My father was a teacher and the football coach at the high school I attended. I felt lucky to be in his health class. As a teenager I felt he had the best job a father could have. During high school I struggled with the decision of what course of study to pursue in college. Because of my father’s profession I had always wanted to be a teacher. I had some science teachers in high school that helped me gain a love for science.
My father had a big impact on my decision as we often discussed the pros and cons of each of my options. In the early 1970s jobs in education were difficult to find. My father said that I might find it hard to get a job if I went into education, but he felt there would always be jobs in nursing.
I ended up applying to the Weber State/USU Cooperative Nursing Program the spring of my senior year, knowing the difficulty of being accepted on first application. I was accepted, received my associate degree in nursing, and passed my licensing to become a registered nurse. I then got additional training to become a surgical nurse, a job I loved.
There have been many times the past 35+ years that this decision has been a great thing in my life. While I didn’t work as a registered nurse while raising my children, the things I learned have been a benefit to me almost every day of my life. I am a better wife because my science background helps me understand my husband’s healthcare profession. I was a better mother because of my knowledge of healthcare issues that affected my children.
Interestingly, my life has changed courses the past 13 years as I have been involved in state education leadership. I have found my science background to be a benefit as I have served on state and national committees dealing with the health of children. Two and a half years ago, I went back to school and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in May. Though my father died a little over a year ago, I know he was proud of my decision to return to school. I will forever be thankful to a father that gave great advice to his daughter.
Teresa is a member of the Utah State Board of Regents and Utah State Board of Education.