What do you want to be when you grow up?

I was in my first semester at the University of Georgia, enrolled in a doctoral program in science education. I was already involved in science teacher education at Mount Lawley College, and autonomous higher education Institute in Western Australia that would eventually become part of Edith Cowan University. Bill Capie was my major professor in the doctoral program and he decided that the best way to get to know me and my interests was to take me on the road. He was involved in the development of the Teacher Performance Assessment Instruments – of protocol for evaluating beginning teachers. In his role as one of the lead researchers and developers he visited school districts and universities around the state of Georgia. On this occasion we were driving in the vicinity of Okefenokee Swamp, in the south of Georgia. He was a man who words and lengthy silences. After an eternity of silence he asked: “so, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

After thinking about this for some time I replied that I would like to continue in my present position in Australia, only doing it better by virtue of my greater experience in curriculum development, professional development for teachers, preservice science teacher education, and research. He thought about this for many miles and responded: “pick one! You cannot do all of those. You must specialize in a doctoral degree.” This time it did not take me long to respond. “If I can only pick one, I will be a researcher.” It was the fall of 1978 when I chose the research and science education pathway to walk along. I followed this advice and continue to do so. This was good advice.

Of course, the implications of choosing this path to traverse had implications for where I would work. When I returned to Mount Lawley College the fit was not good and a journey began took me back to the United States where I remain until the present time of writing. Finding the right fit involved situating myself any university that valued research highly.