Just Films - Journey to Normal: Women of War Come Home

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
6:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Beckwith Auditorium, Buhl Hall

**Please note the location for this film: Beckwith Auditorium

From the front lines of Afghanistan through the first two years of reintegration, Journey to Normal: Women of War Come Home documents the journeys of eight women who have served in the combat zone.

Our film begins during deployment and follows these inspirational women and their families through all of the joys and challenges of reintegration — marriage, divorce, childbirth, custody struggles, job searches, and the under-recognized challenge of settling back into their daily lives. One question is followed from deployment to the homefront: What really happens when they come home?

This event is free and open to the public.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion and Q & A session.

Panelist Announced:
JulieHera DeStefano – Producer/Director

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, JulieHera DeStefano conceived the idea for the Journey to Normal Project in the spring of 2009. Initiatives include the feature-length documentary Journey to Normal: Women of War Come Home, an online video interview archive, and the Walking It In community empowerment initiative, all aimed at bridging the gap in understanding between military and civilian cultures.

At the invitation of Task Force Medical-East, DeStefano spent just over 3 ½ months as a solo embed with the US Military in Afghanistan, filming and interviewing over 100 women about their experiences in the military, their lives back home, and what they envisioned for their reintegration. Filming continued stateside for two years with a number of these women and their families to document what their journey home has entailed and what they would most like the American public to understand.

DeStefano speaks extensively on the deployment and reintegration experience of the post 9/11 Veteran, especially the experiences of women Veterans. She is profiled in the book Legendary Locals of Pittsburgh. Journey to Normal is DeStefano’s first film.

Sheryland Neal – Technology and Operations Coordinator, Thomas Merton Center

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Sheryland Neal has a background in performance, theatre, and broadcast journalism. She holds a MFA in Film and Digital Technology from Chatham University and Bachelor's degree in Communication from Central State University. She served in the army reserve.

Sheryland is one of three artistic directors of Timbeleza and a performing member of the Pittsburgh samba Group. Recent travels include expeditions to Santiago, Havana, Trinidad, and Holguin, Cuba, and a residency in Brazil (Rio de Janiero and Salvador). While in Salvador in 2018, she competed in the 39th Noite da Beleza Negra hosted by Ilê Aiyê - Oficial making her the first foreigner and American to ever be approved to compete.

In addition to working on creative projects with local and international companies, non-profits, and individuals, she is a prolific screenwriter, videographer, photographer, filmmaker, dancer, and documentarian.

Colonel Thomas Stokes (Ret.)

ACSW, LCSW, BCD, RN has a long career of service in the United States Army Reserves as a military social worker, and maintains a private practice serving members of the military and their families.

He was Commander of the 328th Medical Detachment, Combat and Operational Stress Control Unit based in Coraopolis, PA, and he deployed to Afghanistan, serving as Officer in Charge of the Combat Stress Clinic at Forward Operating Base Gardez. Colonel Stokes has received the Combat Action Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, NATO Medal, and Bronze Star. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and earned his MSW from the University of Pittsburgh. His professional career includes 29 years in behavioral health and administration with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services.


Fee : Free

Registration has closed. Please contact Melody Harris at m.harris@chatham.edu for additional information.


Beckwith Auditorium, Buhl Hall


Campus Map

Parking is free in the Library Parking Lot which you can only enter off of Murray Hill Avenue (not to be confused with Murray Avenue).

Murray Hill Avenue can be reached from both Wilkins and Fifth Avenue and is a cobblestone street. From Fifth Ave, it is located between Maryland Ave and S. Negley Ave. From Wilkins, it is located between Murray Ave and S. Negley Ave.

Contact Information

Melody Harris