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Marquette faculty members were given the chance to share advice and their respective career experiences with students, faculty and staff Wednesday night at the latest installment of the university’s “One Thing Led to Another” series. Launched last September, the series probes the various roads faculty members have taken to get where they are today.

The series is hosted by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Manresa Project.

The hour-long event included three speakers from mathematics, marketing, and political science. Gary Krenz, Felicia Miller, and McGee Young, who represent each subject area respectively, presented a unique story of their journey through academia that lead them to their current careers.

With each speaker came a unique perspective and theme. Young, a professor of political science, shared his experiences at a thesis defense, which he described as one of the “defining moments” of his academic career. These defining moments, he described, “shape who we are.”

Miller, a professor of marketing, shared the story of her path through the academic world, and stressed the importance of having fun, and researching something that interests you.

Krenz, the third speaker and department chair for mathematics, statistics and computer science, said he never planned to become a doctoral student. However, he stressed the importance of following your passions, which brought him to where he is today.

“Associate professors become so wrapped up in the promotion and tenure process, they lose sight of the joy of learning,” he said.

The common theme shared by all three speakers was the importance of passion and excitement in both academic and professional careers. The gathering of mostly faculty and graduate students received insight and advice for their own careers, while speakers challenged them to follow their own passion.

The Manresa Project and ORSP used the ongoing series as a way of reinstating the sometimes-lost excitement for learning, while providing encouragement to those facing obstacles in their academic careers.  The ORSP is a campus organization whose main purpose is to distribute funding for faculty research through grants, and to help faculty secure funding when they have a research idea.

The Manresa Project is an outreach organization whose purpose is to “make sure faculty are connecting to each other, and that they are asking students the right questions to help them discern their vocation,” according Teresa Kaczmarek, a student in the Graduate School of Management and a Manresa representative.

Kathy Durben, director of project planning and development for ORSP, said attendance has been good for all the presentations in the past, and Wednesday’s event was no exception. While lunch was served to all those in attendance, the main draw was the stories shared by the speakers.

The series will continue on a monthly basis, with the next installment taking place Oct. 12, and another presentation Nov. 3.

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