Editor’s Note: People like Monica Quimby who are excited about life and who strive to achieve usually don’t change after they have a life-altering experience. Often the opposite is true. They use that energy within a zestful life to fly higher and faster, overcome more obstacles and still live life on the edge just like they have before their injury. Setting goals, moving forward and climbing higher are the ingredients of a successful life. Part 4 of a four-part series.
Quimby: I just got a new job and am the director of education at Northeast Technical Institute. I’m really, really excited about this job. I will be implementing continuing-education programs for them.
I also am in charge of making sure that the school maintains its accreditation. And I’ll help develop programs to improve student learning and will conduct workshops while providing information for the faculty.
Question: How did you get from researching strawberries in your undergraduate studies to directing the continuing education component for the faculty and staff of Northeast Technical Institute?
Quimby: I got my bachelor’s degree in microbiology and published my strawberry research. Then I earned my master’s degree in science and higher education, and that’s how I got the job of being an adjunct professor of biology.
As an adjunct professor, I didn’t have any benefits like health insurance, so I started poking around on the Internet and found the job of director of education listed. So, I applied for the job. There were 20 other applicants besides me. They evaluated my education and work experience, and after the interview, I got the job.
Question: What advice would you give to someone like you who is job hunting?
Quimby: I think one of the reasons that people in wheelchairs often don’t get their dream jobs is perhaps because they don’t apply for them. Another reason is they don’t know what info they don’t have to give out to be considered for various jobs. Lastly, they may not go into their interviews with much confidence that they can do the jobs. I think a lot of that goes back to the way you perceive yourself.
If you only see yourself as a person in a wheelchair, that’s how others will see you. If you see yourself as more than that and as having more to offer a job than the other applicants do, then that’s how your potential employers will view you.
Question: Where do you want to go from here?
Quimby: I’m just going to continue to explore more opportunities. I also want to be the coordinator for the Ms. Wheelchair Maine Program. I not only want to really develop the competition and the pageant, but I also want get more scholarships and career opportunities for ladies in wheelchairs.
Question: What do you want to have done 5-10 years from now?
Question: Have you thought about your love life in the future?
Quimby: I definitely see myself someday getting married, and doing all that lovely stuff, with Jared the guy I am dating now.
Question: What about having children?
Quimby: I don’t know; maybe some day. I think people with disabilities who have children are totally amazing.
So, children may be in my future. For now, I just want to keep going and doing as much as I can.
About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com