"Teaching has always been something I wanted to do," says Bower. "It’s something I am very passionate about. Higher education changed my life."
Learning a new language is more than a requirement to graduate; it gives students access to another world, said Dr. Robin Bower, associate professor of Spanish.
Bower used to dream of becoming a ballerina, but teaching was always something she had in the back of her mind.
“I’ve always thought about teaching, but once I got to college, I knew I wanted to teach at a university. That’s when I started to get excited about teaching,” Bower said.
Bower grew up in Philadelphia and spent a good portion of her life in New York, but she now calls Pittsburgh home.
She attended West Chester University for her undergraduate work, where she double-majored in English and comparative literature. She went to graduate school at Columbia University.
So what brought this Philly native to Penn State Beaver?
“A job. That’s why anyone goes anywhere,” she said.
The reason Bower stays is a different story.
“I stay for the students,” said Bower. “I love the students.”
Teaching is something Bower is passionate about; in fact, she said that higher education has changed her life.
“Specifically, a professor I had when I was working for my undergrad was very passionate about teaching,” she said. “I realized that you have to give back what you’ve been given.”
Bower has received campus awards for teaching, research and service, “but the Eisenhower trumps them all,” she said.
In 2012 Bower was one of only two University-wide faculty members to receive Penn State's Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching. This award is only given to two faculty each year, who are not only outstanding teachers, but have also provided mentoring to others.
She was invited to Duke University to act as a visiting associate professor during a sabbatical. In addition to her other achievements, Bower was also invited to present her research at Princeton University.
In 2015 she also organized a conference, “The Cleric’s Craft: Crossroads of Medieval Spanish Literature and Modern Critique.”
When a student enrolls for one of Bower’s classes, whether Spanish or literature, she expects the student to “work hard and have fun.”
Ph.D. in Medieval Literature Columbia University
Master of Philosophy in Medieval and Golden Age Columbia University
Master of Arts in Latin American Literature Columbia University
Bachelor of Arts in English and Comparative Literature West Chester University