#WeAreArity Wednesday: Eraina Coakley
Pick your favorite decade. Tell us why.
The eighties! I’m an eighties baby. Everything was really fun at the time, and I remember the music, the movies. Even from a retrospect perspective – I’m looking back and the music is still great, the movies are still great.
It was a fun decade and an experimental decade.
Do you have a favorite eighties movie?
The broader genre of scary movies. The eighties scary movies were the best! They were so edgy and different. They really took you by surprise with the twists and the turns.
What is your favorite part of working from home?
The quiet. I’m an introvert, and I have worked in offices where my coworkers were throwing footballs over my head. I’m dodging footballs as I’m trying to write. I’m literally sneaking from my desk, trying to find a place in the building to hide to get a little bit of work done.
So, for me, the best aspect of working from home is you have your little quiet corner, and you can focus and actually get your work done.
I actually have an invention – I’m an inventor with a patent.
Which show do you remember the most from your childhood?
“The Honeymooners” reruns. That was a 1950s show, but I have these awesome memories as a kid – just sitting in my living room and watching the reruns. My sisters and I just loved it.
It was a black-and-white show. Ralph Kramden was a bus driver, and he had a wife, Alice. They were working class people. He was always trying to think of “get rich quick” schemes. He would usually try something crazy, it wouldn’t work out, and his wife would get mad at him. At the end, he would apologize for making a disaster out of everything, and his wife would forgive him. It was a sweet little love story of him trying to make her happy in a very disastrous kind of way.
In retrospect, Ralph Kramden lived in a tiny apartment, and he was a dreamer. He really wanted something better for him and his family. I think that’s what I connected with.
My family and I – we grew up working class in a small apartment in New York. I really connected with that dream of wanting something more. He was always having these hare-brained schemes for something greater.
What is your favorite musical instrument?
I play guitar. It’s hard to say if I like electric versus acoustic, but I probably lean more towards electric guitar.
When I was a kid, I would hear songs, and a certain part of the music would connect with me. It wasn’t until I was older, I realized my ears are drawn to the guitar solos. So, I started taking guitar lessons, and I love it to this day.
I have a few embarrassing songs that I wrote and recorded. I don’t have them uploaded, but I tried my hand at a few rock songs.
Is rock your favorite genre?
I’m leaning a little away from it now, but I was a huge heavy metal fan at one point.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Believe it or not, a supermodel! The eighties and early nineties was the supermodel era – you had Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer. It was a big thing. They were megastars at the time. It was glamorous.
As I started becoming a preteen, I realized – OK, I don’t think I’m going to be tall enough to be a model. I was in between being a model and a fashion photographer. That was my runner up if I couldn’t be a model. To this day, I’m still interested in fashion photography. I’ve done some photography, and I’ve actually sold a few of my photographs.
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or scattered throughout the year?
I would love to take it all at once, but I’m in grad school, so now I’m actually taking my PTO scattered when I need it for assignments. I’m still working on my days off! So, if I have a huge assignment or a big chunk of work, I might take a Friday or Monday off to get my work done.
Tell us about grad school.
I started in 2017, and I’m actually in a Doctor of Education program. It’s a long name, Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Instructional Design and Technology.
Do you have a favorite class?
A part of the program really focused on human performance technology. I loved that aspect because it was something that I experienced. It talks about how you can take a good worker and put them in a bad system, and the system in going to win every time.
I’ve been in situations where I feel like I’m struggling to perform well but it’s like – Is it my fault? Or is it the bad system? Like I said before, trying to write with footballs being thrown over your head.
It looks at situations like that. It looks at the environment, the tools they’re given, the knowledge they’re given. Do they have everything they need to be successful? And if not, those are the changes you have to make.
So, human performance and adult learning theory – those are my favorite parts of the program.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
I love getting involved with food banks. To me, that is so critical.
My mom and I have done this for years. We used to go around and give out packages of food, water, and Bibles – and just try to encourage people. I donate to food pantries whenever I get a chance.
I actually have an invention – I’m an inventor with a patent – for a self-cleaning bathroom. I was really hoping that the invention could be used to help the homeless. Obviously, out there they don’t have access to facilities like that.
I would really love to help the homeless more and just really get involved with food pantries. That’s a passion of mine.
What’s the backstory behind your invention?
I’m a germophobe. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been obsessed with cleaning. I have to clean my bathroom several times a week, and I was just thinking of ways to do it easier.
Over the years, these ideas just started coming into my head of putting the sprayers into the walls and having the bleach compartment – things like that. I started thinking of ways to actually have this mechanized.
I was too young at that point to come up with the patent money. But just a few years ago, I was able to get the money for the patent. I was really excited about that.
What do you do in your free time to help you relax?
I actually used to listen to heavy metal to relax. I would blast it and start whipping my hair around like a crazy person!
As time has gone one, my music genre tastes are really changing. I’m now more into jazz and nature soundscapes. Every now and then, I’ll do the rock and heavy metal thing, but now I’m all about jazz and nature.