As an undergraduate dance student, I felt that I had found my home within the Department of Dance. I still remember how in awe I was of my professors. To me each of them, in their own ways, epitomized what and who I wanted to become. I remember looking specifically at Dee Winterton as he was introduced at a state AAHPERD meeting, and wondering how he had accomplished so much! I felt I would never be able accomplish anything near what he had done. Looking back now, I realize that through a lifetime of “plugging away” within the discipline, most of us accumulate accomplishments in a similar way.
One reason why the Department of Dance felt like home to me was because I always felt cared for and nurtured by the faculty. I was often amazed that they even knew my name. Nurturing and caring have been hallmarks of the Department of Dance for as long as I can remember. I have felt a strong call and stewardship to show my own students the same degree of nurturing and care that I encountered as a student. I only hope I have been a fraction as successful in that nurturing process as my own professors were.
Throughout my tenure here at BYU I have had many opportunities to travel and to seek professional development. I have been pushed to write and to publish, and in doing so, have learned to be a better writer. I have served as a faculty member among colleagues who I consider to be among the best in the profession. Given all of these opportunities, I have always counted myself fortunate, and in many ways unworthy to be here. “Imposter Syndrome” is a real condition that many, often women, experience when working in highly challenging environments. I certainly experienced it many times myself as I wondered if I was really capable of doing all that was expected of me. Those feelings have driven me to be the best I could be, and to contribute and serve in whatever ways possible.
When I count the many blessings of working here at BYU, my students are always among those that I count most dear. I have been blessed by and have learned from my students throughout my career as a dance educator. Looking back, I am amazed at how many students I have taught throughout the decades that I have been a dance educator. When I think of all that my students have taught me, I often receive the quiet assurance that I have been the receiver of profound lessons that are exponentially greater than any lessons I have given.
Read the full essay in the Department of Dance newsletter.