Tracy Spesia ’18

A Women’s History Month Spotlight

Tracy Spesia ’18, Field Experience Coordinator in USF’s College of Education and an active member of the USF Women’s History Month Committee, grew up in New Jersey. She attended College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA then earned her master’s in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York, NY. She recently completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at University of St. Francis.

Q. What led you to USF and what do you appreciate about being a Saint?
A. A friend of mine was working as a field experience supervisor for the USF College of Education. I asked her to let me know if they needed any more supervisors because I thought it sounded like the perfect job for me, and it was! The stars aligned and I was hired part-time in January 2000. In 2010, I was hired as a full-time administrator. I absolutely love my job– the mission, the challenges, and the opportunities to innovate. In addition to working with great people at USF, I love how easy it is to get to know the students. We are able to give them such personal attention.  I also appreciate that USF is literally embedded in Joliet and is such a great partner with the local community.

Q. How long have you worked on the Women’s History Month committee and what are some of your personal favorite events being planned for March?
A. I had admired the great work of the committee, and when they put out the invitation for their first meeting last year (this is a very welcoming group) I was excited to get involved. The committee relies on past successes as well as fresh ideas—a great mix of events! I am looking forward to the book discussion on ”Grace” by Tiffany Fincher. Learning to knit and self-defense moves are also on my list, so I will definitely check out those opportunities. The Quick Talks are an innovative idea—kind of our own version of Ted Talks. The panel breakfast was a big hit last year and I am looking forward to attending this year on March 20 (same day as the Clare Award presentation, which is always inspiring). I am disappointed to miss the tea due to my own schedule conflict but I am sure it will be wonderful.

Q. What makes a strong woman?
A. There are many different ways to be strong. One answer is a when a woman is attuned to her own strengths and uses them to make a positive impact in the world.

Q. Name one of your female role models (or more if you’ve got a few) and why?
A. I have always had deep admiration for St. Mother Teresa, who probably needs no explanation, and Dr. Maria Montessori, a scientist and the first female doctor in Italy who unlocked the process of learning and created a method of education for all learners.

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve got for all the women out there who might read this Q&A?
A. Believe the best in others and in yourself. I will strive to follow that advice myself.

Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
A. The Women’s History Month committee is the perfect example of people getting things done for the good of the cause. This does not happen without great leadership, and Joanna Kourtidis leads this group with grace, humor, flexibility, and purpose.