collector's Profile: Marva
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic although we are both called Dominicans) in the West Indies. I came to the U.S. to join my mom, stepfather, and siblings (3 sisters and 1 brother) in Dover, Delaware at 15. I spent a short time in high school there and then college and then I moved to Brooklyn NY. I started graduate school in NYC but after having my first child I realized my PhD could wait and motherhood was more important. I don't regret it. I lived in Brooklyn until 2000 and then Iater I moved back to Delaware but this time in the North near Wilmington. My second daughter came in 2000. I went back to work and graduate school when my daughters went to school since I could no longer stay home and talk to the dogs all day. It was hard raising kids, working fulltime, and going back to school but it was rewarding, and I don't regret it. I am what I am today because of my struggles. I later moved to the Washington DC area and took on a job as a Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance for Sabin Vaccine Institute. After a few years I took on a similar role in Cambridge MA at Novartis and then I finally moved to Philadelphia to my new home with my husband Florian and we went from a family of three (3) to 8 (6 children). I love Philadelphia and enjoy city life. I like to walk everywhere if the weather is good. I currently work for Merck and Co. Inc. as a Director of Global Labeling.
How do you most love to spend your time?
I love to spend my time traveling, working, running, cooking, reading, social dancing, skiing, and learning new languages. I enjoy the theatre, opera, museums but now most of this is on hold because of the pandemic. I spend time volunteering in the community as well. This is very important to me because I think one should always contribute to the community in some way. I have a passion for health literacy so I spend time volunteering and learning as much as I can in that space. It is especially important to me as Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting people at greatest risk of low health literacy: age 65+, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and low socioeconomic status.