Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

Ann Schulte

Ann Schulte

Name: Ann Schulte

Hometown: Yankton, South Dakota

Role on campus: Faculty in the School of Education

Years on campus: 17

Did you or do you have plans to continue your education beyond a four-year degree? I did not plan to continue after I graduated with a BA in Education. I never even thought about getting a PhD until right before I applied for it.

Why did you choose Chico? I loved the people and the place, and when I applied for a job as a professor, I wanted to move near my sisters who had lived in California for many years.

What first sparked your interest in a college education? I was not a very academic student. In high school, I took all the home economics classes I could and only as much math as I had to. Not a single AP course. But I joined debate as a freshman and my debate coach inspired me to keep at it, even though I wasn't particularly good. I learned that it was about developing the skill, not necessarily winning.

What were some barriers that prevented others in your family from completing a four-year degree? We lived in a rural area and I think my parents didn't need a higher education when they were young. They were smart, but not particularly intellectual. Independence was valued, but college wasn't a given.

Who can you point to as a mentor or inspiration in your pursuit of a four-year degree and why? Definitely my debate coach and my fellow debaters. They all went on to be doctors and lawyers, and I went into teaching so I could coach debate.

What does being first-gen mean to you? It means that I didn't grow up talking about current events or discussing academic subjects. I had relatively low expectations for my educational advancement.

What challenges do you struggle with or have you overcome as a result of being first- gen? I still feel like I'm not that "book smart" even though I have a PhD. I have never taken calculus or art history. I don't ever get references to Voltaire.

What is your wildest ambition? To be a part of preserving the true purpose of public education for the common good.

What message do you want to send other first-gen students? Persistence is key.