Brittany Sommer, A08
Brittany Sommer, A08, can tell you how to get to Sesame Street. In fact, it took her only a few years after Tufts to arrive there, landing a dream job where her coworkers have green fur and trash lid hats and often break into song.
Brittany Sommer, A08, posing with Elmo
Sommer works in Sesame’s Educational Outreach department, producing multimedia projects to help families going through challenges. Her current initiative focuses on building resilience skills in children and addressing bullying, sibling rivalry, and relocation, as well as coping with parents’ divorce and incarceration. Muppets like Abby Cadabby offer kids guidance in videos about the tough topics and help parents learn what language works.
“We make multimedia kits that are free and encompass a guide for parents and caregivers, a children’s storybook, and a DVD with a Muppet story about the topic,” she says. Sommer helps to create the curriculum, developing content for the print pieces and the Muppet story, and works with the families who are featured in the live-action segments.
According to Sommer, Sesame’s Little Children, Big Challenges resilience initiative is groundbreaking, especially in the creation of the incarceration kit. She and her team visited Rikers Island Prison Complex and Sing Sing Correctional Facility, among others, speaking with inmates who are parents to inform production of the materials that will launch later this year.
The videos have a powerful effect. Says Sommer, “Children who have an incarcerated parent will see their favorite Muppets discussing the situation and know that they’re not alone.”
Aside from helping to change children’s lives, the best perk of working at Sesame Workshop, for Sommer, is the set. “I felt like I was five years old and walking back into my childhood,” she says, laughing about her first time on the street. “Being able to step onto the stoop was out of this world. I think I was more excited than the kids we had on set that day!”
Sommer is just one of the hundreds of former Tufts Alumni Senior Award Winners making her mark on the world. The Tufts Alumni Awards program was launched in 1955 by the Tufts University Alumni Association to celebrate the academic, civic, and leadership accomplishments of incredible seniors in their final days on the Hill. Many have gone on to become prominent members of the alumni and global communities. Some have even paired up; this June, Sommer will marry fellow Jumbo and Senior Award winner Jeff Katzin, A06. From radio personalities to campaign press secretaries, catch up with other previous winners at bitly.com/tuaawinners and by reading their profiles in the following pages.