Guest Speakers


Marian Gagnon, Ph.D., has been making documentaries since 2004. She founded Goodnight Irene Productions: An Indie-Documentary Film Company in honor of her mother, Irene. Her background and 15 years experience as an award-winning journalist have paved the way for her avocation as Writer, Director and Producer of documentaries.  

Marian also is a Professor in the College of Arts & Sciences at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, teaching film studies, journalism, visual literacy, speech communications and literature.

Marian’s most recent film is America’s Forgotten Heroine: Ida Lewis, Keeper of the Light about a 19-century lighthouse keeper and heroine from Newport, R.I.

This documentary, produced in high-definition, brings to life the extraordinary story of Ida Zoradia Lewis, America’s most famous woman lighthouse keeper. Hailed as the "bravest woman in America," Ida Lewis tended the light on Lime Rock for more than 50 years and single-handedly saved more than 25 people from certain peril.

This film was nominated for a New England Emmy, won the “Gutsy Gals Inspire Me” award for Best Short Documentary, and was selected for the 2014 R.I. International Film Festival. It has aired on R.I. PBS.

My 30 days aboard the USCG Cutter Northland 904 
Auxiliarist John Dennis – AUXFS and is a member of 013-07-02

I have a wonderful story to tell by video, photos, PowerPoint presentation.

Last fall I did a month of FS help on cutter 904.  We did a patrol which turned out to be an unforgettable adventure.

The trip is well documented by not only my photos but many photos and videos from the ships photographer.

We sailed from Portsmouth Virginia to the warm tropical waters of the Bermuda triangle.

I will tell you about accommodations, working in the galley, the ships company and our mission.

Briefly we did a drug bust off of Puerto Rico.  We assisted in a MAY DAY rescue of the crew of a Bolivian freighter.  This crew was forced to abandon ship in a hurricane.  Yep we were in a hurricane.

This is the same hurricane that sank the ill fated El Faro. A day later we became a major part of the effort to search for survivors of this tragedy.

We refueled helicopters in the air as part of this effort- risky business.

We briefly visited Guantanamo bay for fuel.

I participated in many of the crew’s training programs- firearms, firefighting, bridge watch and first aid.

I was honored and privileged to be a part in this bitter sweet mission. Let me share the experiences with you.