to know. What made you want to teach?

M: When I went to high school, I had just some really phenomenal teachers who pushed me in ways that I didn't think I could be pushed. When I was growing up, I was that kid who was like, “I can't do math. I hate math.” I didn’t feel like I was born with a math brain. In high school, all of that changed with a supportive teacher. I had this science class that was very math-heavy. The teacher was so encouraging and supportive. We did office hours, and he really made sure that I was understanding what we were learning. I just felt so welcomed, seen, and understood. 

I was just like, I want to be that for kids. I want to be someone who students look to for support and encouragement.  

P: That is so sweet. I’m really happy you went down this path - I think you are really great.