Life Studies with Kenwyn Cradock

Kenwyn Cradock is the chair of the biology department at Eastern New Mexico University. ENMU Photo.

The staff and faculty at Eastern New Mexico University come from a wide variety of diverse backgrounds, and Kenwyn Cradock, the chair of the biology department, is no exception. Throughout his time as a student and as a professor, he has been from one side of the world to the other, and seen both sides of the United States as well.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa is where Cradock earned his undergraduate degree. There, he double majored in Plant Pathology, the study of plant diseases, and Entomology, the study of insects. He also earned his master’s degree in Plant Virology there, studying plant viruses. Cradock also taught Plant Pathology at the same university. Following that, he uprooted and moved to the U.S. for his graduate school studies at the Ohio State University, where he was awarded his Ph.D. in Entomology. While he was there, he also taught general biology.

Cradock came to ENMU in 2005, starting that fall semester and has been involved greatly in campus life since then, including representing Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society as president, as well as being the director for The Hispanic-Serving Institution - Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics.

“ENMU has a strong sense of community both on and off campus and provides access to opportunities for students. In my experience it is a great place to work and study,” said Cradock.

Although teaching wasn’t what he had in mind when he started college, inspiring professors planted the seeds of considering becoming a teacher. Then, some of the experiences he encountered while he was working through his graduate studies opened teaching even further as a possible career field.

“It enabled me to experience the joy of sharing my knowledge with others as well as helping students develop a love of learning,” Cradock stated.

He says that the most rewarding aspect of teaching is watching students grow both in their thinking and as learners. He also discussed some of his advice for students as they choose their career field, be it teaching or anything else.

“Enjoy what you do,” Cradock said. He suggested finding out what the career is all about, and while there are a multitude of ways to accomplish that, it is important to get at least some of that information from individuals who are already working in that field. In his opinion, it gives a much better perspective of what the field is really like for a student considering working in that area because they will have not just the pros of the job, but cons as well. Additionally, he said a person should ask themselves why they want to work in that field – what makes the field so appealing, and worth dedicating the time in school and then dedicating your career to that field.

“This sometimes takes some soul-searching and isn’t always comfortable to do, but it helps to figure out if you are on the correct path or not,” said Cradock. Through his journey, his own soul-searching seems to have led him where he wanted to be.

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