February Student of the Month: Sue Novak

What is you background? Hometown? High School? Family members?: I was born in Spencer, Iowa and moved to Cedar Rapids when I was six years old. I guess that makes CR my home town, although I have lived in several states as an adult, and felt the most at home in San Francisco. I graduated from Washington High School in Cedar Rapids and spent all of my childhood summers at my Mom’s cottage on West Lake Okoboji. She is 91 years old now, and still owns that cottage. I have an older sister who lives in Kalamazoo, Mich.; an older brother who lives in Omaha, Neb.; and an older brother and younger sister that live in Cedar Rapids.

What brought you to Kirkwood and why?: Nearly 30 years ago, I received my AAS degree in Horticulture from Kirkwood, and have been so fortunate to have worked in horticulture ever since. Upon returning to Iowa recently, I discovered very little opportunity for a seasoned horticulturist in the Cedar Rapids area. Not one who would enjoy retirement, I began thinking about a “second act” career. I had a bit of office experience, and had enjoyed it, so I began researching the possibilities for a career in this area. Kirkwood was a natural choice to further my education and help begin a new career.

What is your program of study and what interests you about it?: I am nearly finished with the Administrative Assistant program—this is my last semester! I really cannot believe how much I have learned. I had no idea of the creative possibilities available with Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, and PowerPoint. I am very, very detail oriented and creative, so these are some of my favorite programs to use. I love creating business presentations of all sorts, and have grown especially fond of Prezi.

Are you involved in anything else on campus? If so what and why?: I am also employed part-time in Kirkwood’s Business and IT Department, and love working there more than I can begin to describe. These are some of the most dedicated, hard-working, and positive people I have had the pleasure of working with! Everyday in the BIT, I learn something new—usually many new things. That has been the one over-riding factor in everything I do—never stop learning!

What do you do for fun?: Where to begin? Unfortunately, the past two years I haven’t had a lot of time for leisure activities because of work and school, but I have many interests. Among them are: botany, nature study, travel (domestic and international), backpacking in wilderness areas around the world, urban exploration, snowshoeing, hiking , x-country skiing, kayaking and canoeing, wine, food, reading, home remodeling, and gardening.

Where do you see yourself in five years?: I hope to be the most indispensable administrative assistant at a company that makes the world a better place. I hope to once again own my own home, and have completely re-built my life following a very painful divorce. I hope to own another Bernese Mt. Dog by then—I have had two and they have been some of the biggest joys of my life.

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