Sept. 29, 2022 — DENTON — Dr. Becky Fredrickson, who has served as a professor and dean fellow in the College of Professional Education as well as the University Coordinator of First Year Experience and P-16 Initiatives at TWU, will be serving as the interim director for the Career Connections Center for the 2022-2023 academic year. While she’s not new to TWU, she is new to Student Life and the Career Connections team, so we sat down with her and asked her a few questions about herself and this new role.
What has been your favorite job?
Of course, working here at TWU is my very favorite! However, one of the most memorable was teaching in a very small ISD. The district hired families to work in the school, so there were so many great family/school connections. While I was there I served as the special education teacher, music teacher, and cheerleading coach. As the music teacher, we created a choir. We were able to go out and perform with this amazing group of students all across the area. They were even featured in a news segment. It was a show choir—like “Glee”—but with elementary students.
Who inspired you to choose the career path you have taken?
My mother. As a TWU Pioneer herself, she believed in the power of education and its importance. She was exceptionally proud of me for being a teacher. I cannot imagine how excited she would have been to know that I am at her beloved TWU!
What is the best career advice you ever received?
There are really three things, but they all go hand in hand:
- Do not sweat the small stuff.
- Take a moment to breathe before you react.
- Pick and choose your battles. They cannot all be fought.
Admittedly, I am still working on all three of these things on a daily basis.
Who are some female leaders that you admire and why?
There are so many here at TWU—we have been blessed to have such amazing female leadership. I am thankful for Dr. Barbara Lerner who served as my mentor and friend for many years. She taught me so much about working within the confines of higher education, and sometimes how to work outside of them. She also taught me to question and ask two questions that save me a great deal of time—and probably trouble—in the long run: is it a rule? and whose rule is it?
Another female leader I deeply admire is my grandmother. She served as the first female state librarian in Wyoming. She was breaking barriers even without planning or thinking about it. We are so fortunate today, most of us have the opportunities to do what we do because of the women who went before us. She did not choose to work, but had to in a time when women, especially married women with children, did not work outside the home. Because of her strength, and the strength of the women who came before me, I can elect to work, select my field and enjoy so many of the things we take for granted.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Finding their voice and using it to support one another. I actually co-authored an article on this very topic! Women sometimes get trapped into thinking that if they speak too loudly, they will be thought of negatively by other women. There is also the false idea that if another woman succeeds, then there is no place for me. It is kind of like the tall poppy syndrome. If one poppy in a field starts to grow too tall, the other poppies will choke it out so it cannot grow any higher. We need to be finding our voices to lift up those around us, men and women. A rising tide lifts all boats.
What excites you about this new opportunity at TWU?
The team is amazing! There is so much energy and excitement in the department. We are already finding our voice as a team, and I look forward to the awesome things that we will accomplish together.
What do you want TWU Career Connections to accomplish in the next year?
To truly recognize that what they are doing is of vital importance to the university. There are so many articles and reports questioning the value of higher education. Career Connections is the bridge between what students learn academically and the application of that into the workforce. There is great work happening in this department. I am so thankful for the opportunity to help highlight and guide what is happening.