Corrinne Meyer has been an instructor at the Carrington College Reno, NV, campus for almost 5 years. Corrinne teaches two Human Anatomy & Physiology (A&P) classes to students on our Registered Nursing program; she has been an educator for 10 years.
Thanks for your time Corrinne, are you a Registered Nurse?
No, I’m not a nurse, I’m a trained scientist. My master’s degree is in Human Physiology. I did my graduate work at UC San Francisco; I worked on the effects that illegal drugs have on pregnancy. I was actually working with sheep, but physiologically it’s a pretty close carry over.
Tell us a little about your teaching career
While I was doing that graduate work in San Francisco, I came to discover that I much preferred teaching to doing the science, so I got myself a TA [Teaching Assistant] position. When I moved to Lake Tahoe I had to put teaching on hold for a while as there were just no jobs available.
I had a friend who was taking classes to become an Emergency Medical Technician [EMT] and she was in a study group; she invited me along to make sure they were getting things right…and the next thing I knew I was teaching the group! I then started teaching part-time at the community college in Lake Tahoe.
How did you come to join Carrington?
To prove to somebody that there were no absolute no good teaching positions around at all, anywhere, I went on Craigslist… and I found an ad for this job. So I guess I was wrong!
What did you want to be when you grew up? A firefighter, a teacher…a doctor?
I was one of those kids who was under the impression that if you got good grades and did well in science, then you were supposed to be a doctor. And so I kind of ran along with that stereotype for a while. But then, once I got into college, I realized that I didn’t like any of those things! I can’t claim to be as exciting as someone who wanted to be a firefighter, but I did want to run sprints in the Olympics.
You were a pretty good athlete then I’m guessing?
I guess I was a reasonably good sprinter, but I wasn’t that good, I wasn’t ‘Olympics’ good!
Most of us have had more than one career – so what’s your favorite other job?
None of my students will be the least bit surprised at this, but my favorite other job was being a dog trainer. I mostly taught obedience to pet dogs and their owners. I did that for about 5 years. At that time I was also doing my least favorite job ever; that was bookkeeping for a general contractor. That was not the high point of my career, that’s for sure.
So I have to ask… What’s easier? Teaching dogs or students?
Hmmmm. I can use food more with dogs! Although we have lots of pizza parties and such on campus, I teach in the Science Lab and there’s no food allowed in there. To be fair, I have to say it is easier to teach the students. They can communicate more easily and they get subtlety of thought better than dogs. Plus our students choose to be here…the dogs didn’t get a choice!
What’s the most interesting fact that your students may not know about you?
That I’m a really good knitter! I started knitting when I was 10 or 11 years old; I did it for a while because my mom wanted me to, but then I stopped when I got older. I came back from college one year and thought “you know what, knitting was fun, I should do that again!” I find it very relaxing.
If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose?
My great grandmother. My mother’s an orphan – she lost her mom when she was 3 years old, so she doesn’t have much of the family history. I’d love to go back and get that history, for her and for me.
So tell us about your family life…Are you married?
I’m single and my children have four legs and floppy ears! Just to clarify – they’re dogs! I have two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers – or Tollers for short. If you know your dogs they kind of look like a cross between a border collie and a golden retriever.
I do have a pretty good size extended family. I have a couple of brothers – one older, one younger – and five nieces and nephews. The most recent addition to the family is my great-nephew; I just got back from a vacation in Idaho where I met him for the first time.
If you knew you going to be stranded on a desert island, what book, movie & music would you take?
Book – I know a lot of people say this, but I would take my Bible. I mean that most sincerely.
Music – As much George Winston [a pianist from Michigan] as I could get on the island.
Movie – I would take “Best in Show”. It’s a satire of dog shows and dog people.
If money was no object, what would be your dream job?
I’ve been thinking about this…and the problem is – I already have it. Even if money was no object, I would wind up teaching somebody something – I just can’t stop myself.
I’m very happy where I am, I enjoy it very much. One of the reasons is because the people who surround me here in Reno – the faculty and the staff – are just amazing. They’ve been great mentors and sounding boards for me, and have done everything they can to make me as good as I can be for my students.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give to students starting out?
Trust in yourself enough to ask questions when you have them. Especially students who have been out of school for while; I don’t think they have the confidence in how school works. That’s a pretty simplistic way of looking at it, but many students feel that they don’t want to look bad in front of their classmates. You won’t look bad; I can pretty much guarantee others in the class will want to know the answer too.
So it comes down to confidence?
So much of what I see in my students comes down to this – If they lose confidence in themselves, they’re not going to do well. But if they just have that one little spark that says “You know what, I can ask this question, it’s ok, I deserve an answer” then they get on a roll and become more engaged. And if they get engaged, they’re going to do well.
What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve had in school recently?
I had a student this past semester who was just struggling, so we worked together a lot. She came in one day with this huge smile on her face. She said – “I went back and looked at what you said last time we talked, and I get it now… I get all of it!” And she was right, she did. I’ve not seen her stop smiling since and she’s not even in my class anymore! What I found rewarding was that I wasn’t the only one putting in the hard work; this woman was working herself silly and she got to see herself do it. That was my reward.
Last question – you get an unexpected afternoon off, what would you do?
If the weather’s good, I’d take my dogs to the beach. They love the water and they love to run; it’s just really relaxing for me to watch them do that at the lake.
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