Juanita Baker, Ph. D., Professor emerita, Florida Institute of Technology, focuses on bringing about change in general in humans, cultures, communities, society, states, and the world. As Editor of FIT's Psychology Science Minute, she presents the most relevant scientific research from the field of psychology to the general public over the radio in short 60 second segments. 88 programs, developed over the last 2 years, are available online.
While teaching at FIT, Juanita set up the Friends of the Library, a community fund-raising group to begin the library endowment; initiated the Juanita Baker Fellowship for doctoral students doing research on reducing violence against women and children; and directed the Therapeutic Foster Home (1984-1989), a training program for foster parents, and the Family Learning Program (1991-2007), a sexual abuse treatment program for families in which incest or sexual abuse has taken place.
A year abroad at an all women’s Isabella Thoburn College (1959-60), Lucknow, India, first awakened and astounded Juanita to the world’s severe problems-–overpopulation, so needy in terms of health, basic needs of water, food, and shelter. This focused her passion and studies on bringing about change. After earning her doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Illinois, she returned to the issues of the subcontinent (following mosquitoes and her husband) to live in Pakistan for 13 years (1966-79), gaining skills, making friends and learning how to work together for common goals…all essential for her major community effort: She mobilized the international and Pakistani communities to come together to found and maintain the first children’s library for the public in Lahore, Pakistan in 1978. Alif Laila Library continues to serve children.
Juanita pursues her lifelong interests in art and birds as expressed the 2003 book, Reflections of Blue Cypress Lake, which she co-authored with her husband Richard, with their photographs and her poetry. One photo project is to teach children how to draw birds. And when she and Richard are not traveling somewhere to bird watch or view art, they work tirelessly to support the Pelican Island Audubon Society for which Juanita initiated the Bird Photo of the Month.