We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series.
Today we’re showcasing Denise Yost, clinical assistant professor with the Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership (CTLL). Here are her answers to a few questions:
How did you pick this as a career?
In all honesty I think this career picked me! The ‘not obvious’ ingredient is that it required a tremendous amount of self-awareness, listening to my intuition, and trusting not only myself, but something greater. As an alumnus, I feel that WSU will forever be my home and I wanted to be contribute to transformational experiences for students. At a larger scope, if we can be guides along the way, modeling and discussing the complexity of perspectives, values and actions that create forwarding possibilities for individuals and the community, I’m all in.
What is your favorite thing about teaching college students?
My favorite thing is actually a moment, one that I have the privilege of witnessing over and over again, each time new and each time unique. This moment comes when a student grasps, embodies, and forever learns what I cannot teach them. It can be a concept, something about themselves, how they relate and connect to others, any of a multitude concepts. I know that as an educator my job is to provide my full presence and access points for my students to learn, allowing them to more fully experience the truth within themselves. When I can open a door or window to create a possibility for this experience and they come to know a truth for themselves that I could never teach them because they had to experience it to know it, I’m honored and I know I’ve landed in what fuels me.
Why do you love what you do?
I love it because I learn and it reminds me every day that how I spend my time matters. Some aspects I like, some I don’t, some are my favorite and some stoke an elemental fire within. I don’t live for my favorite moments; I live for all the moments. What I love about what I do is that it is ever-changing and challenging, it helps me to live into, more consistently every day, living a life that honors growth, integrity, and love. That language is translatable and transformational regardless of discipline and prescribed levels of accomplishment.
If you could provide any tips or advice for your students, or WSU students in general, what would they be?
Show up. Show up in a way that creates the greatest value for yourself and others. Open up. Open up to the possibilities you don’t even know are possible. Inspire yourself. See everyone and everything as your teacher. Love above all else – and especially when you don’t know what else to do – love (yes, this includes loving yourself!).
Any other words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?
“That which you pursue is that which you value” (I’m not sure where I picked that quote up). Focus on knowing yourself and taking action that is fueled by the infinite possibility that you are, rather than fear. Creating alignment with yourself allows for greater possibilities and life lived in a supportive context that is inherently connected.