Shannon Kispert, PhD recently joined the ARCOM faculty as Assistant Professor of Physiology. Dr. Kispert is an experienced, passionate educator and researcher. Her research interests include investigation on the pathological effects of cigarette smoking on breast and bladder cancer development and progression.
A Fort Smith native, we were interested in hearing what it’s been like for Dr. Kispert to take her next career steps back in her home town.
What is it like returning to Fort Smith at this point in your career? What do you like most about the area?
It is a little surreal. How many people get to live out their dream? I honestly thought my chances of returning to Fort Smith were small. I had my eyes set on academic medicine and didn’t think that opportunity would exist in my hometown near my family. I was thrilled to hear about the development of ARCOM and it came at a perfect time in my career. It is exciting to be a part of something new and to align the growth of your career with the growth of a new institution. Fort Smith is the same in a lot of good ways; I think it is still a great place to live and raise a family. But it’s also different; I’ve observed a lot of new growth and revitalization of the community. My favorite thing about Fort Smith is the people. I love the friendliness and hospitality. I’ve lived a lot of places and it’s just different here.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am a new mom so most of my spare time is revolving around my little guy. I cannot express the joy I feel to be able to experience motherhood for the first time with my own mother. It has been so much fun being near my parents and getting to experience every little “first” as a big family. I also have a passion for dance, so once I get settled, I’m hoping to resume teaching Zumba classes!
What inspired you to be a professor?
I’ll be honest. I remember sitting in college classrooms and often times thinking, “I don’t understand this” or “I’m too nervous to ask a question.” I finally realized during my PhD training that MOST people feel that way and I was inspired to find a better way to learn. That’s when I decided I wanted to focus on teaching. I knew my passion for science, communication skills, and energy could help many students in the classroom, especially those who aren’t the top of the class. I was determined to be successful in the classroom, which translates into success for my students, even if my methods are unconventional.
What drew you to ARCOM?
Teaching and the faculty (It also helps that ARCOM is located in my hometown!). While I certainly enjoy my cancer research, I truly have a passion for teaching. When I visited ARCOM, I quickly realized the faculty shared that same passion. It is no secret how much our faculty care for our students and rejoice in their success. As long as ARCOM keeps its focus on its faculty, teaching and the care of its students, it will be seen as a pillar in the community and a place I’d never leave.