Learning. I graduated from Northwestern University and the University of Pittsburgh, then had the great fortune of teaching social studies courses, including several I created, at two top-tier high schools. One, in Evanston (IL), included students from more than fifty countries plus a diverse, local community; the other, located in LaPaz, Bolivia, attracted native Bolivians, Asian immigrants, and a smattering of North Americans. Sandwiched between these two positions, I taught ESL to adult Laotian refugees.
These experiences whetted my appetite for a doctorate that would incorporate cross-cultural education issues and strategies. I found exactly that at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. I also was able to study with renowned qualitative researcher Gretchen B. Rossman. Although I had majored in statistical research for my MEd, I delighted in the novel, unexpected findings that qualitative methods, such as interviews and observations, offered.
I then became an education professor at Augusta (GA) College (now University). There I had the thrilling opportunity of teaching grad and undergrad courses to students who would play a part in Augusta’s transformation from a leader of the Old South to regional, New South leadership. I also conducted staff development, special programs, and research with local, public school teachers and administrators.
Life. Meanwhile at each locale, my children and I were making significant life discoveries. As our physical settings changed, so did our pastimes. Celebrations ran the gamut from small-town strawberry festivals to Bolivia’s sensational Carnival to sledding down Amherst’s Memorial Hill to golf’s prestigious Masters tournament. Food, music, and speech varied, too, while warm-hearted people proved a key constant.
Following nearly 20 years in education, I launched a career in finance, managing a stock/bond portfolio for ten years. Fortunately, it handily beat S&P 500 metrics. Engaging with the business world was enjoyable, too – yet another slice of life!
Community. You could summarize all the above as a celebration of our greater community’s diversity, while seeking strands that unite. My family and I gained a lively amalgam of contrasting approaches to life that has enriched us in ways small and large.
I think you, too, will enjoy meeting a variety of people. Psychology, my major content area professionally and personally, provides us with a way to do that via “life stories.*” Enjoy M2M’s 59 takes on life: they come to you with both groans and grins from people who care enough to reach out and get personal. Voilà!
*See nearby link for more info re “Life Stories.”