HoC: Professor Laurie Pratt

Humans of Chaffey

Professor Pratt smiles in the comfort of her office. Photo by Lila Cano.

Professor Pratt smiles in the comfort of her office. Photo by Lila Cano.

I had the opportunity to sit with Professor Laurie Pratt, the only full-time Communications professor on Chaffey’s Chino Campus, to discuss the passions of her profession that have kept her motivated despite her struggles with a recently ongoing health issue.

Professor Pratt began her college career at Orange Coast College, but was a business major at the time. She had chosen this major with the hopes of a guaranteed a job in the field post-graduation. After beginning her educational journey, she discovered strength through communicating and presenting for projects in her business classes. Over time she transferred to what is now Azusa Pacific University, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and 14 years later, attended graduate school. Through her educational journey, she found motivation in her passion for teaching.

“…It’s definitely the thing I love to do and am good at doing simultaneously, and cannot really imagine spending my working days doing anything other than that,” she said. “Some people like the idea of eventually being in an administrative position but that really isn’t me. I love the back and forth environment. I love the classroom conversation. That for me is very motivating, and stimulating, and it makes me want to get up and go to work everyday. Truly, I enjoy it.”

Many of us struggle between the choice of security or passion. What matters more, money or happiness? If it’s happiness, is the risk worth it?

For Professor Pratt, passion is her motivation and as she elaborated, she began to bring in the idea of what rewards obstacles could bring.

“I think I’ve always been relatively aware of my strengths, I’d like to say my weaknesses but sometimes we’re not always aware of them until we have the mess-up that kind of throws it in our face,” said Professor Pratt.

Pratt indicated how educational mistakes could be and that, with each failure, one is not only given the opportunity to learn from the actual mistake, but also given the opportunity to learn more about oneself. Professor Pratt alluded to the idea that self-growth may be more important than we realize. She discussed her thoughts about technological advances and how it has impacted her students; making the need for face-to-face interaction less of a necessity. She explained that growth could be accomplished through interacting with one another.

“If you don’t try, you don’t know. You don’t get better unless you try, you have to keep at it,” said Professor Pratt.

Resilience can not only useful, but also extremely rewarding. Regardless of her ongoing health issues, which have been concealed for means of privacy, Professor Pratt has continued to teach classes on the Chino campus. This past year, much of Pratt’s curriculum has been inclusive of repetitive doctor’s visits followed by recovery time. It would be expected to take a leave of absence to focus on good health, but Professor Pratt remains committed to doing what she loves. She ended the conversation with:

"You need to be adaptable, stuff happens... You need to be adaptable and if you're not, it's probably not gonna go well".