Teacher and Social Worker — Retired
Explain your career path
In the first few years I taught. (physical education, history. and 5th grade.) When my husband started full time work on his PhD we had to move, and I had to change jobs. I found a job as a social worker which I held for three years. When my husband got at teaching job at Westfield State College in Massachusetts and I had two children, I was at home for awhile. Then I went back to school at the University of Connecticut and obtained a Master of Social Work. For nearly ten years I worked in Springfield, MA in the field of child welfare. As I worked in the Hispanic community, I returned to school to take courses in Spanish. I later decided to get a major in Spanish as I wanted to return to teaching. I then taught Spanish as well as sociology at St. Marys High School in Westfield. After leaving St. Marys to go with my husband on sabbatical to Germany where we both studied German at the Goethe Institute, I returned to teach at a magnet middle school in Holyoke. The school population was predominantly Hispanic, and I taught in the bilingual department. I retired in 2003, and since then have tutored both adolescents and adults. In these years or retirement, I have also published a novel and have several other books ready to publish.
What was your major at Southeast and how would you characterize the quality of that program to prospective students?
My majors were history and social science. Both American and European survey courses were required, and I found that the professors who taught these courses were outstanding teachers. At the end of my sophomore year I decided to make these my majors. I had begun as a physical education major but by my sophomore year I feared that I would not be able to pass the advanced swimming courses and the lifesaving course so I changed physical education to my minor. Nevertheless this minor helped me to get my first job.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
My father was a teacher, and when I was 10 years old, I accompanied him on a trip to Cape. He was bringing some students to the college for an activity. From that time on, I knew that I wanted to come to SEMO to college.
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
Dr. Eleanor Huzar, Dr. Irene Neu, and Dr. Eugene Nutter of the history department.There
Share your best college memory.
There were many wonderful memories and it would be difficult to say which was the best one. One good memory was that of playing in the pit orchestra for the production of "Kiss Me Kate" in 1958. It was a real challenge to learn the music but such satisfaction when the music and acting all
If you were in Greek Life, the Honors Program or any other student organization, please tell us about that experience and how it impacted you.
Being the supervisor of a team of social workers who worked with families in which there was abuse or neglect.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
Coming from a small town to college where there were so many new experiences was exhilarating for me. I think college taught me to always to be open to new experiences. It gave me a thirst for knowledge which I still have.
Describe Southeast in three words.
Exciting Challenging Beautiful
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
In both teaching and social work, it is so important to believe that an individual has the potential for change. Don't write off a problem student or client. Don't give up on him or her.