I joined Orange Literacy as Executive Director in 2004 at the urging of a former co-worker and longtime volunteer for Wake County’s Literacy Council. As a native North Carolinian, and an avid reader — and especially having spent a few winters in the wilds of the Dakotas and a few summers in the sticky Mississippi Delta — the thought of being in Chapel Hill, surrounded by books, sounded like heaven.
After earning a BA in English and a Masters in Public Administration, my working life started at the US Department of Commerce, following anti-apartheid legislation on Capitol Hill. Next I worked on trade policy issues for computer hardware and software, first for Commerce and then for ITAA, a Washington-based trade association. When I moved back to NC, I helped form NCEITA, the NC Electronics and Information Technologies Association. In four short years, we grew from a start-up of 30 member companies to an organization of almost 300. At NCEITA, I also helped organize NC NetDay, a volunteer effort to wire K-12 classrooms for internet access. NetDay morphed into ExplorNet, a nonprofit designed to teach high school kids to build the computers necessary to attach to all those wires, and I became their VP of Expansion, helping to find funding and support to take the program into other states.
My original vision of what I’d be doing at Orange Literacy may have been a bit celestial, but the reality I walked into is far richer and far more fulfilling than I could have imagined. And while my job doesn’t actually involve reading books, I find myself surrounded by Orange Literacy students, volunteer tutors, board members and staff for whom the power of literacy and of reading is truly inspirational.
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Diana Daniel-Lorente joined the Orange Literacy staff in May of 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami with a double major in communications and fine arts. She is a native of Miami, Florida. While living there, she formed friendships with people from various cultures and backgrounds. After graduating college, she became a literacy volunteer and she has been involved with literacy ever since.
Diana also earned a MEd in Adult Education from the University of Georgia. While living in Jacksonville, Florida, she taught ABE for Learn to Read Jacksonville. She also taught ESL, ABE and GED classes at the Women’s Center of Jacksonville. Diana’s focus is always on the student and how to best serve their academic, personal and professional literacy needs. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, vegetable gardening and spending time with her children.
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Lisa Bobst joined the Orange Literacy staff in December 2017. She began her career in education teaching middle/high school English and coaching volleyball in schools from Florida to New Jersey. After working in undergraduate admissions for nearly a decade and raising a few kids, Lisa earned her TESOL certification from NCSU and began working with adults who are learning English as a second language and who are using English as a tool to improve their lives. Interested in sharing culture as well as language, Lisa has taught in several different countries. She writes about education as well, focusing on personalized/digital learning and equity issues in education. In her free time, Lisa enjoys traveling, reading, and hiking with her Irish Wolfhound, Lucy.
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I am a native of Winston-Salem, NC, but I have been in Chapel Hill/Carrboro since beginning studies at UNC in 2007. I graduated from UNC in 2011 with a BA in English and Philosophy. I worked in UNC’s Wilson Library as an undergraduate and beyond, and I went on to receive my MLS from UNC’s School of Information and Library Sciences in 2014. I began volunteering at Orange Literacy as an Adult Basic Education tutor in 2015, and I am grateful for the opportunity to expand my contributions to this important organization.
When I am not at the office, I am able to mostly stay out of trouble by bartending at night. I devote what free time I have to rock-climbing indoors and outdoors, playing chess with strangers on the internet, tinkering with my bikes, and watching as much NBA as possible. But I’m not a hipster.
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