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ELIZABETH OSTA

Elizabeth OstaWith a fulfilling career spanning three decades, Elizabeth Osta is a distinguished educator and award-winning author of several books and essays. At the start of her career journey, she received a Bachelor of Science in speech correction from Nazareth College in 1967, followed by a Master of Science from the State University of New York. Ms. Osta then served a long and successful tenure as a staff training specialist for the Rochester City School District between 1977 and 2001. In 2001, she became director of Better Communication Services, a role in which she continues to excel.

Ms. Osta’s writing career commenced with the publication of her first book, “Jeremiah’s Hunger” in 2011. The story takes place during the Great Hunger in Ireland and is about her grandfather’s quest for survival after having to bury his baby sister and mother in County Cork. Ms. Osta’s second book, “Saving Faith: A Memoir of Courage, Conviction, and a Calling,” was released in 2017 and journeys back to the 1960s and 1970s during times of controversy and activism, including many of her own personal stories about faith. From the Isle of Wight Festival to the gay pride marches and demonstrations against the Vietnam War, her book addresses spirituality, education and Catholicism.

In addition to writing, Ms. Osta is a talented editor, having edited “Life Shifts: Essays of Hope,” published in 2019, and speaks to those diagnosed with cancer. As a breast cancer survivor herself, she recounts the feeling of uncertainty that follows diagnosis and includes stories from those brave women and men, survivors and caretakers who have found solace, wisdom and optimism for the future. Additionally, Ms. Osta developed a video called “Anybody’s Child, Everybody’s Children,” which she recounts as a memorable career achievement and a team effort completed during the 1990s about stemming gun violence. She also brought speakers to town as part of the project.

To acknowledge her writing achievements, Ms. Osta was nominated for Best Book by City Newspaper in 2018 and received an honorary mention from Big Brick Review. She also won several writing awards from Writers & Books in Rochester, including a Big Pencil Award in 2014. She was also the recipient of a Democrat and Chronicle Golden Pen Award and an Amelia Book Island Literary Award for Non-Fiction for her book “Saving Faith” in 2018. Moreover, she was bestowed with an Outstanding Alumni Award from Nazareth College. Ms. Osta believes that she was born to write, attributing her vast success to her love for storytelling and writing.

Among such accolades and accomplishments, Ms. Osta also had the opportunity to serve as a reader for the Writers & Books Genesee Reading Series, based in Rochester, New York, and now in its 40th year. The book series is one of the numerous public programs delivered by Writers & Books, which seeks to promote a lifelong passion for reading and writing for individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Honored to have been part of numerous notable writing endeavors, Ms. Osta advises aspiring writers to “trust your heart and your art.”

Outside of the writing world, Ms. Osta remains active in her local community through membership with the First Universalist Church of Rochester, the First Universalist Initiative for Racial Equity and the Order of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, who honored her with a Woman of the Year Award in 2018. Actively involved with the Irish American Cultural Institute, she previously served as president of the Rochester, New York, chapter and served on the scholarship committee of the Alberta Moss Scholarship Fund. For her grand efforts in her roles, she was granted the Eoin McKiernan Achievement Award. Ms. Osta is also involved with the United Nations and is a member of the Funeral Consumers Board.

Looking toward the future, Ms. Osta aspires to begin writing about the outgrowth of the new Civil Rights Heritage Site, which is located at Baden Park, on the city’s northeast side, in Rochester. She has been instrumental in helping to sell legacy bricks for the park’s walkway to highlight the many heroes of the Black freedom struggle. In addition, Ms. Osta is currently in the process of writing “Maggie’s Brood,” which she first began writing when she was seven years old. The story tells the tale of her grandmother’s family, along with her trials and triumphs as an emigrant of Ireland.

After spending nearly 10 years as a sister of St. Joseph in Rochester, Ms. Osta married her husband, Dave, on her 50th birthday. A retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander and software engineer, she describes him as the love of her life.

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