Data Doyenne, Pauline W. Hoffmann, Ph.D.
Writer...Strategist...Creative Thinker...Gentlewoman Farmer...Accidental Athlete
I grew up on 40 acres in the middle of nowhere east of Buffalo, New York.
I found my love of science in the country and in reading indoors and exploring outdoors. National Geographic held an endless fascination for me, particularly the sharks and other sea creatures. In fact, I was the nerd who had a scientist (shark expert Eugenie Clark, if you must know) sign her copy of National Geographic. I still remember the title of the article Dr. Clark wrote that she signed for me: Sharks: Magnificent and Misunderstood.
In a way, that's how I felt....misunderstood at least.
I also had an innate curiosity. That's required in life. I wanted to experiment and play and ask questions and get answers. I remember wondering how our utility bills varied over the course of the year. I asked my dad to give me the electric and gas bill totals each month. I plotted the expenses on a chart I taped to my bedroom door. Before you think I'm too odd to work with, I did have posters of the boy bands of the day on my bedroom walls like any "normal" kid (Duran Duran was a favorite - it was the 1980s). To be fair, anyone could have predicted how the bills would increase or decrease based on the seasons, but I wanted evidence.
My father nurtured this curiosity. Come to think of it, he was probably thrilled I wouldn't end up a teenage statistic. Girls who post utility expenses on the bedroom door don't get many dates.
I attended St. Bonaventure University, a small, Catholic university in a rural area because it made perfect sense to study biology at a landlocked university when your dream is to dive with sharks.
My father died when I was a sophomore and it changed the trajectory of my life. I flopped around a bit after graduating and ended up working in public relations/creative services in health care. I had no idea how much I would absolutely love it! It was here that I learned how to lead, strategize, and write for different audiences.
It was here I also saw data in action. Health care is full of data from admission statistics to emergency room wait times to readmission rates. I also worked on the first website for Catholic Health - that should tell you how old I am. I learned about web analytics and how it should drive strategy and execution.
And I learned about conflict, working with difficult people, managing and communicating across different generations, working within a labor union environment, the importance of safety-in-numbers, and collaborating rather than conflicting.
When I went back to school for my masters and doctoral degrees it was to study communication - particularly communication in conflict.
I became a professor - a job I maintain. I learned about virtual teaching and learning and now teach nearly exclusively online. Know that I helped to start online programs at my university and have dedicated these past years to perfecting my craft. I care about student metrics - numbers, yes, but words also. Student reviews drive me to be a better professor. Take a class with me and see for yourself.
I am a former dean having worked in administration for nearly a decade. I like to joke that as a communication professor I maintain ties to science. I perform brain surgery as a professor (figuratively not literally) and I've dove with sharks as a dean (figurately not literally, though that line was blurrier).
My husband and I bought the farm (literally not figuratively) and raise chickens, bees and dogs. I own an all natural body care company which appeals to my inner chemist. I craft and sell my products locally and online. Oh, and I read tarot cards (which sounds very anti-scientific but isn't really......) Find more information at Tippy Homestead.
I also love to travel and love to expose people to cultures different from our own. I am a founding member and current board member of Embrace It Africa and take students to Uganda, Africa to work with a small community related to health care, microfinance and women's empowerment.
I also noted that I'm an accidental athlete. I love to challenge myself and fancy myself an athlete. I am a former rower, have run a marathon and biked a century ride. My next goal? Ironman.
I take the data nervous and turn them into data nerds - or I at least make you understand and appreciate data more than you did to begin with.
Take your data journey with me. It won't be dull.