Colleen is a Professor of English at Harford Community College. In addition to her academic background in literature, she has earned a Master Naturalist Certificate from Harford County Parks and a certificate in Environmental Studies from Johns Hopkins University. Her poetry, essays and book reviews have been published by The Maryland Poetry Review, ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, Tacenda, Milkweed Editions, Poetry Midwest, Isotope, Penumbra, The Women’s Review of Books and the Disquieting Muses Quarterly Review. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry in 2002 and 2004, and awarded the O’Henry Prize for Literary Excellence in Harford County in 2004. Colleen is a renowned living history performer and will be performing as Emily Dickinson.
Although forced to drop out of school at a young age, Isatou Ceesay seldom lets anything stop her from learning or taking action. She has worked for the U.S. Peace Corps office in the Gambia, the Swedish organization Future in Our Hands, and as a consultant for development organizations. Her recycling project, which began in 1998 amidst much resistance and taunting, is still thriving today. In 2012, she was awarded a TIAW “Difference Maker” award in Washington, DC.
The book, One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia tells the inspiring story of five women who creatively dealt with their village’s plastic trash problem. Despite limited resources and ridicule, Isatou and her friends persevered for more than a decade, eventually realizing economic empowerment through their recycled plastic purse project. She is humbled by the fact that there is a book about her and hopes it will inspire others to join her cause or be a changemaker in their own communities.