(Neb)-CSC Grads Reminded Of Changes In The Last 60 Years
By Tena L. Cook, CSC Marketing Coordinator
CHADRON - Chadron State College graduates received advice from country music lyrics and life experience during the commencement address of retired longtime CSC professor and administrator Dr Lois Veath Podobnik on Saturday.
Bachelor's degrees were award to 247 candidates in the ceremony in the Chicoine Center that included opening and closing moments of reflect by two of the graduates from Chadron, Ashtyn Nelson and Stephanie Gardner, respectively.
Commencement also saw the commissioning of two Army ROTC cadets as Second Lieutenants. Jerrick Bowers of Gering will be assigned to the Medical Services Corps of the Nebraska National Guard while Justyn Curtis of Richmond, Indiana, will join the regular Army as a Field Artillery officer.
Dr. Lois Veath Podobnik, who retired from CSC in 2012 after nearly 3 decades, based the theme of her address, in part, on the lyrics of the Rascal Flatts’ song, “The Broken Road.”
“Looking back on my life like some cosmic novel, I am amazed, proud, a little embarrassed, occasionally bewildered, but most of all joyful and grateful for all that has happened,” she said.
Podobnik recalled two events in sixth grade that helped shape her life – being enthralled with the Russian satellite Sputnik, and a school counselor telling her she could not pursue an engineering degree in spite of her high math and science scores because she was a girl.
After she graduated with her first degree in chemistry, she moved with her late husband, David Veath, to San Diego for David so he could attend law school in 1969. There, through a series of unusual events, Podobnik secured what turned out to be a ground-breaking job with Dr. John O’Brien in the Dept of Neurosciences at the Univ of California San Diego Medical School.
O'Brien was researching the causes of syndromes in central nervous systems of children, and theT team she worked on discovered a missing enzyme in the tissues of those with certain health problems.
“If you had told me then that you could buy a $99 kit from ancestry.com to analyze your genes 50 years later, I would have been astounded," she recounted before adding,"and I also probably would have asked what dotcom meant,” Podobnik said,
In 1978, the Veaths decided to leave San Diego headed to a town in the center of the country, Broken Bow, Nebraska. Contacts there led to Chadron where a medical leave for a CSC science professor created an opening for an adjunct position in chemistry, that she quickly took.
The position expanded to include her true love - physics - and she told the graduates she was energized by regularly engaging her colleagues in lively debates on the importance of active, student-centered teaching instead of lectures.
“I had finally found what I had always been meant to do – teach,” she said. “It was a privilege to nurture young lives, share pioneering techniques at the National Science Teachers Conventions and make the science of the universe accessible to students through the magic of planetarium shows.”
Podobnik concluded her remarks by reminding the graduates to call on their CSC support system as they move forward.
“You’ve been mentored by some of the world’s best professors sitting right here. Men and women who will never forget you, will look forward to hearing from you on your travels, and will always be available to give you advice,” said Podobnik.
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