For Whitener, Education is for Life
For Tri-County Community College science instructor Ronnie Whitener, education isn’t a means to an end, it’s something you do for life.
That’s not just something he tells his students, it’s something he lives. So much so that he’s working on a second master’s degree in a completely new subject.
It wasn’t always all about education. After high school, where he admits he was a poor student, he tried many different things to make a living.
“I tried welding, auto mechanics, carpentry and a bunch of other things but I just wasn’t good at it. It was hard for me.”
He decided to take some college credit classes at TCCC but had to start out, like many students, with some student support center courses to catch up on his math.
He found science was easy and interesting to him, so he took every science class he could before transferring to Western Carolina University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees then started teaching.
“I love teaching,” he said. “Getting paid to talk about science, about something you love? There’s nothing better.”