Kristin Bower, M.S.
Center for Continuing Education, Cleveland Clinic
Looking back, I believe my journey began with a trip out west with my now husband’s family when I was in high school. During this amazing trip, I fell deeper in love with the great outdoors (I was always a nature nut) and I decided at that very moment (16 years old) that I wanted a career in Wildlife Biology.
After reviewing college options, I chose to attend Ohio University in Athens, OH, and I received a BS in Wildlife Biology, a Minor in Interpersonal Communications and an Environmental Studies Certificate. I decided to add on the minor and certificate during my Junior year because I wanted to make the most of my time and money. After falling in love with a few of my classes, I decided to become a Teaching Assistant in both Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy & Field Ecology. This was a wonderful opportunity to receive college credit, work closely with faculty, and enhance my skills & knowledge. In addition, I participated in various summer internships in Natural Resources & Environmental Education.
After I graduated from Ohio University, I was greatly disappointed that lucrative offers were not rolling in (I was quite naïve), so I decided to attend graduate school ‘to enhance my resume.’ I found an amazing fellowship program at the University of Akron in Akron, OH. I earned a spot in the National Science Foundation GK-12 Graduate Fellowship Program where I worked on a Master of Science in Biology, as well as a Graduate Certificate in Postsecondary Education. The program was 3 years long, and in addition to working towards my M.S., I was able to work closely with K-12 teachers on enhancing their science curriculum. This opportunity really solidified my passion and drive to not only ‘do’ science, but to teach science!
After graduate school, I embarked on a wide variety of opportunities.
I was an Education Specialist at The Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA, where I presented daily school programs, teacher in-services and outreach programs.
I was also a Guides Program Administrator at The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, OH, which included more of a supervisory role training guides to lead outdoor youth & adult programs. In addition, I developed and implemented curricula for various environmental programs for visitors of all ages.
My time at Holden also included Outreach Programs in schools throughout Northeast Ohio, where I portrayed a Plant Science Investigator, as well as renowned naturalist and author, Rachel Carson. I was spreading my passion for science and nature across Ohio and Pennsylvania, and I loved every minute of it!
After the birth of my daughter, I decided to step away from full-time work for a bit. However, I knew I wanted to continue spreading that love & passion for science, so I decided to put my graduate degree to work, and I became an Adjunct Faculty member at Cuyahoga Community College. I taught Introduction to Biological Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, and Human Biology. It was an incredible opportunity to teach science to students fresh out of high school, as well as to those who decided to change their careers near retirement age. I took such pride when my students would call me a ‘Bio Nerd’ because that was almost always followed by the fabulous light-bulb moments of learning epiphanies.
Once my daughter was in school full time, I began to look into full time opportunities and found a completely new career path at the Cleveland Clinic. This was not a part of my career plan in any way, but I am so very grateful for the skills I have learned and the people I have met. I have worked within the Education Institute at the Clinic over the past 9 years in various roles including a Program Coordinator and a Program Manager in the Simulation and Advanced Skills Center. Those roles allowed me the opportunities to develop a Kids in Medicine Program, lead lab tours for schools, and teach healthcare professionals in medical simulations.
Currently, I am a Project Manager for the Center for Continuing Education at the Cleveland Clinic. I lead medical education courses for various specialties across the enterprise. I am working hard on developing new skills such as project management and problem-solving that I hope will take me into the “second-act” of my career.
I am working on getting back to my roots and back to teaching students directly. And I truly believe that my educational and career experiences (planned or not) will help me land a new, great opportunity.
Stay true to yourself and your passions and be open to any opportunities that may come your way! Good luck!