Jill Biden did her best to keep her status as a political wife under the radar of her students, to whom she is known simply as “Doctor B.”
During her eight years in the Obama administration as a second woman (she preferred the title “Captain of the Literature Squad”), Dr. Biden continued teaching English composition at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). She even requested that Secret Service agents who accompanied her come in disguised as students.
And when the 69-year-old becomes America’s next first lady, she will be the first to continue her career while in the position. But this time, when she returns to her day job in January, she may struggle to stay out of sight.
Student Carolina Strazhnikovich, 27, studied by Dr. Biden before going on vacation at the start of the year to join her husband, the president-elect. Joe BidenOn the campaign trail. Straznikiewicz spent her first lesson trying to figure out why her mentor turned out this way.
“My mind was telling me that it was very impossible for a second lady from the United States to teach at a community college here … I am absolutely sure a lot of the students in the class had no idea who she was until the end of the semester.”
Now, though, Straznikiewicz believes Dr. B.’s cover should be blown up. This year, Dr. Biden has set off across the country on her campaign path as a valuable and energetic advocate for her husband, giving television interviews and speaking at leadership rallies.
In an emotional Democratic convention speech that met with plaudits this summer – delivered from an empty classroom at Brandywine High School in their hometown of Wilmington, Delaware – she spoke of the anxiety and grief of the pandemic.
But it also conveyed a convincing sense of fun. During the conference, her two granddaughters Natalie and Naomi described her as “not your normal grandmother” and “prankster”, remembering how she woke them up at 5 am on Christmas Eve to go to a SoulCycle classroom and picked up dead snakes while running to play practical jokes on family members.
“Unfortunately, you’ll all know who she is because there’s no way you could miss them,” said Straznikiewicz. She noted that Dr. Biden is a “tough college student” – a sentiment that echoes the reviews on Rate My Professors. But that made her debut A-movie unforgettable.
She took me back my paper and said to me, “It was excellent, as always.” It always stuck with me and totally turned my mind around my education. ”
She never mentioned her husband, but one morning, Straznikiewicz remembers Dr. Biden telling them about a dramatic interaction with a bat entering their home. “It was a very normal, very everyday thing … She was just our regular professor.”
They studied Trevor Noah’s diary, Born a Crime, had conversations about race and current affairs and were asked to write about their beliefs and experiences. Biden’s sister-in-law, Valerie Biden Owens, gave a lecture to students about female confidence.
Straznikiewicz is looking forward to seeing a college professor become the first lady. “I think she will really defend us.”
Jennifer Lawless, a professor of politics at the University of Virginia, said Dr. Biden would “tear down a glass ceiling” for the first ladies, as well as Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Imhoff. Leaving His job to become the second-ever American gentleman was an evolution of American politics.
“This is the first time we have seen someone say, ‘You know what? My past life is also important and I will never fully define myself on the basis of my husband’s job.
The upcoming first lady, who has been studying for 36 years and has four degrees, moved to Nova from Delaware Community Technical College in 2009 after Barack Obama won the presidential election with her husband as his deputy.
“Everyone thought I would stop teaching and become a full-time second lady,” writes Dr. Biden in her book Where Light Comes. “But not only did I want to continue teaching, I was appointed by the dean of Nova University.”
She opposed senior advisers’ advice to do so because she “just wanted to do the thing I liked better”. She said she “enjoyed the tension” between the world of politics and education.
She’s a faculty member, she has a little room like us … When she’s there we don’t really talk about her husband’s life, we talk, “said Dr. Jimmy McClellan, Dean of Liberal Arts at Nova and supervisor of Dr. Biden. About education, teaching and our students. “
When she was a second lady, he remembers her leaving with a pile of papers to go to a formal dinner and come back with all of them tiered the next morning.
McClellan said she was amazed by the stories of her students, many of whom are immigrants and refugees, and that she would leave sticky notes on the bathroom mirror at the Vice President’s Residence so that her husband “knows what the students are getting. Go through.” She also started a women’s mentoring program.
In addition to her career, which she said has “maintained my passion and independence for more than 30 years,” family is what drives Dr. Biden.
She is the eldest of five sisters, was born in Hammonton, New Jersey, where her father’s name was on a World War II memorial, and was raised in the Philadelphia suburbs.
When she was 18, when she began studying at the University of Delaware, she said that she “suddenly saw cracks in our society very closely.” She also married her first husband, a relationship that ended in divorce after five years.
In 1975, she went on her first date with the president-elect – then a senator, who lost his wife and daughter in a car accident in 1972 – after being set up by his brother Frank, whom she knew from college.
She was not initially impressed by the Loafers’ suit and shoes, but ended up dropping out three nights in a row.
After five proposals, they married in 1977 and Biden became a stepmother to his two youngest sons, Beau and Hunter. Four years later she gave birth to a daughter named Ashley.
An introvert, she said she was “never normal as a political wife” but found her public voice speaking on issues like the military – especially after Poe joined the National Guard – and cancer.
She said her husband “tends to get me out of my shell, and I help him keep him on the ground.” In 2003, she wrote a noticeable “no” on her stomach in a bikini as party advisers tried to persuade her husband to run for president.
In the White House, her shared interest in the military with former First Lady Michelle Obama led to the creation of the Union of Forces Initiative, which is what Biden did. He said She will resume as First Lady.
Obama has it Described Dr. Biden is considered her “partner in crime” and “one of the most people you will ever meet.” It also indicated Dr. Biden’s enthusiasm for practical jokes, which had once prompted her to hide in the overhead locker of Air Force One.
When Beau was diagnosed with brain cancer, Obama was the only people Biden told them. His death in 2015 left Dr. Biden “shattered” He said Recently.
Jeremy Bernard, the White House social secretary and special assistant to the president for four and a half years under the Obama administration, said that between the spouses “there was always a very warm and genuine fondness for each other.”
He said Dr. Biden had been welcoming him from the first day he started his business, and he remembers spotting it the night before shopping at Whole Foods. When he mentioned it the next day, he said she invited him to join her and her team for a hot yoga practice.
Whenever she walked into a room, she recognized everyone there, a feature he said was “very rare, not only in politics, but in general.”
He said she had a close relationship with her employees, who were a part of her social life, and would write handwritten thank-you notes after state dinners and holidays.
Dr. Biden’s spokesperson, Michael LaRosa, said that she is currently spending time with her children and six grandchildren in Wilmington and has been “focused on building her team and developing her priorities that focus on education, military families, veterans and cancer.” During the summer she was approved to teach by default.
In his victory speech, President-elect Biden said: “For American educators, this is a great day for all of you. You will have one of your own in the White House.”
Catherine Gilleson, professor of history at Ohio University, agrees. “For the first lady to be a fan of American education, especially American public education, that would be a great thing for the teaching profession.”
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