Photo Courtesy of LaPetra Bowman
“In life, you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will use you and some will teach you. But the ones who are truly important are the ones who bring out the best in you.” (Source unknown)
Have you ever come across a professor who genuinely wanted you to succeed in life? Dr. LaPetra Bowman, UTSA professor and advisor, enjoys bringing out the best in her students.
Born and raised in Nancy, France, Bowman and her grandmother moved to San Antonio when Bowman was 10-years-old. Her original plan was to become a medical doctor. However, her plans changed when she was at a library and “The Collected Works of Lord Gordon Byron” fell off a bookcase.
She became interested in reading literature and decided that she no longer wanted to pursue medicine, but English instead. She went on to graduate from Health Careers High School and earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in English at UTSA. The Paisano sat down with Bowman to talk to her about her time at UTSA.
What has made a deep impact on your life?
My grand-mère (grandmother) has always instilled upon me to be the best person I can be. She was a strong and independent woman (who emulated me) to have those strong characteristics.
I can recall when I was younger, I painted a picture for her, and she hung it up on the wall, even though it wasn’t a great picture. She never pressured me into doing something that would make me unhappy.
At first, I was afraid that she was going to be disappointed in me when I told her I no longer wanted to pursue a degree in medicine after high school, but she took it well and supported every decision I had made in my life.
What has been your most embarrassing moment as a professor?
This happens in all of my lectures: There is always a student who makes a funny comment in class, and I do not get over it, and I continue thinking about it until I can’t keep up with my lecture notes.
What is your favorite part of UTSA?
I enjoy working with my students, especially the ones I keep track of during their college career. I enjoy the “off-subject” moments between student and a professor because each of my students have different walks in life.
I partner up with my students and encourage them to keep moving forward to further their education with graduate programs. I am only reciprocating what my Grand-mere has done for me.
What do you like to do outside the classroom and your office?
I do enjoy spending time with my boyfriend. I also enjoy watching movies and TV shows such as “The Golden Girls.” I enjoy taking care of the garden in my backyard and growing flowers and vegetables. In the kitchen, I enjoy baking as well as cooking recipes from French cookbooks and trying new recipes. I enjoy swimming and listening to music. My favorites are The Cure, The Smiths and French music.
Why do you feel English and Women’s Studies are important subjects to study?
Women’s Studies reflect what’s happening to other people. Women are a part of each establishment. For us to understand what women have and are confronted with, we must focus because we are completely unaware of a woman’s success and failure. Women matter politically, sociologically, physically and anthropologically. When studying society, who we are and where we have been, it’s always about coming into consciousness. We must turn that pain into purpose for writing. If women do not take into account who we are and who we want to be, then there would be no literature for me to lecture for my students.