I have recently decided that I am a goal maniac. I thrive on setting goals and taking on new challenges. After dedicating years of my life to a single pursuit—earning my Ph.D.—I, like so many others, experienced a void, a hole, when it was accomplished. Whether it was due to having been raised in a family that embodied a strong work ethic, being a driven firstborn child, or having a personality that likes adventure, I began looking for what to do next.
Since “academics” are supposed to make professional presentations, secure grants, and author peer-reviewed articles and books (and this all sounded like fun to me), I set my sights on these goals. I remember jumping up and down (reminiscent of my old high school cheerleading days) in the hall outside my office at Messiah College on Hoffman building’s third floor when I received my first external grant. The funding helped me to integrate intergenerational service-learning into the Sociology of Aging course that I teach and afforded me the opportunity to collaborate on the program with one of my gerontology students, who was my intern. Similarly, I recall the sweet sense of accomplishment when, after a year of formulating a book prospectus with a colleague and a publisher, we were able to sign a book contract. Seeing my work in print still gives me a thrill, particularly when it is co-authored with a colleague or one of my students.
Most recently, I am venturing into a totally new domain, one that really stretches me. At the invitation of one of Messiah’s distinguished alumna, I have joined her in working to raise funds to establish an endowment for the Department of Human Development and Family Science
. The interest from this endowment will be used to support professional development activities for students within our department. My current goal is to help my students make their professional goals a reality. And I, too, will share in their satisfaction when I see them jumping up and down in the halls outside my current office on the third floor of Messiah’s Boyer Hall.
—Raeann R. Hamon ’83 is a distinguished professor of family science and gerontology, chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, editor of International Family Studies: Developing Curricula and Teaching Tools, co-editor of Mate Selection Across Cultures, and associate editor of the four-volume International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family.
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