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Portrait of Stephanie Land seated in a field of wheat
Exploring the Realities of Poverty in America
Featuring Stephanie Land, Author of "Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive"

Held Feb. 22, 2023 — Recap and videos below

Grover Lecture Series

Annually, the Grover Lecture Series is hosted by Ohio University College of Health Sciences & Professions to address important health and social issues happening in our communities. The Grover Lecture Series is part of an endowed event series established by the Grover family to address health-related topics. Students, faculty, staff, and the community are invited to attend. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 • 3:00 p.m.

The Grover Lectures series was held on Wednesday, February 22 at 3 p.m. Author Stephanie Land shared her harrowing saga as a single mom navigating the poverty trap. Her unflinching testimony exposes the physical, economic, and social brutality that domestic workers face, all while radiating a parent’s hope and dedication. Land spoke virtually. Two in-person viewing locations were available followed by an in-person local panel discussion and Q&A. A virtual attendance option was also available. Videos of the panel discussions are below.

At age 28, Land dreamed of going to college and becoming a writer. Instead she found herself fleeing a violent partner, left homeless and alone with a seven-month-old child. Years of barely scraping by with government assistance and a $9-an-hour job as a house cleaner would lead, eventually, to Land’s bestselling debut memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive — a book that Entertainment Weekly described as “a moving, intimate, essential account of life in poverty.”

Land's talk was followed by a panel discussion with community experts and individuals with lived experience to discuss topics brought up in the memoir. There were panels at both Walter Hall and Athens High School, and a virtual viewing option. Free child care was offered at Athens High School, and transportation to each event was offered through HAPCAP

Scroll down for panelist information.

Community Read Along

Looking for a copy of Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive? The Athens County Public Libraries and Ohio University's Alden Library have ample copies of the book in circulation. Little Professor Bookstore in Athens also has copies available for sale. 


Cover the book Maid by Stephanie Land

Panelists - Walter Hall

Following the lecture and Q&A with Stephanie Land, an in-person panel discussion was held with community experts and individuals with lived experience to discuss topics brought up in the memoir. The below individuals participated in the panel held in Ohio University's Walter Hall. 

Portrait of Kelly Madewell in blue shirt with crossed arts and foliage background

Kelly Madewell (Facilitator)

Kelly Madewell, LISW-S, is the Executive Director of My Sister's Place, a domestic violence program providing shelter, counseling, transitional housing, and court advocacy in Athens, Hocking, and Vinton Counties. She has been in the field since 1997, when she attended a volunteer orientation at My Sister's Place as a college sophomore. Kelly worked in Seattle for three years, providing services to people who had been chronically homeless and were entering permanent supportive housing. She holds a B.A. and an MSW from Ohio University. Kelly has served on the board of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network for six years.

Headshot of Robin Burrow in black sweater on blue background

Robin Burrow 

Robin Burrow is an elementary Principal at Eastern Local School District in Meigs County, Ohio. She has served in this position for seven years and had previously taught first grade and third grade at Morrison-Gordon Elementary in Athens, OH. Robin serves on the Board of the Joe Burrow Foundation and the Appalachian Children’s Coalition. Robin and her husband Jimmy live in The Plains, OH and are the proud parents of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

Headshot of Karen Dearorff

Dr. Karen Deardorff 

Karen L. Deardorff (Ph.D., Ohio University) is Associate Lecturer and Internship Coordinator in the School of Communication Studies at Ohio University. Fueled by her experience of intergenerational poverty and guided by feminist and narrative sensibilities, her research focuses on communicative strategies used by women living in poverty to remain resilient in the face of material and resource scarcity. She also explores how socioeconomic status, geographic location, gender, sexual identity, and race impact health care decisions and access. This year marks Karen’s 39th year at Ohio University where previous roles have included executive assistant to Presidents Ping and Glidden, Director of Training and Development in Facilities Management, and Associate Director Emeritus of the Cutler Scholars Program. Karen currently sits on the board of OUCU Financial in Athens, Ohio, and is the Chair of the Nominating Committee, Chair of the Board Restructuring Committee, and a member of the Scholarship Committee.

Headshot of Jack Frech

Jack Frech 

Jack Frech has been an advocate for poor people for over forty years. He has served as a teacher, caseworker, and social worker. He was the Deputy Director of Hocking, Athens, Perry Community Action Agency for five years and the Director of the Athens County Department of Job and Family Services for thirty-three years. He has worked to advance poverty issues at the local, state, and national levels. He served three years as a VISTA volunteer working with local Mayors on poverty issues. He is currently a Senior Executive in Residence at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service at Ohio University.

Headshot of Leah Schmelzenbach

Leah Schmelzenbach 

Leah Schmelzenbach has worked at My Sister’s Place for over 10 years in a variety of positions. She worked as a Shelter Aide for 1 year answering crisis hotline calls and helping to maintain a safe, healing environment for shelter residents.  Leah served as the Case Manager for 8 years providing direct support services to shelter residents. She facilitated a financial empowerment program, life skills groups, and one-on-one advocacy. Currently, Leah is the Shelter Program Coordinator overseeing shelter operations and the Shelter Aides. Leah is very passionate about empowering domestic violence survivors and providing realistic, trauma informed support to those in need. 

Panelists - Athens High School

Following the lecture and Q&A with Stephanie Land, an in-person panel discussion was held with community experts and individuals with lived experience to discuss topics brought up in the memoir. The below individuals participated in the panel held at Athens High School. 

Headshot of Kelly Hatas

Kelly Hatas (Facilitator)

Kelly Hatas is the Executive Director of Hocking Athens Perry Community Action (HAPCAP). She earned her BA in International Relations from Shawnee State University in 2007 and her Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University in 2012. Between her BA and MPA, she served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) through Ohio Campus Compact. She is a graduate of Leadership Athens County and has been with HAPCAP since 2011, serving as the Executive Director since 2018. 

Headshot of Tiffany Arnold

Dr. Tiffany Arnold 

Dr. Tiffany Arnold is an assistant professor of instruction in the College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University. She is a three time alum from OHIO where she teaches Appalachian studies, rural health, environmental health, and coordinates the Appalachian Studies Certificate. Additionally, she is currently the program chair for the Appalachian Studies Association Conference that is being held in Athens in March of this year and regularly facilitates trainings for different organizations focused on Appalachian Cultural Competence and Humility. She is from Morgan County, Ohio and currently lives in Athens with her husband and two sons.

Kelly McGhee Headshot

Kelley McGhee 

Kelley McGhee has worked for the Harper's McDonald's for 31 years and has held many positions through the years. She started out as crew in Logan, Ohio, has worked at other locations, and currently works in Canal Winchester at Diley McDonald's. Kelley currently serves as Vice-President for the HAPCAP Board of Directors, and has represented Logan Head Start on the board since 1996. Kelley lives in Logan, Ohio with her high school sweetheart, Sean; they will be Celebrating 30 years of marriage on December 31st. They have 2 sons, Cody and Billy, and are proud grandparents to Alyssa, Aiden, Amy, A'Riya and Harper.

Misty Porter Headshot

Misty Porter

Misty Porter is an advocate at Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program. They help run the 24/7 crisis line and provide direct support services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. They serve on SAOP’s Anti-Oppression Taskforce and co-host a Queer and Trans Youth Board Game Group. Misty is passionate about the power of community and creating spaces where people can show up as their fullest self.

Shawn Stover Headshot

Shawn Stover

Shawn Stover graduated from Ohio University in 1989 with a degree in Social Work and Psychology. He worked at Tri County Mental Health for 8 years as a Crisis Intervention Counselor and also previously contracted as the Home Study Assessor for Oasis Therapeutic Foster Care from 2000 to 2012 serving a 16-county area. Shawn has worked for Athens County Job and Family Services for 25 years in various programs guiding people experiencing poverty towards self-sufficiency. He was the Reentry Coordinator at OhioMeansJobs- Athens County from 2014 until 2022 navigating people released from prison and recovery treatment centers towards better lives and sustainable employment. Shawn became the Workforce Advancement Manager at OhioMeansJobs- Athens County in November 2022. Shawn was Athens County Big Brother of the year 1996 and voted Outstanding Social Worker by the Phi Alpha Honor Society Ohio University 1997. Shawn is chairperson for the Athens-Meigs County Reentry Coalition coordinating services to assist people in reentry, recovery, and poverty. He gave a TEDx talk called Felony. Reentry. Your community and you in 2019. He is a member of Athens HOPE, Veteran’s Court, Jail Diversion, and Crisis Intervention Training committee.  

Presented By

Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions logo


Athens County Public Libraries logo



Athens County Foundation logo


Athens HOPE logo


Hocking Athens Perry Community Action logo


My Sister's Place logo


Stevens Literacy Center Logo


Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program logo