Hometown: Churchville, NY. Originally from Zion, Illinois
Faculty Position: Professor of Communication, Chair;
Teaches AEP First-Year Seminar
I’ve had lots of pets, mostly cats, but now we have a couple of dogs, and we’ve had chickens. Still, by far the most pets I’ve had are my bees. I probably have about 60,000 bees. Keeping bees is one of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life. Bees can remind us that hard work pays off and that intelligence isn’t always what you think it is. I’m not so sure that bees aren’t smarter than we are.
What inspired you the most about being a part of Roberts family?
The advantage of being in a small community is that you can enter into relationship and get to know people, and that you can make a difference in the life of the community. Institutions tend to squish people. So if I’m going to have to be in an institution, I prefer to be in a small one like Roberts.
How does the exploration program help students to shape their career?
The exploration program helps students by giving them permission to not worry about their career—at least at first. We do our best in our undeclared section of First-Year Seminar to help students focus on academic interests and not career pressures. People have been asking them, “what are you going to major in?” for years, and the expectation is that the only majors that are useful are the ones that can land them a job. But any major can land you a job. So, we give students permission to embrace their intellectual interests and figure out later how to get someone to pay them to do it!
How do you think faculty can enhance the exploration opportunities for the students Roberts?
Affirm the students, give them permission to be undeclared. Don’t try to pigeonhole them. Don’t try to recruit them. Ask questions.
Advice to students:
If you’re struggling and you don’t know which direction to go, don’t focus on your major or job or career or profession so much. Instead, think of the world that you would love to be a part of. Maybe the world that you want to be a part of is the medical world, the travel industry, or the art world. There are unlimited opportunities, jobs, or careers in each world and all sorts of majors that can get them in.