For This Family of Four, Myles Standish Hall Is Home

A family with two children walk on a brick path in Boston, MA. The image is black and white.

Isla Simeon hops on her mom’s back for a break after a long scooter ride down Bay State Road.

For This Family of Four, Myles Standish Hall Is Home

Anthropology prof Carolyn Hodges-Simeon is one of BU’s 15 faculty-in-residence

May 27, 2022
6
Twitter Facebook

Editor’s Note: Click on each photo below to read the corresponding caption.

If five-year-old Isla Simeon is on the same elevator as you in Myles Standish Hall, be prepared to talk PAW Patrol.

Isla, along with her three-year-old brother Griffin, mom Carolyn Hodges-Simeon, and dad Jeff Simeon, lives in a three-bedroom apartment on the Myles ninth floor. Hodges-Simeon, a College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of anthropology, is one of 15 BU Residence Life faculty-in-residence who live alongside undergraduates in campus residence halls, often with families in tow. These faculty serve as informal positive role models, “an adult who is not their professor or their boss,” Hodges-Simeon says. In exchange, they receive free housing and a partial meal plan.

A family of four on a modern elevator. One child is wearing a white shirt and skirt and the other is wearing a shirt and pants while using a walker to assist with mobility

The family heads down in the Myles Standish Hall elevator. The elevator makes it easy to transport strollers and Griffin’s walker, his mother says.

Hodges-Simeon learned about the Faculty-in-Residence program from a colleague and says her husband, Jeff Simeon, who is associate director of programs and product management at the Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering Software and Application Innovation Lab (SAIL), didn’t need much convincing. At the time, the two were living through a disastrous condo renovation with Isla, then a baby, and Hodges-Simeon was pregnant with Griffin. When she became a Faculty-in-Residence in 2018, she and Simeon moved their family into a brand-new three-bedroom, two-bathroom energy-efficient apartment with an elevator (Myles had just undergone an extensive, $133 million renovation). The elevator, Hodges-Simeon says, means they no longer have to lug strollers, scooters, and various other children’s paraphernalia up flights of stairs.

Griffin, a small child, wants a turn pushing his stroller down Bay State Road.

The family of four often takes walks around campus, and today Griffin wants a turn pushing his stroller down Bay State Road. 

Out for a scooter ride with her family, Isla chats with Larry Algredo (CAS’25) (left) and Valentino Tartamella (ENG’25) about her favorite Paw Patrol characters. Her mother describes Isla as an extrovert who will happily chat with a bus driver or anyone she meets in the elevator at Myles Standish Hall.

Out for a scooter ride with her family, Isla chats with Larry Algredo (CAS’25) (left) and Valentino Tartamella (ENG’25) about her favorite Paw Patrol characters. Her mother describes Isla as an extrovert who will happily chat with a bus driver or anyone she meets in the elevator at Myles Standish Hall.

Strollers, scooters, and more outside of a faculty-in-residence apartment in Myles Standish Hall

Strollers, a bike, and a scooter lined up outside of the family’s apartment in Myles Standish Hall.

A small child with a walker is seen in a modern hi-rise lobby. Griffin has CHARGE syndrome. Lacking an inner ear structure, and therefore no natural balance system, he uses a walker to get around, but is learning how to walk unassisted. “He’s an incredibly joyful, smart, happy, funny kid,” his mom says.

Griffin has CHARGE syndrome. Lacking an inner ear structure, and therefore having no natural balance system, he uses a walker to get around, but is learning how to walk unassisted. “He’s an incredibly joyful, smart, happy, funny kid,” his mom says.

A small child and their parent sit in an office having a conversation. Isla loves to visit her mother’s office in the anthropology department on Bay State Road.

Isla loves to visit her mother’s office in the anthropology department on Bay State Road.

What’s more, the family’s living arrangement and proximity to work have made their lives much easier. Griffin has a rare and serious genetic disease called CHARGE syndrome, which affects the whole body, including vision, hearing, heart, and growth. He wears hearing aids and although he speaks American Sign Language, he is learning to talk. He also uses a walker. Hodges-Simeon says he is slowly learning to walk on his own.

So the fact that she “can walk to [her] office, walk back home, and then take an eight-minute bus ride to Boston Children’s Hospital,” where Griffin receives his care, she says, is a game-changer.

“I have a nine-minute commute,” she says. “I feel like this position has saved my career, because it has been a way for me to continue working and also have a kid with very medically complex needs.”

A small child starts to do a handstand. Griffin puts on a show for his mom and babysitter Shanice Hamilton (Sargent’23) before Hodges-Simeon leaves to teach a class.

Griffin puts on a show for his mom and babysitter Shanice Hamilton (Sargent’23) before Hodges-Simeon leaves to teach a class. 

Hodges-Simeon chats with a student while feeding Griffin lunch. Griffin uses American Sign Language to communicate and is learning more words by the day, his mom says.

Hodges-Simeon chats with a student while feeding Griffin lunch. Griffin uses American Sign Language to communicate and is learning more words by the day, his mom says.

Graduate student Shanice Hamilton (Sargent’23) babysits Griffin while his parents work on campus. 

In addition to serving as informal advisors and resources, the couple also organize events for Myles residents. Hodges-Simeon hosts chocolate tastings, applying her anthropological lens whenever possible, and Simeon started a Magic: the Gathering group (“He receives way more engagement than I do,” Hodges-Simeon says with a laugh). 

One of Isla’s favorite things to do is riding her scooter down the long Myles hallways. The family continued to live in the building when the campus shut down at the start of the pandemic in spring 2020. “It was like something out of The Shining, but not that dark,” Hodges-Simeon says.

BU Today photographer Jackie Ricciardi heard about Hodges-Simeon from a mutual friend and knew the family’s day-to-day life, living among college students, would make for an interesting photo essay. “You rarely see kids on campus,” she says. “I thought the idea of these parents trying to balance kids and work, while living at work, was neat to see.” 

Isla and her dad getting the mail. A row of mailboxes sits in front of the two individuals pictured.

Isla and her dad getting the mail.

Isla waves goodbye to her school bus after being dropped off at Myles Standish Hall. 

  • Share this story
  • 6 Comments Add

Share

For This Family of Four, Myles Standish Hall Is Home

  • Jackie Ricciardi

    Staff photojournalist

    Portrait of Jackie Ricciardi

    Jackie Ricciardi is a staff photojournalist at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. She has worked as a staff photographer at newspapers that include the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga., and at Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, N.H., where she was twice named New Hampshire Press Photographer of the Year.   Profile

  • Amy Laskowski

    Senior Writer Twitter Profile

    Amy Laskowski

    Amy Laskowski is a senior writer at Boston University. She is always hunting for interesting, quirky stories around BU and helps manage and edit the work of BU Today’s interns. She did her undergrad at Syracuse University and earned a master’s in journalism at the College of Communication in 2015. Profile

Comments & Discussion

Boston University moderates comments to facilitate an informed, substantive, civil conversation. Abusive, profane, self-promotional, misleading, incoherent or off-topic comments will be rejected. Moderators are staffed during regular business hours (EST) and can only accept comments written in English. Statistics or facts must include a citation or a link to the citation.

There are 6 comments on For This Family of Four, Myles Standish Hall Is Home

  1. What a lovely story! I work at Boston University within administration, and I have CHARGE syndrome. It is indeed rare, and very uncommon to hear or read anything about it, much less know it exists so close by in someone else, a sweet looking boy named Griffin, too! Let me know if there is any desire to connect with me, Professor Hodges-Simeon.

  2. In 1970 I was a freshman living in the dorm known as The Men of the Myles.” No women, no security, and no stopping the homeless and addicted from squatting in our conference areas. President Silber took the Presidency, toured Myles, and christened it “a den of inequities.” Howard Stern was also a resident and the BU radio station was located in Myles Standish.
    In 1971 the Myles became Co-Ed and it all changed. Security was instituted, conference areas cleaned up, and a sense of independence and cooperation established.

  3. Just a thought, maybe think about rewording, “He wears hearing aids and although he speaks American Sign Language, he is learning to talk”, implies ASL is lesser. ASL is this boy’s first/native language and he is learning English as a second language. ASL is a full language in its own right!

Post a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *