Interview of Sherry Shepherd
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Experiences Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Canadian citizen. Self-advocate for workplace accommodation.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Social MovementsEnvironmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Experiences Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Canadian citizen. Self-advocate for workplace accommodation.
- Shepherd, Sherry
- Persons Present:
- Shepherd and Le. Kelsey Kim was present during the session and contributed a few questions.
- Place Conducted:
- The interview was conducted using the Zoom video conferencing platform.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- This interview was conducted by Miranda Le, an undergraduate student researcher, for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women. A member of the 2019-2020 Chemical Entanglements Undergraduate Student Group, Le majors in Human Biology and Society.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- .75 hrs
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
Family history--Living in a small, tight-knit rural community--Impact of experiencing violence and abuse--Her relationship with and memories of nature growing up--Her initial symptoms of MCS--How her MCS has impacted her work--Struggles she’s experienced advocating for herself--Doctors and individuals who have helped her diagnosis--Building her own house--Impacts of MCS on her family--The importance of finding the good in everything--Her job at the school board--Impacts of COVID-19 and working from home--The impact of doctors she’s met and how their treatments have helped her--The reaction of her friends and families to her MCS--Her trauma after almost being sexually assaulted by a psychology professor at Acadia University--The response of the University to her letter--Her financial situation given her MCS--Always looking on the positive side rather than being bitter about her illness--Her support group for MCS--The development of her book Coming Full Circle--Similarities and difference she’s seen with living with MCS and the current quarantine during COVID-19--Closing remarks--Explaining why it may be hard for some individuals to share their stories