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The PAIR Project Team Memories


Throughout the years, members of the PAIR Project team have always had fun working together. Says Anisa Zvonkovic: "I remember my first PAIR staff meeting with Pepperidge Farm Cookies sent in a care package from Rosemary Blieszner. And, I remember Elliot Robins' garage sale fig newtons." Meetings have often been havens of excitement and creativity. Remarks Rosemary Blieszner: "The team meetings were intense work and a lot of fun, especially because Elliot made me laugh so much. The project was intellectually exhilarating and we had the sense that we were developing some important stuff in terms of both theory and methods. Everyone involved had a specific area of responsibility but contributed to all the other areas as well."

However, sometimes the Project could seem a little overwhelming to new recruits, as Maureen Perry reports: "My first introduction to the PAIR data was when Ted and Susan said, 'we have all these files and you should just become familiar with them.' (HA). So I logged onto the computer during my second week of graduate study and proceeded to delete an entire phase 1 file in about two seconds. I was sure that was the end of my graduate career and when I went to confess, after hours of major angst, I was told it was no big deal...we have backups."

Despite the occasional glitch, Project team members generally enjoy both their work and they time they spend together. Many people remark that the group is like a family - headed, of course, by the avuncular Ted. Amy Chorost remarks, "I enjoyed the group breakfasts we had at Ted's house when we were working on the follow-up phase. Ted is one of the warmest and most hospitable people I know, as well as a great mentor. It was always an education and a pleasure to work for him."  Concurs John Caughlin, "Ted gave me a second home on campus -- he treated me like his other students, even though I was from a different department." Adds Mike Johnson, "Generally fond memories of the PAIR Project span almost twenty years for me, since they include not only spending time with project folks back when it was here at Penn State, but also continued warm relationships with many of them since then, including new friends I've met on my visits to Austin. Ted Huston creates teamwork like no one I have ever known."

PAIR team members have often extended their professional connections into outside leisure pursuits. Anisa Zvonkovic remarks: "I remember turning Ted on to Willie Nelson during an interview trip to Altoona (did that encourage him to move to Texas?). I also remember coding data during the Fiddler Competition of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts." During the initial data collection, the team took a field trip to Falling Water, and rafted the Youghiogheny river (for pictures, see the PAIR photo archives). Mike Johnson remembers that on the trip, "I shared a tent with Elliot Robins and Lynne Hartzler, chit-chatting ourselves to sleep. This was also the trip on which Rosemary Blieszner and I tried to drown ourselves, and on which I REALLY pissed off Elliot (we've since made up)." Rosemary adds: "I was in the only raft that overturned on that rafting trip. Chris Huston single-handedly pulled some people back into the raft, after feeling our heads bumping up in the bottom of it from under the water. The rest of us had to be rescued by the guides. Mike Johnson lost his sneakers and I lost my sunglasses. I think it was all Elliot's fault!"

Recent members of the team have frequently feted at happy hours, Christmas and birthday parties, Sunday brunch meetings, and other get-togethers. Currently, we're planning to take a camping trip to Big Bend one of these days. Anyone want to join us?


The PAIR Project at the University of Texas at Austin
Principal Investigator, Ted L. Huston
Page last modified: 13 February 2002