Adult Education Graduate, Gary Beasley, Plans A New Career In Adult
May 6, 2004 --
Gary Beasley, 52, recently graduated from the University
adult degree program, and after completion of graduate school, he plans to return
to adult education— this time from the provider side.
focus has become adult education with a strong interest in
education policy,” he said.
completed his bachelor’s
degree in interdisciplinary studies last summer, too late
to march down the Lawn at graduation and celebrate his
accomplishment with his family and friends. So this spring,
while waiting for his chance to
fulfill that dream, he enrolled in U.Va.’s Curry School of Education
degree program with an eye to pursuing a Ph.D. in education research. Ultimately,
Beasley plans a new career in adult higher education at a community college — perhaps
even at his alma mater, U.Va.’s School of Continuing and Professional
interest in formal education is largely a mid-life phenomenon.
Following his graduation from Albemarle High School in 1970,
he enrolled in Hampden-Sydney
College — and promptly flunked out after a semester. “I worked
several jobs, including some time on the road as a professional musician,” said
the affable Beasley.
self-taught engineer, he began his career at the Albemarle
County Service Authority, the public water and sewer service
provider for the Charlottesville,
Scottsville and Rivanna areas. After 13 years at ACSA, Beasley became
senior engineer with Chesterfield County. In 1994, he became an engineer
water and the Rapidan Service Authority, RSA. The following year, he
was promoted to director of engineering at RSA.
was in this latter position that he began to think once again
attending college. “I worked with some very highly educated men
and women who thought I was kidding when I said I had studied engineering
at home,” Beasley said. “This
never bothered me enough to try college again until I discovered one
of my colleagues was unable to read from a manual.”
was something of an educational epiphany for Beasley. “I have seldom
experienced such empathy for another human being as I did for this
person. Imagine what is missed by not being able to read.
some time, I quietly tried to help this person, but realized
I did not have the necessary skills. This experience led
me to return to college, get
and teach. … Engineering, elementary school, college — it
did not matter. I wanted those advanced skills that would enable
me to help those who
needed it,” Beasley said.
1999, Beasley retired from his engineering job, enrolled
at Piedmont Virginia Community College
and two years later, entered
the University’s Bachelor’s
of Interdisciplinary Studies program, attracted by its association
with the Curry School of Education. BIS students with a concentration
in education, including
Beasley, take education classes through the Curry School.
BIS experience made for a smooth transition to graduate school,
Beasley said. A self-proclaimed hard worker who believes in “staying
up all night if that is what it takes to get the job done,” he
learned some important lessons. “BIS
classes, which are comparable to my graduate school courses,
trained me well for thinking more clearly and being more open-minded
and figuring out what’s
important,” he said. “BIS taught me to work smarter.
It served as another tool towards graduate education.”
he walks down the Lawn on May 16, he will follow in the footsteps
of other family members who are U.Va. graduates:
wife, Sharon Beasley,
son, Christopher Beasley, English ’93; daughter-in-law,
Sherri Hunter, English ’92; and mother-in-law,
Darlene Samsell, M.Ed ’64.
completing graduate school, Beasley “would love to work in a position
that involves education policy-making. I am interested in
adult higher education, and I can envision myself working
in the BIS program.”
Katherine Thompson Jackson, (434) 924-3629