Dr. Laura Severin changed my life.  I didn’t grow up with much…I wasn’t particularly stand-out in any way…I didn’t think I was particularly smart or talented and I certainly didn’t think I’d amount to much.

I met Dr. Severin in 1996-my sophomore year at State when I took one of her classes as a general education requirement.  I skipped her class…more often than I’d like to admit.  She called me in for her office hours and I expected to get chewed out.  She didn’t disappoint….but she said it in such a nice voice…  I didn’t even realize what she had said to me until I left her office hours.  More than letting her down, she said, I was letting myself down.  She was right.  I needed to make some changes in my life.  My past wasn’t my future.

She told me I could start fresh by actually showing up on time for class.  I figured I could probably do that and start attending all of my classes.  My GPA began to creep up and I began to see the university, my classes, and my future in a whole new light.

I went on to take 2 more classes with Dr. Severin.  She knew I hadn’t had the opportunity to travel much so she asked whether I would consider studying abroad.  Yes, I could, but I didn’t have the money.  She found a scholarship for which I could apply.  I studied abroad in Lancaster, England.  I hated it.  I begged to come home early.  She told me…again…in the quietest sweetest voice you could imagine…to suck it up and stick it out.  I did and I learned more about myself in that semester than I have learned before or since.  I can truly say that without that experience, I couldn’t have imagined the amazing, world-traveling life which I have had the privilege to live.

Dr. Severin asked me had I considered graduate school.  Grad school?  Barely anyone in my family had gone to college.  I didn’t know anything about graduate schools.  She advised me on schools.  She helped me edit my personal statements.  She wrote zillions of recommendations.

All though my adult life, Dr. Severin has been there.  She gave me good advice about dividing household labor when I got married.  She gave me tea and tissues when my first child went off to kindergarten.  Dr. Severin has never stopped cheering for me.  Yes, she still (quietly) chews me out when I have screwed up and I value that honesty from a professional colleague.  More importantly, I know that I always have someone in my corner.  I’m so grateful for the difference your support has meant to me Dr. Severin.  Thank you for being my “champion of change”.