A teacher for more than 30 years, Karen Pflug-Felder ’71 has now turned her lifelong love of learning toward the next generation of students with Art Goes to School and toward generations of Dickinsonians past, present and future as a member of the Alumni Council. See what else the former biology major is up to, why she gives back to Dickinson and how learning to weld and silver solder provided her with a unique means of transportation.
Can you speak to how Dickinson’s useful liberal-arts approach helped you along your career path?
As a teacher, you have to be both flexible and a lifelong learner. When I was a student, Dickinson not only gave me a great academic background but also the social skills to allow me to have a long, successful and satisfying career in education.
What was your favorite activity/organization at Dickinson?
I enjoyed the physical challenges and friendships that the varsity hockey and basketball teams provided.
How did you get interested in your work, and what about it did you enjoy most?
I spent over 30 years in education, and I think I became interested in teaching because I wanted to share my love of science just as my biology professors had. I still enjoy working with young people, so I joined an Art Goes to School chapter. This group takes works of art into elementary schools and talks about them. Coincidentally, my minor at Dickinson was art.
What was the most challenging part of your work?
I was the science department chair for the district, and my biggest challenge there was managing the many different approaches to teaching science that my teachers had. I think that Dickinson's approach definitely helped me in this task.
What comes to mind as something unforgettable that you’ve done since you graduated?
I learned to weld and silver solder and then built my own bicycle.
You just built a time machine: Where and when do you go?
I would go back to Dickinson along with Zatae Longsdorff Straw [Dickinson's first female graduate], and then I would zoom ahead to the Dickinson class of 2071.
If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I can't imagine changing anything at all. I think that you can learn from and benefit from both successes and failures. If I changed anything, then I wouldn't be me anymore.
Published September 16, 2016