Dream Job: Dan Anderson-Little, Pastor

Meet Dan

Dan face

Presbyterian Pastor

Are you someone who looks to the past to understand the present? Perhaps you view the past as a blueprint to future solutions. By understanding pivotal decisions, patterns, and original intentions, you are able to understand how a situation or person came to be. Through sensing an underlying structure to the present, you are able to be more confident about the future. You make a great partner because you understand how your colleagues came to be. If this sounds like you, you may be a person with the talent theme of Context.

Dan is inquisitive, thoughtful, and positive. The first thing you notice about Dan is his joyous smile. He can converse with anyone by adjusting his own communication style to that of his audience’s. He is gifted in listening and is wise about the past. Dan excels in his Context talent by using the lessons of the past to communicate how we can function in the present.

Dan gives us a look into the world of a Pastor below. The lessons he has gained while working as a Pastor is applicable to many other industries. For example, in the last question Dan proposes future pastors to think “bi-vocationally.” Read on for the whole story.

What’s your title? What do you do? How long have you done this?

For the past 24 and a half years I have been an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)—the PCUSA is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the US. In that time I have served 8 congregations—four of them in the suburbs (Detroit and St. Louis), two of them in the inner-city (Kansas City and St. Louis), one of them in an exurban setting (St. Louis), and one of them in a small town in a rural county (Potosi, MO). Currently, I am the Pastor of Hillside Presbyterian Church in House Springs, MO and Potosi Presbyterian Church.

As Pastor, I am considered the spiritual leader of the congregation. My main activities are designing and leading weekly worship services, preaching (which is a 20-25 minute talk about a portion of the Bible), providing pastoral care (visiting and counseling with people, often in crisis), moderating the Session (which is the governing council of the congregation), and helping shape a vision for the congregation and working with the Session to implement that vision. Both the Hillside and the Potosi congregations are small and struggling and are wanting to discover a new direction that will, they hope, result in greater vitality and greater numbers of visitors. The other part of my work is being engaged in the local community, meeting leaders who can interpret to me the texture and needs of the local communities, and to meet potential members of the church

Because I am part-time in these congregations, most of time is taken up by the above activities. At other churches I have spent significant time teaching members at times other than during Sunday morning worship, and leading the administrative work of the church.

dan at church 2

What jobs or past experiences have led you to the current thing that pays you money (your job)?

Before I was ordained, I served a variety of churches and para-church organizations (e.g. a church-based anti-apartheid lobbying organization in Washington, DC) as an intern. After college, I enrolled in seminary to earn a Master of Divinity which is the degree that my denomination requires in order to become an ordained pastor.  I also come from a long line of pastors (5 generations before me) and my mother earned a degree in Christian education, so this was in the air I breathed and the water I drank from the very beginning of my life.

Dan's great-great-great-grandfather Henry Little was Pastor from 1831-1833.
Dan’s great-great-great-grandfather Henry Little was Pastor from 1829-1882.

What occupation did you imagine having when you were 5? What about at 25?

When I was 5, I imagined that I would be a pastor like my father. When I was 25 I was in seminary training to be a pastor. Since graduating from seminary in 1990, it is the only work I have done.

Dan and his father
Dan and his father

The Best: Tell us, what’s the best part of your job?

Preparing and preaching sermons and designing and leading worship. I am good at this work and gain great satisfaction in helping people to feel God’s presence and to have transformational spiritual experiences. This does not happen every Sunday for every person, but when it does happen, it makes the whole job worth it.

I also enjoy helping congregations struggle to discover their particular mission in the world. For much of the 20th Century, most Presbyterian congregations did not think about their particular mission—you built a building, hired a pastor, put together a series of ministries (worship, Sunday School, fellowship, support of local and international charities and missionary work), and that was that. But as the church has lost influence in the culture and is declining in membership, the church must rethink and reimagine its mission in the world. This is both exciting and frustrating—exciting because the church hasn’t had to do this for a long time and yet we have a great tradition of responding to a new day with new approaches; frustrating because we have largely lost the language and practice of change and let’s face it, people don’t like change, especially in an institution that serves as an anchor for their life.

The Stink: Tell us, what’s part of the job that you really wish were different?

  1. Churches have lots of paperwork, bills, upkeep, and procedures that are mostly (but not always) necessary for its survival and well-being. Much of this falls to the pastor (especially in smaller churches) and it is both a time consuming and soul killing (for me—some pastors love this).
  2. The very common assumption and practice that pastors exist to do the work of the church and members exist to receive their services. While this must be the case some of the time, it frequently becomes the standard operating procedure. The Presbyterian has a strong belief in the “priesthood of all believers” which means that every person is called into service. When we operate from that premise, the pastor’s main role is not primarily to satisfy the members’ needs, but to help them become ministers in their own right.
  3. Passive aggressive behavior. If you don’t like something, just tell me, don’t tell me that “some [unnamed] people are upset.”

Outside of your job, how do you spend your time?

As a husband, father of three (two of whom are out of town in college, one in high school) and a home owner, much of my time out of work is spent in fulfilling those roles and obligations. I like to watch movies on tv, cook, and listen to music. I also serve on the Board of Directors of a local organization that trains young people to be the next generation of civil rights activists.

anderson little family
Anderson-Little Family

Who is someone you look up to for career inspiration?

The two most important inspirations for my work are my father (now deceased) and my wife—both of whom were/are pastors. For the first 20 years of my professional ministry, my father was an important mentor to me. He was innovative, flexible and smart.

While my wife and I have similar approaches to many things, I greatly appreciate the ways she is different from me. I run most ideas by her and value her insight and wisdom tremendously. Two years we worked on starting a new church together—we gave that work up after a year due to health issues she was experiencing, but it was great to work with her on the same ministry for that year.

dan and linda cards
Dan and his wife Linda

What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?

  1. Make sure this is what you really feel called to do. Ask others if they see these gifts in you. Test out your call by working in different church settings—because the churches you work in will not resemble the churches of your past.
  2. Know that the church is in a state of high flux. Do not simply hone skills for the church that you know right now because it will be different within a decade. Rather prepare yourself as a life-long learner. Don’t do this if you are not a flexible person.
  3. If digital is not your native language, learn it—it’s how the world communicates.
  4. Don’t do this if you don’t have a high tolerance of experimentation and failure—we’re going to have to throw a lot of spaghetti against the wall in order for some of it to stick.
  5. Think bi-vocationally—more and more churches need part-time pastors—and thus they cannot support you. You will need other creative ways to earn income.


Thanks Dan for sharing your time with us!


Career Narrative: Food Service to Content Marketing

Early in 2015, as I drove to the first day of my new job, I found myself getting off the highway an exit early so that I could drive through the neighborhood I grew up in. Soon, tears of joy were streaming down my face. The crisp winter air cooled my flushed cheeks as I stepped up to the building where I now work. As I walked in, I felt for the first time like I had arrived, and that my future was worth looking forward to.


Jason Flamm

My name is Jason Flamm. I grew up poor. I grew up in a family that has spent their entire lives in the food and retail business. My father went to prison when I was 13 and my mother worked multiple jobs just to scrape by. By age 25, I had already worked more than 20 different jobs. I was the first and only person in my family to graduate high school and (eventually) get a college degree. I was 31 when I finally got my Associate’s Degree. I’m currently 33 and I’m still working on my Bachelor’s. Everything I’ve tried to accomplish in life, has felt like a never ending uphill battle. Without a network of people, without marketable skills, and without a good example of what success looks like, I’ve sometimes felt like giving up completely.

The year I turned 30, I decided to take hold and change my entire life. But, that didn’t mean the universe was going to make it easier for me.

I quit my job. I ended an unhealthy relationship. I went back to school. I lost over 140 lbs. I focused on doing things that would add value to myself, others and someday the world. While I worked on getting my education, I started a side project that wound up helping me change my life. I started STL SketchPAD, a monthly sketch comedy show. I had no idea where it would lead me and who it would have an effect on. Writing and performing comedy was just something I loved to do and, thankfully, I’m too insecure to try to do things all by myself. So, I invited a group of people to team up with me.

Each month I invite new people to join my team and, for some reason, they keep showing up. I purposely changed the circle of friends that I was a part of. I wanted to collaborate and work with people who were like minded and who were trying to do something special. I found myself surrounded by people who had the kind of careers that I had hoped to have someday. Those people began to help me, coach me and encourage me to start applying to better jobs. Jobs where you don’t end up with trash can water on your face and shirt (worst thing ever).

sketchpad round table

Eventually, I went back to the food and retail industry. I worked at Starbucks for a year and a half and even back at Dominos for another stint. But, while doing so, I applied to different places, rewrote my resume over and over again and hoped that someday I wouldn’t have to deliver pizzas or make other people’s coffee to earn a living. Then, finally it happened; I got a new job. I started a career at a marketing agency downtown. It’s the best work environment I’ve ever been in. I have complete autonomy and my employers trust me to do my job well. In the world of fast food and retail, you have a supervisor over your shoulder telling you “If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.” You have to work holidays and not see your family, because “not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving with turkey and stuffing.” And you have to bail on your friends on Saturday night because weekends are “when you make your money.” For some, working food and retail is perfectly fine. A job is a job. But, for me, I never wanted the same life my parents, aunts, uncles and everyone else around me had. I wanted, and will always want, more.

I had to work hard to get here. I had to take a side path. I had to find creative ways to add skills to my resume that a potential employer might actually find useful. Believe it or not, “worked at Domino’s Pizza for six years”, isn’t that eye catching to most employers.

Things that were impressive:

  • Blogging for over 10 years
  • Foster a community of creative people
  • Reading behavioral psychology books (for fun)
  • Teaching myself email marketing & SEO
  • Showing lots of writing examples
  • Being endorsed by someone who works here

Without creating and doing those things on the side, I believe I would still be stuck in an occupation that led me to depression, weight gain and at times, hopelessness.

You may not have the same life experiences I’ve had. You may not want the same future I want. The point of this article is to encourage you, if you are trying to make a change or land a job you’ll love, to continue working your butt off (even if only on the side) on the things you love to do. Get really freaking good at them. Then share those things with the people around you. Let others feel your passion and share in your successes.

Sketchpad show

Through that, I fully believe that dreams can come true and goals can be reached. I’ve seen it firsthand. When it happens for you, I hope you’ll take a moment to take it all in and then inspire other people to do the same. Also, if you ever want to write comedy, I know a great group of people who would love to help you.

Keep creating. Keep writing.

Who knows where it might take you?


Jason Flamm is the creator and producer for STL SketchPAD. He has helped over 50 writers and performers produce comedy (many for the first time) while putting on dozens of shows since 2011. If you’re interested in learning more about STL SketchPAD or what Jason is doing, subscribe to his mailing list. He’d love to meet you and learn how he can serve you. You can subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/bfLy3v you can also find him on Twitter @STLSketchPAD or on the web at http://stlsketchpad.com

Dream Job: Adam Shaw, QA Engineer

Meet Adam

adam at sound booth

QA Engineer

Do you enjoy exercising your brain and stretching it in multiple directions? Are you introspective; does thinking energize you? Perhaps you pose questions to yourself and try to sort out responses through reflection. If so, you may be a person with the talent of Intellection.

One of Adam’s gifts is introspection. He spends time thinking about others, pondering how the world works, and musing through possible solutions. He is caring, inquisitive, and invested in listening to those around him. Adam’s interest in video games and proclivity in understanding how gaming works has lead Adam into his current dream job.

If you enjoy spending time thinking, you may enjoy a career in gaming. Take a look into the life of a professional gamer in Adam’s thoughtful responses below.

What’s your title? What do you do? How long have you done this?

My job title is “QA Engineer” and I work for NVIDIA Corporation.

What I do, day to day changes a lot, but typically it’s some combination of running software benchmarks, building/dismantling computers, testing video games or capturing marketing footage. I’ve been at this job for just over a year.


What jobs or past experiences have led you to the current thing that pays you money (your job)?

My previous job was almost two years as a Sound Designer/Audio Engineer for a local mobile game studio called Simutronics.  I also acted as a QA intern there for about 7 months before switching to Audio.

Before Simutronics I had a lot of non-professional experience.  I studied music in college. I played and beta tested a lot of games as a teenager and into my early twenties as well. One day, while I was leading a raiding guild in a game called ‘Rift’ a friend of mine suggested that I might be well suited to a career in games.  Turns out she was right.  Less than a year after she made that suggestion, I had an internship.

What occupation did you imagine having when you were 5? What about at 25?

When I was 5, I either wanted to play baseball or be a psychologist.  I was probably about 25 when I started pursuing my career in video games.

adam coffee
What one can find at the bottom of a tea cup!

The Best: Tell us, what’s the best part of your job?

It’s unpredictable.  Any given day I may be given a completely different task than what I was doing the previous day.  I don’t like falling into familiar patterns or getting stagnant, so it’s nice to always be mixing things up.  We’re almost always working on something current (or unreleased!) so I don’t expect I’ll ever be at risk of getting bored.

ADam with a mic
Playing Johann Sebastian Joust at the Pixelpop Festival

The Stink: Tell us, what’s part of the job that you really wish were different? 

I wish we had room in our office for more testers.  The people I work with are great and I wish there were more of them.  We’re a bit bottle-necked by facilities at the moment. I hope we’ll eventually get more space so more people can join us.

Outside of your job, how do you spend your time?  

The majority of my time outside of work is either spent gaming, performing in, or attending improv shows, or doing photography.  I also occasionally dabble in video production.

adam doing stuff
Spaceteam Tournament

Who is someone you look up to for career inspiration?

Within the company: My team lead Jeremy is very, very, good at his job and I hope I can one day lead as well as he does.

Outside the company: My friends Sam and Seth Coster from Butterscotch Shenanigans.  They started their own indie game studio from scratch and are incredibly smart and hard-working. I am constantly blown away by what they accomplish with such a small team and I feel like they are a prime example of what you can achieve when you set your mind to something.

adam black and white
adam black and white happy
Annnnd, not so serious!

What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?

Don’t make assumptions.  You don’t have to live on the coast or get a degree in video games to get this sort of job.  Just show that you can think critically, have a good eye for detail, know your way around a computer (and android/iOS), and are a fast learner.

There’s a thriving game development community in St. Louis and there are multiple opportunities every year to get your feet wet in game dev at local “Game Jams”.   Check out http://stlgamedev.com/ if you want to know more.  You’ll probably stumble across some pictures and videos I’ve taken! 🙂

adam conference
St. Louis Global Game Jam

If you could read these questions about someone else, who would you want to see answer them? (can give a job title or name a specific person).

I’d like to get a peek into the mind of a full-time college professor.  Doesn’t even matter what subject they teach.

Any other passing words of advice or anything neat you have going on that you would like to share with us?

While what I do certainly qualifies as a “dream job” it’s definitely not for everyone… but it’s definitely more attainable than you think if you go for it.

There are lots of tools and tutorials online about how to start making your own video games.  Once you know how they’re put together it’s pretty easy to figure out how they break and how to break them.



Adam is a great example of how hobbies can lead into careers. His non-professional experience lead to his first opportunity as an intern.

Video game tester, and you can too! Thanks for sharing with us Adam!


Dream Job: Kristin Finan, Travel Editor

Meet Kristin

Kristin Finan

Travel Editor

Are you someone who loves to acquire knowledge or experiences? Are you inquisitive, find many things interesting, and enjoy the world because of it’s infinite variety and complexity? You may be someone with the talent of Input. A career in teaching, research, or journalism will charge you with energy each day as you continually learn new information.

Kristin is a trail blazer in her career because of her appetite for learning more. She stands out in her career satisfaction because she was able to identify something that she loved early on, and because she sought specialization in her field through acquiring industry knowledge and new skills. Kristin is thoughtful, funny, and kind. Her strong individualism and self-concept make her wit stand out in her writing and creative choices.

Want to know how to get people to turn to you for advice? Check out what Kristin says below!

What’s your title? What do you do? How long have you done this?

Travel editor at the Austin American-Statesman for the past 2.5 years

As travel editor, I am in charge of producing the newspaper’s weekly Sunday travel section. This job includes soliciting and editing staff and freelance travel pieces, compiling photos and videos, working with designers and copy editors on the look of the section and (the best part) traveling to interesting destinations and writing about them. I also blog, Instagram and Tweet (@kristinfinan), and shoot videos about my travels.

What jobs or past experiences have led you to the current thing that pays you money (your job)?

The thing that drew me to travel writing was simple — I love visiting new places. After graduating from college, I came across a $400 roundtrip ticket to Europe and spent all of my savings on the two-week-long trip. One of my best friends joined me and, like so many young people who make this pilgrimage each year, we had the time of our lives eating baguettes in Paris and wandering La Rambla in Barcelona.That’s when I knew I really wanted a job that could revolve around travel. After interning at the Houston Chronicle newspaper, I was hired as a full-time features reporter and would spend my weekends traveling around Texas and relentlessly pitching travel stories to the travel editor. He became an incredible mentor to me and provided me with a number of amazing opportunities to travel to places where he didn’t want to go. When he eventually retired, I was offered his position. A few years later I was offered a position as travel editor in Austin, my hometown, and I jumped at the opportunity.

(Via amoeba.com) “Good work, gumshoe!”

What occupation did you imagine having when you were 5? What about at 25?

When I was 5, I desperately wanted to be a dolphin trainer. When I was 25, being a travel writer/editor was definitely my dream job.

Kristin Finan and baby hotel
Kristin & her daughter, chilling out, maxing, relaxing, all cool

The Best: Tell us, what’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is getting to have these amazing experiences around the globe and then sharing those experiences with an audience that trusts my expertise. From having a fish pedicure in Singapore (picture fish eating the dead skin off the bottom of your feet) to eating grasshoppers as a snack in Mexico to getting attacked by an ice-cream-crazed seagull in England, there’s never a dull moment in the world of a travel writer. I also love hearing about readers’ travel experiences, favorite destinations, bonding over anecdotes, and advice.

Kristin Finan Taj Mahal
Kristin outside of the Taj Mahal

The Stink: Tell us, what’s part of the job that you really wish were different?

There are so many great stories being told, and so many amazing destinations to visit, that it can be difficult to narrow down the stories I want to feature in the paper each week. I only have four pages each Sunday, so I have to be smart about what we feature. I try to include a mix of far-flung, aspirational destinations, cool U.S. spots and consumer-friendly, need-to-know news on the travel industry.

Outside of your job, how do you spend your time?

Outside of my job, I enjoy spending time with my husband and my two daughters, 6 and 4. I am very lucky to be able to travel with them frequently and love how curious, engaged and excited they are when we go somewhere new. Sure, you may have to deal with a tantrum or two, but to me there is nothing more gratifying than traveling with kids.

Who is someone you look up to for career inspiration?

Travel writer/author/tour guide Rick Steves has definitely been an inspiration to me. I love the way he covers his beat, Europe, in a way that is very, very honest. His biggest concern is that his readers know exactly what to expect when they visit a certain place, and he does such a great job of relating to people while providing candid information about his experiences.

Via hulu.com

What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?

My advice for anyone who wants to be a travel writer is to start by traveling as much as you possibly can. The more you learn about the world around you, the more you’ll be able to express the uniqueness of certain cities, countries and attractions to others. Once you’re a comfortable, confident traveler, you can start to tell your stories with the kind of authority that will make other people turn to you for advice.

If you could read these questions about someone else, who would you want to see answer them? (can give a job title or name a specific person).

I haven’t totally given up on my dolphin trainer dream. Could you get a dolphin trainer (or someone in a similar animal-related capacity) to answer these?

Via imdb.com. Someone get Flipper on the line!

Any other passing words of advice or anything neat you have going on that you would like to share with us?

Finally, I’d just say that when it comes to travel, there’s no time like the present. You don’t know what the future will bring, but I can tell you that every trip I’ve taken has been money well spent and an amazing bonding experience for everyone involved. Can’t afford a far-flung getaway? Plan a visit to somewhere you’ve always wanted to see in the U.S. Don’t have many vacation days? Consider a staycation in your own city. There’s always something new to see and do, and there’s no better way to expand your mind, and perception, than to get out and see it.

Thanks Kristin! It is truly a delight to have you as a guest. If I can get Flipper as an interviewee, you will be the first to know. He’s a dolphin who trained himself, ergo he is a dolphin trainer, right?

Be sure to follow Kristin on Instagram and Twitter, @kristinfinan or on her site, www.kristinfinan.com.

Dream Job: Marsha McCartney, Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow

Meet Marsha

Displaying McCartney profile pic.jpg

Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow

Marsha, like a true Maximizer strength, pointed out her talent within her own interview – how lucky for me! A Maximizer talent gets a thrill from transforming something that is already great into something even greater. They see little value in working towards being well-rounded and instead, prefer to reach excellence. A Maximizer can be recognized through their ability to learn quickly, or through ability to acquire skills without formal training.

From the outside looking in, Marsha navigates her environment with much ease. She knows her workload and herself well enough that she is able to transition through many roles all while encouraging others and fueling her curiosity along the way. She is quick to laugh, a tantalizing conversationalist, and is great for a sprinkle of knowledge whenever you are in need.

If you feel like you are struggling to navigate your career/life, you aren’t alone — check out the thoughtful, first hand experience Marsha offers:

What’s your title? What do you do? How long have you done this?

I am a postdoctoral teaching fellow for the psychology department at the University of Kansas.  Officially, my job is to redesign courses with high enrollments so that they incorporate more active learning, in the hopes this academic success will promote student retention.  In actuality, I have a lot of meetings!  I lead workshops on teaching to different groups of faculty and graduate students, I meet with faculty to discuss course objectives, I spend time aligning course materials with departmental/University/APA/etc. goals, I brainstorm activities, large and small, I consult with anyone and everyone about teaching, I teach classes, I think up ways to assess the changes we’re making, I write manuscripts about my research that I hope someone will publish, seriously, this could be a very long list……!

What jobs or past experiences have led you to the current thing that pays you money (your job)?

Going to college.  I was 18, a first-generation college student, at a university that had almost as many students as the town I grew up in.  I was an undeclared major, who was assigned an advisor who knew nothing about how to help me find a major—I think I met with her once, for about 10 minutes.  All of my friends had majors declared, and when I asked them how they got their majors, they replied that they had always known this is what they wanted to do—not super helpful.  Everyone else seemed to just “get” how to do college, and I spent the first couple years confused and struggling.  Because of this experience, I want to help students who were like me—first generation, or undeclared majors, or struggling, or just plain confused!  I think that encompasses most of the college population, at some time or another.  I believe that providing a supportive, successful academic experience can go a long way to accomplishing this goal.

What occupation did you imagine having when you were 5? What about at 25?

When I was 5 I wanted to be a medical doctor.  I had this great toy medical kit, and I loved treating all my sick dollies.  In the 4th grade we were discussing blood, what blood cells were made of, what the properties of blood were, and my teacher halted the discussion because I turned so very pale.  And my journey into career exploration began…!

At 25, I really had no idea!  I had just graduated with my undergraduate degree (college was hard/too fun, I took some time off in the middle!) but really, I was just so happy to have finished that I didn’t even think about a career or what type of job I wanted.  I learned later that planning to finish a degree (as opposed to planning for a career) is fairly typical for first-generation college students (which I am), and leads to less post-college planning.  I had thoughts of going to graduate school for something, but I didn’t know what.  My undergrad was in English, which I loved, but wasn’t sure I wanted to continue with it for graduate work.

Marsha, in a parallel universe

The Best: Tell us, what’s the best part of your job?

There are a lot of Bests about my job…first and foremost, it has a very significant purpose:  everything I do is helping undergraduates learn more, persist in college, and have a better academic experience.  This will create better-informed citizens who will make significant, positive contributions to society.  I also get to work with graduate students and professors that want to improve their teaching (if you’re familiar with StrengthsQuest, you know this is a fantastic fit with my Maximizer strength!).  I get to think about the broad goals of the university and the department, and then decide how those translate more concretely, for instance in a class activity or assignment, creating a consistent flow within courses, as well as a flow between courses.

marsha laughing
“Flow, the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.” – Wikipedia

The Stink: Tell us, what’s part of the job that you really wish were different? 

I hate to sound like Pollyanna, but there really is no stink with my job.  I only wish there were more hours in the day (or that I needed less sleep) because there is a LOT to do, and I can’t half-ass anything.  But for the most part, I enjoy all of the activities that go along with my work.

Outside of your job, how do you spend your time?  

What is this “outside of job” time you speak of???  ☺  I get together with friends and we enjoy all the delicious restaurants in Lawrence.  I like to bake things. One of my favorite things to make is a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and peanut-butter-chocolate ganache. I’ve recently started volunteering at Just Food, the local food bank. I teach cooking classes for those that use the food bank services.  The goal is to create meals that are different, easy, and that anyone can cook. Because of all these food-related activities, I make time to work out as often as possible!marsha big books

What is your advice to people who are interested in a similar career?

To be honest, my advice is, DON’T.  For anyone who wants to get a PhD so that they can be a university professor, be absolutely sure there are absolutely no other careers that they could do.  The market is oversaturated with PhDs, and state funding is being cut, making obtaining any type of professor position is difficult.  You need to have a real p
assion for research and teaching, and be GREAT at both, in order to succeed.

Any other passing words of advice or anything neat you have going on that you would like to share with us?
If you are struggling in college, if you know someone who is struggling in college, they are not alone!  There are others on campus that are also struggling—seek them out, help each other!  For those of us that have taken a winding path to get to our dream jobs, we need to talk about that process so that students know there are many ways to end up in a job that can lead to happiness and fulfillment.  


marsha looking out

Marsha is a great example of what you can do when you understand your goals, and practice sharpening your talents.

Thanks Marsha for sharing your brain!