Pamela Felder on Michelle Obama and a Career in Higher Education

Noodle Expert Pamela Felder discusses what she would like to learn from Michelle Obama and how being a student leader led to a career in higher education.

Who would you pick, alive or dead, to be your teacher for a year? What would you want to learn?

I'd like to work directly with First Lady Michelle Obama. I'd like to learn more about the impact of leadership from women of color in our society.

What is one small piece of advice that has had a big impact on your life?

One piece of advice I learned is to be patient with myself. This has caused me to be much more self-reflective about my journey and to appreciate my own sense of humanity and the humanity in others.

Where would you send a student who hasn’t traveled before?

I would send a student to travel to Africa.

When was a time that you failed academically, and what did you learn from the experience?

There were times when I struggled academically. I learned to never give up hope, to learn from my mistakes — that is, to engage in critical self-reflection and to continue to make progress toward any goal I set for myself.

Why did you go into your field, and how is it different from what you expected?

When I attended college, I was an active student leader. While working on campus, I knew I wanted to continue working in a university environment. As it turns out, it's not much different from what I expected. That said, I've grown in ways I didn't expect. For example, my initial goal was to become a university administrator, though I've now been a faculty member for 10 years.

Article Topics: