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Kimberly Szczatko, M.S.Ed.

Tech Prep Regional Coordinator 
Career Education


Technical Education Center



University of San Diego

Binghamton University

State University of New York at Cortland


I’ve always been a highly driven individual, complete with checklists and goals. “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” Strength and persistence.   I knew what I wanted, and through the years made the milestones happen; the adventures, the professional achievements, and the day to day interactions with friends and family. Having said that, I know that had I not taken the time to meet the friends throughout the years I would have never had the wonderful adventures or experiences, nor would I have acquired the degrees, education, or employment opportunities over the years. Of this I am truly thankful. I’m especially thankful to my friends here at UAS; an absolutely amazing group of people.

With all the goals of our youthful optimism sometimes life throws obstacles in our pathway that we just don’t count on; a tragic death, a major illness, a terrorist act like 9/11. How we choose to respond is a totally individual approach.  We can become fearful and afraid to move on, or we can realize there are some things in life we have no control over and move on in spite of the pain.  I’ve often heard people refer to their “bucket list” - writing out 100 things they want to do before they die. Although I’ve always considered this a silly concept (as well as a mediocre movie), I have had a life list of things that I’ve incorporated throughout my years to make me happy. And although my experiences are not the most epic, nor do they hold the highest of bragging rights, they’ve added to my enjoyment and were “in the moment.”

As I get older it’s interesting to reflect on the snapshots of the important moments. It fascinates me how current events can bring back my historic pictures that have never graced the pages of my travel journal. Sipping the early morning coffee from my deck as our Southeast days drift into fall, I can picture my son and me cooking breakfast over the campfire in the cold rain at L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. While watching the graceful kayak glide past my house I can still feel the slight apprehension of paddling the canoe through the crocodile infested mangrove marsh of the Everglades and feeling most fearful for the potential of snakes falling from the trees. In discussions with a tourist my mind drifts to one of my conversations with a stranger, the afternoon he helped pull my Blazer from the quickly approaching tides of Hatteras on the Outer Banks. Occasionally I’m reminded of the weightlessness of the hot air balloon that skipped across the pond in upstate New York, as the “whoosh” of the ignition starts the gas grill for dinner. Through the gray skies of our Southeast summer I can see my little boy giving me the thumbs up with his youthful critique, “This is the life, Mommy” as he reads in the comfort of a makeshift bed in the SUV that cold and windy night in the Colorado mountains outside of Manitou Springs, now so many years ago. It’s the spontaneous life moments on the journey and the personal snapshots that are important, which would all be missed if we were simply to jump from one activity to another so we could strike them from a bucket list, or add yet another selfie to our Facebook account.

Even as I reflect on all the interesting things I’ve done and amazing places I’ve seen I can honestly say I’ve never regretted the things I’ve chosen not to do. I’ve never purchased a beverage from Starbucks. I’ve never taken a yoga class. I’ve never jumped off a cliff, walked over hot coals, done a Polar Bear plunge, or wrapped a snake around my neck.  I’ve never answered a personal ad, been a bridesmaid, or to the delight of many, sang karaoke. Despite the best efforts of the street performers in Hollywood I know I’ve never really met POTUS, Marilyn Monroe, Sean Connery, or Superman. And just in case anyone has any doubts, crickets, eel, frog legs, haggis, and rattle snake will not be gracing my culinary menu.

And no list would be complete unless it includes those things that should never be tried … intentionally. I’m strongly suggesting that you should never track a large iceberg in a small skiff off the coast of Labrador. One high school reunion is more than enough for a lifetime. Don’t ever scratch your nose during an auction, especially with the hand that’s holding the paddle. I wouldn’t recommend driving through Georgia with New York plates, at night, over a holiday weekend. Pigs, I’ve been informed, can drowned if you try to give them a bath in their pen. I would not suggest making fun of the Halloween props at Universal Studios; it will definitely get you an E ticket for a fright night you won’t forget. And as my son so kindly reminds me, you should never camp in Kansas, ever.


Please address mail to the following:

Kimberly Szczatko

  • University of Alaska Southeast 
  • P.O. Box 2274
  • Wrangell, Alaska 99929

For immediate response:    Text: 305-1026


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