5 questions with…social work student, school library renovator Lisa Weitzman

It’s obvious Lisa Weitzman is committed to education. An alumna of Yale University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in American foreign policy, and Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a master’s degree in Soviet studies and international economics, Weitzman is now a part-time master’s program student at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. Plus, she even spent a year in welding school while working at Lincoln Electric early in her career.

But it’s not just higher education that garners her devotion. The mother of 5, who lives with her family in Chagrin Falls, recently led the complete overhaul of the library at Marion-Sterling Elementary School in Cleveland, on Central Avenue near East 30th Street. It took almost three years to get the project completed, but with the help of her family and friends, the school community and local contractors, artists, technicians and grant writers, the students at Marion-Sterling Elementary now have a new place to read and learn. (You can read about her experience here, and learn how she managed to juggle being a parent, student and dedicated volunteer here.)

It’s no surprise Weitzman says this experience is one of her proudest accomplishments, but what else is there? Read on to find out.

1. What superpower would you most like to have?
I would love to possess the ability to fly, or, better yet, to read people’s minds.  Imagine how that talent could impact my social work skills!

2. What’s your favorite place to dine in Cleveland?
There are so many wonderful, hidden treasures in Cleveland, and, as a “foodie,” I have had such fun exploring them.  Parallax in Tremont remains one of my all-time favorites.

3. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child—and well beyond—I desperately wanted to be an astronaut and to walk on the moon. When life—and severe myopia—impeded the realization of that dream, I became determined to be one of the first people to take a vacation-style cruise into space. I am still waiting for that dream to come true!

4. What accomplishments are you most proud of—personally and professionally?
There are several things about which I am particularly proud:

  • My children and the impact I have had on their lives;
  • The project I spearheaded to renovate the Marion-Sterling Elementary School Library and the concurrent effort to stimulate community engagement in public education;
  • My ability to succeed at school and at work while simultaneously balancing my parenting responsibilities;
  • My right hook, my left cross, and the respect they garner from the teenage boys at the boxing gym.

5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve University?
I simply love being back in a highly academic environment. The seminar-style classes engender important discussions about pressing issues, and I have learned so much not only from my professors but also from the wonderfully diverse student body. It is also refreshing to be a part of a vibrant urban community in Cleveland.