Profiles of Success: Quitting was never really an option
Occupation: Curator, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
Where did you receive your education?
High School: Minneapolis. College: B.A., Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colo.; M.A. and Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo.
How has your education played a role in your life today?
I have the best job in the whole world. My education allows me to work at something I love, understand some of the magnificent world around me and appreciate the many different people I encounter every day.
What is the value of your education?
Priceless. My father once told me you could lose all your material possessions, but you could never lose knowledge. My education shapes everything about me; my world view and who I am.
What would you say to someone who's undecided about continuing their education?
I would tell them that learning can happen in a variety of different ways and a classroom is only one option. I would ask about something they truly enjoy and have them find out about it. I also would offer my assistance to help get them started. Without exception, I think that when you find something you enjoy, learning about it isn't a problem. After that, all they have to do is find someone who enjoys what they do. Passion loves company.
When did you make education a priority?
I have been a sponge for knowledge my entire life. A creek adjacent to my house fascinated me as a kid and I have been inquisitive about the world and people around me ever since. I think I enjoy discovering things more today than I did even as a child.
What made you realize the importance of education in your life?
I think it goes back to my childhood. I wanted to know everything about everything, at least as it relates to natural history. I had wonderful teachers, educators, and mentors who got excited about things because I was interested in them. I was always encouraged to learn and people always took time to help me. That's probably the reason I was drawn toward education and academia. If I can convey the passion for things I enjoy, perhaps others will pursue the things they enjoy.
Did you ever think of quitting? What made you keep going?
I went to school for me. That's probably why it doesn't matter to me if anyone else knows I have graduate degrees. I don't think quitting was ever really an option, because I always would have wondered if I could have finished. The most important thing is that we should never stop learning and education is available to anyone with desire and determination.