She recalls a time early in her graduate studies when she received a “C” on a writing assignment. As she opened the paper and saw the grade, her face flushed. She had never before received a grade so low and was sure she was going to flunk out. Her reaction was to approach the writing instructor and problem-solve; clarify your thinking before you begin writing, she was told.

Carolyn Woo

Carolyn Woo and a CRS delegation visit a boarding school for children in a rural village in Myanmar (Burma). (Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS)

Woo lists name after name of faculty who had lasting influence on her life. The writing instructor, Ruth Ann Schlarbaum, is one of them. Purdue, as a whole, is another.

“Purdue treated me like a daughter,” she says.

“Universities are places of learning, where people are constantly breaking through the barriers to take you to tomorrow. It’s a constant reminder to grow and refresh,” Woo says. “That attitude has helped me a lot, because that is what I want to pass on to the agency. In most organizations you can get too busy to learn, you keep on doing what you’re doing.

“Even in a difficult economic climate, if you set your heart on serving others, you’ll always find a way."

“Even in a difficult economic climate, if you set your heart on serving others, you’ll always find a way. Ask yourself, how can you be and, therefore, serve better, not just yesterday but today and tomorrow?

"Reinvent yourself for tomorrow so that you can add value to the people who depend on you and hold on to your core mission, values and integrity. In my life, I have discovered that the fruits of our work do not just depend on us, but on others who also care and on God who endows us with gifts to bring about miracles.”

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