Amanda Sommerfeld Profile

Posted: April 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

One of the greatest aspects of being a coach is learning from my runners.  I am always fascinated by what their values and priorities are and what motivates them.  It didn’t take long to learn that Amanda is completed committed to helping others and ensuring they have even more opportunities then she was afforded in life…that’s inspiring! 

I asked Amanda to share her perspective:

I’m not at all a religious person, but there’s a statement in Luke that shaped a lot of how I see the world: “To whom much is given, much is expected”. Perhaps if I’d grown up in a different environment or if I did something different with my life, that statement wouldn’t resonate with me so much. But because of who my family was, because I studied to become a psychologist, and because I do research on how individuals’ cultures shape their life experiences (particularly in terms of their educational trajectories), I spend a lot of time thinking about privilege.

I think it’s fair to say that the majority of who and what I am today is because of the privileges that I was afforded growing up. When I say privileges, I’m not talking about money or possessions. Instead, I mean the more intangible yet powerful privileges– the fact that I was raised by parents and in a community that not only valued education but that also provided me with the knowledge and resources to turn that value into opportunity. Because of that, my early years and adolescence were filled with precisely the types of experiences, support, nurturing, and training that allowed me to easily navigate the educational pathways that landed me as a professor. 

Having such privileges, it’s possible that I could have chosen a variety of educational or occupational paths. But because I genuinely believe in the notion that not only I, but we all, should be spending our time doing things that hold the potential to benefit others, being a professor of psychology is where I ended up. And I have to say, it’s an incredible place to be. Each day, whether I’m teaching the master’s students at BU, or seeing a therapy client, or conducting research, I’m left with the feeling that I’ve found my niche– my unique way to give back for all of the privileges that have been bestowed upon me.

I suppose that’s part of the reason why running the marathon for charity struck me as such an amazing opportunity– because it gave me a different way to service others. It’s also part of the reason why I’ve been so awed by everyone else in the marathon coalition. Every day we all make choices about how we’re going to “be” in the world– whether we’re going to be egocentric and choose not to see beyond our own needs and desires or if we’re going to recognize the power that we hold to influence and service others. All of the members of the marathon coalition (and all charity runners, for that matter) have chosen the latter; they’ve chosen to see and embrace the ways that their actions can provide something to others. Being a part of that– seeing that each week– has been a privilege in and of itself.”

  1. terri says:

    Thank you- very well said Amanda!

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