When Dr. Beth Ann Fiedler transplanted from the city of big shoulders (Chicago) to the city with sponge docks and causeways to attend St. Petersburg College in 1982, it was a step that greatly influenced her future.
Upon arrival at the Tarpon Springs Campus, her community interest and desire for local service blossomed in her job at the College Work Study Program. She assisted students with financial aid, registration and overcoming obstacles.
Other successes followed, such as student government and an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa academic honor society, followed by being awarded PTK Outstanding Officer. Fiedler also received the American Business Women’s Association Scholar award.
“Even then, I found it easy to see that the campus was small but the opportunities were big,” Fiedler said . “I have fond memories of the concrete picnic tables, near the biology lab overlooking the pond at Klosterman Road, where I spent a good amount of study time, too.”
She went on to hold several positions with large corporations, such as 3Com and GE Medical Systems and was a defense contractor with the U.S. Marine Corps/Navy in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Fiedler returned to academics later in life and completed her doctorate in Public Affairs in 2011 at the University of Central Florida, College of Health and Public Affairs.
Looking back at her long educational journey, Dr. Fiedler attributes these humble beginnings when SPC was a community college as a driving factor in her long journey to completing her doctorate. The return to her graduate education in later life was inspired by her memories of students at SPC, such as Mr. Van Winkle, who planted the seed of life-long learning. Affectionately known as Rip, Mr. Van Winkle was the inspiration behind the PTK award to recognize students who started or completed their education late in life. “I don’t think education is as one-dimensional or linear as I did in my youth,” reflects Fiedler.
Today she is an independent research analyst, striving to solve real-world problems and the author of several books and studies.
Fiedler’s book, Three Facets of Public Health and Paths to Improvements, provides an overview on how specific indicators like the environment, culture and behavior play a role in developing improved outcomes for public health in local, regional, national and global health policy and concerns. Her most recently published paper is Investigating COVID-19: Quantifying recurring methodological problems in the study of infectious disease, part 1-2.