MEET MEMBER LOIS BIENER: A PERFECT BLEND OF SCIENCE AND ART
When Lois Biener decided that it was time to cut her work schedule to half-time, she began to feel a bit nervous about how she would fill her days when the time comes to retire fully. Having heard about BOLLI from her neighbors Sally Fleschner and Don Kendall, she decided to explore the offerings at 60 Turner Street for herself.
So, in the spring of 2015, Lois enrolled in Naomi Schmidt’s five-week science fiction course and was quickly hooked. “It was a group of such interesting, vital people,” she said, “including former teachers, lawyers, doctors, and not just one but two physicists!”
Lois’ work has included teaching social psychology for a number of years, but she has also spent a good deal of her professional life doing social science research. In the Survey Research Center at U. Mass. Boston, she has focused, in particular, on tobacco-related issues. Her interest in tobacco control interventions as well as electronic cigarettes keeps her involved in the research.
Outside her scientific work life, Lois has focused on developing her artistic side. She sings with the Commonwealth Chorale (along with BOLLI members Bob Keller and Phil Radoff). But perhaps her most challenging artistic venture has been her dive into pottery.
Lois has been taking pottery classes at Mudflat Pottery School in Somerville for some time now. After five “beginner wheel classes,” she says she’s still developing her basic skills. “One of my classmates has been at it for twelve years now,” she reports. “It’s a little daunting.” Recently, though, she finally had a pottery breakthrough and can now successfully throw a bowl or a cylinder. Now, she is focused on hand building as well.
In addition to doing course work at BOLLI, singing, and throwing pots, Lois relishes the time she spends with her 37-year-old daughter and 3-year-old grandson Noah, who is now talking. She and her husband have also begun to travel more extensively. They visit England fairly often, and, this past year, took a trip to Costa Rica. They are now planning to go to Portugal this winter.
So, Lois has found BOLLI to be a terrific experience. Highlights, she reports, have been the science fiction course; the cotton course, “which was an eye-opening, great introduction to global capitalism and the place of slavery in that story;” as well as the course on the plays of Tony Kushner. She also enjoyed judging junior high school students in their Boston Debate League contest at Brandeis during her first year at BOLLI. “How about a BOLLI team?” she asks.
Clearly, BOLLI has helped ease any tension she may have had about retirement!
There’s nothing I like more than getting to know the people around me even better! I hope you’ll leave a comment for Lois in the box below. It means a lot to each of our profiled members to hear from others. (And I’d love to hear from you about YOU!)