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Dr. Katie Barak

Dr. Katie Barak

Dr. Katie Barak really loves school and learning, so she decided to stay in academia for as long as possible! She has a PhD in Cultural and Critical Studies (2014), an MA in Popular Culture (2009) - both from Bowling Green State University, and a BS in Journalism and Media Studies (2004) from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Despite folks warning her she should narrow her research interests, she is committed to investigating all the things. In particular, she is motivated by critical thinking/creative doing, consuming/considering culture, and connecting with people. Given the academic background, you might think she was headed for the tenure-track life of a professor, but the universe had other things in her plan. However, she did not stray far from higher education, she currently works as the Associate Director for the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry in Drexel's Pennoni Honors College. In this role she gets to advise the amazing Custom-Designed students, teach, plan events, research, develop, and be creative every day.

L's Taken

6+ "Thank you for applying but..."

  • 1-year lecturer at Brock University
  • Running the Women's Center at Colorado State University
  • Adjunct teaching pool at Colorado Community College
  • online educator at Craftsy
  • Community outreach for Douglas County Libraries
  • These are the ones I remember! I applied to more than 100 teaching positions after graduate school and either heard nothing or received a form rejetion after I applied

1 Things I swore I'd finish but never did…

  • I'm still holding out hope that I'll turn my dissertation into a coffee table book ... but it hasn't happened yet

5 Everyday L's of Life:

  • Extremely clumsy
  • Constantly struggling to manage my team
  • Strategies that previously supported productivity no longer working as effectively
  • Forgetting to meal prep for the week
  • Choosing sleep over working out

3 Failures that seemed like the end of the world back then but don't matter in hindsight:

  • Not getting a theatre scholarship
  • Computer crashed and lost all my tech and slides minutes before a presentation
  • Hundreds of job rejections (...still stings on some days)

0 Regrets I have:

  • I genuinely do not have regrets because even regretful situations yielded things in my present moment I wouldn't have had otherwise

On the Bright Side

9 Memories I made when I wasn't studying/working

  • Potlucks a-go-go
  • Adventure car trips
  • Workout euphoria
  • Game nights
  • Volunteering besties
  • Artistic outlets
  • Hours-long conversations about nothing and everything
  • Practical jokes gone awry
  • Walking through neighborhoods and getting to know the seasons

5 Things I've learned that will still matter in 10 years

  • The obstacles on the path ARE the path
  • Most of the worrying I've done didn't matter because it didn't impact the outcome of any situation
  • You get out what you put in
  • Your chosen family will support you
  • Celebrate big and small wins — no one else can do that for you

7 Books I've read for fun

  • The Graveyard Book
  • Onyx and Crake
  • Braiding Sweet Grass
  • Kafka on the Shore
  • Scythe
  • Circe
  • The Undying
  • Reading is a hobby so these are just a few. I'm constantly reading for fun!

7 Things I'm proud of that you won't see on a resume

  • Excellent friend
  • Yoga practitioner for more than 20 years
  • Thoughtful eater
  • Really good at jigsaw puzzles
  • Can put away all the dishes before the water in the kettle boils
  • My cats really love me
  • Dip connoisseur

3 Unconventional skills:

  • Can read most people's moods within a minute
  • Able to diffuse tense situations with light humor
  • Quickly become a safe space for many people

5 Quirks that make me who I am:

  • Practical optimism
  • Willing to accept that some stuff is magic
  • ENTJ
  • Extremely creative
  • Genuinely happy to be the Ethel alongside someone's Lucy

3 Obstacles I have overcome:

  • Asking for help (still have to try)
  • Imposter syndrome (mostly)
  • Hiding vulnerability (not easy — have to practice being vulnerable everyday)

4 Things I've done that pushed me out of my comfort zone:

  • Moved far away from family and friends to attend grad school
  • Moved farther away for my career
  • Taken a writing workshop for fun
  • Therapy

3+ Leaps of faith:

  • Joining a research group very outside my knowledge base
  • Trusting I would make new friends in the new places I moved for school and work
  • Throwing my hat in the ring for jobs that were beyond my skill level

3+ Life events that have made me stronger:

  • Leaving behind traditional definitions of home and family
  • Embracing my identity and finding communities of support
  • Supporting friends through their tough times and being carried through mine