PROFILE: Dr. Catherine Howard

Dr. Catherine Hagen Howard

Dean STEM; Prof of Chemistry/Biology, Texarkana College

Dr. Catherine Hagen Howard is Dean of STEM and professor of Chemistry and Biology at Texarkana College. With more than 30 years of experience in education, Dr. Howard has a heart for students of every age and ability and a genuine love of learning. She is an active member of St. Edward Catholic Church, on the boards of Habitat for Humanity of Texarkana and the Texarkana Museum Systems, and a member of the Texarkana Homeless Coalition.

“I have been enormously blessed. My mission for community significance is to do all I can to help others who do not enjoy the same advantages that my family and I do: the homeless, poor, underemployed, undereducated. I hope to continue my efforts to help through my affiliation with the Homeless Coalition, Habitat, the Museum Systems, as well as through my church and my work at Texarkana College. As Luke 12:48 teaches 'For unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required.'"

What have you learned most about making a difference in Texarkana (or about your opportunity for community leadership) from being a part of Leadership Texarkana?

I learned that anyone who wants to can make a difference—no matter his or her economic level, job, background, social connections, etc. There is plenty of work to do, and lots of different kinds of people with different perspectives and talents are needed

What does leadership mean to you?

To me leadership has nothing to do with power or prestige, but instead is about serving a group of people in whatever ways are needed in order synergistically achieve a greater goal. It is a lot of hard work and a very humbling place to be.

For what community organization or issue or opportunity do you have a passion and invest your time, talent or money?

I want to be a blessing! I want to do what I can do to help people who haven’t had all of the advantages that I have had such as adequate housing, educational opportunities, high quality food, encouragement, and love. Toward that end, I am currently on the boards of Habitat for Humanity of Texarkana and the Texarkana Museum Systems, a member of the Texarkana Homeless Coalition; and I am the founder and organizer for TXK No Fret Zone—the ArkLaTex’s only ukulele players’ club. I give considerable amounts of my time and energy to these groups. For example I just completed a 20 hour banker’s course to become a certified loan originator for the homeowner’s selection committee for habitat. Since my background is in science, not finance, there was a considerable learning curve!

If you had one wish and could make a difference of significance in Texarkana (your small corner) what would you do with that one wish and why?

I wish more people here were more aware of educational opportunities in our area that, with Pell Grant and other funding sources, would be basically free. These opportunities, in only one to two years of schooling, could move families into the middle class and dramatically change the lives of every current and future family member.

What do many people not know about you that you would to share with us? What are some of your passions and hobbies?  

My big secret is that I love Bigfoot! My husband Rob, daughter Claire, and I have been attending the Texas Bigfoot Research Center’s annual conference in Jefferson, Texas since 2002. In fact, when Claire was applying to universities, her application essay mentioned the Patterson-Gimlin film! As far as passions and hobbies, I love animals of all kinds, reading, the ukulele, my family, gardening, and exercising.

What do you most love to do in Texarkana? 

I love going out to eat at several of our excellent local restaurants, watching movies at Cinemark, rummaging through antique and resale shops, and exploring local gyms.

What do you most love about Texarkana, in general?

I love how the whole city feels like one big family: a bit dysfunctional at times, but overall very happy!

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