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Does your idea of the "classics" involve dull and dusty volumes? Not if Barbara Perez can help it.
Perez wants to become a professor of literature and live out the love for reading she found as an English major in college. After undergrad, she focused on building a successful career as a banker. But going back to school for an MBA brought her to a crossroads.
"All the time I was in business, I never stopped reading," Perez says. "And I finally figured it was time to do something to pursue that - something from the heart."
Yet she also realized she didn't need to abandon the lessons she gained from the business world. Whether it's Don Quixote charging after windmills, or Elizabeth Bennett clashing with Mr. Darcy, Perez sees a side to great novels that others overlook - the ever-present power of money. Now she wants students and scholars to consider how financial need (and greed) drive characters' decisions, and shape the world they inhabit.
To realize her goals, Perez is working toward a master's in humanities at Mount Saint Mary's University - the ideal place to launch her career transition. The school's weekend graduate classes let her keep her job in business without interrupting her studies. Meanwhile, her professors offer crucial guidance to find a foothold in academia. Perez says they've encouraged her to present at conferences and consider how she can make a new contribution in the field.
"It's because of them that my experience at Mount Saint Mary's has been amazing," she says. "The professor makes the difference."
Tackling a new path is never easy, no matter where you are in life. But Perez says there's no doubt she'll fulfill her plan.
"Learning is unstoppable. Your age doesn’t matter."