“A vocation should be something where you wake up every day and are happy to pursue,” said Jann Leppien, associate professor of the Whitworth school of education. That is just one of the topics of conversation that rises from Wednesday Wisdom, a weekly meeting that takes place in the Crow’s Nest (upstairs in the dining hall extension) at noon.
The purpose of the meetings is to further integrate faculty with students. One faculty member each week is at the meetings and he/she tells the story about his/her life in an informal setting.
History Professor Dale Soden champions the event. He described the time as a way to get inside the mind of the faculty and get to know them better. Not only does the time allow for students to get to know faculty on a more personal level, but is also allows students to ask questions about a field or vocation, as well as get exposed to stories they never would have heard elsewhere.
On Wednesday Oct. 15, the host was associate professor and Margo Long Chair of the education department Jann Leppien. Leppien is in her second year at Whitworth. She specializes in the education of gifted and talented students.
The students who were present were able to hear Leppien talk about her life and how she got to be at Whitworth. Leppien originally was planning on being an engineer, but when she was an assistant for a chemistry class, she found out that she enjoyed teaching.
Later on in her career as a teacher, she met a young boy who was incredibly gifted at mathematics. At 4 years old, he was at the pre-calculus level for math. Wanting to help that boy, Leppien started to learn about specialized education, which she later got her doctorate in.
That led her to teaching abroad in Ethiopia as well as being a professor back in the states.
“You don’t have to find something you are good at, but something that you love,” Leppien said. “You can work on getting good at something.”
Those types of stories are shared every week.
“I was trying to find joy in things because I was so worried about unrealistic expectations in my career field,” Soden said about choosing to pursue history as a career.
Conversations between Whitworth faculty and students are one of the foundational distinctions between Whitworth and other universities, and meetings like this make it a possibility to get to know faculty for everyone, regardless of major or grade.
In the next couple of weeks, the speakers will be Rod Sandberg, Dale Hammond, Vange Ocasio, Jim Edwards, Beth Abbey and Mark Killian.