02 May Wonder Woman
Her name is Leslie Felder. She arrives with three large bags: her school backpack, the diaper bag, and the bag that contains water bottles, changes of clothes, favorite toys, cheerios… She also has her two young children, Stanley (three years-old) and Leora (15 months) in tow when she comes to the Family Reading Room every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday to “camp out” for the day and get homework done.
“I really underestimated the amount of time I was going to need as a full time student,” explains Leslie, who is currently a Platoon Sergeant with the 328th Combat Support Hospital (328th CSH,) of the Army Reserves. “The Family Reading Room has been a huge help to me as I’ve used it as a campus base – I meet for group projects here, with my tutor every Friday, and just regular days when I have a lot of homework. Having the lactation room right here is also a lifesaver.”
While pregnant with her second child, Leslie and family moved from Boise to Salt Lake so that Leslie could attend the U and be near family members. Leslie has been a student in the U’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences since 2014 and she’ll be graduating this spring with her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. But Leslie’s journey through undergraduate studies has been anything but traditional and that’s what makes it so remarkable.
Leslie grew up in Salina, Utah where she enrolled in AP classes as a high schooler through Snow College. She eventually moved to St. George and took some classes at Dixie State before joining the Army in 2003. While in the Army, Leslie continued her education, earning her associates degree through the University of Maryland’s Asia campus while stationed in South Korea.
As a Licensed Practical Nurse – known in military terms as a 68 C – Leslie worked in military hospitals in post-op and intensive care units. Her specialty had her spend 15 months at Camp Bucca in Iraq. “My experience working in health care in the military has really given me perspective,” explains Leslie. “You don’t worry about life’s little problems once you’ve seen that side of things.”
And the future? Leslie will be taking pre-requisite coursework for admittance into a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) program that Idaho State University will be opening in 2018. Says Leslie, “I want to help women after they’ve had their babies, particularly with lactation issues, but really with all of their health needs.”
We congratulate Leslie on completing her bachelor’s degree and wish her continued success as she moves closer to realizing her aspirations.