By Megan Cavanaugh
A truth Glenda Bossow, administrative assistant for IT Services, holds dear to her heart is that it is never too late to start something.
“It’s important for people to know that this is one of my guiding principles in life,” she said. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been. Age doesn’t stop you unless you let it. If you keep learning, you keep young.”
Bossow began working at Bethany part-time doing invoices and accounts payable in the business office in 1999. She worked part-time at BLC and Carlson Craft.
“I loved it,” she said with a smile. “But I’d rather have one full-time job than two part-time jobs.”
Though Carlson Craft offered her a full-time position first, Bossow took courage and asked her supervisor at the time, Daniel Mundahl, if she could have a full-time job, since she liked Bethany better.
Mundahl put more tasks together for her and she became full-time.
One of those tasks was working in Meyer Hall for two hours a day, because she wanted to work there.
Soon the business office wanted her full attention, but her heart was in Meyer. She moved fully over to Meyer and “never looked back.”
Now she is in charge of much from her office overlooking the campus. She handles FOB access, record keeping, invoices for IT, scheduling building hours (and room hours), phone reports for phone-a-thon, weekly phone reports for the business office, display and greenhouse upkeep, watering the plants and more. She has been a Teaching Assistant in Gen Chem labs since 2011. Last spring she taught a physics lab. This semester she teaches lab for the Chemistry of Art course.
Every day is something new. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she is in her office most of the day. Tuesdays and Thursdays she is in labs.
Of all her tasks, she loves taking care of the students most.
“I am available to students who have questions about chemistry,” she said. “I love doing that, answering questions, being here for the students.”
Learning keeps her young
Bossow didn’t start her career off with a Bachelor’s Degree. She had credits coming to work at Bethany, and continued her education slowly.
One of the benefits of staff, she said, is you can take one course every semester for free. She started in fall of 2001 and graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in 2012 when she turned 57. Age doesn’t stop you unless you let it.
In the fall of 2014, Bossow started the courses to obtain her Master’s degree in Chemical Education, designed for teaching chemistry, specifically for those who are already teaching, at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, S.D.
Her courses are mainly online, but she attended a two week course in the summer research lab in Brookings.
“That was so much fun. We worked on a research project and presented it,” Bossow said.
She is in the final step: writing her thesis explaining her findings.
“My project is looking at how I interact with students as far as questions they have, if it makes any difference—straight forward answers verses asking them what they think, getting them to talk it out and not saying whether it’s right or wrong,” she said. “All I can do is take my data and say this is what happens. After you finish the project you reflect on it, see what you can try differently, see all you can learn.”
Her Master’s is more of an education thing than a chemistry thing, she explained. For this reason, she found it more stressful than she had expected. To her, chemistry is what she loves, chemistry is fun.
Bossow has considered chemistry fun for a long time. The two fell in love when she was young.
“I fell in love with chemistry when I was five,” she said. “My mom and dad gave me a chemistry set for Christmas. I loved it. I had so much fun. And I had a fabulous chemistry teacher in high school. I’ve always enjoyed it.”
Because of her love of chemistry and the students at Bethany, Bossow wakes up every morning and thinks positively that she “gets” to go to work.
“The people I work with, faculty and staff, students here are special. It’s a gift to be around them, help them learn and watch them grow during the time they are here,” she said. “The faith we share is the foundation of everything we do. To me that is the most important part of my life.”
Outside of work she also values her family and her hobbies.
Since her husband passed away six and a half years ago, she cherishes the time she gets with her family, children and step children. She has a son and a daughter who live in Mankato, two daughters in North Carolina and Iowa, and a few step children scattered around the U.S. Her parents live in New Ulm.
“I enjoy being with my family an awful lot,” she said. “Holidays and vacations that’s who I want to be with, spend time with.”
Alongside spending time with family, Bossow loves music, reading (especially mysteries), knitting and being outdoors.
Her mother was a piano teacher and Bossow has also been a piano teacher. She has also directed the choir at church.
“I don’t sit well,” she said. “I need to be doing something.”
Though she loves being outdoors, camping, riding bike and going for walks, she has not been able to do too much recently, due to a knee that will be replaced in July 2017.
She hopes to be able to do more outdoorsy things she has not gotten to do yet— like go to the Boundary Waters with students.
“I’ve always wanted to go on the Boundary Waters trip,” she said. “I never have gone yet.”
While she is recuperating from her knee replacement, Bossow will no doubt be watching game shows like Jeopardy, studying up on her trivia knowledge. She also enjoys showing off her knowledge at Bethany’s annual event, Viking Cup.
With her knowledge and wit (her favorite chemistry joke is, “What do you do with a dead chemist? Barium.”) she will do well when she hopefully follows in her sister’s footsteps and steps foot on Jeopardy.
Until then Bossow will continue to do what she loves: learning, teaching and just being with students.