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Mindful : August 2018
“ melissa sutor the mindful interview charting her own path The art of Melissa Sutor’s life, like the art of meditation, lies in the action of beginning again. And again. Born to a teenage single mother in rural Alabama, she became the first person in her family to graduate from college. At the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana, she was the first African-American in the graduate program for computer science and engineering and was on track to earn her PhD before she recognized a fundamental mismatch. Sutor set out for California, with its promise of Silicon Valley and progressive val- ues. However, the tech field left her spiritually parched. She and her husband planned a grand exit strategy: a trip around the world. After traveling together for eight months, they agreed to end the marriage. Sutor continued her travels solo for over a year, connecting with oth- er travelers and learning from locals. Today, Sutor is remarried and works both in California and in Maui, Hawaii, where she lives. Equipped with a master’s degree in counseling psychology and formal training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Sutor founded the Dragonfly Healing Center in Maui. There, she teaches MBSR classes, leads retreats for women in tech and science, and does consultation, working at the intersection of mindfulness, technology, and social good. → INTERVIEW BY VICTORIA DAWSON • PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARCO GARCIA August 2018 mindful 39