UWF degree and year of graduation:
BS Information Technology/eLearning Support Systems, ’06
MEd Instructional Technology/Human Performance Technology, ’08
Why did you choose UWF and your major?
After a successful year at Pensacola Junior College working on an associate’s degree, I realized I could continue with my education and contacted the UWF Academic Advising Office. Because of my background, they encouraged me to pursue eLearning specialization in the Information Technology program. Russell Lee became my advisor and helped me make sure that the courses I took at PJC my last year would prepare me for entering into the program. The people are friendly and will go out of their way to assist students. I love UWF so much that I am now a full-time employee and so is my husband!
As you look back at your days as a UWF student, describe your best memory.
My favorite memory involves a faculty member’s request that I give a “little description” of my experience at the Community College Articulation Conference with one day’s notice. I told him that I would be dressed in my ROTC uniform, but would be happy to share my story. When I arrived on campus the next day, I went to the conference center, where I expected to see a dozen or more people. To my surprise, there was a crowd of about 300 professionals and a table of five other guest speakers, all of whom had spent at least the last month working on their speech. I was last and decided to speak from my heart. I shared my personal story of how I returned to school as a single mother with two small children and the tremendous impact that both PJC and UWF have had on my life. When I finished speaking, several people were in tears, and numerous people around campus told me how much they enjoyed my story. Talk about trial by fire. I learned a tremendous amount about myself and my capabilities that day and have enjoyed similar learning opportunities ever since.
What do you do professionally and how has your education impacted your career?
I am the Web services and marketing coordinator for the Department of Recreation and Sports Services. I develop, create and manage the recreation Web site, and I provide Web and technical support to the Division of Student Affairs. My education provided me with the technical and planning skills necessary to be successful in this role. My employment on campus as a student assistant offered me the chance to put those skills to work and network with professionals on and off campus. My continued education has exposed me to assessment, which has become a new passion of mine. I am currently working with the Division of Student Affairs to help develop an Assessment Office. And, my technical background affords me great confidence in trying out new technologies for this application.
What scientific or technological changes have you witnessed during your time at UWF?
Probably the single largest technological change since I’ve been at UWF has been the proliferation of social networking opportunities. These new technologies provide exciting marketing opportunities, but also wield the potential for danger. In my position at UWF, I have had the opportunity to learn and use new technology, as well as educate young people on the dangers, both personal and professional, associated with social networking sites.
What advice would you give students today who were looking at studying one of the disciplines in the School of Science and Engineering?
I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone who is considering a career in any STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) discipline. The global economy is a fact of life and will undoubtedly offer some of the fastest growing careers in the future. By studying a STEM discipline, students are equipped with the skills and knowledge to make an impact on the global environment. Newscasters and political pundits predict that the next generation (the Millennials) will make the largest social movement toward eradicating racial, lifestyle and ethnic prejudices. I believe my children will also be more involved in global situations, working to develop solutions rather than just complaining about the problems. Remember, the job you have when you graduate college may not even exist now.
Last, would you share one thing about yourself that would give others insight into your interests, hobbies, etc.?
I am happily married with three sons, and my family is my major motivator. I enjoy working in my gardens, and my husband and I are energetic do-it-yourselfers when it comes to renovating our house. We enjoy a motorcycle ride whenever we can get a babysitter. As a doctoral student, a full-time employee and a mother/wife, I don’t have a lot of “spare” time. However, when I do, I enjoy reading leadership and personal strength building books. I have the constant desire to want to “fix” things, and that desire has guided me well so far.