Posted at 3:40 p.m., April 2015

Dunn and done

Retiree looks forward to recreational time

Judy Dunn

Seeking Irish routes:

Judy Dunn, who joined LCCC in 1999, lectures in her computer information class. She is retiring at the end of the spring semester and will travel to Ireland.

Photo by Vycktoryja Selves.

After 17 years of working at Laramie County Community College, Judy Dunn, instructor of computer information systems, said, “It’s time to try something different.”

As the only female in her high school physics class, Dunn had already found her calling in the math and science department at an early age. Dunn earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics before joining the Army, where she was assigned to work on computers and information systems. While there, Dunn implemented a mapping program for the Defense Intelligence Agency before being transferred to a recruiting station in the San Francisco area in the mid-‘70s.

Once again, she was one of the only females in her workplace. Dunn said despite the challenges she endured as a female recruiter, she told herself just do it. "Usually, the ones that doubt you come around, and, if they don't, too bad," she said.

Through her time as recruiter, Dunn learned she could become a good actress, which she said served her well in the classroom because whether a teacher is sick to her stomach or having a bad day, she must put on a smile and act as if nothing were wrong for her students. For her computer science class, which runs for an hour and 45 minutes, Dunn also uses the stamina she gained as a soldier in order to stand in front of her students for an extended period of time.

Growing up outside of New York, Dunn said she always knew she wanted to live in the West and felt lucky to have jobs in Laramie before applying for a position at LCCC.

During the time she has taught at LCCC, Dunn enjoyed teaching computer literacy, which she dubbed “the equalizer.” She said that within the class there are students who come into it thinking they know everything and other students who are afraid to touch a computer. Dunn said the people who feel as if they don't know anything about computers are usually the ones who do really well in the class because they strive to learn more about the computers.

“They actually do all the work and read the book,” Dunn said. In the end, the students who put in the time and effort to learn in the class end up surpassing the other students who thought they knew it all.

Dunn said, “It's really rewarding to see someone who is afraid to touch computer to actually become skilled at it.”

Adventure awaits

As the semester dwindles down to an end, Dunn said she is looking forward to having more recreational time on her hands for activities like horseback riding and off-roading, which she and her husband used to do while they lived in New Mexico. Dunn also said she is planning to take a trip to Ireland and visit where her parents and other family originated.

In basic training for the Army, Dunn remembered when she asked her roommate, “What are you?” Her roommate replied: “I'm a girl. What do you think?” Dunn said: “No. What is your nationality?” The woman replied, “American.” Dunn then said: “No. Where are your parents from?”

As a child growing up in an area with a melting pot of European countries, it was normal for people to ask about ethnicity. One of the ways Dunn maintained her heritage was singing lullabies to her children and grandchildren that her grandmother used to sing to her when she was young.

With one daughter who works as an adjunct teacher at LCCC, a son who lives in California and another daughter with three grandchildren who lives in Cheyenne, Dunn said she is also looking forward to having more time to spend with them after retirement. “You get that feeling that the time is right,” Dunn said. And for her, that time is now.

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