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Meet Courtney

Full Time Career. Mom, Gives back to AHA by knitting hats for preemies.

Meet Courtney

Courtney is a full time professional and mother of 3.

How do you balance working full-time and being a mother of 3?

Part of it is that I know working full time makes me a better mom, it makes me balanced as a person. I am able to express parts of my personality and whole self in my work that wouldn’t be so helpful at home like doctoral level knowledge of a subject, my kids want simpler answers than my students do. I also really love both my job and my kids. My job is another way I see of giving back, of helping to make a difference in the lives of others. I am so proud of the work that my students do to change their worlds and I love that I get to facilitate that. I also make sure that the whole world knows my family is my number one priority. I don’t compromise in that way; I wouldn’t miss a birthday for work. I would take the day if anyone was sick and my coworkers and supervisors are all aware and understanding of my priorities. What lessons do you think your kids learn from you by just observing you everyday as a hardworking mom?

I think they learn about commitment and achievement. For example, I was in the middle of my dissertation when Elliott (my oldest) was born and I was overwhelmed by being a new mom and all the work I needed to do, but I wanted to make sure that he saw (eventually) that it was important to finish what you start but also that you don’t have to give up on your dreams to have a family or a happy life. I think it also reinforces that I care about others because I am willing to meet with my students on a weekend or to help a coworker finish a project even if it means some small sacrifices on my part.

Why is it important to you to keep pursuing education?

It’s important because our world continues to change, I want to serve my students in the best way possible and in order for me to be the best educator and administrator I can be, I need to continue to learn and be open to growth. It’s also that I want to continue to grow within my career.

Can you tell us more about your knitting of children’s hats that are donated to kids with heart disease?

My younger brother was born with congenital heart defects and was in the NICU. The American Heart Association collects hats for preemies to raise awareness about congenital heart disease. I participate because for me knitting is very intentional, you have to touch every part of the yarn as you knit and so it’s a way of putting love and positive vibes and good intention into the things I make.

Knitting these hats is my way of sending a hug to the preemies and their families.

Tell us about a time that you have overcome nonsense in your life?

This is a tough one because I don’t necessarily see nonsense, they are really just opportunities to pivot. A few examples: After graduate school I wasn’t able to find a full-time teaching position, but I was able to use my knowledge of pedagogy and biology to get a job doing instructional design in the biosciences. After that grant ended, I was able to move into a curriculum development role and eventually into program director role and then was promoted. So, it’s not the career trajectory I planned, and it could have seemed like a barrier, but it was really just an opportunity to pivot.

What empowering message do you want to share with all woman?

We can and will do really difficult things and they will all be worth it.