WKU education comes full circle for grad assistant

Katie Glynn (now-Pettit) is comforted by her mother, Luanne Glynn, while accompanying her mother to class in 1985.

Monica Spees

Graduate teaching assistant Katharine Pettit sat through her first classes at WKU in a basket. But that didn’t bother her. She usually slept through the lectures.

While professors tend to frown on such behavior, they didn’t seem to mind. This was probably because Pettit began her college career when she was 6 days old.

Pettit, the sixth of seven children, accompanied her mother, Luanne Glynn, to her summer classes in 1985. Glynn was going for a master’s in folklore at the time.

“That’s what she was going to school for when I was born, and she was hauling me around,” Pettit said.

Glynn said she was used to the experience of being pregnant by the time Pettit came.

“Every time I wanted to pursue my education again, I ended up pregnant,” Glynn said. “I knew when I got pregnant that I could keep going.”

When it came time for Pettit to arrive, it was just before the summer session began. Glynn said she had had some “not such fun experiences in hospitals,” and had requested a midwife present for her fifth child. For Pettit, she still had the midwife, but she gave birth at home.

Glynn didn’t miss any school after having Pettit. She said she felt she had to bring Pettit to class since she lived about an hour from campus and there was no one at home to keep Pettit while she was in class. She said she was pleasantly surprised that she was allowed to bring her baby to the lecture.

“Western hasn’t always done things the cookie-cutter way, and that’s why I like it there,” Glynn said.

Pettit, who was a sociology and anthropology major as an undergraduate from 2003 to 2007, was the third child to graduate from WKU.

“It wasn’t like I was expected or required to go here,” Pettit said. “It was more of a tradition.”

Although Pettit received a scholarship from WKU, she said the beautiful campus and the unusual creatures on campus won her over to attending.

“The deciding factor was the white squirrels,” she said as she sat at her desk with a stuffed white squirrel atop it.

After getting her bachelor’s degree, Pettit went to Indiana University, where she got a master’s in library science. Doubting her chances for a job in that field, Pettit decided to return to WKU to pursue a master’s in sociology.

“I don’t know where she’s going to go with (her education) or how far she’s going to go with it,” Glynn said. “But I’m behind her 100 percent wherever she goes.”

Pettit’s older brother, Daniel Glynn, who works as a technical/hardware specialist at WKU, said he’s proud of his sister for all she’s done.

“She just always strives to keep learning more and improving herself,” he said.

Pettit said she’s glad to be back at WKU because she feels more at home. She said she never felt like she belonged at IU.

“Looking back on it now, I can’t imagine going anywhere else,” Pettit said. “I was supposed to be here.”