hen Karen DePauw was young, she indicated that she didn’t want to become a teacher. While she was raised to value education, as the daughter of two elementary school teachers, DePauw simply found the teaching setting to be too strict and formal. Little did she know, she would later become a tenured professor with an incredibly successful career in academic administration.

DePauw was born in Los Angeles, California, on an unusual snowy day, and she grew up in Thousand Oaks, California—a city just outside of downtown LA. She was always passionate about school and extracurriculars, knowing from a young age that she would eventually go to college. In 1966, she decided on Whittier College, a private liberal arts school in California. She came in as a math major but switched to sociology when she realized that she wanted to explore work in social justice, which would ultimately include children who had disabilities. DePauw graduated from Whittier in 1970 and began teaching developmental physical education in LA city schools. From this job, DePauw learned how to adapt and apply her informal teaching style in her work. She was also able to gain a new perspective of her own experience from working with these students.

VT Stories Shorts

A Challenging Year

"I was the first staff member to serve as a constituent on the Board of Visitors, and that happened to be 2006–2007..."

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Read more of Jean Brickey's story on our Hokie Tales page.

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A Good Shirt Tuck

"He took out a pair of suspenders, and, with great care, attached two of the snaps to the tops of his socks..."

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Read more of Russ Neal, Jr.'s story on our Hokie Tales page.

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Share Your Story!

Do you have a Virginia Tech memory you want to share with the VT Stories project? We're all ears!

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We're collecting VT Stories in all shapes and sizes. Got a story to tell?

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Every Hokie has a story, and VT Stories is committed to preserving and sharing as many of these stories as we can.

The VT Stories Oral History Project began in early 2015 as the result of some informal discussions among a small group of faculty, staff, and administrators across disciplines about utilizing the power of story in a number of different ways in a signature pilot project.

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VT Stories team working on the website