Educator Spotlight: Kathy Kwiatkowski

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 11, 2023

School: Ohio University Southern

How many years have you been teaching? I was actually a student teacher right at the beginning of my career. I was a late bloomer, so I’ve been teaching about eight years, 10 years full time, and six years here at Ohio University, which I love. 

My main focus here is anatomy and physiology. I teach this to our nursing students and allied health students.

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Why did you decide to become a educator? When I was a little girl, I always played school, and I was always the teacher. I had a chalkboard, I had desks, I gave assignments. I was born to be a teacher. It’s innate in me.

Once I got my foot in the door, every semester, my classes would fill up. I had a reputation where students were seeking me out.

Outside of school, what do you enjoy doing for fun? I’m a big, avid gardener. I have a beautiful property in Ashland, and I grow tons of stuff. Mostly flowers, lots of wonderful heirloom tomatoes, gourds, sunflowers, dahlias. I’m a member of the local garden club.

I love antiques. I’ve been collecting antiques since I was a freshman in high school. I love to decorate, and I’m a homebody. If I’m not at school, I’m at the gym or I’m at home and that’s my Bermuda Triangle.

What is one thing your students may not know about you? I am an old movie buff. I love the old vintage Hollywood movies. Turner Classic Movies is the only reason I have a TV at home. Sometimes I’m watching these movies and I see decorations that I have in my own house.

Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Probably Buggs Bunny. I always liked the old cartoons when I was a kid

How would your coworkers describe your teaching style?  I would say kind of laid back. I know that I’m tough. It’s tough stuff – anatomy, physiology, biology. These are tough subjects. It requires a lot of dedication, but I’m very fair and I try to provide my students with as many resources as possible so they can excel in the courses.

Who are your favorite performers? Dean Martin, baby. I love that old music. What a performer. Charismatic, drop dead gorgeous – he couldn’t help it. There’s nothing like a little Dino on a Saturday night.

When you were in college, what were your interests? I was an older student and I really just thought, “oh, you know, I’m going to be a loner and won’t have a lot of friends.” And nothing could be further from the truth. I had such wonderful friends that I made through college. They really were some of my best years.

What’s your best advice to help students grow academically?  Never give up. There were plenty of times I wanted to chuck the books and go right back to gardening and thought, “What am I killing myself for?” But the payoff is there.

The other thing is to not look at your college career as a four-year, daunting experience, but rather break that down into, “For this month, this is what I have to do.” When you break it down into bitesize pieces, you’ll be surprised at how well you do.

Everybody has something wonderful to contribute. Maybe you don’t even know what it is, but you will find it in your path at university.

What’s one thing you hope your students learn this year?  Everything that’s worth having is worth working hard for. No one is going to give you a degree unless you earn it. 

Believe in yourself, go for it. Sometimes you just have to put your nose to the grindstone and barrel through.

Always find a little bit of levity, happiness, something to laugh about. You have to find your blessing and be appreciative and not take it for granted.