Women professors thrive at Tarleton
By: Sierra Wells
Tarleton State University employs female professors who propel the university forward and provide an enriching learning environment for students.
Dr. Mallory Young is currently an English professor in Tarleton’s Department of English and Languages. Over the years, she has served as director of the Honors Program, department head and assistant to the President.
After teaching higher education for 43 years, 39 of which at Tarleton, Young plans to retire this summer.
“As a professor, it’s meant so much to me to teach what I love, literature and writing, and see some of my students come to share that love,” Young said. “As a female professor, I’ve had the additional opportunity to become a role model for women who want to go beyond traditional limits—not necessarily to become professors (though some have), but just to realize they don’t have to be boxed in by long standing gender conventions. Providing that model has, somewhat by default, become part of my role.”
Tenure-Track Assistant Professor Dr. Bryn Brown began working at Tarleton in 2013, where she has filled several positions.
“I started as an Advisor, Program Manager, Instructor at the Fort Worth campus in March 2013. I worked in this role for two and a half years. I moved to an Adjunct Instructor in August 2015 while I was working on my PhD and remained in this role until August 2019, when I was hired as a full-time faculty member,” Brown said.
Brown was naturally drawn to education.
“I think the reason I pursued a career in education is because I’m a life-long student. I have a passion for learning and personal and professional development. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with students and learning from my students,” Brown said.
Joining the Tarleton staff right after she finished her master’s degree, Associate Professor of Music and Voice Dr. Heather Hawk has taught for 15 years.
Hawk recognizes that it is important to have female professors when the number of women pursuing degrees is so high.
“We have more female than male students at this point, at Tarleton and at the collegiate level, and so I think it’s really good to have women role models out there that can still sympathize and empathize and still be powerful figures in their lives and be at the top of their field,” Hawk said.
Assistant Professor of Communication studies Dr. Cessna Winslow oversees the Public Relations and Social Engagement concentration and serves as the department’s internship coordinator.
“I started my career in broadcast news, so I was working in broadcast news while a freshman in college, and my goal was to stay in broadcast news or communications in some way,” Winslow said. “And then I burned out on TV news, got tired of the ken and barbie scene, and it just wasn’t for me, and I got a master’s degree in public relations management, and I went into the PR side of communications and found I loved it.”
Winslow has worked at Tarleton since August 2015. She says her gender has not caused strife in her career in academia, but she notices that a majority of her students end up being women.
“In my area of communications, public relations, my students are predominantly female, obviously we have males, but I feel that being a female who has been in that field and I’ve been where they want to go and can be a source of inspiration as well as a source of caution,” Winslow said. “When I was in journalism in the 80s, you were not allowed to be pregnant and on TV and it’s changed and women had experiences that men didn’t experience, so I’m able to share that with students.”
Dr. Marilyn Robitaille, an associate professor in the English department, has been a Tarleton educator for 40 years.
“My greatest accomplishment at Tarleton definitely contributed to who I am as a teacher. I’m very proud of the part I played in growing study abroad. The program started with about twenty students traveling to pre-COVID numbers with almost 500 students traveling to twenty-five different countries,” Robitaille said. “We’ve spread purple throughout Europe, Africa, South and Central America and Asia. We brought international guests to campus from Poland, Russia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Brazil, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Italy, Indonesia, China, South Korea, France and Spain – just to name a few.”
Robitaille has two key pieces of advice for women hoping to pursue a future career in education.
“Two things: (1). Have all the adventures that you can when you’re young – travel, see the world, meet interesting people. That will make you a more interesting person and have great things to share with your students. (2). Earn all the degrees in your academic area that you can while you’re in student mode,” Robitaille said. “That’s the way to have the most options. You might have to juggle school and all your other responsibilities, but use the reward system and complete the degrees.”
The dedication of these professors has aided in creating an equal and fair learning environment for students of all genders and backgrounds at Tarleton.
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