Meet Big Ocean: Angela Fisher Ricks

On any humid morning along Boston’s Charles River you might be able to find Angela Fisher Ricks running or biking the tree-lined parkland paths with her husband or a friend. Angela is originally from Utah, but now lives in Boston where she graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with a master’s degree with a focus in arts and technology in education.

Boston has become a true home for Angela, the place where she met her husband as they were both attending graduate school, and where she has found a fulfilling job developing online courses for the Harvard Business School, a job where she has the opportunity to work with faculty on the meaning of leadership, incorporating faculty ideas, and helping determine how to have an impact on students.

Angela’s boxing gloves

About her hobbies Angela says she “loves to bike, run, and cook, especially if my husband and I can cook together. He measures perfectly and I improvise. Together we are a great team. Some of our favorite types of meals to make together are Mexican, Indian, and Italian. We make an Italian sausage soup that is wonderful.”

Angela is reluctant to talk about herself, preferring instead to focus on the subjects she is passionate about, such as education. “My education was a gift. I had such amazing opportunities. I never imagined I would go to Harvard, it wasn’t even on my radar. But I had a cousin who was waitlisted there, and talking about it with her brought it into my realm of possibilities, especially in my last year of undergraduate work when I started thinking about what I was going to do after college. My major was in humanities.  I enjoyed it, but I wanted to know what to do with my degree—I found out about the program at Harvard, and although I was scared to apply, scared that I would fail, I decided to take the risk.”

Angela wants all students, and particularly women to have the opportunity to get an education, and credits her mother with helping her to love learning, especially as she made the decision to attend graduate school. “Harvard was something I felt inspired to do. I applied, got in, and although I was scared about going, and was not sure that I could do it I realized that it was an opportunity that not everyone has. And when talking to one of my best friends, she pointed out that this was a major chance to help others, and to have the skills and abilities to bless others. I decided I would focus on helping others.”

Angela with her grandparents at her graduation

Angela loves to talk about her experiences at Harvard. “I loved my graduate program, and I love my job. I have so many colleagues that have different experiences, different values, and different backgrounds—this is also one of the many things I love about living in Boston. There are so many people with unique stories to meet and learn from.“

Angela is a member of the Big Ocean media team, where she creates content, including graphic designs for the monthly campaigns and tenet themes, as well as creating social media posts.  “There is so much potential with social media to have an impact and bring attention to issues that matter, and change minds. I want to be able to do that for Big Ocean.”

“My mom introduced me to Big Ocean. I really connected with a type of feminism that valued women and women and men working together—I love the Big Ocean tenets that place importance  on interdependent relationships, such as valuing the role of fathers, and families. So often feminism seems to raise up women, which is admirable, but at the same time it can have a tone of putting down men. When women rise, it doesn’t just benefit women, but helps the whole community, but we have to do that in balance with men, who can be partners. It benefits men as well when they are able to share their talents and abilities.

Angela with her husband

“My husband and I have differences, just like any other couple. Sometimes there is friction because of different values and backgrounds, but our strength is in those differences—if we were the same we wouldn’t need each other. I love it when we can leverage those differences to help each other move forward in powerful ways.”

Angela tries to have an outward focus in her life, to look for all of the ways she can be a positive impact in other’s lives. “I went to CSW (the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women) and had the chance to share the Big Ocean tenet on seeking learning and knowledge. I feel blessed to have people who have valued my education, and grateful for those who made the decisions that made it possible. My grandfather was a poor farm boy, but his mother emphasized the importance of studying. Because of her he became an attorney and passed on those values. He knew how important it was for his daughter and his granddaughters to be educated. But I ask myself, “What are we doing to help others get the chance to get an education and help them value those chances?”

Inside the UN grounds with some Big Ocean Women at CSW 2018

“At one of the CSW panels a presenter from Nigeria spoke about IDP camps—internally displaced person camps, which are similar to those for refugees, but for people from within the country. She spoke about the hundreds of girls who have been kidnapped from schools, and held hostage by individuals who believe that girls should not go to school. This had such an impact on me.” As Angela reflected on her own experience with education, and the freedom she had, she talked about what a privilege it was to be able to learn and develop in knowledge. “Can you imagine being violently taken away from your family to prevent you from getting an education? We need to bring attention to situations like this, and so many others. Through education, through publicity, through social media and groups like Days for Girls, which works to ensure educational opportunities for girls around the world.”

As Angela talks about her experiences she is careful to emphasize her own abilities and her master’s degree as a means to an end. “Education is a tool, a way to seek learning and knowledge, and empower others to do the same. We need to elevate the voices of our global sisters—all those who are doing amazing things, and helping in their own communities, trying to change the world—how do we make their voices heard? We need to become a part of a community of people who care about the future of their children and their sisters. We are one drop, and there are many others who are also one drop in a Big Ocean of change.”


photo-2 Written by ShelliRae Spotts

 

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