The Star-Herald

Local instructor achieves doctorate

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — This summer NMCC physics instructor Shari Ward completed her EdD in performance improvement leadership through Capella University, placing her among the 1 percent of Aroostook adults with doctorate-level education.

“Striving for this degree was important to me, and I’ve achieved it,” Ward said. “No matter how great we think we are or think we are doing, there is always some wiggle room for improvement.”

 Originally from the small Piscataquis County town of Guilford, Ward fell in love with Aroostook while living in an unorganized township bordering the province of Quebec, due to her husband’s job as a Maine game warden. “It was then that we fell in love with Aroostook County for its beauty, access to areas in nature that still exist in a predominately wild state, and its wonderful people,” Ward said.

Eventually settling in Masardis, at the edge of the North Maine Woods, Ward began her career in education in Ashland and Katahdin school districts, teaching in both middle and high schools while raising their three boys. During this time, she earned her bachelor’s degree from UMPI, and continued on to complete her master’s degree from Montana State University in Bozeman, focusing on science education.

“Lifelong learning is essential,” Ward said. “Whether it’s formal education, or informal. Every day you live and breathe, you should be learning something new.”

In 2017 Ward joined NMCC as a physics instructor, but teaches math and applied sciences to students as well. She’s known on campus for making complex material fun and engaging for her students. “Earning this degree ties in very well to higher education. I’m one of those people that is always looking for that place where I’m going to do the most good, to help people reach their goals,” Ward said.

 Despite her advanced degrees, Shari is able to relate well with her practical-minded trades students,” said David Raymond, NMCC’s arts and sciences department chair. “What is surprising, and highly beneficial, to Shari’s students is her breadth of practical knowledge and experience. When she explains the laws of physics or offers examples of applied uses for mathematics, she does so with a familiarity with tractors and engines and tools that is at once disarming and winning to her students. She is also a first-rate hunter whose prowess is seldom matched by anyone in her classes.”

 NMCC offers over 30 programs of study and works closely with business and industry to meet the challenges facing today’s workforce. To learn more visit nmcc.edu.

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