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December 11, 2013

Orange Is the New Black Author Visits SFC Class

Piper Kerman Comes to St. Francis After Emails and Tweets from Students

Professor Michele Montecalvo was looking for a way to make her Health Issues class more relevant to her students this semester; so she decided to tap into a hot piece of popular culture. She assigned the memoir, Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman, which has now become a Netflix TV series.

“I wanted to highlight some of the social injustices that happen in the health care system,” said Professor Montecalvo.

piper kerman with class

Using Kerman’s book, the students were able to focus what they learned on real word situations. But they weren’t satisfied with just reading the memoir. They wanted to hear it right from the author’s mouth.

Under Professor Montecalvo’s direction, the class of more than 40 students sent emails and tweets to Kerman, requesting she come and talk to the class. The letters, which contained personal stories, also related sections of Kerman’s memoir to the Healthy People 2020 Objectives published by the Centers for Disease Control.

To their great surprise, she said yes and visited St. Francis on December 4.

“I didn’t think the power of Twitter, email, and social networks would actually get her here. But it did,” said Joseph Tran ’15, a Biology major.

“It was a great experience,” added Psychology major Any Chen ’16.

SFC Professor Nickie Phillips also wrote about the visit on her Crimcast blog.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.


St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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