Educational Journey

May 9, 2009


Filed under: — Cyndy @ 6:54 am

I am a full-time Design Management instructor at The Art Institute of Portland (AiPD). My prior career experiences include graphic design, marketing management, military journalism, and teaching developmentally disabled adults. I am in this Doctorate program to continue challenging myself through education, and someday I would like to be in a leadership position.

I am a first-generation college student and lifelong learner. My elementary and secondary education experiences lacked many things. Although my parents wanted me to have a good education, they did not understand the study habits I needed to learn in order to be successful. I attended a small religious school that offered some highly dedicated teachers; however, it offered little opportunity to explore subjects beyond the basics. Most importantly, my early education did not instill in me the confidence that I could succeed in college. One teacher even told me that if I were not an “A” student in high school, I would never be able to make it in college. Therefore, I gave up and dropped out of high school in my senior year. It was several years later, that I started taking college courses offered by my employer. The first time I received an “A” in my class, I was hooked on education. 

With a family to support, full-time education was not an option so I joined the U.S. Navy where I trained to be a journalist. After six years of journeys around the world, I returned to civilian life and used my G.I. Bill to finish a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. After only one year out of school, I returned to school once again, this time to work on an MBA in marketing. At the completion of that program, I returned to my undergraduate school and began teaching design and business courses. I love teaching, and the variety of courses allows me to be both analytical and creative.

The primary method of learning for me is through activities. I am a kinesthetic learner. This has not changed througout my life; however, I have learned to adapt and learn through other methods when necessary. In boot camp, I was expected to retain information from many classes that were conducted in lecture format, usually delivered in a loud but monotone reading from a script. Of course, the threat of push-ups helped motivate me to retain the information.

My personal definition of learning stems from a combination of reading a book by Leo Buscaglia, working with the developmentally disabled and having a father with Alzhiemer’s disease. Buscaglia discussed that learning is what makes us alive. Through my experiences, I have found this to be true. Learning happens to us everyday and when we cease to learn, we cease to be. We can direct and challenge our learning to lead our life in one direction or another, but we will always learn. Learning is not something that just occurs in a classroom.

Writing has been an important part of my learning experiences. Because I am a kinesthetic learner, writing gives me an activity that helps me learn.  Writing has also allowed me to explore my creative side. The styles of writing that I have done have varied througout my education and careers. Military correspondence, broadcast journalism, print journalism, education, business style writing, and copy writing are all very different. One of my greatest challenges in this course and program will be to separate styles of writing for this and other purposes. In my classes, I teach business style writing and MLA formatting. I look forward to the challenge of learning a new writing style. I am also looking forward to exploring topics for my dissertation. 

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