Penny Walker

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2018 commencement

Bobbi Doherty is not your typical Arizona State University graduate. She was in her 40s when she decided to switch her career path and turn to education.

In addition to her roles of wife and mother, Doherty has managed to complete her coursework, student teaching and the necessary Arizona educator certifications. Most recently, she secured a job at a local school district while maintaining a GPA to qualify her to graduate summa cum laude when she receives her bachelor's in secondary education–history in May.

Doherty’s journey to earn her degree started at Chandler Gilbert Community College. In 2016, she was at the top of her class and was awarded Promising Educator of the Year – Secondary Education 2016. She transferred to ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College as a junior. A first-generation college graduate, she had never thought of higher education as an option. Doherty credits higher education for helping her earn the skills and confidence necessary to go into her own classroom and teach the future of Arizona.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I have always wanted to be a teacher, but the moment I knew I was in the right field of study was recently in my student teaching, when a student told me I was the best teacher they ever had and that I helped her understand history. She said that I make learning fun.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: That people do not understand the full scope of an educator’s role in the school and in our society. I can honestly say teaching is the most important profession; without teachers, there would not be other professions.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: ASU has one of the best teaching programs in the country — in my opinion the best that Arizona has to offer! I am proud to be a graduate of Mary Lou Fulton Teacher College at Arizona State University.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Four years may seem like a long time, but it comes fast. Work hard, but have fun too!

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My homebase is the courtyard in the Farmer Building; it's peaceful and it's my ASU home.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I have signed my first contract to teach seventh- and eighth-grade social studies in the Florence Unified School District.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Of course improving the state of education, and it would start at home here in Arizona.

Written by Trista Sobeck