Profile: Liz Ravenwood

Personal background
I was born in Ogden Utah to a Mormon family and left the church when I was in my late teens. I found spirituality in a practice called surat-shabd yoga, but then left that by the wayside when I married and was a part-time step mom. After I graduated from High School I worked at Convergys (formerly NICE and NOP) as a phone agent, moved into supervision, and then computer operations. Weber State hired me when I was 22 and then I held several IT positions at Weber State where I received a couple of Bachelors degrees in French and Computer Science. I got divorced in '92 I believe, since I'd fallen in love with a man who was soon to become a woman. Long story, but through it all I discovered I really do better in a spiritual and long-term healthy relationship with women. I started to date women and have been with Sandy since 93 and plan to stay with her till the day I die.

When I turned 40, I was awarded a teaching assistantship to get a Masters in Linguistics at the University of Utah. It came with an emphasis in second language acquisition, so I spent a lot of course work in theory and pedagogy and ended up with a TESOL (teacher of English to speakers of other languages) certificate.

I taught English to native and non-native speakers of English up until December of 2004 when I realized that unless I had a PhD, it'd be hard to find a good paying job with benefits. Although I had a bunch of wonderful teaching gigs, including working for a cultural integration grant, I got burned out on the ESOL experience since I've had such a history of being a people pleaser and it's too hard to please a classroom with students from every level of proficiency and every kind of learning need and very demanding about it. I still wouldn't mind an adjunct teaching job teaching English or Psychology, though.

During that whole teaching stint, the next logical step seemed to be to get a PhD and I wanted to pursue Cognitive Science. I fell in love with the folks from the Center of Consciousness and the conferences they held, so I opted to apply for graduate school at the University of Arizona here in Tucson.

Well, here we are in Tucson. I'm still trying to change gears because the plan was that I'd get my PhD in Cognitive Science at the U of A but I haven't heard anything so I guess I didn't get in. However, this doesn't mean I've decided ever against it, it's just that, well, you know, you gotta pay the mortgage! Good work has been hard to find, and teaching as an adjunct doesn't pay enough nor offers benefits.

So, I've gone back to school at ITT Technical Institute to update my computer skills. I'm studying computer network systems right now, I can pursue programming in Java and such by either staying with this school, University of Phoenix, or Pima Community College. During that time I can still try to get into a doctoral program here or elsewhere. Computing and Cognitive Science merge well together in advanced expert systems so it's not like I have to consider any schooling time a waste in any fashion.

I've found work at First Health as a data entry clerk, so I get to put on headphones and listen to music, PBS (can't get NPR), KXCI, and audio books that I get at our local Pima County Library.

Meanwhile, I've had to fight depression that goes along with such a tough year, so I'm trying to get back to the things I enjoy. I love cooking, reading, writing, languages, and of course cognitive science. I also love my better half Sandy, our two boston terriers Bella and Natasha, and our four cats Jake, Dirk, Krishna, and Vishnu.
Thoughts about SETI and SETI@home
I've seen a craft, so it was either our government, or they're "out there" or in the oceans.
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