Women's Activism NYC

Ronet Bachman

1960 - Today

By: Alison Gray | Date Added:

As a college sophomore at the University of Delaware, I fearfully walked into my first statistics course, terrified of how this course would likely “ruin” my hard-earned GPA. I was a Sociology major and a Gender Studies minor who had no confidence in my ability to do any sort of math, including any kind of statistical analysis. As I anxiously sat at my desk, in walked a small, attractive woman in very professional attire and a necklace made of yarn and painted noodles. This was Dr. Ronet Bachman. She shared with all of the students that she was proudly wearing her beautiful necklace today because her son had made it for her and she made a promise to him that she would wear it all day. I knew I loved this woman. As it happens, I actually loved statistics class too. Ronet emitted confidence in her teaching that so easily absorbed into my being. She was wise, she was patient, she was persistent, she was kind. I began to believe that not only could I pass this class, but I soon realized that I liked the material and could excel. Ronet personified my vision of a confident woman; I embraced everything she taught me. Fast forward a year, and I was a junior in college. I was also pregnant and on my own. I was never more confident in my choice than when I chose to have both my education and my child. Ronet supported me, and my hopes of graduating and going on to graduate school any way she could. She gave me opportunities to be both her Research Assistant and a Teaching Assistant. She talked to me about graduate school options and never questioned if I would be able to do it. Ronet was very matter-of-fact in her support. She knew that I was going to do it because I wanted to do it. She never hesitated to remind me of the expectations I put forward for myself. Looking back, I realize that having Ronet’s support carried me through a lot of moments that should have been difficult for me at 20 years old, single, and very pregnant. She never treated me like I had made a mistake or like I wasn’t full of promise. When I didn’t always believe it myself, it was a huge comfort to know I had the respect of Ronet, my vision of a confident woman. I returned for my senior year with a beautiful 3-month-old baby boy and ready to finish my degree. What I had not anticipated was the battle I would face to ensure my son had medical care. As a student myself, I was still dependent on my parent’s medical insurance. Grandchildren could not be added. Private insurance was not affordable with the hourly wage I made. I had to sign my son up for Medicaid. While there should be no shame in doing so, I had immense shame. To receive Medicaid for my son I had to have weekly check-ins with my caseworker. My caseworker required me to have an attendance sheet signed to prove my attendance. I felt humiliated to approach each professor after class and ask them to sign my “Medicaid attendance sheet.” I felt like I was about to lose all of that confidence I had in my ability to be both a student and a mother. Although I did not have a class with Ronet that semester, I went to her office hours, desperate for advice. I did not want Ronet to see me so unraveled but I somehow knew she was who I needed to talk to. I wanted to be that confident woman I saw in Ronet, yet in sobbing, tearful gasps, I shared my predicament with Ronet. Before I could finish the story, she took my attendance sheet out of my hand and quickly signed it. She took me by the hands and came knee to knee with me in the wheeled office chairs we sat in. She would not let me look away from her, and with more intention and passion than I had ever seen in her, Ronet sternly, but kindly, said to me “Don’t ever question yourself Alison. Ever. You take everything you deserve in life and don’t let anyone get in your way.” That particular moment with Ronet had a profound impact on me. I had tried so hard, since the day she first walked into class to be more like Ronet. She inspired me and I felt challenged to be the best me I could be. However, that moment that she shared with me, was invaluable and not able to be quantified by any statistical analysis. It was the moment I began to own my narrative. It was that moment that I knew that my shame would always shadow my confidence if I let it. This alone was probably the most important lesson I had to learn as a mother. I will forever feel an immense amount of gratitude for learning the most important lesson as a mother from my statistics professor. You see, Dr. Ronet Bachman is not only an amazing professor, statistician, criminologist and mentor, she is also an amazing mother who proudly wears her son’s handmade noodle necklace. In that pivotal moment for me, Ronet and I were just two moms, with tears in our eyes and a desire for the world to do better for our babies. Ronet Bachman, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. She is coauthor of Statistical Methods for Crime and Criminal Justice, coauthor of The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice, co-editor of Explaining Crime and Criminology: Essays in Contemporary Criminal Theory. In addition, she is author of Death and Violence on the Reservation; coauthor of Stress, Culture, and Aggression in the United States; and coauthor of Murder American Style as well as numerous articles and papers that examine the epidemiology and etiology of violence, with a particular emphasis on women, the elderly, and minority populations. Her most recent federally funded research examines the desistance trajectories of drug-involved offenders 10 years after release from prison using a mixed-method design. Sources: https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/author/ronet-d-bachman #WomensActivismNYCAmbassador

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