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    Posted February 7, 2014 by
    Austin, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Student voices in journalism

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    Dr. Garrett's Pure Heart

    Psychology is an incredibly powerful tool. When a deep knowledge of this discipline is applied to something, it often produces insights that are not commonly derived from other thought processes. Dr. Shana Garrett, the current Vice President of Academic Affairs at Colorado Tech University, has a deep knowledge of the science; she earned her bachelors, masters, and doctorate degree in psychology. Her implementation of her education has led her to create a very unique and uplifting approach to counseling and consulting; she calls it her "pure heart" approach.

    Dr. Garrett is an expert in adult learning and education, staffing, and program development, skills that she has cultivated with numerous professional experiences in academic environments. Her entry into the world of education started when she was earning her masters degree at Pepperdine, and a mentor approached her with an opportunity to get involved in the burgeoning field of online education. She described this first role as a transformational time in her career, as it was the first time that she was able to witness the marriage of her studies with practice.

    It is here, in this educational setting, that she describes the most rewarding and powerful times of her career. One especially moving memory was related to a student who had many life challenges; she was working her way through school and struggling to make it to every class. In this situation, Dr. Garrett speaks of identifying with this student from her past experiences, feeling legitimate admiration for her persistence and spirit, and subsequently taking on a genuine interest in her success. She was fortunate enough to eventually watch this student walk across the stage and receive her diploma, and she happily admitted to weeping tears of joy as she watched on with pride. She sees this kind of interaction as "paying it forward" for much of the help that she received as a young student.

    It is this sense of selflessness, connection, and personal investment that drives much of her success, whether it is in the world of advising students or when she's being consulted on businesses about how best to approach performance improvement. Employing her "pure heart" method to its full potential involves meeting people where they are and setting her ego aside. It's approaching a situation with honesty and approaching goals realistically, and giving people the best chance possible to achieve them.

    "There is a void in business," Dr. Garrett told me. "It's all about metrics and results and deliverables. The human factor has been lost." When it comes to a professional setting, Dr. Garrett has found that being challenged in the work place is the most powerful impetus for improvement. Her most valuable team experience was with a group who recognized her as a leader and cared about her, yet did not hesitate to make high demands and consistently push her out of her comfort zone. She encourages these intentional relationships in all walks of life, but especially in the business realm.

    Dr. Shana Garrett's success has been predicated on a passion for her work, a key point she often makes to her students and professionals. She encourages them to mold an environment when your work and passion become indistinguishable. It appears that she has been able to achieve this delicate balance in her own life. After having a personal conversation with Dr. Garrett, I realized that her professional philosophy is really just an extension of her true character. Her ideas have developed not only out of a natural ability to understand people's motivations, but a palpable love for others.
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