The Family Education faculty and students are pleased that Dr. Susan Walker joined the Family, Youth, and Community faculty in the fall and is completing her first year with us. The energy and enthusiasm that she shares with us have inspired us all; she has quickly become a respected and well-liked colleague and instructor.
Susan arrived in Minnesota last summer, having moved from the Washington, D.C., area where she had been employed at the University of Maryland. This year she has taught courses in the online parent education curriculum and other graduate level family education courses, is continuing her research work with rural, low-income mothers, and has become well acquainted with tasks related to a number of departmental and College committees.
Susan said she "is thrilled to be in Minnesota to do the work she was meant to do." When asked what brought her here, Susan replied that part of the reason she was thrilled with the opportunity to work in parent and family education at the University of Minnesota was "because of the rich environment here compared to other parts of the country." Although she had been involved in work with parents and families in other areas, such as health, schools and policy issues, she said her position in FYC is one that "truly supports the needs of parents, their interests and advocacy, and reinforces the structures by being part a group." She explained that she can do in Minnesota what she can't do elsewhere because of the climate of support for parent and family education.
The decision to change jobs in her career and to move her family were not made easily. Susan, her husband and daughter all recognized what they were giving up by leaving dear friends and the lives they had known in Maryland; however, Susan said that following her passion and dreams was made easier because there was "a personal pull" in the return to the family's Midwestern roots in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and "escape from some of the insanity" of life in the Washington, D.C., area.
Outside of work, the loves of her life are her 14-year-old daughter, Alice, and husband, Patrick. A significant amount of non-human love and joy in her life comes from Audrey, a pug not yet two years old, that Susan says "has undergone significant stress and trauma in her young life and is a symbol of resilience and happiness."
Susan, we're delighted to have you with us and appreciate all that you have inspired and accomplished this year!