Carol Simon Levin currently offers the following programs:
Bridge Builder in Petticoats: Emily Warren Roebling and the Brooklyn Bridge bridgebuilderinpetticoats.com
Many books and films have featured the Brooklyn Bridge and millions of people have crossed it. Built between 1869 and 1883, without modern machines or even electric light, it was the one of the most amazing technological achievements of its time. Yet few people know that a woman helped supervise much of its construction. After her husband became bedridden, Emily Roebling became his liaison to the project – eventually communicating with the engineers and suppliers so well that it was rumored that she had become the Chief Engineer herself! Later she helped design the family mansion in Trenton, studied law, organized relief for returning troops from the Spanish American War, attended the coronation of the Tsar of Russia and even took tea with Queen Victoria. At her death, she was called “the most famous woman in New Jersey” and “one of the most noted women in the country,” yet today almost no one knows her name!
Nobody Owns the Sky: Fascinating Stories of Forgotten Female Aviators
Long before Amelia Earhart’s famous exploits, female flyers had already proved that aviatrices were every bit as brave and daring as their male counterparts. Flying in flimsy wood and canvas aeroplanes, Aida de Acosta, Raymonde de Laroche, Hélène Dutrieu , Marie Marvingt, Harriet Quimby, Katherine Stinson, Ruth Law, Bessie Coleman and Elinor Smith awed and thrilled people on the ground — executing audacious acrobatic aerial maneuvers, soloing across the English channel, setting records, barnstorming and buzzing beneath New York’s bridges. Undaunted by male skepticism, they were determined to show that anything that men could do, they could do better!
During World War II, more than one thousand women volunteers completed the WASP military pilot training program. They endured terrible Texas weather, snakes, spiders and scorpions, as well as the hostility of some male instructors. Graduating WASPs piloted every kind of military aircraft, tested new and overhauled airplanes (some with defective parts or dangerous reputations), delivered more than 12,000 planes, and flew over 60,000,000 miles (sometimes towing targets that soldiers shot at with live ammunition!) Thirty-eight of them died serving their country. Then they were told that men needed their jobs and they were dismissed and forgotten.
Carol Simon Levin tells the story of the amazing WASPs through the eyes of Ann Baumgartner Carl, the Jersey girl who trained as a WASP, became the only American woman to test-fly experimental planes during the war, and the first woman in the world to fly a jet airplane!
Please click on the links for more information about these programs. Preview videos are available upon request.
Silent Partner: Building the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo Credit: Patricia Hart Zachman.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for an extremely outstanding performance in your portrayal of Emily Roebling. It’s not surprising that we received many complimentary comments about your exceptional knowledge of Emily and about the era in which she carried on to fulfill her husband’s dream project. We heard remarks such as “it’s amazing how she can remember all those facts and make her character so believable.” As previously mentioned, the audience was riveted by your portrayal and completely drawn into the story. We really do appreciate your effort in making this program a success, and we look forward to having you back again next year.” — Elaine and Phyllis, Program Coordinators, Warner-Lambert/Pfizer Retirees
“Thank you again for a wonderful program last night! I am still haunted by thoughts of Emily….you made her come so alive…..and I learned more about the Brooklyn Bridge than I thought I would ever know in my whole life!” — Nora, Ocean County Library
“Thank you for presenting a wonderful program that was so informative and enlightening. Your knowledge and creative storytelling fosters uncovering the truth of our past heroines.” — Nancy, Somerset Run Singles
“I was somewhat skeptical when Lilyan invited me to your program. As a pilot for many years I thought that I knew I everything about women pilots. What a surprise. Your program taught me so very much and your presentation was outstanding. I am sending your information to as many women as I can. I know that anyone who attends your program will be as excited as I am.” A.L.
“Fascinating to learn of women who were so successful and we never heard of them!” —W.M.
Inspire your boys and girls to pursue careers in
Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics and
Bring the new Common Core Curriculum Standards to life….
Invite “Emily Warren Roebling,” “Elinor Smith Sullivan,” or “Ann Baumgartner Carl” to your school!
NOTE ON FEES: As a librarian, I am keenly aware of the shrinkage of school library funding and the importance of books in children’s lives. If you would like to use my visit as a way to raise money for your library, I am happy to donate my most of my fee to the school media center — these dollars can be used for the purchase of books on inspiring women, S.T.E.M. materials – particularly those emphasizing the role played by women in science and technology — or any other titles needed by the library. If your organization would be interested in having one of these women come for a “visit,” contact Carol Simon Levin, cslevin59 @ gmail (dot) com, 908 781-6041. The program can be tailored for primary grades, middle school or high school/adult audiences. It can be tied in with a STEM activity (building bridges or paper airplanes) and can be presented in modern day dress if preferred.
“Thank you so much for this morning’s presentation. The presentation was informative, well thought out and entertaining. The 2nd graders really enjoyed your visit and they’ve been asking me follow up questions ever since–which I consider the best sign of learning. Thank you for your time and preparation, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting Emily!” — Michele (Stevens Cooperative School)
“Thank YOU!!!! The story was fabulous, on so many levels. And your passion for it was the best part. Thank you so much for bringing Emily Roebling to life this morning!” –G.L. The Willow School
“Thank you for allowing Carol Simon Levin to offer her historical presentation to our Bridgewater-Raritan High School Stem Club…. Not only was she fantastic, the students were captivated with her historical characterization of this very modern woman from another time who pioneered an engineering marvel. We will never view the Brooklyn Bridge the same. Her elaborate efforts also included …bridge-building hands-on activities which had students involved and thinking… One student told me, ‘That was the best presentation that we had all year!'” — Joanna R. BRHS Librarian.