A longtime professor of chemical and biological sciences, Dr. Catherine “Cat” Howard serves as the Dean of STEM at Texarkana College. She and her husband, Rob, have one daughter, Claire, who makes them very proud. Cat says, “From the moment she came into this world, she has been a blessing and source of joy for me. She is the kind of person I aspire to be—kind, compassionate, caring, funny, engaging, brave, and accomplished in her chosen path.”*
A seeker of knowledge, beauty and truth, Dr. Howard is a worker trying to serve her purpose and striving to make the world a better place. She is on the board of Habitat for Humanity of Texarkana and is a member of the Homeowners Selection Committee. She also serves on the board of the Texarkana Museums System and is a member of the Texarkana Homeless Coalition and Leadership Texarkana. She is a Gold Award Girl Scout (equivalent to Eagle Scout in Boy Scouting) and a lifetime supporter, volunteer, sometimes troop leader. She also is very involved in church activities at St. Edwards Catholic Church.
Dr. Howard feels honored to be named dean of her division at Texarkana College. “The position allows me to work with some of the best people on the planet – the STEM guys,” she says. Many of her proudest moments occur when she sees the light come on in students’ eyes, and they actually understand what she is teaching, while appreciating the beauty of science in some small way. She also teaches two noncredit classes at the college called “Uke Can Do It!” and “Uke Can Do More!,” centered on playing the ukulele. She and several of her students and friends have even started a local uke club, TXK No Fret Zone, which meets the second Thursday of each month in the TC library.
Spending time with her family is what Dr. Howard truly loves doing the most. “When they aren’t around, I love to work in my yard, read, and play ukulele. I’m also a professional student; I love taking classes, learning new things, and earning new degrees!” she remarks.
If she could give one piece of advice to young women today, Dr. Howard would tell them to “believe in themselves, take the time to find their purpose/passion in life, and then pursue it with everything they have.” Dr. Howard’s parents have influenced her the most throughout her life. “They were always very supportive of whatever I was interested in. They taught me to be curious and to ask questions.”
The way DR. TONJA MACKEY sees her ...
Catherine “Cat” Howard is one of the most “real” people that I know. She is super-smart, supportive, talented, and encouraging, and even with all of that going for her, she is approachable and down-to-earth. She is dedicated to her family, friends, and students, and is compassionate toward those whom she does not know. This is exemplified through her work with Habitat for Humanity and other charitable organizations.
If ever I need wise counsel, she is one of the first that I think of to consult. Her faith and her sincere desire to make life better for students is evident in every decision that she makes. She is a strong woman who makes it her mission to lift others up to their utmost potential.
One of the things that I appreciate the most about Cat, other than her love for books of course, is that she tells people exactly what she is thinking, and is kind about doing so even if the message is not what one wants to hear. She gives freely of her time and talents through community, church, and school events. I admire her ability to get so much done! She takes care of her family, volunteers, teaches ukulele lessons, and builds houses! And those are just the things that I know about! She is truly a well-rounded woman who has her priorities in order. Cat is one of those people whom I feel that I could call anytime, day or night, and she would be willing to be the friend that I need.
What did you imagine yourself being when you were growing up?
What is the last gift you gave someone? “A new ukulele.”
What is your favorite meal that you order regularly at a local establishment?
“I have two favorites: Joe’s veggie pizza and Esperanza’s chicken fajitas with cold draft beer.”
If there was a movie produced about your life, which actress would portray you?
“I’m thinking Holly Hunter—mostly because we share the same really bad accent!”
What is something unique about you that most people would not know?
“I love murder mysteries, and I’ve seen all 69 episodes of Columbo at least five times.”
If you could trade places with any person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
“I’d love to temporarily be Albert Einstein—to see the world through his eyes and have for myself his understanding of the universe and our place in it.”
If you could travel to space, and it was free, would you go?
“Are you kidding? Is that a real question? YES!”
What music do you listen to in your vehicle? “’80s pop — like there is anything else!”