Graduate School News

Many ‘Degrees’ of Fulfillment

September 26, 2012

Nakia Best

The Fountain,
Spring 2012

In spring 2012, The Graduate School posed the following question to readers of The Fountain: “Did your graduate degree take you in unexpected directions?”

Some alumni said yes and some said no. But it was clear that they all enjoyed their unique journeys.

Here are a few responses from alumni, and The Graduate School is grateful for the information they shared:

Actually, my master of arts degree in teaching led me into the career I will always value and love. I have now retired from a successful career in teaching high school science. In addition to that, I had an interlude into laboratory medicine, then back to teaching. My graduate degree enabled me to work in and enjoy both professions, influence many young lives and be of service to the health of many persons. My studies at UNC-Chapel Hill have proved invaluable in both my professions and in making lifelong friendships. Thank you, UNC-Chapel Hill.

Wanda (Fields) Neudorfer-Pack (Master of Arts Degree in Teaching, UNC-Chapel Hill)

Yes. My career went full circle from college teaching at the 'old Wake Forest College' (1950-51) to military duty in the Korean War (1951-54) (and 30-plus years of Reserve time) to 39 years in journalism (editorial writing, reporting, columnist and various editor duties) and back to college teaching of English and journalism after retirement from newspaper work, teaching as an adjunct professor in a total of four institutions of higher learning (Old Dominion University, Christopher Newport University, Virginia Wesleyan College and Tidewater Community College). I am still writing book reviews for The Virginian-Pilot to keep my writing skills sharp.

Barrett R. Richardson (Master of Arts Degree in English, UNC-Chapel Hill)

Brenda Beasley-Forrest started what has become a long career in library science in the Northern State University library as coordinator of serials. Life took her from South Dakota to Pennsylvania, where she completed a master's degree in American studies with a goal of pursuing her doctorate in folklore.

But while working in the library while in graduate school at Penn State, “I soon realized I was already on a path toward library school,” she says. She navigated to a full-time position as serials assistant at UNC-Chapel Hill's Health Sciences Library and enrolled in a class each semester. After two semesters, she entered UNC-Chapel Hill's master of science in library science degree program. Then, after receiving her degree, she joined Appalachian State University as special projects librarian in the Appalachian Collection and a few years later was offered the position of librarian at Middle Tennessee State University's Center for Popular Music. “As cataloging was becoming more and more of a passion, an area I then knew I wanted to specialize in and gain expertise in, I began looking for a cataloging position.” A random conversation had put Beaufort, S.C., on her list of places to visit, which she remembered when seeing a position advertised for Beaufort County Library's Head of Cataloging.

Let's face it, how many people have you met that said, ‘I want to be a library cataloger when I grow up?’ It's one of those positions that seems to evolve in one's careerat least it did with me. I can readily, specifically, quantify what I've done each day and become better and better at with each passing year. With constant changes in the publishing industry, the birth of new formats, working within a statewide cataloging consortium, and with sundry cataloging paradigms emerging, it's the kind of job that you can spend a lifetime mastering; and that suits my passion for lifelong learning. It took me 48 years to find my niche in life, and it was worth every twist and turn to get here.

Brendagael Beasley-Forrest (Master of Science in Library Science Degree, UNC-Chapel Hill)

I had the privilege of helping to start the elementary guidance program in Brunswick County [N.C.]. This led me to become heavily involved in Special Education students, testing for all students and ultimately being able to use all the information I gathered along the way to make me a much better prepared principal, having specific knowledge of these programs and the impact on our students. I would not trade my M.Ed. from Carolina for anything.

Carolyn Williams, Ed.D. (Master of Education Degree, UNC-Chapel Hill)

My first job out of graduate school was establishment and operation of a clam farm on Cape Cod. My second job was studying settling/attachment behavior of swimming larvae of mussels and barnacles as 'fouling organisms' on Navy ships, attack ecology of shipworms on wharfs and piers and studies of anti-fouling paints to prevent such critters from doing damage to Navy and civilian ships and waterfront facilities. My third job was research on 'deep scattering layer,' primarily small (and occasionally large) aquatic organisms and thermal stratification of offshore waters beneath which submarines could 'hide' from sonar detection.

My fourth position was successively broader aquatic ecology studies of 'environmental impact' of construction and operation of large power plants and other manufacturing facilities. Subsequent jobs included broader responsibility for all environmental aspects of such industrial construction/operation including air/water/terrestrial ecology, acoustics, meteorology, radioecology, and a fair amount of 'etc.' as director of environmental affairs for a large power generating company that had a variety of generation types including coal, oil, gas, hydro, pumped storage and nuclear plants. Now I am thoroughly enjoying retirement and grandchildren—topics which were not covered in grad school, although we had started our family by then.

I can't imagine being able to foresee the checkered career I enjoyed, although at the time the steps seemed to make sense. Fortunately my late wife, Ginny, and our children liked living near the shore, and put up with our peregrinations. My major professor was (Dr.) Mel Carriker, who taught me a whole lot about perseverance and scholarly procedures. He also made it a point to expose me to many other professionals both within UNC and in the rest of the world.

John Blake, Ph.D. (Master of Arts Degree and Doctorate in Zoology, with Minors in Biochemistry and Marine Ecology, UNC-Chapel Hill)

Alan Moore served on the faculty of the Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida from 1953 until his retirement in 1990.

He founded the University of Florida Soccer Club in 1953 and served as its faculty adviser and coach until his retirement. He was named a distinguished Retiring professor by the University of Florida chapter of the Golden Key Society upon his retirement. His faculty colleagues, friends and former team members at UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Florida established the Alan C. Moore Scholarship Fund at the University of Florida in 1999. Professor Moore was honored with the naming of the Alan C. Moore Sports and Fitness Program at the May 2004 commencement of the University of Florida. The sports and fitness program provides more than 3,500 students per semester with an array of elective physical education courses. While working on his master's degree at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education, Moore was the University's soccer and lacrosse coach from 1950-53.

My education was wonderful at UNC and my extracurricular options were huge, as I met and married Elizabeth Reaves Martin, a UNC Public Health co-ed, and we were married 54 years and five months without a pillow fight or going to bed upset.

UNC must be the center of the universe, as you can get anywhere and do anything from there!!

Alan C. Moore (Master of Education Degree, UNC-Chapel Hill)

My graduate degrees took me exactly where I planned and hoped they would. I entered UNC in September 1946, planning to take a B.A., an M.A. and a Ph.D. in English. My goal was to be an English professor. I retired in 1993 as professor of English and vice president for academic affairs and dean at Furman University. My experiences at UNC were made even happier by the teaching, the erudition and the kindness of Professors Robert B. Sharpe, Dougald MacMillan and Clifford Lyons.

John Crabtree, Ph.D. (Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in English, UNC-Chapel Hill)

Thanks in great part to my MPH from UNC in 1962, I have had a wonderful career of over 50 years in community health with leadership positions in official public health agencies in Birmingham/Jefferson County, Ala., and Charleston, S.C., and including academic responsibilities at both locations. I took an early retirement from my Charleston position as director of the Trident District for the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control in 1996 and immediately accepted a part-time position as community health consultant for Roper St. Francis Healthcare, the major not-for-profit healthcare system in the Low Country of S.C. I continue to hold faculty appointments at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. In addition I have recently been working with faculty at the College of Charleston in the development of an undergraduate public health program there. I also serve on the boards and/or committees of several non-profit health-related organizations in the community. I shall always be grateful for my experience at UNC.

Joe Chambers, M.D. (Master of Public Health Degree, UNC-Chapel Hill)