GBWC Featured Profile

Cara Birrittieri

Wheaton Class of '81

by Cynthia L. Rodday '92
March 2005

With a degree in Biology and Education from Wheaton College in 1981, Cara began her career teaching high school science. She loved teaching and passing on her knowledge of science to her students. Unfortunately, after five years, her position was eliminated by Proposition 2 ½ budget cuts. Like others faced with job loss, Cara had to reflect upon a new career. A marketing course at Northeastern University led her to pursue a graduate degree in Mass Communications and Journalism at Emerson College.

After graduating, Cara's television career began in Bangor, Maine. While working on general assignment, she researched issues related the health and science through the University of Maine at Orono. Within two years, Cara joined New England Cable News (NECN) as a medical/science reporter; where she earned numerous accolades from her peers, including:

  • The Sword of Hope Award from the American Cancer Society
  • The Health and Science Journalist's Award from the American Heart Association
  • The Award of Excellence from the American Medical Writer's Association
  • An Emmy nomination for a piece on disabled scuba divers
  • The prestigious AAAS Science Journalism Award
  • A two-week Fellowship at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory

In 1997, after a nationwide search, Cara was hired as lead anchor and senior health news editor at America's Health Network. Unfortunately, soon after, the network lost its funding and Cara started working for WCVB Channel 5 in Boston. During her tenure at WCVB, Cara covered major news stories both locally (the JFK Jr. tragedy and the Wakefield Office shootings) and nationally (the Louise Woodward trial). During her final year at WCVB, Cara was recruited by Reuters Television to cover health and medicine stories for its international audience.

Cara met her husband in her late 30's after building a successful career. She had her first child at 40, but a year later as she tried for another child, discovered difficulties arising from age-related fertility decline. While news programs over the past few years have reported that women are prolonging their biological clock, Cara says many of these reports have misguided the public, leaving out a critical part of the story--the use of donated eggs. Research into fertility continues to advance, but it is important for women to understand their own reproductive schedule.

Cara wanted all women, but particularly younger women, to become more aware of this important health issue and to know that they can check the time on their biological clocks as well as estimate their duration. Cara's first book, What Every Woman Should Know About Fertility and Her Biological Clock, was released in January 2005. It is the first book to fully explore a woman's reproductive life cycle. To learn more about the book, visit www.KnowYourBioclock.com.

Cara resides outside of Boston with her husband, son, and infant daughter.