EDUCATION SPECIFICS:

I attended The Colorado College from 1981 to 1985. The small campus is located in Colorado Springs, CO, at the base of Pike's Peak. What sets CC apart from just about any other college is its "block plan," whereby students take a single course for 3.5 weeks, followed by 4.5 days of vacation (one "block"). There are nine blocks in one year. Since all the course material must be covered within the 3.5 week period, study is intense and immersive. It's not unusual to have only a couple of days to read a novel and write a paper on it. The class sizes are also quite small, averaging 15 students per class. During my junior and senior years I had several classes of five students or less, with two classes where I was the only student.

I considered approximately ten different majors before I finally settled on English, primarily because by the time I reached my senior year it was the easiest to complete. Ironically, I had little interest in studying English literature, which is what comprised most of the English courses. My interest lay in writing fiction. So I had a somewhat adversarial relationship with the English department. :-)

My greatest problem with finding a major that suited me was that I was interested in too many different fields: writing, art, acting, psychology, sociology, biology, anthropology, zoology, ecology, and more. I attempted to create my own major in evolution, since it is a topic that covers a broad spectrum of natural and social sciences. However, by that time I didn't have sufficient foundation courses to complete such a major by my senior year.

Fortunately for me, just at that time the college instituted "thematic minors," one of which was called "evolution." It was exactly the sort of eclectic area of study I had been attempting to create. So I minored in evolution and took more courses in my minor than my major. I also excelled in my evolution courses and, despite my lack of interest in the literature requirements, I graduated in 1985 with an overall 3.4 GPA.

After college, I found deciding on a career equally as difficult as determining a major. To give myself time to think about what path I might like to take, and to experience something quite different, I joined the army. After the military, I was still uncertain what I wanted to do with my life, so I entered graduate school at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA. I began working toward a Master's in Science and Technology studies, but soon found it was not what quite what I was looking for.

I hadn't realistically expected my minor to be of any practical use in the job market. Ironically, it was precisely because I'd minored in evolution that I was accepted to become a naturalist guide in the Galapagos Islands. It was there that I began to realize that my strengths lay in teaching. I've since merged my talent for teaching with my computer knowledge to become a computer applications instructor.
 

Dawn Birk and me graduating college
(ignore the disturbing shirt).
 



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