Amy Gazin-Schwartz

Professor of Anthropology at Assumption College

So, the most difficult transition, it took me maybe most of my adult life was to—even though I tell you this whole story about how I grew up in a family which truly encouraged me to be myself and had no sort of set idea of what as a woman I was allowed to do, and I went to college in the same type of environment—it was to learn to trust myself. And to not always question whether I was good enough at what I was doing. It took most of my life to figure that out. So that was the biggest learning curve I had to go through. A transition to being a mother was not actually that easy. I mean it’s hard to go from not having a kid to having a kid who is there 24 hours a day and depends on you. So that was a transition but it was okay. The transition to being married was not big once we had decided that we were just done. We knew we were going to be married so…not to say we always got along, but the commitment was such that it didn’t matter if we were fighting. It was, that was it we knew we were going to be together for the long haul.


Amy Gazin-Schwartz was born in Troy, New York in 1952. After her father graduated from college and got a job in Massachusetts, she moved to Natick, Massachusetts and later Duxbury, Massachusetts where she enjoyed both elementary and high school, constantly reading and exploring the outdoors. Amy discusses the importance of developing oneself freely and becoming whoever we are destined to be. The development of self is something she still encourages young women to recognize in growing up. After attending Vassar College as an undergraduate earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Medieval Studies, Amy travelled to England, furthering her education as an archaeologist where she participated in both site digging and receiving her Master’s Degree. Amy discusses the events leading up to meeting her husband, Ave, in New York after leaving England and the later to come struggle of balancing work life while raising her daughter, Elizabeth, all while earning her PhD in Anthropology at University of Massachusetts Amherst. In this interview, Amy uncovers the theme of family/societal tradition and speaks of her struggle on where to keep it alive in raising Elizabeth. She illuminates and explores the issue of making sure our children succeed in society but also remain free people. Regardless of the struggle, Amy’s “I am who I am” attitude, or in her words, “I was going to be whoever I was going to be,” ultimately leads to her success as a mother, professor, archaeologist, woman, and individual.

Interview Date: 
November 13, 2012
Interview Focus: