I attended Truman State because of the Pershing Scholarship and because of my familiarity with the campus through my older brother. I decided I wanted to be a science teacher and was unable to pick between majoring in Chemistry and Physics, so I chose both. Thanks to a liberal advanced placement testing policy, I was able to finish coursework in four years.
I stayed in Kirksville to get my Master's degree and supported myself on the $6000 I earned as a TPTAI (temporary part-time instructor). I finished the coursework for the MA in a year, and I stayed in Kirksville the year after that to fill in for a member of the chemistry faculty who took a leave of absence. I took the job in the Northeast Missouri Regional Crime Lab when that year was up, and I stayed in the Crime Lab for two years. I spent most of my time there analyzing samples for marijuana and residues thereof (microscopy, TLC), ethanol (GC) and other drugs (IR).
I applied for several teaching jobs while at the Crime Lab, and I had to decide whether to take a job in Exeter, England or Hermann, Missouri. I chose the latter, and strangely enough, I have never regretted that decision. An advertisement from the University of Missouri on the bulletin board in the teachers' lounge in Hermann enticed me to go back to school for a Ph.D.
I took two semesters' worth of coursework toward a Ph.D. in Education and decided that it was not to be; I found employment in the Chemistry Department instead of enrolling in classes the next year. I began as a Laboratory Storekeeper and was promoted to Science Stores Supervisor when that position became available later in the academic year.
After a few years as Science Stores Supervisor in which I developed and implemented an inventory management system, I moved into another office in the department to fill a Visiting Assistant Professor slot. I taught at MU for four semesters, and I also served as an adjunct instructor at Stephens College and Central Methodist College for part of that time.
The Chemistry Department was able to fill its temporary positions with tenure-track faculty, and I moved to Environmental Health and Safety as a Hazardous Materials Technician. That position was renamed Environmental Health Technician a few months later, and eventually I was promoted to Environmental Chemist. I went back to Chemistry (with a substantial raise) when the position of Laboratory Coordinator was created.
The Laboratory Coordinator years in Chemistry were active and eventful; the Chemistry Department was in almost constant upheaval for those years. The Chemistry Building was renovated half by half, Schlundt Hall was practically gutted to the outer walls, and a new building for student labs was added to the departmental complex. The job was just starting to settle down and get routine when my old job at Environmental Health and Safety came open again, and I was enticed back to EHS with a nice raise.
EHS is in the process of revamping its database management system, and it's going to be a long time before that process is through. I love a challenge!
Offer me a job!
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