Emily Curran is the Communications and Development Manager of The Andrew Goodman Foundation. She holds a Ph.D. in History and Culture from Drew University, where she focused on twentieth-century American cultural history. Emily is passionate about focusing on the role of young people in democracy through her work. Becoming a mom has only strengthened her passion as she works to make the world a better place for the next generation. Emily shares her favorite walking meditation with us and more!
“I want to make the world a better place not just for my daughter, but for her whole generation. I want to make sure decisions are made right now that will help create the best future for her, I also want to make sure we are preparing our children to lead and make their own change.”- Emily Curran
What makes you a Beyond Mom?
After I finished my Ph.D. in 2016, I wanted to go into a field where I could make a difference. At the time, I was working at a small but amazing house museum in New Jersey, The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, while I was teaching History and American Studies courses at my alma mater, Ramapo College. As much as I loved these jobs, I saw injustice growing across the country and wanted to find somewhere I felt I could make real change.
As a college professor, I always encouraged my students to vote and to research their elected officials. I wanted them to see the power they held as young people. When I saw a position open with The Andrew Goodman Foundation, I knew it was the right place for me. By partnering with college and university campuses across the country, they work to help young people ascend to the forefront of creating change. When I was hired as the Communications and Development Manager, I felt I had the chance to put my skills to use in a way that benefits the future.
The week after I started with The Andrew Goodman Foundation, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Elowyn! As a new mom, it’s so inspiring to see young people coming to the forefront of civic action, and it gives me hope for what Elowyn will accomplish!
What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a mom?
Although I’ve always been a positive person, I feel I’ve been able to see the positive sides of life even more since my daughter’s birth. She has the most amazing smile, and when she looks at me, it doesn’t matter what else is going on in my life. I just feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Do you have a Beyond dream that you are pursing?
By working with The Andrew Goodman Foundation, I want to make the world a better place not just for my daughter, but for her whole generation. I want to make sure decisions are made right now that will help create the best future for her. I also want to make sure we are preparing our children to lead and make their own change. (Check out this piece I wrote about starting civic education early!) By focusing on the role of young people in democracy through my work, I feel like I’m taking steps towards helping create the world I want my daughter to live in.
What relationships and activities help you stay connected to yourself?
My husband and I like playing board games, hiking, and visiting breweries together. We try to create a balance between making time for ourselves, even if it’s just at home after our daughter is asleep, and bringing her into some of the things we enjoy doing together. I really like that if I’m “wearing” Elowyn, I can do most of the things I used to love doing before having her, while also keeping her close and letting her be part of the action.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that you live by?
My mom taught me a mantra years ago that’s supposed to be part of a walking meditation, but I told her it’s really a life meditation: “I have arrived. I am here.” Especially now that I have Elowyn, I try to always be present exactly where I am, rather than distracting myself with thoughts about other aspects of my life.
What causes and topics are you most passionate about right now?
Through my work at The Andrew Goodman Foundation, as well as in my own life, I am passionate about advancing equal rights and representation for all Americans. With rampant racial and gender-based discrimination and violence, as well as the other crises we face today as a nation, it’s so important for every citizen to be able to cast their vote unimpeded. I hope that my work with The Andrew Goodman Foundation will help make change on a national scale as young people assume a more active role in promoting equality and sustainability.
How do you think we can change our culture from one in which a woman is expected to be a “perfect mother” to one in which she is encouraged to discover and explore her evolving self?
I’m in a few “mom” groups on Facebook, and I’ve found them really helpful and supportive. I really like that we can be real with each other in a way that we aren’t always in “real life,” where we feel like we have to pretend we have everything together. It’s just nice to see that so many of us are going through the exact same things, and once we realize that it’s all just part of being a mom, we can look past some of the challenges and think about what else matters to us in our lives.
Favorite go-to’s for:
Beyond Food (what do you cook & where do you go locally?)
I’m part of an amazing local CSA, School Lunch Organic Farm and CSA, so during the growing season, my husband and I cook lots of simple, veggie-heavy meals, like stir-fries and grilled vegetables.
Beyond Content (Books & Podcasts)
Since I commute 50 miles each way to work (through heavy NJ traffic!), I’m big on audio books! I’ll listen to pretty much anything, and I love grabbing at random from my local library. I particularly love mystery and fantasy, and right now I’m finishing up The Magicians trilogy. I also am a huge Harry Potter fan and could infinitely re-read the series, which is how I spent most of my daughter’s naps while I was on maternity leave.
I actively try not to buy new clothes, because I feel like throwaway fashion has such a terrible effect on the environment and human rights. But I did get some great nursing wear from Bun Maternity when I had Elowyn, and Pact Organic is my go-to for affordable, but ethically-made staples.
Yoga with Adriene on YouTube is my favorite for a fun, at-home workout, and I especially love her 30-day challenges. I also enjoy getting outdoors and walking or hiking with my husband and baby, and taking lunch break walks with my team at work.